Reading material for those who love the camping life

Text and photo: Olav Barhaugen
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 6, 2015 December

Motorhome Life: Out in Europe

As mentioned in the previous article is now my life motorhome moving into a new phase. I do not like winter, and therefore use this opportunity to spend a few months in southern regions. With campervan.

Last Saturday in September showed dashboard warned: "Possible ice on road" .I took it as a sign that now it was time to get south. I had planned to take a week later, but since I was updated with my tasks in Norway and meteorologists reported cold and gray weather was change in plans. The only thing that needed to be done was a proper washing and polishing before I ran off.

Clean and shiny car

One of the things I miss in my new life is the ability to wash, polish and freshen the car. Previously I had both high pressure cleaners and polishing equipment was used widely, but when you are standing at a campground it is not easy to make such. Therefore I let the professionals take the job. Boss of Gloss Bilpleie Sarpsborg I know well from before and know they do real job. And not least that the driver in proper forms unlike many of car care companies that offer cleaning and polishing, for a few hundred pounds. During the day the car was washed, cleaned and polished, with an extra layer of wax in front to make future cleaning easier. Previously insects laborious to wash away, but now it's a breeze.

Ferry to Denmark

The plan was to take Fjord Line Langesund to Hirtshals, so I drove first to Stromstad and took the ferry to Sandefjord. There I was told that tomorrow's departure was set, so when I chose to drive to Wilmington and take Color Line Superspeed instead. Somewhat expensive, but when I came at least to Denmark 30 hours earlier. I spent a short week to to stroll down Denmark, visited many nice places that I shall come back to. However, it was clear that the season was in luck. It was very quiet at campsites and in the small resort towns down the coast had several of the dining venues already closed.

good aids

To find campsites, I use the Motorhome App on the phone, and the ACSI book. On the app, you can search for either campsites or motorhome parking, while the ACSI book only includes the campsites that are part of the ACSI system. On the other hand, the book is useful in that there are opening hours at the campsites. And not least that you get a discount by showing the card that comes with the book. You can buy the ACSI book via, among other things Norsk Bobil og Caravan Club. Costs 150 kroner and is quickly earned back. With the ACSI card you pay from 12 to 18 Euro per night. Then there is a fee for a car / caravan or motorhome with 2 people and access to electricity. But for people like me who drive alone, it is important to check the price. Most places have one price for the place itself, and a supplement per person.

With ordinary Low season I experienced a few times that I came more favorable regular price than with ACSI card.

Gas - a challenge

Gas is something we campers depends. I have the usual quick coupling like most in Norway, but which is not used in the rest of Europe before coming to Spain. Some suggestor proposed to build on the industry link, other recommended even filling bottles or adapters. After an overall assessment, I chose to go with the bottles I had. I had one bottle was empty last night in Denmark, and it got simply refilled in Flensburg. Bottle No. 2 was empty when I came to Italy, and after having consulted me with a dealer and an experienced German motorhome tourism I ended up buying a German bottle and its regulator. German bottles supposedly easy to get both substituted and filled in most of Europe.

Internett

Another thing that we have become dependent on the internet. Especially I like working along need a relatively fast and stable connection. In Denmark I used my wireless network on campsites, but since I planned to be a little longer in Germany, I had to consider another solution. In Norway I have been using mobile broadband from Netcom. In Germany, I decided to buy German SIM card to my Norwegian mobile routes. This worked okay, but I only got 3G speed with this. It cost 8 Euro in establishing and 25 Euro for 3 GB data. Works just like a prepaid cell phone in Norway. You buy the SIM card at a retail store and fill in with value cards that you can buy at most stores and petrol stations. Worked okay for me, and a big advantage is that the web has it everywhere and not have to look up a location with wireless networks. In Italy I paid 30 Euro for 10 GB, and also got 4G speed.

Germany across

At this writing, I have been in Italy for ten days. Germany slanted I almost across, since I was going to visit Knaus-Tabbert headquartered extreme south-east of Germany in the borders between Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. To get there I drove through Hamburg and kept me along the Elbe almost to Dresden and south to Regensburg before I drove up in the scenic Bavarian Forest and down to Passau. From there it was just 3-4 mil up to Knaus-Tabbert. Next stop was the Berchtesgaden and Hitler's Eagles. Luckily I met nice weather again, after a dreary gray and cold days in Passau. Eagle's Nest or Kehlsteinhaus as it is called in German was an experience, and is a must if one is on the machine.

Run off freeway

To get with me the most, I chose mostly to run avoiding motorways. On German Bundesstrasse you come up close to daily life and stops include many small charming towns. It takes a little longer, but I've never understood me at them to be as fast as possible from A to B. For me the journey is an important part of the whole experience, and I often take detours planned route if I see something interesting. The smaller roads are generally of a good standard and usually 100 km / h speed limit. It is also usually little traffic and good overtaking opportunities so they can keep their own pace. I typically run for about 80. That leaves you looked a little on the landscape around them, as well as lower fuel consumption.

Fill diesel in Germany

It was a few days in Germany, along Deutsche Alpenstrasse until I was tired of dull, dark and cold and headed for Italy. I drove via Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass, the most used route between Germany and Italy. On Austrian motorways require that you buy a vignette to stick on the windshield, and it sold at petrol stations. It costs 8,70 Euro for an authentic in 10 days. For vehicles over 3,5 tons must have a Go-box, corresponding to our Norwegian transponders. At the gas station there was a long queue in front of the pumps. It turned out that the fuel was much cheaper in Germany than in Austria.

Lake Garda

Austria was crossed in good pace with the GPS set to a motorhome place in Riva del Garda. A great city in the far north end of Lake Garda. The space was easy to find, just a few hundred meters from the sea. A nice footpath led along the lake and into the old town with restaurants and shops of all kinds. At this time of the year, tourist traffic has slowed, so it was relatively peaceful although all of the shops and cafes remained open. The area of ​​Lake Garda is beautiful with high mountains in the north and lower landscape in the south. Many great cities down along the east coast, and plenty of campsites. Sirmione city is situated on a narrow peninsula in the south end of the lake. An overrated tourist trap that one may well steer away in my opinion. Even now in October it was pretty full and fussy. And prices remain well above what I experienced in the other cities.

Jesolo and Venice

Since I've never been to Venice before i had to take a detour there. Motorway toll means. It works by taking a ticket while driving on, and pay as you drive by. The price is about one Euro per mil seemed like. Be sure to drive in the right file when you should pay. Valet hatch is signposted with a hand holding banknotes. I spent a few days at Jesolo peninsula north of Venice, which in summer is full of tourists. Now in late October there were only a few places that were open, and I experienced being almost alone on the beach. It was good summer temperature for a Norwegian, but the local aback a bit on this weird person who went around in shorts and T-shirt. Most had found until thick coats and scarves even though the temperature was around 20 degrees. Shall wonder how they dress if it gets really cold. To get to Venice it was only to go onto the main road and take a bus that goes with half-hour intervals to Punta Sabbioni. From there, regular ferries to Venice and the other islands. The area is large, so you may well spend a few days there. Many cozy islands.

Next stage

The Italian and French Riviera are next before I end up in Spain. There I will find campsites with other Norwegians and be a little social again. I do meet some people at campsites, but the language means that there will not be the long conversations. It will also be a little strange to celebrate Christmas abroad, but I assume that I meet people in the same situation I can be a little with. I want to wish all readers a Merry Christmas, and thank you for coming with me on the journey. If you wish, it is possible to go to my private blog at www.barhaugen.no and get regular updates. Otherwise, there will be a new travel letter in the new year.

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