Wet n cold, the NEC and home

After my last blog, Sarah and I headed off to Hook aboard Thunderbird 2 to see Sarah’s friends Indira and Karen (who have put up with her for many years)!! Well it was raining and we donned jackets and waterproofs for the 25 minute journey. To be honest, we didn’t get as wet as I expected- brilliant weather protection from Mr Honda. We spent a lovely couple of hours catching up!

Upon our return to the motorhome, we prepared dinner and had another brilliant night gassing with James and Katherine, ensuring that we didn’t have another really late night as we were driving next day and James had an early morning appointment.

Katherine & I walking the dogs the previous day.

Rockydog and his mate, Oscar

Parked up

Our neighbour – we were staying on a working farm.

In the morning, having sorted ourselves out, we gave Katherine a quick hand to dismantle their awning ( as they were relocating) and we headed off in the direction of Birmingham and the Caravan & Motorhome show at the NEC .

We arrived at the NEC at lunchtime but decided to eat ‘on board’ prior to entering the venue hungry and spending money on overpriced, underrated nosh!

We had a pleasant afternoon ‘tyre kicking’ and caught up with a few friends and faces whilst there. We left the show about 5 heading for Stone, near Stafford and the Blacklake Inn – a pub with a caravan site attached. We have stayed there previously and the food is fabulous & fantastic value. Sally sat Nav gave us 1 hr travelling time but we opted to use our map. Time taken 1:45hrs. Maybe we should trust Sally more.

We had a table booked for 19:45hrs and enjoyed our meal & a couple of beers before returning to the van and snuggling down in bed, watching UK TV (bliss).

That ain’t no lady, that’s my wife😊

Friday saw us northbound on the M6 with Mrs Mac taking the wheel for a 1.5 hour stint. We arrived home about 16:30 hrs and the evening was spent emptying the van and finished off with a Chinese takeaway.

Saturday morning saw a return to normality with me away to Parkrun followed by a walk in Dechmont woods with Mrs Mac and Rockydog. Autumn is well and truly here, beautiful colours in the woods and a cloak of leaves for us to kick our way through!

Views from our Saturday morning dog walk

This will be my last blog for a while, but those of you ‘signed up’ will no doubt wake up to a nice surprise when I scribe again in the future.

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and the supportive comments. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed blogging.

Roermond, the tunnel and Blighty

After my last post we headed in to town, wandered round the permanent market stalls and munched a wee bit of currywurst, pommels mit mayo before washing it down with a glass of German red. Germany do produce red wine but they don’t export it – they keep it for themselves!

I can honestly say, I’ve never seen Düsseldorf so busy, especially during the day. Part of this was the fabulous weather but also Die Hoten Tosen (German rock band) played the previous evening at the Düsseldorf arena

https://youtu.be/j09hpp3AxIE – have a watch.

How busy is this – 1230pm Saturday outside the beerkeller

And the steps – a well known gathering place

Saturday afternoon we nipped along the line of parked vans to have a quick chat with the British couple (Henry & Carol) who had let us squeeze into the gap between their van and the next, the previous evening, further along the promenade. That was a mistake- lovely sociable couple from Wigan. 4 hrs later and probably a little too much wine/beer we bimbled back to our van and thought we better have some dinner to soak up the booze.

Sunday saw us leave Düsseldorf just as the crowds started to arrive for the annual fish fair, and, before they blocked us in.

We took a drive down to Munchen Gladbach and found what was JHQ Rhiendahlen (former HQ of the British Army on the Rhine). It was blocked off and obviously guarded – it used to be a public road through it – so we turned around and headed for the old married quarters patch at the former RAF Wildenrath (where I was based 88-91). Again blocked off and guarded, but, speaking to the guards, they informed me that the quarters are occupied by Syrian refugees. No one goes in and no one leaves. – you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave. Sound familiar? (Hotel California).

After that we headed for Roermond, a pretty Dutch town on the border. The original plan was to stay at a marina, which was walking distance to the town, but unfortunately that appeared to be closed. Next choice was a campsite- 3km from the town (as the crow flies). In reality it was about 7-8 km round country lanes and we wondered what we were letting ourselves in for.

