Max, parked for the night in rural Greece.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Asprovalta, Greece.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Turkiye, sometime around January 23rd.

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021... Our year in review

We started 2021 in Turkey, and we ended it in Greece. Two countries that are very close to each other. But in between the two, we did a whole lot of traveling. In fact, we were in a total of 13 different countries this year!

And of course we did all of that travel during the Covid pandemic, but it really wasn't that difficult. We did a total of 5 or 6 PCR tests (all negative) until we were able to access a vaccination shot in July and that reduced the need for the PCR tests. 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Remember the package we were waiting for?

Just thought I would give you an update, just because it's so ridiculous.

To give you some background, we were in Albania when we decided to order a motorhome water filter from Germany. Prior to ordering, the company said that it would take "6-8 days, although likely sooner than that" to ship it to Albania. Their exact words. So based on that, we ordered it on November 24th, prepared to wait around for 8 days.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The place is getting pretty busy

Once again, it was mostly overcast and we didn't see the sun all day. But we did manage to get out for a 5 km (3 mile) power walk along the beach road Tuesday morning before the showers began shortly after we returned to Max. We timed it well!

There are now five camping vehicles here. It's all young people... or at least younger than us!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Thinking about boosters, and renewed our medical Insurance

Pretty quiet day for us yesterday. It was supposed to rain all day, but by 11:00am it was still not raining, so we decided to take a chance and hop on the bikes and go to a grocery store about 6 kms (3.5 miles) away. 

6 kms uphill all the way! And with a bit of a head wind. At least it was paved. And it made for a pretty easy ride back to Max, although we sure got our exercise on the way up.

Monday, December 27, 2021

We ended up at an interesting spot!

We had a stretch of decent weather the last few days. Highs around 17C (63F) and lows around 10C (50F) which is pretty typical for this time of year in this area. Certainly not tropical, but not cold either. 

But they were calling for some steady rain Sunday night through Wednesday, so we figured we had better find somewhere to ride out the bad weather.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

A Christmas feast

We woke up Christmas Day to a few raindrops, and it was mostly cloudy all day but we did manage to get out for a bit of a walk. Otherwise, it was a relaxing day and we played a few games of backgammon, cribbage, and yahtzee.

Then later on, Ruth made a fabulous Christmas dinner, and we had a good zoom call with my side of the family.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas in Greece

Merry Christmas morning!

Last year on this day, we were getting ready for Christmas Day eye surgery in Turkey. Of course Turkey is a Muslim country, so they don't celebrate Christmas, and Christmas Day is just another day.. But here in Greece, the day before Christmas is when children sing carols in the streets, families gather together to play games, go to midnight mass, and end their advent fast.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Ancient Olympia... birthplace of the Olympic Games

Having been to both Mexico and Turkey, we have explored a lot of ruins sites. But Ancient Olympia in Greece is a little different because it is where the Greek Olympic Games took place every four years without interruption between 776 BC and 393 AD... a period of 1,169 years!

Sure, to look at the ruins themselves, it's all very similar to the ruins we saw in Turkey. But it's the information learned here to do with the games that we found really interesting.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The photos don't tell the whole story.

We arrived at the seaside port town of Katakolo fairly early. They have a huge parking area that the motorhomes use, but there was only one other rig there when we showed up.

Katakolo is on the Mediterranean cruise ship circuit, so normally there would be between one and three cruise ships docked here while the tourists they carry made their way to nearby Ancient Olympia. But there is none of that happening right now.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Parked at the beach, and Max's AdBlue

It kind of felt like we wasted the day at the laundromat! But, we still managed to put on a few miles and get out of the very busy area around the city of Patras. Patras is the third largest city in Greece with a population now around 200,000 but I thought it felt much bigger than that.

The laundromat was located on a pretty busy street and we got lucky that Max was able to fit into one of the four parking spots right at the laundromat itself. One of the benefits of having a short motorhome!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Max went for his first boat ride!

Monday was a day to get some chores done. First up was to fill with fresh water. The park4night app is really useful for things like this because other van and motorhome campers have listed some possible water fill and propane fill stops.

There was a gas station along our route that had a water fill point, and it was easy access and we were quickly in and out of there. Propane might be a different story though.

Monday, December 20, 2021

If it would stay like this all winter...

We couldn't really have asked for a much better day. Sure, the temperature could still have been a few degrees higher, but if it were like this for the rest of the winter, we would be fine with that!

My mother mentioned to us that considering the weather we have had, we would have been better off in Mexico. And from a weather perspective, that is certainly true.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

This wasn't in the plans!

It was spitting with rain when we set off around 10:00am Saturday morning. I knew that we had to drive up over a mountain pass, but I didn't really think much of it. I also knew it would be a little colder up there, and figured that we might see a few snowflakes.

But I wasn't expecting a blizzard!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

On a mission to get further south

When I was planning our drive yesterday and looking for somewhere to overnight, there weren't a lot of interesting looking options. It turns out that's because there really isn't a lot of interesting looking things to see along that stretch. 

And, we were trying to get further south anyhow. There is a bit of cold weather heading through this area the next couple of days and so we are skipping by this area in favor of a little more warmth.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Christmas Festival in Trikala, Greece

The city of Trikala lies about 30 kms (18 miles) south of the popular cliff monasteries of Meteora. It's not much of a tourist destination. They have one small castle, and the old town area is pretty run down with a lot of graffiti. 

But we were told about a Christmas festival they do called Mill of the Elves and apparently people drive from all over Greece to take part.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The clifftop monastries of Meteora, Greece (day 3)

Yesterday we drove up to the monastery road that circles in behind the cliffs. This is how most people access the monasteries. There are some hiking trails to get up to them, but we also wanted to drive about 15 kms north to try to hike to the locations of some of the monasteries that don't exist anymore. 

And if we wanted to see all of the different viewpoints on our last day in the area, driving was the fastest way to do it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The clifftop monastries of Meteora, Greece (day 2)

There is lots of hiking and exploring to be done in this area, and even though the temperature is a little chilly, it's actually great weather for doing exactly that. But before we set out, we had to get another SIM card for the phone. 

I wasn't happy with the data package I got from the first supplier, so we walked into town and went to the Vodafone Greece store.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The clifftop monastries of Meteora, Greece

Monday morning we woke up to a clear blue sky. What a refreshing change! With a more positive weather forecast in our future, we decided to do the detour to the monasteries of Meteora. 

It was about a 200 km detour from our loosely planned route, and with the price of fuel we don't take these things lightly. Also, toll roads in Greece are fairly expensive and while we normally prefer to stick to the back roads, they can be pretty slow going.

Just  warning... lots of photos today!

Monday, December 13, 2021

The ancient city of Dodoni

The skies finally cleared enough to go and do some exploring. We made sure to bring our umbrellas and raincoats with us though! 

Only a 15 minute walk from where we were parked is the ancient city of Dodoni. We didn't come here specifically for that, it was just a coincidence really. Which is a good thing because I read some reviews that said it wasn't really the best ruins site. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

I think the worst is over

Pouring rain again yesterday. In fact it was so much rain that the Greek authorities in this area put out a blanket cell phone alert warning telling people to stay home if it wasn't absolutely necessary. 

We had originally planned on doing some driving south, but decided that wasn't a good idea. We felt the need to find somewhere better than a parking lot to ride out the rain though. I found a listing on the park-4-night app that looked suitable, and it turned out to be a really great choice!

Saturday, December 11, 2021

It doesn't matter if it's raining out if you are inside a cave!

Pouring rain again all day yesterday, just as they forecast. So we drove the short distance from Ioannina up to the Cave of Perama.

We've been in a lot of caves in our travels. It's actually one of the things that we try to seek out. But we've kind of become "cave snobs" over the years, and try to do a lot of research before spending the money to visit some caves, because quite frankly, some caves are not worth visiting!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Welcome to Greece. Country #50 for us!

Max's fuel tank was down to about 1/4 so the first thing we did was to top it up. We hadn't put any fuel in since November 2nd. Max gets really good fuel mileage, but it's even better when he's not being driven!

And then it was off to Greece. In the pouring rain.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Well, that turned into a pretty good day!

It was 10:30am by the time we pulled out of the campground at Berat. A little later start than I would have liked, but not bad. Our goal is always to get parked up by 2:00pm, so we should have still been okay.

Our destination was Permet. Only 60 kms away as the crow flies, but the easiest drive is 170 kms! There are shorter routes, but they are recommended 4x4 only. We know that some motorhomes and campervans have done it, but it's really slow going. It turns out that we had some bad sections to deal with anyhow!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Getting ready to get back on the road. Headed for Greece!

Yesterday morning we were still parked in the lot near downtown Berat, so we took advantage of the location to stock up on a few things. No idea what's in store for the next few days, so it's good to be prepared. 

We went back to our favorite butcher guy. He sold us the most delicious juicy pork chops last time, and so we bought four more, as well as one chunk that can be oven roasted. And a half kilo of ground beef as well.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Well, we've had enough

And, we've learned a lesson. Never order an international package in Europe without being prepared to wait forever until it arrives.

Before we ordered the water filter, I had asked how long it would take to arrive. The supplier told me "DHL says it's 6-8 days. But I think its going faster." His exact words. So based on that, we made the order and were prepared to wait 8 days.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Six month review of Max... our European motorhome

Max is a 2021 Adria Matrix 520ST. He is 5.9 meters (19.5') long and has a Citroen chassis. We first met him in June, so it's been almost six months that we've had to get to know each other.

