Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

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.