We needn’t have worried- the site was on a very upmarket marina complex with excellent facilities and bar/restaurant (Resort Marina Oolderhuuske). It was that nice (& so sunny) we decided against visiting Roermond (which we’d visited previously on the motorbike) and wandered round the marina, looking at the houses (floating houses as in the winter the water levels rise up to 6 feet – crazy clever Dutch peoples!😊)

Map showing Roermond (red marker) and resort marina (white dot)

View from our pitch

Beach area

Marina with floating houses behind

The last sundowners

We then decided to have our last European sundowners of the trip, followed by showers and a nice bar supper. We would have eaten in the restaurant but it was fully booked and apparently always is on Fri, Sat & Sunday.

Monday morning saw us on the road, Calais bound. During the journey we found out via a text exchange between Sarah and a friend that there was a 3hr delay. The journey was pretty non eventful apart from an accident on the other carriageway (car and lorry on fire. Hope everyone got out!).

There was a wee stop to buy surprise of Chocmel – Dutch chocolate milk – gotta try it if in Holland

We got to the tunnel and were delayed in booking in (due to the 3 hour delay) . Eventually Rockydog was checked at the Pet centre, we were checked in and parked waiting on our slot. We took advantage of this, with Mrs Mac cooking up a tasty dinner before we boarded our train for Blighty. Whilst waiting to get Rockydog checked at the pet centre, 2 large vans arrived. They were from a dog rescue charity and both had 9-12 Romanian rescue dogs on board, all large Husky/ Malemute type dogs, howling, howling and howling. Rockydog being Rockydog just ignored them!

Having arrived in Blighty, we headed for an identified parking spot looking out over Romney Marsh, Kent for a bit of free camping.

Our first mornings view of Blighty

Tuesday saw us up and on the road, heading to meet our friends Katherine & James (who we met in Spain in Nov 2016) who are currently in Farnham. Journey time according to ‘Sally Sat Nav’ 2 hours. Reality, 3.5 hours due to a stupid Lithuanian truck driver who had decided to use the outside lane of the reduced to 2 carriageway motorway (with the outside lane clearly restricted to 2m width!!!!!!) and low and behold he’d side swiped another truck and a couple of cars before becoming embedded, with his offside wheels in the grass between the carriageway and central reserve. Arghhhh.

Eventually moving again, we took a quick detour into ‘army town ‘ (Aldershot) for some shopping before joining James & Katherine at the small farm site for loads of gassing, dinner, more gassing and I think I remember a glass of wine.

Today the plan is to unload Thunderbird 2 and nip over to Hook – only problem is, it’s raining and cold!

We’re on dinner duty tonight and tomorrow, who knows? Maybe the NEC for the Motorhome and Caravan show – Ooohhh sounds expensive 🚐😊

The Nuremberg court rooms, Modlareuth, Bamberg & Düsseldorf

So Wednesday morning saw us nip across town on Thunderbird 2 to to the Palace of Justice and court room 600 – where the Nuremberg war trials were held. Having arrived, the big information board outside stated the courtroom was open ( as did the website) but when we went in there was a sign saying it was closed, so we asked and received a very curt ‘can you not read (dumpkof). Didn’t bode well for our visit. Then an American lady purchasing her ticket mentioned to the staff that a relative had been one of the trial lawyers. She received a ‘ So!’. So, it’ll be a very negative review on Trip advisor – not something we normally do but heyho.

We did the war trials museum. I’m not going to dwell on it, but I will say this. Upon exiting the building, it’s not often Mrs Mac swears and some of the expletives she was using were straight out of my ‘how to swear properly and convincingly manuel ‘. Final words, Billy Smart could have done better! This is our opinion and we’re not convinced justice was not done. Everyone should visit to make their own minds up.

Heading back to the van, we stopped for coffee and cake, then made our way back and prepared to depart. Next stop Modlareuth – a divided village. We arrived about 4 in the afternoon and decided to have a nights free camping and do the museum in the morning. This was a village that sat on the old demarcation lines used later to divide east and West Germany with the river being the boundary. Initially in 1949, things weren’t much different, but then a fence was erected and then an additional wire fence (making a no mans land or security zone) and gradually the fence was replaced with a wall, then a better wall with a round top ( to prevent scaling it). So there’s a wee indoor museum with a 20 minute film (in English) and various exhibits and outside they still have the original wall, fence, guard towers and other exhibits from the local area. A system that locks its citizens in must have been really good!