We did spend much of August and September in Canada, so really it's only been about four months of use. And in that four months, we have put 4,200 kms (2,600 miles) on the odometer. 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

I may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night!

Quite a  few things to talk about today. 

We made the decision to move Max down to the parking lot in the city itself. More for a change of scenery than anything else, but it's also slightly cheaper and of course it's closer to the shops and we were due to stock up on a few things. Our LPG was getting low, so we also needed to fill the tanks.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Out for a hike, and shipping update

At 12:30pm I got an notification update regarding our package. It has only now left Germany! So it took a full week to get from the supplier to the airport. Well at least it's not lost. The last update actually says NOTE: As soon as the shipment arrives in the destination country/destination area, you will receive updated information in the detailed tracking history.

So you would think that we should receive another update today. But who knows. It is what it is and we'll just have to wait it out. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

We aren't destination people... we are explorers.

We've been in Berat for two weeks now. Which has been okay... we like the city and the area and the campground we are at is great. But even when we like a place, we are ready to move on after two weeks. We aren't destination people, we are explorers. Which is why our home has wheels. 

So what's keeping us here?

Thursday, December 2, 2021

We bit off more than we could chew!

We woke up to a beautiful blue sky, and it stayed that way all day! What a refreshing change from all the rain that we've had recently. 

So we decided to go for a long bike ride. I had read about a winery in a village located 15kms (9.3 miles) away. We figured we would try to go there for lunch. A 30 km (18.6 mile) bike ride isn't unreasonable, so off we went.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Berat Castle hike, and Ruth's dentist update

We posted our November expenses last night. Our cheapest month of the year so far!

The rain finally stopped after lunch and we were pretty quick to get out and get some exercise before it got dark. We decided to walk down to the city and see how much the river had risen due to the last three days of fairly hard rain.

And from there up to Berat Castle. We had been up to the castle when we were here in March, but wanted to go back just for the hike up.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

What does it cost to motorhome in Albania for a month?

More accurately, we did spend the first week of the month of November making our way through Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro. We didn't actually arrive in Albania until November 7th. 

November was our cheapest month so far this year, as we expected it would be. We spent a total of $1,390 CAD ($1,085 USD, €960) for the month. 

Here's how it all broke down...

Best rainbow ever?

We belong to quite a few travel groups on Facebook. One of our favorites is called Senior Nomads. When we first started out, we wouldn't have felt that we met the criteria to join a group like that, but I guess we're getting to the point where we fit the bill!

Anyhow, an interesting comment came up yesterday regarding how far in advance people are planning trips. Given the Covid situation, I was surprised at how some people already have so much booked.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Just about time to head further south!

It's a bit of an anomaly, but there are actual snow flurries in the forecast for Berat, Albania on Tuesday night with an expected low around the freezing mark. Still, average temperatures for this time of year are highs of 14C (58F) and lows of 8C (47F) and it is supposed to quickly return to that on Wednesday.

But, it is just about time to be heading further south which is exactly what we will be doing as soon as our package arrives and we finish with the dentist. Hopefully by the end of this week.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Ruth's birthday turned out better than expected... and what a finish!

Pouring buckets when we woke up yesterday morning, but by 9:00am or so it had stopped. The forecast was for more rain though. Ruth had an 11:00am dentist appointment so we weren't sure whether we should drive into town but by 10:30 it still wasn't raining so we decided to hop on the bikes.

That turned out to be the best choice. Didn't really want to move Max the motorhome if we didn't have to.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Future plans

Yesterday was a rain day! I only got outside twice... once during a 15 minute dry spell so that I could empty our toilet tank, and once so that I could take a few rainbow photos.

Otherwise, it was a computer day and we got quite a lot accomplished. And we heard back from the dentist again and Ruth has an appointment at 11:00am this morning to have the molds and scans taken for the invisible braces for her lower teeth.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Ruth's dentist update, and does anybody know what these are...?

There's a lot of rain in the forecast for the next four days, so we figured we had better get out and enjoy the day. It's a great area for hiking and biking, and we had not yet taken the bikes heading south along the road outside the campground.

Also, we heard back from the dentist regarding straightening Ruth's lower teeth. She has nice teeth and they are all her own, but we have noticed over the last five years or so that the front lower ones have become a little crooked. We would not be able to justify spending the money that it would cost in Canada or the U.S., but we figured our dentist here in Albania might come up with something more cost effective.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Just another day of Motorhome life in Albania.

The plan was to do a bike ride into town in the morning to pick up some groceries, then another one in the afternoon in the opposite direction just for pleasure. 

So we set off to do groceries around 10:30am. It was a nice blue sky day. We got to the butcher that we have used in the past. He speaks zero English. But we got across to him that we wanted some fresh ground beef. He held up a slab of beef and made gestures like he was going to cut it. But we pointed at his meat grinding machine and he shook his head. It took us a few seconds to figure it out, but it turns out the power was out!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

This campground will do just fine for the next few days

The weather has been better than we expected it to be. However there is some rain supposed to be arriving by tomorrow afternoon, and showers throughout the upcoming weekend. And I've got some computer work to get done during that time so it made sense for us to look for a campground where we can have electricity and WiFi. Also, we are waiting for the dentist to get back to us about straightening Ruth's lower teeth.

We didn't plan on staying in Berat this long, but then we really don't have any kind of schedule, so it doesn't matter! And, as I've said before, we really like the area.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

We love going to the dentist!

Said no one. Ever.

However, when you can go to the dentist and are confident that you are getting good value for your money, it makes the whole experience a little more enjoyable.

I had been to see a dentist in Albania back in the springtime. I had a bridge that had come loose, and it turned out that one of the anchor teeth needed to be rebuilt. I had four different appointments and the final bill was so inexpensive that I thought he forgot to add a zero or two!

Monday, November 22, 2021

We could easily live in this area.

We woke up Sunday morning and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. And it stayed that way all day! Just perfect. We didn't want to waste a day like that, so we set off on a hike up the road past the village of Drobonik. 

This is an interesting road because if you look on Google maps it is marked as a major route south. And between Berat and Drobonik the road is freshly paved and in beautiful condition. But after Drobonik it deteriorates quickly into a dirt road and apparently there are areas where it would be wise to have a high clearance vehicle, if not 4WD.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

What a great day we had!

Yesterday we did our guided hike and picnic lunch into Albania's Tomorri National Park. We had tried to go up to this area when we had a car rental back in early April but we just had a small 2WD car, and we learned pretty quickly that you need a high clearance 4WD in order to go to where we were trying to go.

We met our guide Arti from Albania Rafting Group at 9:00am, and hopped into a 4WD Land Rover. Arti a young guy, 24 years old and Berat is his home town so he knows the area well. Nice guy, and we enjoyed his company.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

It's a bit of a treat for us...

First thing we did yesterday morning was to put on a load of laundry. Mostly bedding, so we wanted to get it in early so that it would dry by the time we left. There was no stated checkout time, so we asked the lady if we could stay a little longer, and she didn't have a problem with that. We had already unplugged, and it's not like there was a lineup of people waiting for a spot.

Friday, November 19, 2021

We kind of got sidetracked... and ended up at the dentist office!

We got a decently early start for our drive to Berat. They were calling for showers in the afternoon, so we wanted to get to the River Side Campground early enough to get a load or two of laundry done. Our plan was to have a one night stay at this campground in order to do laundry, have showers, fill and empty our tanks, and fully charge our batteries. 

This way, we will easily be able to spend a few free nights at the hotel parking lot where we know it is shaded and don't know if we will be able to plug in.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Out for a bike ride, and problems solved!

Change of plans! We decided to stay put for one more night. It turns out that the castle we were hoping to visit now charges a €10 fee to overnight there, and it's not that important to us. So the only other option in that area was beach camping at a restaurant. We decided that if we are going to beach camp, we've got it pretty good right where we are!

And with some rain in the forecast, we didn't want to be stuck (literally!) in soft sand or on a muddy road.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Yet another problem...

Cloudy with sunny breaks yesterday. High of about 20C (68F), so it was quite pleasant.

Right beside where we are parked, there is a water faucet that actually works. So we took the opportunity to do some chores. Laundry is always an issue... it's difficult to find laundromats. They do exist in the larger cities, but they're not always convenient. So we do smaller items by hand when we can.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Problem at the grocery store

With fully charged batteries and no rain in the forecast, we set off from the free motorhome hookups at the highway truck stop at around 10:30am. We didn't have far to go... about 50 kms (30 miles), but driving through the small city of Durres is slow going so it took us about an hour.

Taking this route allowed us to avoid the big city of Tirana. We spent more than a week in Tirana when we visited back in the spring and although we enjoyed the city, we don't feel a need to return.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Max's batteries... and a lazy rain day.

Max has two 100 AH 12 volt AGM deep cycle batteries. He also has two 100 watt solar panels to keep those batteries charged.

For comparison, our North American motorhome Sherman had four 225 AH 6 volt wet cell batteries, and three 80 watt solar panels.

That's quite a bit of difference. Our usage is quite high given that we are on our laptops a lot. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Lots of good free camping spots

Saturday was a beautiful day. Sunshine, with a high around 20C (68F). Above average for this area at this time of year. So we got the bikes off and went for a bike ride.

