Tuesday, 11 September 2012

ON THE ROAD AGAIN.....

BEST LAID PLANS....ROVINJ(CROATIA)........9TH SEPTEMBER 2012

This may well ramble and be continued in several parts as I have not put finger to keyboard  since Spain in April and a lot of water has flown under the proverbial.

It's 10am, the sun is hot and the Adriatic is a lovely deep blue and I need to do some catching up.

Sitting in the pouring rain at Hamble in July with Derek & Margaret and Paul & Marianne, the idea of a late summer jaunt to Croatia for 2 months seemed very appealing and plans were best laid to leave on 22nd August. D&M were the first to fall after an operation on D's hand was postponed until 20th August but he thought he would be able to drive after a week so it was decided they would catch us up as we all had already made the ferry bookings. Of course, on Monday the 20th. August, my birthday, after the van was virtually packed and ready to roll, I discovered that I had what was later diagnosed as a kidney stone and spent 3 days in agony, in A&E and being scanned and tested. P&M meanwhile were heading across the channel blissfully unaware that we would not be joining them and Derek was being told that he would not be driving for at least 2 weeks..... first I was told that I would be ok to travel as long as i took plenty of painkillers but then the headman got on the phone and told me not to even think about it and he was so right.....but then the internet sourced old wives recipe of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice and honey shifted my recalcitrant stone on Thursday and I was given the all clear to go...

So we waited over the Bank Holiday weekend to check that no repercussions were lurking and rebooked the ferry for the following Tuesday only to discover on the Saturday afternoon that one of our newly installed refillable LPG tanks was leaking, turning the motorhome into a potential firebomb.  2.30pm on a bank holiday weekend is not the time to discover things like this but after an hour on the phone I found a workshop at Stowmarket Caravans actually working and willing to sort the problem out immediately. By 4pm they had replaced the leaking bottle under warranty and reinstalled the previously incorrectly installed pipework.......a stiff letter was penned to the original installers with promises that the matter would be taken up when we returned in October. Crisis averted and off at 6am Tuesday and uneventful crosssing and run down to Luxembourg where we stopped overnight at an aire in the village of Redu. P&M had kicked their heels in Luxembourg for a couple of days then moved as per plan to Kayserburg in the Alsace where we caught up with them on Wednesday night sunning themselves in the large aire outside the town.
As they had been there for 4 nights we didn't  linger and set off on Thursday for Kussnacht near Lucerne where we stayed on a farm site for 2 nights in fairly torrential rain and on Saturday headed for Italy via the St.Gotthard which was unpleasant due to an hours delay as they controlled the huge flow of traffic into the tunnel from both sides and the pass being closed due to the bad weather.

Anyway finally arrived at Monzambano near Verona/lake Lugano where there is a sort of aire/mini camp site for 130 vans and which was very full. Stopped overnight and visited the local market on Sunday morning before heading to Monfalcone on the coast near Trieste which was a shortish run and leaving another short run to Croatia when we would try to avoid the Slovenian toll road that would require us buying an extortionatley priced vignette for 18 kms of Slovenian dual carriageway. Montfalcone was very busy,the weather improved considerably and we spent a pleasant 2 days exploring the cliffs  and seashore.

WE had a detailed route of how to exit the motorway after Trieste through a service station and before the Slovenian borderso that we could cross Slovenia on the backroads without the necessity of buying a vignette for the motorway. We even had photographs of the route courtesy of the internet but still managed to miss the correct turning before ending up in the docks at Trieste. However the Tomtom came up trumps, navigated us round the city to the correct road network which was identifiable by the nose to tail trucks,caravans and motorhomes all avoiding the 18 kms of motorway. Fairly slow negotiating the border into and out of Slovenia but we were in Croatia by lunchtime and found a nice but very busy campsite at Savudria on the shores of the Adriatic where we  whiled away 3 days, even cyling around the coastal paths. This part of Croatia still very Italian feeling but the coast looks like living up to reputation. Apart from Fuel which is £1.10 ltr as opposed to £1.43 in Italy, food,beer and wine do not yet look cheap but we have yet to find a large supermarket so that may change.

Moved down the coast, first stopping at Porec but the horrendously busy campsite we headed for seemed more like a Butlins and did not appeal, so on to Rovinj which is a an extremely attractive spot where we are stopping at another beachside site. A water bus runs hourly from the site to the town which is well worth several visits and we had a very pleasant lunch on the harbour on Saturday for about £30 a head.

Weather is extremely hot, the sea is wonderfully warm although the beaches so far have been extremely rocky and stoney, making access to the water a bit difficult at times. The coastline is very unspoilt although it is obvious that tourism is the mainstay of country and the natives are a very cheerful bunch who all appear to speak half a dozen languages, even in small shops. Beer is about £0.90 for a 1/2ltr bottle of 5% lager.(and they still charge a deposit on bottles and cans are much more expensive) Wine so far good, esp the merlot at £3 ......there are roadside stalls in abundance which we have not sampled yet and I think the wine may get cheaper.

2 comments:

  1. Glad you are all back on the road in one piece - I know you had the agony of the kidney stone but I think greatest sympathy to Paul & Marianne having to spend 3 days in Luxembourg!

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  2. I was always lead to believe that Luxembourg was just somewhere to pass through.

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