Wall, fence and control zone

From Modlareuth we headed south west to Bamberg. A city I’d never heard of until our arrival in Nuremberg. The gentleman parked next to us told me he was from Bamberg and that we must visit it as it’s the most beautiful city in Germany. Then our friend Lupo also mentioned that we should visit. 10 breweries in the city clinched it for me!

Upon arrival at Bamberg we parked in the MH park at the park n ride and took a nice stroll into town (about 15 minutes) and did a bit of exploring and had monster ice creams before returning to feed Rockydog. We’d also managed to find a vets within 500m of parking (walking distance for Rockydog-just!) and booked an appointment for his return journey worming tablet.

Views of Bamberg and our ice creams!😊

Thursday evening saw us take another stroll into town and we headed for Dominikanerstrasse and home of Schleukerea ( means walking funny?) brewery and a couple of pints of ‘smoky beer’. It’s an acquired taste. Imagine having a mouthful of dark, stout type beer then inhaling loads of wood smoke through your nose and gulping both down together. A pint was enough and we wandered off, initially intending to go into another recommended brewery but upon entering it was far too warm ( they had the heating on) so we crossed the road and went into the Privatbrauerei Fassla for some pils. We ended up in conversation with a Brit couple ( she had really long hair, down past her bum! ) They were apparently regulars to Bamberg this being the fifth or more trip and there for the beer.

Smoky beers

The ceiling of the brewery/bar

Friday morning saw us walk Rockydog to his vets appointment and have his worming tablet administered and more importantly his pet passport stamped. We then set course for Düsseldorf. (450km). The weather in this part of Germany is barmy at the moment. On our drive, the outside temperature was reading 26.5*.

We arrived in Düsseldorf around half five and the park Platz by the river was chokkers- with signs out restricting parking from 14/10. Luckily a British couple made space for us next to their van and we parked up for the night. They explained that all vans had to move by 6am Sunday morning for the huge annual fish market.

After a cuppa and a shower we hit the town. First stop, the Porky roll shop where Mrs Mac astounded me by ordering Schweinhaxe (pork knuckle) and chips. I also ordered Schweinhaxe, but traditional with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and gravy ( + beer of course). Mrs Mac astounded me again by finishing her Schweinhaxe ( except the crackling – which she gave to me!). After that we did a couple more bars for some more beers ( remember these are just small beers – around 25cl) and lots of people watching- as I’ve said before there’s people of all ages, shapes, sizes, creed, nationality and dress sense ( or non😂) just having a great time.

We then headed back to the van for a nightcap and a fab nights sleep, apart from the temperature which was still in the high teens.

This morning we moved position to one of the slots that had been vacated and where parking is allowed this weekend.

Not a bad view

So today will be currywurst, pommels mit mayo at the market and whatever else takes our fancy. It will be another shorts day as the temperature is forecast fo be 26*.

We’ve booked a tunnel crossing for Monday evening so tomorrow will slowly start make our way towards Calais.

Tyre kicking and Nuremberg.

Monday morning saw us up and walk Rockydog around the industrial park where we were located and along by a nearby small holding with half a dozen llamas in a field. They didn’t know what to make of us when we were talking to them but they approached and kept staring. As for Rockydog he just sat down, ignored them and gave us a look of ‘c’mon guys, it’s my time!’

Then it was tyre kicking time. There was vans of all different shapes, sizes and configurations. Prices seemed to range from €39000 – €275000. And what did we buy……………………… a parking badge and a can of BBQ cleaner from the accessory shop😊

Our new van?

Err, maybe not!

not!

Great name😊

We then set off to drive to Nuremberg- 100 miles or so mostly on autobahn.