First we went south along the beach road as far as we could go. Lots of good free wild camping (boondocking) spots. Only one problem though. Mosquitoes! There are a lot of marshy areas, and that usually means bugs. Bugs and I don't get along!

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Off to the beach!

It was time for a change of scenery, so we did the short 44 km (27 mile) drive to the coastal resort town of Shëngjin. 

Wasn't quite sure what to expect as we hadn't been here in the spring. It turns out that Shëngjin has a really nice beach. There is also a small shipping port. But it's a growing resort area, with a lot of hotels and rental accomodation.

Friday, November 12, 2021

This lifestyle is not for everyone

Katja and Yves came over to say goodbye. We had given them some tips for what to see on their way south through Albania, and they had given us some tips on our planned trip to Norway next summer because they had spent a lot of time there this year.

And then they gave us a tour of their rig.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Views above Shkoder, and evening visitors!

Not much sunshine on Wednesday, but the temperature was a pleasant 18C (66F). In fact, perfect conditions to go for a hike. 

I found a nearby trail that runs up above the hill in behind where we are parked, so we set off just after 10:00am for what turned out to be a really nice hike!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Have I mentioned that we love Albania?

We spent the morning puttering around and getting Max ready to move across the river. Weather has been nice... highs around 20C (68F) and clouds with sunny periods. We haven't had to use our furnace since we got into Bosnia, although I'm sure some chillier evenings are coming. 

Did all the maintenance chores like filling the fresh water tank, and emptying the holding tanks and then did the five minute drive to our next location! Gotta love short driving days!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Sometimes things just have a way of working out

When we arrived in Shkoder on Saturday, our original intention was to stay for a full week. We had been traveling almost every day for the whole month of October, and we just needed some down time. Shkoder has a lot of places we could ride our bikes to, and it's just a good place to relax. 

The camping place we wanted to stay at was a reasonable €10 a night and we were prepared to pay that for a week. But when we arrived, it was full of mud from the recent rains.

Monday, November 8, 2021

A bigger job than I thought it was going to be!

Sure enough, as they forecast, Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day! It was so nice to have sunshine and blue sky. It was even shorts and t-shirt weather, with the high temperature going up to 24C (75F). 

Fantastic.

And so, it was a perfect day to repair Max's leaking bathroom roof vent.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Happy to be back in Albania!

But we're a little disappointed we didn't get to see more of Montenegro. The weather just wasn't cooperating. We saw enough to know that we will need to return and spend more time there, and that's okay too. I can see us doing variations of this north to south (and vice versa) route several times in the coming years.

We went to pay our bill at Autokamp Titograd near Podgorica at about 10:00am, but we really didn't want to leave. The family that runs the place is so friendly and welcoming and of course we had to sit down and have a coffee with them before we left. We will return there for sure one day.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Heading into Albania today

Yes, Max's bathroom roof vent is still dripping. My quick repair in the dark slowed it down a little, but didn't stop it. I'm not surprised. Fortunately, it drips right onto the floor of our shower, so the water just drains away not really hurting anything.

But we're still confused about how this happened to begin with. I was almost convinced it was a stress crack from the twisting motion of the body caused by putting one wheel on a ramp higher than the others, but when I put it down off the ramp, the gaps on the damaged vent didn't change at all. It's very strange.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Max has a minor problem

We woke up in the pouring rain on Thursday morning in the small city of Niksic, Montenegro. Niksic in an industrial town, and not much to see or do their from a tourist perspective. Still, it would have been nice to wander around and see what there was to see.

But like I said, it was pouring buckets. And the forecast for Friday and Saturday wasn't much better. We decided to head to a campground near the capital city of Podgorica. It had great reviews, and was reasonably priced at €10 ($14.50 CAD, $11.50 USD) a night with electric included. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Welcome to Montenegro... country #49. Wow, what a drive!

We did a quick trip back to the grocery store before leaving Foca. Picked up three bottles of wine, among other things. As we're leaving the store, one of the bags slips out of Ruth's hands and crashed to the concrete. Now we only have two bottles of wine! Oh well... no point in crying over spilt wine! Although spilt milk would have been better!

And then we got on the road to the Montenegro border. We knew we were taking the backroads option. Most people would head down to the coast and go the easier route, but we like the road less traveled!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Stopped by the police in Bosnia

Monday, we left Sarajevo at about 9:30am, and headed south through the hills towards Montenegro. But first, we had to fill up with diesel and top up the propane. I found a station that sold both, and both at good prices. The diesel worked out to €1.18 ($1.70 CAD) per liter which is the cheapest we have paid since we've owned Max.

Then the LPG. Again, it turned out to be an easy experience topping up our refillable tanks. The station attendant had never done one in a motorhome before, so I kind of had to show him how! But we got it done no problem. The LPG worked out to €0.75 ($1.08 CAD) per liter.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

A few hours in the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Sarajevo is known to the world for two things. One, the city hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics, and two, it was badly destroyed during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1996.

It is not really known as a tourist destination, although there are some things worth seeing.

We set off at just before 9:00am to walk down to the city to see what there was to see...

Monday, November 1, 2021

Drive to Sarajevo

This is today's second post. Earlier today I posted our October expense report. You can read it here if you haven't already.

On Sunday, we did the fairly long drive from Jajce to the big city of Sarajevo. Not really a long distance, but a fairly long time because we took the back roads and probably averaged about 60 km/h (36 mph) or less. 

October Expenses

A little higher than we expected.

We spent a total of $2,182 CAD ($1,762 USD, €1,525) for the month. The unexpected parts were mostly still related to getting our bikes from Canada to where Max was located. But, we also are going to have to up the budget a little for fuel, LPG (propane gas) and campgrounds, all of which were higher than originally planned. Here's how it all broke down...

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Jajce, Bosnia... more castles and waterfalls

If you like castles and waterfalls as we do, Bosnia is definitely the place to be!

Saturday morning, we drove to the town of Jajce. It's situated in hilly terrain at the confluence of two rivers, with a waterfall and a castle overlooking it all. It's a really pretty area. As we arrived just outside of town, we stopped at Plivsko Lake where there are some walking paths and picnic sites.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Heading further south... and some good news!

We're in a bit of a race with the weather. We definitely don't want to be caught in any snow, so the idea is to keep heading further south! And we've got some mountainous areas to go through, so we want to beat the snow through those areas before we can get to the coast in Albania.

And, both Bosnia and Montenegro have snow tire laws that come into effect on November 15th, so we need to be in Albania by then.

Friday, October 29, 2021

An authentic Bosnia experience!

Once again it took a while for the morning fog to burn off. In fact, by the time it had cleared enough to make it worthwhile to go for a hike, it was almost lunchtime so we had something to eat before heading out.

Our destination was Ostrovica Castle, sitting high on a hill above the nearby town of Kulen Vakuf. In fact, we can see the castle from our campsite by the river.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The fabulous Štrbački Waterfalls, and a really nice campsite by the river

It was a bit cold and quite foggy when we got up Wednesday morning. We had two goals for the day... the first one was to see the nearby Štrbački Waterfalls, and the second was to get some laundry done!

We headed to the waterfalls right away. Good thing we did too, because there is an 8 km (5 mile) narrow winding road in, with very little opportunity for someone to pass heading the opposite way.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Welcome to Bosnia & Herzegovina... country #48

Travel days are always interesting, especially when it involves crossing a border. You just don't know what to expect!

After we finished exploring Tito's abandoned Villa Izvor (you should click the link if you missed that post) we headed to the Bosnia & Herzegovina border. There was a lot of truck traffic, and I was surprised because it didn't look like a very major border crossing based on what the road looked like on the maps.

The abandoned summer residence of Yugoslavia's dictator Tito

Most people go to Plitvice Lakes National Park to see the waterfalls. But there is another hidden unique attraction that not many people know about. 

In the hills high above the lakes, but now located within the National Park itself is the abandoned summer residence of the former Yugoslavia's dictator Josip Broz Tito. It was very elaborate in its day, and in fact was the most expensive residence ever built in Yugoslavia at the time. 

Now, it's a crumbling ruin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Heading into Bosnia & Herzegovina

We would like to explore more of Croatia, but we have a choice of which route we are going to take, and we have decided to go through Bosnia & Herzegovina instead. It's all new to us anyhow, so we would be missing something no matter which way we go.

But we think Bosnia is a little more our style. It's certainly more "off the beaten path" than Croatia is. As an example, for every fifteen tourists who go to Croatia, only one goes to Bosnia. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia - our frugality and research paid off!

Let's start by saying this... Plitvice Lakes National Park is stunning. There is no question that the unique geography and waterfalls deserve the UNESCO world heritage rating, and there is a reason it's so popular. It's a really pretty area.

But it's also ridiculously expensive. I don't blame them for charging what they do. If the masses are willing to pay it (and apparently they are) then the market dictates the price, as it should be.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Slunj, Croatia... the town with 23 different waterfalls!

We had arrived in Slunj late afternoon on Friday, so we didn't go out exploring at that time. And then Saturday morning it poured with rain all morning. They called for clearing skies around lunchtime, so as soon as the rain stopped around 11:30am, we headed out to see what there was to see.

And there was definitely stuff to see! It's hard to figure out why this area isn't more well known.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Castles and caves... that was a good day!

It rained on and off all day, but fortunately the "off" times were when we were out doing stuff. So it worked out okay. And even though there was a bit of rain, it wasn't cold and there was no wind to speak of. Highs of maybe 17C (63F) and overnight low around 11C (52F). We're fine with that.

