Wintering Away

Don Madge

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For those considering venturing further afield for their winter break the following info might be helpful. We like to spend seven or eight months away in the van each year.

This is what we usually do on a winter trip, but first a bit about us.

We are loners isolationist in our mid seventies, who hate to be hemmed in by other campers. We started our winter trips 16 years ago in Portugal and it was reasonably peaceful, sites in the popular areas weren't over run. That lasted 3 years when Portugal got very popular all of a sudden. We then went to Morocco and we just loved it. Three years later and the place was overwhelmed with motorhomes.

Next we tried the Canary Islands again it was great, weather was good we toured five of the 7 islands in four months. On the whole sites were horrendous, a gas bottle exploded on one site as a Spaniard was welding his Motorhome, fortunately we had just left the site. Nobody was injured but a few motorhomes were damaged or destroyed. Free camping was never a problem as long as you were reasonably discreet. The big down side was the £1200 ferry fare, nice boat , plenty of food but £1200 is a lot of money.

Then came Turkey, we loved it straight away, the people are very friendly, free camping is not a problem, often you will be given tea when you stop on a picnic area, the Turks usually send the children across with it. A small kit kat in return works wonders for PR.

We spend three months in Turkey on the Aegean/Med coastline. We have three sites were we usually stop at, Kusadasi, Oludeniz and Antalya. We usually have a month each at the first two and a week in Antalya. We also have a few places were we free camp, mainly small harbour's (Kalkan/Kas/Finike) and small village beaches out in the wilds. We have never felt threatened in Turkey, we feel safer in Turkey than we ever did in Spain.

We usually take the direct route down to Italy, ferry to Greece and drive across northern Greece into Turkey. On the return trip we try and vary it. We've taken the ferry from Marmaris to Rhodes with our A Class Laika 400i which only just fitted on the ferry, it's not a crossing for the faint hearted. We then took the ferry from Rhodes to Piraeus (Athens) then ferry (Camper deck) from Patras to Venice. This is a must, sailing past the Grand Canal in Venice on a spring morning is out of this world.

In April 2004 on our return trip we toured Sardinia and Corsica both highly recommended

In 2006 after the eclipse in Turkey we returned via Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Czech Republic an unforgettable trip.

We don't plan the return trip in advance, we buy a single trip ticket on the way out and when in Turkey decide which way to return home.

Next year we have two ideas for the homeward trip, overland via Albania, Montenegro and Croatia or ferry to Rhodes and Crete then tour the Peloponnese.

If you plan to visit a country's that you never visited before i.e. The Balkans, Turkey or Morocco I suggest you get a Lonely Planet Guide or such like for the country and read up on their customs, practices & traditions this could save you a fine at a later date. There are some traditions that are not in any book. i.e. In Greece they always have and always will drive on the hard shoulder, even on a three/four lane motorway. If you choose to ignore this practice the Greeks will let you know in no uncertain terms.

If you plan to visit Morocco or Turkey check when Ramadan (September 1st this year) starts because it could put a bit of a damper on your holiday.

We always take a photo copy of "all" documents. If you venture outside the EU take a full inventory of everything in the van. If visiting Turkey and Morocco the driver of the vehicle will not be able to leave the country without the vehicle in which they entered. So no parking up for a couple of weeks and flying home for Christmas.

Safe travelling

Don
 

vanblanc

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Corsica in November???

Thanks for the very useful info. We have sailed in Turkey and agree it is a wonderful and friendly country.

We are heading off to the south of France in a couple of weeks and are hoping to go over to Corsica in November. Most of the campsites seem to close up at end October, did you find many places to stay in Corsica??

Thanks,
Dave and Suzanne...van blanc.
 

lufcdave7

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Really enjoyed reading your post....now (from Turkey onwards) please break it down into longer more detailed posts, perhaps one a week until the New year?:thumb:
 
N

N Luyetund

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Good to see your ever useful posts back Don!
 

scotjimland

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We are loners isolationist in our mid seventies, who hate to be hemmed in by other campers. We started our winter trips 16 years ago in Portugal and it was reasonably peaceful, sites in the popular areas weren't over run. That lasted 3 years when Portugal got very popular all of a sudden. We then went to Morocco and we just loved it. Three years later and the place was overwhelmed with motorhomes.

Don
Hi Don

I'm afraid motorhomes are a victim of their own success, more and more looking for a little bit of nirvana .. and you've just about run out of countries ... :Sad:

Great advice as always ... I hope our paths cross one day but somehow I think you will always find somewhere to hide away .. :roflmto:

good luck and safe travels

jim
 

evans88

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The original post is dated May 2008. Its not new as suggested unless the date is incorrect which I doubt. It doesn't matter though because its a great post containing much useful information.
 

Douglas

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Great post Don, comparing notes, when we were in Tenerife for 3 months last winter we had problems with the local Butane, it was great with the cooker and water heater but made a lot of smoke and smell with the fridge. Did you notice anything?

Doug…
 

olley

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Hi Don stated a few months back that he intends to stop posting on most sites, and I think he also intended to withdraw from some completely. I believe he's getting problems with his hands, so you may not get a reply.

Olley
 

Losos

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We have never felt threatened in Turkey, we feel safer in Turkey than we ever did in Spain.
For myself I feel you've been lucky, and comparisons with Spain are not really fair. Surely you should be comparing safety in Turkey with that in UK, Germany, or Holland. The problem with 'wild camping' in places like Turkey are that there is absolutely no way to know when you might be targetted by the gangs, it may never happen or it could happen on your first visit.

Just read that you don't post much nowadays Don, I hope that wherever you are you're safe and enjoying life in the wilderness.
 
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