We arrived in Nuremberg at our chosen Park Platz to find a height barrier so a quick bit of research found the replacement Park Platz nearby and off we headed, getting parked up around 14:30hrs. That gave us time for a wee wander round- although trees block the view, were on the edge of a large lake ( called Wohrder See) which Rockydog couldn’t wait to explore and show of his ability to cock his leg (continental style) & demonstrate his prowess at barking in German😂

Happy dog

Then it was off to tackle the Nuremberg public transport system as we had a dinner date with our friend Lupo who lives in Fürth, a city to the west of Nuremberg. Travel was easy with a bus to the Hauptbahnhof ( main station) then the underground direct to Fürth ( total travel time 45 mins) where we met Lupo in the Altstadt ( old town).

Fürth is totally different to Nuremberg in that in remained mainly untouched by the allies during the war, possibly due to the large Jewish community. A lot of the buildings are the German equivalent of ‘listed’ but have recently been sympathetically renovated and look fabulous.

Views of Fürth

Dinner was in a traditional Franconian restaurant with a glass of Federweisser ( a product of fermented grape juice – prior to being turned into wine) to accompany it. The meal was fab with Lupo providing full translation and descriptions of all the local delicacies on offer. Lupo and I had duck and Mrs Mac having horseradish beef. There was also schnapps! There was also loads of talking, talking and talking with Lupo giving all the info necessary for our day in Nuremberg city. After dinner we had a wander round the local beer festival that was being held – however, as tempting as it was, we didn’t partake as the potential to get messy was there! We then headed back, arriving just after 10pm so Rockydog hadn’t been on his own too long.

Today saw the mighty Thunderbird 2 unleashed and we headed for Zeppelin Strasse and the Reichsparteitagsgelande ( The Nazi Party Rally Grounds). These were huge, originally 11km square. There is also the Colosseum nearby, again built by the Germans and originally intended to be fully roofed!

The main podium

Me on the podium- you might have to zoom in a lot!

The side bits

The Colleseum

After our visit we returned to the van for lunch and Rockydog.

Afternoon saw us back out on Thunderbird 2 and into the city itself ( bus journey time 20 mins. Thunderbird 2 journey time 7 mins).

Lorenzkirche (church) which was 85% obliterated by allied bombing and has been re-built/ restored to original condition. Nuremberg was extensively bombed by the allies and only one street remains in an original form ( Weissgerberstrasse). Like many German cities, Nuremberg has a castle and city walls so a visit to both was a must. The city walls have both round and square towers – the round were the original and the square as the city expanded

Inside the church

The castle

Square tower on city wall

City gates

Neissgerbtererstrasse

Old religious hospital

After a major tramp round the city looking at the sites it was back to the van and the only dinner possible , Nuremberg sausages ( small bratwurst) and good they were too.

Another bonus of meeting up with Lupo is that he’s given us ‘new direction ‘ for the next couple of days. We’ll keep you posted.

Munich, Dachau and possibly the biggest motorhome dealer in Europe.

On Saturday we bumbled along to the train station via a shoe shop Mrs Mac had seen. 40 minuets later we were heading for the train and Mrs Mac had bagged herself a pair funky orange soft leather shoes.

Tickets bought we boarded the train to Munich. One change, all on time, typical German efficiency. The train was packed with lots of people, young and old wearing traditional dress. Obviously heading for the Octoberfest in the city and the numerous similar events held in villages and suburbs.

Once in Munich we headed for The Hoffbrauhaus. To say Munich was mobbed would be an understatement. It was the penultimate day of the Octoberfest and Munich were playing München Gladbach at home – hence the heaviest Police presence I’ve ever seen except for a Royal wedding!

Arrival at The Hoffbrauhaus and it nearly wasn’t happening. The main hall was heaving, hot, loud umpah music and I could tell Mrs Mac wanted to do an about turn. Using my powers of persuasion I managed to steal her towards the beer garden which was also packed but from where I managed to get us a table in one of the alcoves.

Job done. Beers and sausage platter ordered + a huge dose of people watching 😀

We then headed to the English garden – one of the highlights of Munich and apparently bigger the Central Park in NYC. Unfortunately time was running out ( due to Rockydog being on his own since 10am) so having seen the Chinese Tower in the Park ( no time for a further beer in the beer garden) we hot footed it back to the train station and caught our train back to Bad Aibling.