We left our overnight spot at the restaurant parking lot, and it was only a short drive to our first stop... the abandoned castle at Bosiljevo.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Welcome to Croatia... country #47

We could easily have spent more time in Slovenia, but the incoming colder weather motivates us to continue heading further south. We knew this was going to happen, and it was part of the plan. But it's still frustrating not to be able to spend more time in these new-to-us countries.

And I don't think we're going to spend much time in Croatia either. The warmer weather is certainly along the coast, but wild camping (boondocking) is strictly against the law in Croatia, and the €400 fine is a bit of a turn off!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Interesting visit to a mercury mine

On Wednesday, we did the short 14 km (8 mile) drive from Ziri to the mining town of Idrija. It might have been a short drive, but it was long on excitement! Lots of curves and narrow sections, and a series of switchbacks going down the other side.

Idrija is a very different mining town. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the fact that it produced almost half of the world supply of mercury... or quicksilver as it is sometimes called.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Happiness is a great overnight spot

Once again, it took a few hours for the morning fog to burn off, and then it turned into a nice afternoon, with a high of about 14C (57F). Not bad.

Once the fog burned off, we set out to the nearest grocery store. Supplies were running low! We found a well stocked Lidl only 6 kms away where we spent €75 ($108 CAD, $87 USD) filling the fridge. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Hike to a castle ruins, and Ruth's bike is repaired!

It was really foggy again when we woke up Monday morning, and although it's light outside, the fog takes a long time to burn off. We wanted to go for a hike in the hills, but we wanted to see the views that would afford, so we waited until about 10:30am before setting off. 

And even then it was still a bit foggy.

Monday, October 18, 2021

To me, Ljubljana was just okay

Our friends Glen and Steve suggested that Sunday is the best day to do any city visiting, and we tend to agree with them. We are reminded that is certainly the case in Mexico and we used to make sure we went into Puebla on a Sunday because there was always a lot going on.

And so yesterday morning we drove into the Slovenia capital city of Ljubljana. We left our nice overnight spot by the river at about 7:30am and did the 20 kms (12 miles) or so drive in the fog!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Lake Bled Castle, and Škofja Loka at night

We went down to the bike shop for our 10:30am appointment, but unfortunately the guy didn't have the right tool with him to do the job. So we are still on the hunt for a bike shop that happens to be open when we happen to be there. 

But we left the bikes there locked up, and did the short hike up to Bled Castle. My mother had given us some birthday/Christmas spending money, and we like to use that money to do things that we wouldn't normally do. Things that we normally think are too expensive!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Lake Bled is as beautiful as we expected

Despite the fact that it's still a little chilly, it helps that we are waking up to blue skies and sunshine. It went up to about 12C (54F) yesterday, which was actually quite pleasant in the sun. And it's supposed to warm up a few degrees over the next couple of days.

And what a view we woke up to! We almost thought about staying a second night at the ski hill, but our Schengen Visa time is running low and there are still some things we want to see in Slovenia. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Starting our 15th year with Slovenia... country #46.

It was 14 years ago today that we set off with our new to us motorhome Sherman. It was also 14 years ago today that we published our very first blog post as we hit the road. You can read that very first blog post here... https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2007/10/were-cookin-with-gas-now.html

We started writing this blog as a way for family and friends to know where we are and what we're doing. As time went on, it also became a valuable daily diary for us... we often look back at something to confirm a fact or a memory. We had no idea at the time that it would attract over 2,000 readers a day and that it would also contribute to our ability to continue traveling.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Lake Millstatt and the city of Villach, Austria

We took the narrow winding backroads from Gmund to Villach. So much more interesting than the autobahn. But yes, also so much more slower! We also did a detour around the north side of Lake Millstatt, and we're glad we did... such a scenic area.

We're not in a rush now, although we do want to continue south to warmer weather. We could take about 10 or 12 days to get through Slovenia if we wanted before our Schengen Visa time ran out, but we'll probably do it in about a week, and then we'll be in Croatia.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Austria is really a hiking paradise

We took a day off from driving on Tuesday, although we're going to have to get a move on simply to get to some warmer weather. Today, the forecast high here in Gmund is 8C (47F), although that's obviously below normal for this time of year because the long term forecast for next week shows highs of around 14C. (58F).

Oh, I have to mention how impressed we are with Max's heating system. The American manufacturers could learn a thing or two!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Hellbrunn Palace and the Trick Fountains, then drive to Gmund

We left the RV park in Salzburg by 8:00am. Used all the facilities so that Max has empty holding tanks and a full fresh water tank, and his batteries are fully charged. 

We still had one more attraction that we wanted to see that was included with our Salzburg tourist cards, and we had to make sure we gained admission before the cards expired at 10:40am. Hellbrunn Palace is located south of the city, so it was along our route heading south anyhow.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Playing tourist in Salzburg

There are a lot of touristy things to do in Salzburg, and of course many of them cost money. We had done most of the free stuff on Saturday, so on Sunday we did the paid stuff. The best way to take advantage of this is with the Salzburg Tourist Card. You can buy one for 24, 48, or 72 hours and it gives you admission and/or discounts to most of the areas attractions. 

We bought the 24 hour card (thanks Mom!) for €29 ($42 CAD, $34 USD) per adult.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Change of plans

Woke up yesterday morning and had to put the heat on. It's going to be the same thing for the next few mornings, I think. Winter is coming. 

One of the rigs parked near us is huge. You don't see them often, but you do see the occasional large motorhome here in Europe. It's not only the Americans who build large RVs. Anyhow, we were watching the owner yesterday morning, and at one point the entire rear panel of this big motorhome started sliding upwards.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Arrived in Austria! Country #45 for us...

We only had about a 20 minute drive to get to the RV park that we had chosen from which to base ourselves for exploring the city of Salzburg, Austria.

Located about 5 kms (3 miles) north of the city center, the Reisemobil Stellplatz Salzburg is really well thought out. You can tell it was designed by people who actually use motorhomes!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Today, we are off to Austria!

Thursday morning, we said goodbye to friends Glen and Steve. It was just a short visit, but they are headed for Turkey for three months, and they want to be able to cross the border on November 1st. We are also headed for Turkey, but we don't want to cross until January 1st, or thereabouts. 

So we hope to cross paths with them again in January in Turkey.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Exploring the alpine town of Bad Reichenhall, Germany

It rained much of Wednesday morning. After lunch, we drove the short distance down to the town of Bad Reichenhall, the rain had pretty much stopped. We found a busy free parking area where we were lucky to get a spot, but that's because it was only a short walk to the central area.

This whole area is a little on the touristy side, and it's easy to understand why. It turns out that Bad Reichenhall is a really pretty little town, and there's a lot to do around here. Including many beautiful hiking trails.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A lot can change in 64 years!

I've mentioned before that my father did two fairly long trips to Europe in the 1950's. The first in 1954, and the second in 1957. He was an avid photographer and took a lot of slide photos from those trips. Ruth has scanned them all and we have them on our laptops. 

Regular readers might remember that we have in the past made a game out of trying to match up some of those photos by trying to stand in exactly the same spot that my dad might have stood many years ago. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Oktoberfest? Maybe next year...

We got on the road at around 9:00am. Not as far of a drive today... only 178 kms (110 miles) to get to the meeting point where friends Glen and Steve were waiting for us.

Our route would take us around the east side of Munich. What a shame to be this close to Munich in October and not go to Oktoberfest celebrations.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Almost at Austria

We did another 300 km (180 mile) drive yesterday. I know, that's not our normal style, but we are catching up to our friends Glen and Steve who are heading in the same direction as us, but they are ahead of our schedule. They have purposely slowed down a bit so that we can catch up. 

But yesterday, we took the back roads the whole way. Yes, it's slower going and probably uses a bit mre fuel. But it's so much more scenic and interesting.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Happy to be back on the road!

Saturday was a driving day with the goal of picking up our bicycles that had been stored at Frankfurt airport. We didn't get going until about 10:00am and we had to do about 300 kms (186 miles), which for us is a fairly long drive.

We took the main highway, which has a 130 km/h (81 mph) "suggested" speed limit on most sections. Of course Max isn't going anywhere near that speed. For the most part I had the cruise control set somewhere around 95 km/h (59 mph). 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Made it back to Europe and our motorhome Max!

Well, the last 24 hours or so are a bit of a blur. Let me see if I can back us up a bit and try and remember all the details...

It started off Thursday morning around 11:00am when our daughter Lindsey came to pick us up and take us to the Ottawa airport. She arrived right on time and I loaded the bikes into the back of her van.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

We are off to Europe!

Not much time this morning because we are flying to Europe today! The next blog post will be coming to you from Germany.

We fly Ottawa to Toronto then Toronto to Frankfurt. From there, we take the train to the town of Dulmen where our motorhome Max is waiting for us.

Here's the plan for the next few days...

September Expenses - things are about to get much cheaper!

September was a little higher than expected. Mostly because of our plan to ship our bicycles and a few other things to Germany with us. But, we also did a lot more driving than we originally planned, and the fuel added up.

We spent a total of $3,338 CAD ($2,620 USD). Here's how it all broke down...

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The next visit will be better

Just reflecting on the past few weeks as we prepare to head back to Europe tomorrow. 

We arrived in Ottawa in mid August right at the end of a heat wave, so our timing was pretty lucky in that regard. Overall, the weather has been decent. But as I've said before, September is the best time of year to visit Canada, in our opinion.

But we've been just too busy to enjoy it as much as we would have liked to.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Getting ready to head out

Only two more sleeps. We're busy getting ready to head out on Thursday late morning. 

We're not traveling as light this time around. The bikes are all boxed up and ready to go. And besides our normal carry on bags, this time we're actually bringing a larger suitcase with us as well that we will just ditch after we've emptied it upon arrival.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Best ribs ever.

Little bit of a late post today, but I didn't have much time this morning because we were told we had to be out by 10:00am.

Saturday turned out to be better than expected from a weather perspective. The guys weren't that ambitious but we managed to get three of us out for a short 5 km (3 mile) hike in Bon Echo Provincial Park. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Good start to the weekend

Yesterday, I said goodbye to Ruth and drove two hours to a big chalet on Mazinaw Lake near Bon Echo Provinical Park to meet up with my friends for our annual guys weekend away.

Not the best weather though. It was actually chilly sitting out on the deck, and when it started spitting with rain it almost felt like it was going to snow!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Visit with the Newstate Nomads

After three different phone calls with Air Canada, we ended up getting our upcoming flights changed around enough to be able to bring the bicycles with us. The original booking was Ottawa to Montreal to Frankfurt to Dusseldorf. But part of the problem was the Ottawa to Montreal airplane was too small to accept the bikes in the holding bay. 

The other part of the problem was that we had a codeshare flight with Lufthansa on the Frankfurt to Dusseldorf leg and it was going to require confirmation from them that they would accept the bikes.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Changing some flights

Yesterday was the first day of fall. And you can sure tell winter is on it's way. The leaves are changing color, and the temperatures are cooling off. Here in the Ottawa area, you can go from summer to winter pretty quickly. There is still the possibility of some nice weather in October, but it's hit or miss. It's also common to get some snow flurries by the end of October. 

But we are out of here long before that possibility occurs. In fact, we fly out a week from today!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Toronto Zoo with the grandkids

My own grandmother lived in Toronto and I have fond memories of going to Toronto's Riverdale Zoo when I was a kid. In fact, it was walking distance from her house! But that zoo closed in 1974, and the animals were relocated to a bigger and better facility. Good thing too, because I remember the enclosure the black bears were in... just a concrete holding cell... it really wasn't very nice.

The "new" Toronto Zoo is so much better, but there are still some animals who just don't seem at home in their enclosure. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Made it to Pickering

We arrived at Lindsey and Justin's fairly early, just before 11:00am Sunday to pick up the grandkids. Lindsey is a chef, and she treated us to her famous Eggs Benedict. Such a delicious food item, especially with everything made from scratch.

Even the eggs were from their own chickens!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Nice bike ride down to Manotick

As I've said before, September is the best time of year for weather in the Ottawa area. It's been perfect hiking and biking weather. And so we took off on the bikes down to the village of Manotick on the Rideau River.

The Rideau River is partly a 202 km (125 mile) man made canal system that runs from Ottawa to Kingston. It was built around 1830 in case the U.S. ever decided to invade Canada, but is now used by pleasure craft.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Just as happy in our motorhome

The house we're living in is a beautiful home on a beautiful property backing onto a forest. I haven't shown many photos out of respect to the homeowners. They may not want their stuff on display. But needless to say, most people in the world would be pretty happy to live here. 

And we feel fortunate that this opportunity came along. It's been a great stay for us. And looking after the cats has been no trouble at all... in fact they each have their own personality and they're enjoyable enough to have around.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Received an offer on the house

But it's a low ball bid, with a number of conditions, and it could be that nothing comes of it. All part of the negotiation process of course, but as it stands we won't be accepting it. We're not desperate to sell... but it would be nice to get the whole thing out of our hair. In fact, if it doesn't sell within the next two weeks, we'll be handing it over to a real estate agent anyhow, and then it really is essentially out of our hair. 

And given that I am away for pretty much six of the next thirteen days, I'm starting to lose confidence that it's going to be sold by then. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

International Driving Permit (IDP)

These permits have been around since 1949. Canada only signed on to the agreement in 1965, and some countries (Germany, for example) have never signed on.

We've done a lot of driving in foreign countries. Sometimes we have traveled without an IDP, and sometimes we have bit the bullet and obtained one prior to leaving Canada. I say "bit the bullet" because they are not free. And the odds of you actually needing it are quite slim. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

How we spent $40,000 on our credit card in the last year.

The credit card we use is called the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite. The main reason we got this card is because it's one of the rare Canadian cards that has a 0% foreign transaction fee. And because we use it for a lot of foreign purchases, that's a big savings for us compared to most standard Canadian cards that charge 2.5% on foreign transactions. 

In fact, we saved about $800 over the last 12 months just because of that. 

The card also gives points, and they've been adding up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

An interesting turn of events

We notice that some of the trees are starting to change color, and there are a few more leaves each day falling onto our back patio where we are staying. Winter is on its way. 

But, it was still a beautiful day yesterday. So, taking advantage of that, we headed out for another bike ride to get some more sunshine, fresh air, and exercise.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Maybe something is in the works

We were back up at the house yesterday. Our son in law Justin agreed to patch the hole in the drywall for us, and they were picking up some dining room chairs that we had agreed to give them, so it killed two birds with one stone.

As we arrived, I saw that a guy was taking a photo of the "For Sale" sign so I went down and spoke to him.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Finally made it out for a nice hike

It was a beautiful day on Friday and so we made plans for just the two of us to go for a hike. There aren't a lot of great hikes around the Ottawa side of the river, but just across the river in the province of Quebec is Gatineau Park which has a lot of hiking trails. 

We chose the trail around Lac Philippe, a beautiful lake with several beaches. It's a really busy spot during July and August, but on a Friday in September there was hardly anybody around. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

20 Years ago today

Of course everybody remembers where they were 20 years ago today. 

We were both working... normal lives, with a house and two kids (15 and 13) and a dog and a cat. I was working as an appraiser at a Maaco Collision Repair Shop. Worst job I ever had! And Ruth was working at an office supply company. Where I was, the radio was always on the talk news station, so we heard the whole thing right from the beginning and the office staff listened to it all day.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Just thinking out loud...

Less than three weeks to go. We head back to Germany on September 30th. That's if they let us in. The one thing we were worried about when returning to Canada was if things change enough that they might not let us back into Europe. I see that the EU added a bunch more to their list of "high risk" countries. Fortunately Canada isn't among them yet, but a lot can change in three weeks.

Not that it matters to us right now, but I see that Germany has once again blocked Albania as a "high risk" country, yet Netherlands (right next door to Germany) still considers Albania to be a "safe" country. There is nothing stopping you from crossing the land border from Netherland into Germany. 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Funny story

It rained yesterday morning, but we did manage to get out for a late afternoon bike ride. I had a replacement credit card waiting for me at the Scotiabank in Osgoode. It's about a 45 minute ride one way, so we had to set a good pace because it was already 3pm and it closed at 4pm.

No problem, got there with time to spare, and picked up the new card. The old card was still okay, but it would no longer "tap".

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

It's a crazy world

Boy, it sure is a crazy world out there right now. Politics, religion, and now Covid. The three things you can't talk about because someone is sure to be offended. Can't we all just get along? It amazes me how closed minded many people are.

So while we're on the subject of Covid, the U.S. land border remains closed to Canadians. Despite the fact that the Canadian land border is open to Americans. And the Mexican land border has always been officially closed, but in reality it's totally open. You can't make this stuff up. Craziness.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Our route south

I ordered Max's new propane tanks yesterday and woke up to an email this morning saying they had been shipped and would arrive by Thursday at the latest. 

I had contacted our guy at the dealer so he knew to expect them. They treat us really well there. I asked if they had time to fill them and install them prior to our arrival, and he said worst case scenario they would certainly help me do it when we arrive, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them installed and ready to go.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Toronto Zoo tickets booked

I took a rare blogging day off yesterday! 

We were up at the house again. But we have to go up again tomorrow to put the trash out by the side of the road for Wednesday morning pickup. We thought we were almost finished, but we moved a big cabinet in the kitchen that had been sold to find a big hole in the wall behind the cabinet. More patching and painting. Going to have to do the whole wall. We're sure getting tired of doing that drive.

Still enjoying watching Blue Jays baseball. They're in a race for a wild card spot and they've won 4 in a row. It's going to be tough, but it could still happen. Would be nice, but either way we are enjoying it.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Max's propane problem, and granddaughter Sadie comes for a visit

I've been trying to work on the solution to our RV propane problem with our motorhome Max who is waiting for us over in Germany. What we want is tanks that can be refilled at a self serve style gas station type of propane pump that are common all over Europe. It's the cheapest and most convenient way of filling your propane.

But the problem is that I can't get anybody to install a system in Germany that is cost effective. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

So, there's another thing out of the way

We were back up at the house yesterday. We are almost done though... probably one more day to finish everything up, so we won't go up again until Sunday. I got both the back and the front entrance doors painted while Ruth's brother Colin had rented a heavy duty carpet cleaner at Home Depot and did the rug in the family room. It was in pretty nasty shape, and we considered actually changing it out but the end result using the cleaner was better than expected so I think we'll just leave it.