The English Garden

The Chinese Tower + beer garden.

The chancellery

What was interesting was, we’d asked at the ticket booth for return train times and the girl gave us a print with times, platforms and train numbers. Very efficient.

After another night of our favourite pass time of watching Germans arriving at the stellplatz late and trying to get space/ satellite signal we headed for the city of Dachau on the east side of Munich and the former concentration camp. I’d visited before but Mrs Mac hadn’t. Very moving. Not going to dwell on it except to say, everyone should visit and we should never forget or let it happen again.

After our visit, we headed to our current location a free stellplatz at possibly the largest motorhome dealer in Europe.

Oh maybe a wee wander round tomorrow morning and do some tyre kicking

This blog has been brought to you curtesy of Ronald McDonald and free WiFi 😀

Alternmarkt, Chiemsee, and Bad Aiblin

So, rain it did but the weather had dried up and we set Sally Sat Nav for Mautendauf, an Austrian ski resort where the campsite got excellent reviews and included a ride on the cable car in the price as well as a ‘well being suite’.

The first thing we noticed as we left Bled was ‘there’s snow on them there hills’ – so on the lower ground, we had rain, on the high ground, the first snow of this winter.

We made good time to the Austrian border and expected some form of border control but we slowed down and were immediately waved through. Next stop Mautendauf. I was looking forward to an afternoon cable car ride and a beer looking out from the mountain top. Alas that was not to be. When we arrived at the site, it looked closed. There were notices saying to take an electronic gate card, find a pitch and see reception in the morning but the cable car wasn’t operating, nor anything else (restaurant/bars) and the wind was howling.

Executive decision- we ain’t staying here! So we set off over the mountain pass and through the Obertaunern ski area (1750m) where there was snow on the road verges and the temperature was 3*

Obertaunern ski area

We identified a park Platz at Alternmarkt, near Filzmoos where we had skied, guests of our friends Heather & Bob ( aka silver skier). We arrived mid afternoon and wandered into town which felt nicely familiar , we treated ourselves to dinner in a local hotel, choosing the 3 course daily menu (€13.90). It was exceptional . Clear beef soup with potato to start, followed by Chicken cordon blue schnitzel and buttery ( very buttery) parsley potatoes, and finally apple fritters and vanilla sauce. We walked back to the van with that ‘cruise feeling ‘ of having eaten far too much. But it was good!😊

Alternmarkt

The next day saw us head to Bernau , Germany on the edge of lake Chiemsee (huge Great Lake south of Munich).

As we approached the German border, all the service stations and lay bays were full of stationary trucks. As we approached the border, trucks were being pulled in by police and ‘stacked’ on the hard shoulder. Turns out 3 October was a national holiday- German unity day – celebrating the re- joining of east and west Germany.

We wanted to visit the island of Herreninsel in the middle of lake Chiemsee which has Schloss Herrenchiemsee on it – another one of Ludwig the seconds unfinished castles – he also built Schloss Neuschwansteir that we visited earlier in our trip ( Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle). The weather was appalling heavy rain and wind so we just parked up and hunkered down. About 4 the rain stopped so we ventured out for a walk along the lake. Our first observation was that this area seemed to be overrun with people on crutches. Soon after it became apparent that a number of clinics adorn the banks and parks of Chiemsee.

A clinic?

Piccys around lake Chiemsee

After a lengthy walk, with the sun shining, we went for a sundowner beer in a bar/ restaurant that was apparently an old 19th century bathing house. Whilst there a couple sat down near us. I had noticed them earlier whilst walking. He had a red baseball cap on with Scotland on the front. Upon speaking to them, they joined us. Their names were Fuzzi and Doris and he had bought his cap in Edinburgh in March when Doris went to the wool exhibition? He was interesting as he had just retired after 32 years as a croupier at a casino in Wiesbaden. Doris was attending one of the nearby clinics, hence why they were there. A very pleasant couple of hours was enjoyed- made all the better by their excellent English.