When selling a house it's always a big question mark as to how much painting and decorating to do, isn't it? Because many people will move to a new home and redecorate anyhow the way they want it.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

You can't see everything

You may have noticed the header photos are showcasing our Africa trip during 2013-14. It occurred to me that we didn't have very good internet at times during that trip, and not as many photos got posted to this blog. Anyhow, we're not doing much that warrants a new header photo right now so I thought I would put some of the better ones up through this month.

We recently spent two months in Tanzania and never went on safari. We simply couldn't justify the ridiculous cost, especially right after we spent ridiculous amounts of money climbing Kilimanjaro. And actually, I don't regret not doing the safari thing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

September is the best time of year to be in Canada

In our opinion, September is definitely the best time of the year to visit any part of Canada. That's why we purposely try to plan our visits to Canada during this month.

In Canada, most of the kids go back to school the first week of September, so if you're out exploring things will be quieter. The mosquitoes and black flies that typically infest most of Canada during the other good weather months of May through August have pretty much died off by September. And September weather is usually exactly the way we like it... not too hot, and not too cold.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August Expenses

Not a bad month.

Considering we had pricey summertime flights from Germany back to Canada, and paid for an expensive 10 day car rental, our expenses were only slightly higher than we expected them to be.

We spent a total of $2,836 CAD ($2,255 USD) for the month. Here's how it all broke down...

Monday, August 30, 2021

Moving to another country

As most of you know, we haven't spent much time in Canada the last three years. Since we left in the fall of 2018, we have spent a total of about three months here. And the main reason we have come back at all is to visit family and friends. 

We actually have no intention of ever "living" here again. While we are currently nomads, and don't see ourselves settling down in the foreseeable future, it's impossible not to have a residence address somewhere because you need to for banking and tax purposes.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

September plans

We've now been in Canada for just over two weeks already and August is coming to a close. We will still be here for the full month of September though.

Since we have arrived, we have seen all of the family except for my younger sister. We also haven't seen any of our friends, and we know how quickly the next four and a half weeks will fly by. So we need to make some plans.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Finally made it out for a bike ride

We hadn't been on our bicycles since September of last year! Almost a full year ago. 

The hot weather finally broke yesterday, and with some cooler temperatures (high of 24C, 75F) we went out fairly early to get some exercise before heading back up to do some more work at the house. There is a long mixed use rail trail near here, so we headed over there to see what there was to see.

Friday, August 27, 2021

How the other half lives

Our morning power walk takes us through a very wealthy neighborhood. On our 5 km (3 mile) route, we pass by many multi million dollar homes. Even the house that we're living in is a beautiful home, but it doesn't compare to these mansions.

I bet we could live a good life just on the amount these people spend on utilities and maintenance!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

News from Germany

We had left Max at the dealer in Germany with a list of items that needed to be done. Most were minor warranty things, but they weren't even really that important. The important one was the upgraded refillable propane system that I want to have installed. 

Their service unit got back to me yesterday with a price of €1900 ($2,800 CAD, $2,250 USD) which is ridiculous. I had been expecting a price around €1,000.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

I don't like real estate agents

I guess I should clarify that. I don't like the real estate agent profession. Mostly because I think they're unnecessary, and overpaid for what they do. But also because some of them come across like smarmy used car salesmen. 

Unnecessary because selling (or buying) a house is not that difficult. You choose a price that you're happy with, you advertise it, and you show it to people who are interested in buying it. If nobody buys it in three months, then your price was too high to begin with. Look at the market and decide what's reasonable. Don't be greedy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Back from the dead!

We were originally supposed to be looking after two cats at our house sit. But when we arrived here, we were told that one of them, named Enke, had disappeared over a week ago. The homeowners were devastated, but by the time we got here, they had pretty much come to terms with the fact that Enke was gone and was probably no longer alive. He was an older cat and there are coyotes and foxes in this area.

They had put up "lost cat" posters on the community mailbox, but nobody had seen Enke.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Family reunion and the price of bacon

So Ruth and I are now pretty much moved into our house sitting home for the next five weeks. We're located near the village of Manotick which is a kind of a trendy upscale village with a lot of very high end homes that line the Rideau River.

But we're a little unfamiliar with what are the best (least expensive?) grocery stores in the area. We ended up at a Your Independent and Ruth went inside while I stayed in the car.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Well, that was a successful day!

We were up at 5:30am Saturday morning, moving stuff around before it got too hot out. Man, that was a lot of work. We can't believe how one guy can own that much stuff. It really makes us appreciate our simple lifestyle!

People began arriving at about 8:00am for the 10:00am start of the auction. The auctioneer himself arrived at 9:00am, along with his five helpers! 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Ready for the auction!

Well, the big day is here. It took five of us pretty much all day to move almost everything outside. Only the larger furniture items remain inside. 

But it was pretty warm trying to move all that stuff around when the temperature was 32C (88F). We took a lot of breaks and drank a lot of water.

Friday, August 20, 2021

New sandals, and Sydney the cat...

Starting Saturday evening, we will be house and cat sitting for the next five weeks. So yesterday, we drove over to the community of Manotick just south of Ottawa to say hello to the couple who own the house, and to meet Sydney the cat.

We were supposed to be looking after two cats. But when we arrived, we were told that they had lost one. At first, we took that to mean it had passed away. But it was only ten years old. 

How to Keep Yourself Entertained as you Travel

By its nature, traveling will often have downtime where you have to spend hours doing little to nothing, which is why you should always be prepared to entertain yourself.

Travel with a Buddy

The first rule of traveling is to always travel with a buddy when you can. There are plenty of reasons why it’s a good idea to have a travel buddy, from safety to boredom, so it’s probably a good idea that you just make sure to take someone with you when you can. Travel to work with your coworkers, take your friends or family on holiday, go to the movies with others. Wherever you are traveling, don’t do it alone.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Cameron's watermelon pics

Another day of organizing auction stuff. We're actually just about done as much as we can do for now. There is nothing left in the basement except for our stuff which we will go through today. And upstairs is pretty much empty except for the heavier furniture.

When we had sold our house in 2007, we ended up with about a dozen Rubbermaid storage bins and had whittled that down to three over the years. As time went on, we just couldn't justify keeping the "stuff" and wondered why we kept most of it to begin with. 

The Essential Road Trip Tech

Whether you’re in an RV, camper van or in the SUV driving to your next holiday destination, there are a few essential tech items that you must have with you. Travel is always an exciting time and often there are things that are neglected in the planning phase that will adversely affect your trip. One of the main aspects that can be neglected is the tech that you take.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

We'll get out and do our walk early before things warm up!

There's a really good circular walking route that we follow here in Galetta. It's exactly 5 kms (3 miles) and it's got a few small hills so it's really good exercise when it's done at a fast pace. As a bonus, it's really quite scenic too.

When we've done it in past years, our time for doing such a walk is usually about 45 minutes. That's a decent pace for walking, and we're definitely sweating when we're done. It's a good workout.

How to pass the time on long motorhome journeys

Motorhome journeys can be long and tedious if you aren’t driving and can feel like enormous wastes of time. Reaching the destination is exciting, but the route there is rarely so interesting. 

However, when you tweak your perspective and have a few great activities to keep you busy, the time will fly by.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Just a place to keep your stuff

The last few years it hasn't been that enjoyable for us to return to Canada. Sure, it's great to see family and friends again, but the majority of our free time had (and has) been taken up with dealing with Ruth's father and his possessions. 

I know, it's all part of life. But we'll just be glad when we can put this part of life behind us. And fortunately, we can see that happening on this trip.

Monday, August 16, 2021

It's going to be a busy week!

It's taking us a little longer to get used to the seven hour time change than it has previous trips. Despite going to bed at 10:30pm, we were still wide awake before 5:30am this morning. Maybe another couple of days and we'll be back on a normal schedule.

Yesterday we drove into the city to have lunch with my mom. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Lots of work to do this week

We had stopped and picked up a few things on our way to the house on Friday night, but we needed to do a decent grocery shop. We were both awake really early because it'll take us a few days to get used to the seven hour time change. So we were able to head out right at 8:00am when the stores open to do some grocery shopping.

When we stay here, we usually drive into the town of Arnprior (pop 26,000) to do grocery shopping. It was pretty quiet at that hour on a Saturday morning.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

We are back in Canada

Well that was a long day! But overall, everything happened according to plan and we are back at Ruth's father's old house in the village of Galetta near Canada's capital city of Ottawa.

Last we left you, we were at Frankfurt airport waiting to board our flight to Toronto. What a circus that was!

Friday, August 13, 2021

Not entirely stress free, but it all worked out okay

We dropped off Max at the dealer at about 10:00am Thursday morning and walked the two kms to the Dulmen train station. We travel light and we each had a small backpack and a rolling carry on suitcase. And even the carry on bags were half empty! They will be full when we return though.

Dulmen has only a small station and tickets are purchased only at a machine. There is nobody to talk to. We were concerned because I had read that morning that we were in the middle of a two day railroad engineers strike and only 25% of the normal trains were running.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

We almost screwed up

We had our PCR test appointment in Winterswijk, Netherlands at 11:00am, so we got on the road early and headed for the huge Obelink camping gear store just outside Winterswijk. The store doesn't open until 9:15am, and we got there before it opened, so at the time Max was the first rig there.

At 10:00am, we set off for the 3 km walk to the downtown test center. By that time, there were quite a few other vans that had joined Max.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Getting ready to go

Apparently some people are having problems getting their email notifications from this blog. A couple of months ago, Google dropped that service from this platform, so I had to sign up to another provider. I chose follow.it and if you were previously signed up to receive email notifications, then that should have continued because I imported all the email addresses from the old program. 

If you're not receiving them, all I can suggest is to go to the follow.it website and login using the email address you signed up for and double check your settings.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Highest we've been for a while!

And no, we didn't smoke anything!

Yesterday, we made our way to the town of Schapdetten to a really great overnight spot in a green space separating farmers fields. And located only a short walk to the Baumberge Forest.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Wandering around Sendenhorst

Just a quiet day yesterday. We said goodbye to friends Dave and Bonnie, and hope to see them at some point when we return this winter.

We only drove about 18 kms (11 miles) to our next location at the town of Sendenhorst (pop 13,000). We weren't there for any particular reason, but they had a free motorhome overnight parking area with dump station so it was convenient.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Propane, water, electricity!

Propane is a common headache for motorhome travelers in Europe. The reason is that there are no agreed upon standards between the countries for propane tanks or fittings. Here, they are not called propane tanks, they are called "gas bottles".

I'll use our situation here in Germany as an example. 

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Always fun to meet up with our traveling friends!

On Friday, we did what we think was our longest daily drive since we've had Max. It was about 80 kms (50 miles) to get back down to the town of Telgte to meet up with friends Dave and Bonnie!

We arranged a meeting spot at a municipal parking lot in Telgte that has specific sites for motorhomes, with coin operated electricity and water available. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

Seven more sleeps

One week from today, we arrive back in Canada. We aren't necessarily looking forward to actually being in Canada, but we're always excited about the travel itself and it's been ten months since we have seen family and friends located there.

Yesterday, I did more planning for the trip. Yes, the hotel in Dusseldorf is booked. The flights are booked. Our car rental when we arrive is booked. But one more thing needed to be looked after.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

We ended up at a great spot

A few days ago we had mentioned to each other that it's been really different for us the last month or so not being on a schedule of any kind. I guess to a certain extent it's been like that all winter, but at that time we were booking week long Airbnb stays at most locations and it's a different feeling when you're in a motorhome and it's easy to just pack up and move on when you want to without any limitations.

And most of the time, it's been really quite easy to find free overnight spots. We were a little worried that with RV sales and use at record highs due to Covid, it would be difficult in the middle of summer. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

From plan A to plan B to plan C...

People are starting to travel again, so I wanted to remind you to check out Heymondo for your travel medical insurance. Travel with Kevin and Ruth readers save 5% by clicking through this special link.

Yesterday was another interesting day, but it's the first time that our overnight choices didn't really pan out. From plan A to plan B to plan C!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

How to build a cruise ship. Visit to the Meyer-Werft shipyard!

Well that was an interesting day!

A few days ago, I had been searching for possible future overnight spots and came across one listing that said you could overnight in your motorhome and visit the cruise ship factory. That piqued my interest, so I did some more research.

The next thing you know, I'm online booking us two tickets at €12 ($17.75 CAD, $14.25 USD) per person to do the Monday 1:00pm self guided tour!

Monday, August 2, 2021

We are back in Germany

Netherlands was interesting and we're glad we went, but it's not a country that "wowed" us. We plan to return one spring in a future year in order to see the city of Amsterdam and the tulips. Otherwise, we would not purposely return there to spend any length of time.

It rained again yesterday morning and we didn't leave the little campground until almost 2:00pm. We then headed for the border, and the German town of Rhede.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

All we could do was shrug our shoulders and laugh!

Last night I posted our first full month of expenses traveling Europe in Max the motorhome. You can view it here if you haven't seen it yet.

Things are a little damp here in Northern Netherlands! It has been raining every day for the past several with a few sunny breaks in between the downpours. We spent the morning inside the motorhome waiting for a period when the rain looked like it was going to stop long enough for us to get a walk in.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Touring Europe can be expensive. But not if you have your own motorhome!

And we've been looking forward to showing you just how inexpensive it can be to tour Europe in a motorhome.

July of 2021 is the first of many months for us touring Europe in the years ahead. So, here's our expense report for the first month of our extended European RV touring.

We spent a total of $1,523 CAD ($1,220 USD, €1,029) in the month of July.

What a great little campground!

We were getting low on fresh water, and the holding tanks were getting full so I started looking for somewhere to take care of that business. 

I had found a listing of a small campground that got great reviews. It was only €8 ($12 CAD, $9.50 USD) per night, and that price included electricity and WiFi. No showers or toilet, but we have our own so that's okay. 

And when I read their website, I was sold!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Pleasantly surprised by Groningen. Lots of interesting architecture!

We had pretty much had enough of cities, and so we were actually going to bypass the fairly large (pop 200,000) city of Groningen. 

But we had to go to the outskirts to get one of our propane tanks filled, and once we were there we realized it was only a 2.5 km (1.5 mile) walk to the downtown area.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

How do we find great overnight locations in Europe?

A reader asked yesterday how we find our overnight locations here in Europe. 

With regards to the Netherlands in particular, we had been warned that it was tough to find decent free camping spots, and that paid camping is expensive. And while both of those things are true to a certain extent, we haven't found it that difficult. In fact, we've been here for over three weeks and have only spent €42 ($62 CAD, $50 USD) on four paid nights. The rest have all been free.

So, how do we do it?

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A long driving day!?

Well, not really. But the longest one for us in quite a while! We actually did 70 kms (42 miles) yesterday!

But because we take the back roads, and we stop to see what there is to see along the way it took us a couple of hours to get to where we were going. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Wandering around Harlingen, Netherlands

Harlingen is a small coastal city (pop 16,000) with a lot of canals and waterways within the city itself. It also has a big port that hosts the ferries that go to the West Frisian Islands, and is where several world class tall ships races have taken place.

We found a big free parking lot outside of town, and walked in.

Monday, July 26, 2021

You can't see everything

We spent three months in Albania, a country about the size of the state of Vermont. And we still didn't see everything we wanted to. 

Netherlands is one and a half times larger than Albania and we've been here for three weeks now. No way will we see everything there is to see. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sneek is worth a visit!

They were calling for rain later Saturday evening and overnight, so we figured it would not be a good idea to remain parked where we were beside the canal in low lying grass that might get muddy. So we packed up Max and moved on to the nearby small city of Sneek (pop 34,000).

And we're glad we did... Sneek is worth a visit!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Talking about our plan for this winter

We knew we weren't driving anywhere on Friday, so we took our time in the morning and it was almost 11am by the time we went out for a walk. I thought the bike trail was going to follow the water, but it ended up in between farmers fields with hedges so there wasn't much of anything to see. 

Still, we did 6 kms (3.7 miles), in an hour, so not a bad pace.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Just smile and wave

When we woke up Thursday morning, we were already located at the entrance to a nature reserve. So it only made sense to do the 5 km (3 mile) circular walk before we left.

I feel like we haven't been getting enough exercise lately, so I was trying to pick up the pace to get a half decent workout in, but this conflicts with Ruth wanting to stop and see everything along the way. So it's a bit of a balancing act sometimes as we try to keep each other happy!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The most beautiful place in the Netherlands

On Wednesday we drove over to the village of Giethoorn, located in Weerribben-Wieden National Park. 

The mostly car-free village has many thatched roof farmhouses built in the 1800's on small peat islands separated by narrow canals and connected by 170 small bridges. It's really pretty, with lots of walking paths, and the popular thing to do is rent an electric boat to tour the canals.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Almost feels like we're on holiday!

Tuesday's goal was to find a place to do laundry. We were only a couple of kilometers to the town of Vollenhove, and there is a big holiday park there that has a motorhome parking area, and apparently a laundry. The reviews didn't mention prices, other than saying "very affordable" which means different things to different people.

There is also a municipal motorhome parking area that has a dump station and fresh water fill. We parked there, and we were surprised that we were the only ones.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Parked below sea level

26% of the Netherlands is below sea level. A series of man made dykes, floodgates, and dams prevent the sea from taking over that 26% of the country. 

But sometimes the sea does take over. The last major flood in Netherlands was in 1953 when 2,500 people were killed. And there have been lots of storms through history that have killed far more people. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

More planning for next month's trip back to Canada

The sun was shining all day again yesterday, but after lunch a cool breeze picked up. We had planned on spending a couple of hours on the beach, but the breeze made it feel too cool. Still, we did get out for a couple of hours walk in the morning.

The weather sure isn't what we were expecting for mid July. The highs for the next week are only between 20C to 23C (68F to 73F) which is fine... just not what we were expecting. It's actually really comfortable for getting out and doing something, and it's supposed to go down to 12C (54F) tonight which is great for sleeping. Might be a little chilly when we get up tomorrow morning!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

We had a busy day, filled with blue sky and sunshine!

After a week of overcast skies it was sure great to see the sunshine and blue sky all day. And it looks like this might continue for a few days yet. 

We took full advantage of the beautiful weather and spent the day outside. Our first stop was the fortified town of Naarden. This interesting town has a lot of history, and dates back to the 13th century.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

You have to dig deep to get the whole story

There is a 48 hour time limit at the free motorhome parking area in Huizen, and there are lots of walking paths in the area so we decided to stay a second night. 

The rain has finished, and the forecast kept calling for sunshine, but it was quite a while before the sun finally appeared.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Max's batteries and fuel mileage

Yesterday was a rain day. We managed to get out around noon and walk over to the motorhome parking area where there are 8 spaces to see how many were available. It turned out that four of them were empty, so we moved Max the one kilometer over to that location. It's not really much better than where we were, but it's not so close to a busy road.

We haven't seen the sun since Sunday. Monday through Thursday were all overcast. So Max's batteries haven't been getting much of a charge from the solar panels. And we haven't been driving much, so they haven't been getting much of a charge that way either.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

An interesting story

We enjoyed our visit to Utrecht, but we were in need of some forest and greenery and country fresh air. So we found a big park area about 25 kms (15 miles) north of the city that has lots of walking and cycling paths.

Coincidentally, this big green space that we found is also where Queen Beatrix, the former Queen of the Netherlands lives at her home called Drakensteyn Castle.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Utrecht, or Amsterdam?

We didn't plan on making a choice between the two, and we haven't really done that. We still want to visit Amsterdam at some point, but not on this trip. 

When we visited Czech Republic in 2012, we found Prague to be very touristy and very expensive compared to the rest of the country. And we found that the smaller city of Olomouc had as much to offer, but without the tourists or the high prices. 

And it's much the same when comparing Amsterdam to the smaller city of Utrecht.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Flight tickets booked!

Yesterday I booked our flight tickets for our trip to Canada. Unfortunately, there were no deals to be had. Because of Canada's strict Covid regulations, there are very few choices when it comes to flying into Canada from Europe. 

So we're pretty much stuck with Air Canada, which certainly wouldn't have been our first choice for flying across the Atlantic. Normally there would be options such as Lufthansa or Swiss Air which are much better airlines.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Sometimes in life, the stars align!

When we fly to Ottawa next month, we will stay at Ruth's father's house until the auction on August 21st. After that, we were going to have to find somewhere to live for five weeks or so. Our daughter's house is okay for a night or two, but it's pretty small and with us there it gets crowded very quickly.

And Airbnb rentals around Canada's capital city are pricey. So we were looking to see if we could find a house sit for at least part of that time. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Windmills of Kinderdijk, and a perfect overnight spot

We took our time yesterday before leaving the campground. When you are paying for it, you might as well make use of the facilities and take the opportunity to do some cleaning. And of course we made sure to drive away with the holding tanks empty and the fresh water tank full.

As I said yesterday, it was a nice campground. For €13 ($19.25 CAD, $15.50 USD) including electric, WiFi, and nice hot showers. 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Our first campground in Netherlands

Despite the fact that "wild camping" isn't allowed in the Netherlands, finding a free place to overnight hasn't been that difficult for us. It may often be just a parking lot, but when we can find more scenic places during the day, we try to spend most of the day there, and only move to our overnight spot later on.

But the problem is trying to find somewhere to empty and fill our tanks. In Germany, they have a lot of free or very cheap places to do this... in Netherlands, not so much!

Friday, July 9, 2021

3 weeks living in Max the motorhome

It was three weeks ago today that we moved into Max.

And we haven't gone very far. But everything is new, and we don't really have a destination in mind so there is no need to go very far. Max now has about 440 kms (273 miles) on the odometer, and he still has about half of his original 90 liter (23.8 U.S. gallon) tank of fuel left.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Interesting day in Arnhem, Netherlands

It's still five weeks away, but I've been doing some planning for our trip back to Canada. We left on October 12th of last year, so by the time we get back we will have been away for 10 months which is the longest we've ever gone without seeing any of the family.

I haven't booked the flights yet, but now that we won't have to do the quarantine we will probably arrive back there sometime between August 12th and the 16th. The estate auction at Ruth's father's house is on August 21st and we want to be there in time to help get ready for that.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Vaccination details, and parked by the river

Around 9:30am we drove over to the small city of Arnhem (pop 160,000). It was only about a 45 minute drive. Our vaccination appointment was for 1:36 pm (yes, exactly!) but we were badly in need of a laundromat and we had found one about 1.5 kms from the vaccination place.

But it was right downtown and we had to find a parking spot for Max!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Vaccination scheduled for today!

We tried to get vaccinated in Albania, Poland, and Germany, with no success. The reasons were varied. Even by the time we left Albania on June 10th, they were vaccinating citizens only and unless in specified groups you had to be over 60 (we are 59). Poland was simply confusing, and there were language issues, and we ran out of time there trying to figure out their system. We didn't try very hard in Germany, but it seemed they were still intent on vaccinating only their own citizens.

Here in Netherlands, 90% of native Dutch speakers can also speak English. And many official government websites also have English versions so you don't have to rely on Google Translate. So when I read that there is a procedure to follow for foreigners on Dutch soil to get vaccinated, I started looking further into it.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Back in the Netherlands

We headed out from the big motorhome camping area in Goch, Germany at just after 10:00am. We made our way across the Germany/Netherlands border and arrived a short time later at our overnight spot just outside the town of Grave, Netherlands.

As I had read, there is absolutely no security presence at the EU country borders so far. In fact at this crossing, there was very little indication you were even crossing into a different country, other than the difference in the road markings and language.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Getting the hang of RV'ing in Germany

We would probably have spent another night at the Rhine River watching the barges go by, but our toilet tank was getting full. 

That's the problem with these types of cassette holding tanks... they aren't very big. It was easy to deal with in Australia because there are so many public toilets and a lot of our wild campsites enabled me to pee outside because there was nobody around. But here in Germany, that's not so easy.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Sitting by the Rhine River watching the barges go by

Friday morning, we left Max in his overnight spot just outside the city of Bocholt and walked into the city. Not that there was anything in particular we planned on seeing, but you never know what you might come across. 

Plus, we needed a new camera bag because the zipper finally let go on the cheap one I had bought at a Walmart quite a while ago. Surprised it lasted this long.

Friday, July 2, 2021

I was a bit disappointed

It was a rain day yesterday. Never saw the sun at all, and even though it stopped raining around 2pm, it was overcast and cool. July 1st and the temperature never got above 15C (60F).

Good opportunity to be able to test out Max's battery system though. We have two 100 amp hour 12 volt AGM batteries, and two 100 watt solar panels. Obviously the solar panels didn't do us much good yesterday, but even by the time we went to bed last night the batteries were still reading 12.4 volts, so lots of power remaining.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

We love castles!

And here in Germany, there are said to be as many as 20,000 castles! Anything from little known ruins, to fully restored fairy tale style medieval fortifications, and everything in between.

So any detour to visit one of these castles doesn't usually involve too much of a route change. Yesterday, we drove a whole 41 kms (25 miles).

June Expenses

We started the month in Albania, having no idea how the month was going to go. Would we end up in Germany? How would we get there? Would we be able to get into our new motorhome? What would it cost to get the motorhome set up?

So it was really tough to come up with an approximate budget at the beginning of the month. But as you know, we did make it into Germany and we did get into our new motorhome. So June expenses include not only a our normal day to day expenses, but also the figures for capital expenses for the motorhome itself.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Problem solved for now, and back on the road to a nice free forest campground

We sat in the parking lot at the RV dealer until about lunchtime when our service tech David came and got Max to try to repair the sliding pantry door. Did you know that the name for this type of door is called a "tambour door". We had never heard that term before.

As I expected, this was not an easy problem to fix. He ended up having to break the door to get it out, and although that sounds extreme, I couldn't figure out how else it could be done. 

Travel smoothly with the help of these apps in 2021

Whether you’re going on a fishing adventure to New Zealand or exploring everything Warsaw has to offer, we all take our mobile phone devices with us in today’s smartphone-obsessed world. It’s understandable, too, of course. Today’s mobile phones offer a range of functionalities, be it taking high-quality images or simply enabling us to locate the best nearby hotels in a foreign location.  

For many modern-day holidaymakers, the smartphone devices of today offer a range of other benefits also. Instead of solely using devices to track down family or friends who are staying nearby or for entertainment purposes like watching a Netflix movie or playing slot games like Chests of Plenty, travellers are downloading an array of travel apps too. Some apps enable a journey to go more smoothly, while others help you get the most out of an adventure abroad. The options in this space are comprehensive too, as developers aim to tap into what is proving to be a popular category of apps. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Hopefully it will be a quick fix, but I'm not betting on it.

A bit of a frustrating day yesterday.

We left our free overnight spot early Monday morning. We had forgotten that on Sundays the shops are almost all closed, and we had run out of milk so figured we would go into the nearest town that also had a motorhome service point where we could empty our toilet tank.

That turned out to be the town of  Vreden which was in the wrong direction to where we had wanted to be going, but it was only about 12 kms (7 miles) out of our way.

Monday, June 28, 2021

We never thought there would be flamingos in Germany

Sunday afternoon we went for a walk to see the flamingos at Zwillbrocker Venn. One of the trails to the conservation area actually starts right where we were parked with Max.

This area is famous because of a colony of nesting flamingos. It is the furthest north colony in the world. We never would have thought there would be flamingos in Germany.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Arrived in Netherlands... and the world's largest camping gear store!

It was only a 50 km (30 mile) drive from our RV dealer to the Netherlands border... and another 10 kms (6 miles) after that to the world's largest camping gear store.

I am calling it "the world's largest", although that has not been confirmed. But now that we've been there, we don't see how there could possibly be anything bigger! It is quite the place.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Have a look at these European RVs

We relaxed for the morning, but then around noon we got Max packed up and ready to go. We had a 2:30pm appointment for him at the service department, but wanted to pick up a few grocery items before we left.

Of course part of the process of getting ready to go includes the emptying of our toilet casette. The European system is quite different from the North American system.