The next day (Thursday) we drove the few km to Prien du Chiemsee to get the boat over to the island and visit the castle.The boat ride is about 15 minutes followed by a 15 minute walk to the castle. The castle is modelled on Versailles ( there was some Louise XIV hero worship going on). We had a guided tour in English but alas as most tourist attractions in Germany, no photography allowed. I can tell you this. It was ostentatious, over budget, unfinished, he only spent 10 days there and it didn’t have a kitchen!

And as for the gardens, well, Capability Mackenzie could do a fab makeover with some Astro turf, composite decking and nice block paving 😂😂😂😂

Versailles mk2

Now that’s a fountain!

The gardens

So after our return from Herreninsel we headed for our present location, Bad Aibling, a spa town 30 km south east of Munich and some much needed R&R.

We had a wee walk around the town and decided we would treat ourselves to a long session in the spa and sauna today. And that was what we did. For those not familiar with German spas, they tend to have a clothed swimming area and a sauna + swimming (sometimes) area that’s naked. Mrs Mac chose just to swim in the various heated pools whilst I opted for both. I also participated in the 1300hrs Aufguss ceremony where I have to admit, I was the first to bail out due to the immense humidity- closely followed by at least 3 others!!! – see Aufguss – ritual in the sauna for more info.

So tomorrow, the plan is to stay here and use the train to get to Munich. The Octoberfest is on until Sunday so site availability and motorhome parking are at a premium.

Finally, we love parking on Stella Platz and aires purely for the entertainment factor. We have lost count of the amount of vans that arrive, park up, move, etc etc just so they can get satellite reception. Or the vans arriving late and then appear ‘upset’ as there are no spaces, followed by the crazy parking, trying to get parked. We’re easy amused😂😂😂

La Marina, Croatia to Lake Bled, Slovenia.

After my last blog, Mrs Mac and I had a mosey round the cove and nearby hamlet before returning to the site and spending a lazy afternoon in the sun by the pool with our books. We revised the previous SOP by taking Rockydog for his swim earlier so that he could dry in the sun whilst we drank our sundowners without any of us getting cold. That was a good plan except I had a bit of a greedy head on (& had 3 beers) followed by another back at the van in the last of the sunshine. The plan was then for dinner but that was delayed by the arrival of Phil & Liz who invited us for ‘sun gone downers’ and it seemed a shame not to partake. Needless to say dinner was later than anticipated and I was in bed snoring away shortly afterwards; being the lightweight that I am.

Friday saw us put a tentative travel plan together for the next 7-10 days (but always amendable at the drop of a hat), followed by more soaking up of what we considered would be the last real rays of sunshine we would see this year.

Later we dined with Phil & Liz in a restaurant just outside the camp catering for mainly the German diving community frequenting the campsite. Food was excellent as to be expected.

Us with Phil & Liz

Saturday saw us prepare to leave with a route plotted for Lake Bled, Slovenia.

Slovenia is like most countries in Europe with a toll system for motorways. They run theirs on a similar system to Austria. A vignette (windscreen sticker with varied validity dates and cost) for vehicles under 3.5t and an electronic windscreen toll box for vehicles over. A quick online check said there were also toll booths. This information is incorrect and luckily as we passed in to Slovenia we saw a petrol station with a DarsGO sign (DarsGO being the operator of Slovenian motorways) and a box was purchased and loaded with euros. Hopefully we will get the excess euros back as we leave the country- watch this space.

The motorway journey through Slovenia was ok, and a few of the A roads left a bit to be desired (more other people’s driving as opposed to the roads themselves). We arrived at the site on the shores of Lake Bled and were both amazed at how busy the town was as we traveled through it, and the site ( apparently this is the last weekend of the season + the weather has been excellent) is apparently the reason.

The temperature dropped overnight and when we woke up, it was 3 degrees with the high expected to be 18 degrees. Bearing in mind that the previous day ( 233km south) it was 14 degrees at night & 25 degrees during the day!!!!

So yesterday we did Lake Bled. Initially it was with Rockydog who immediately went into the water and commented that it was a change to be in fresh water!

The lake is 6km circumference, all good path but yesterday it was like a superhighway. We chose to walk clockwise, but tbh I don’t think it would have made any difference. Every different nationality, language, some weird dress codes and speeds of walkers coupled with the fact that it’s not one way! We took a wee diversion from the lake to the fun park (having spied the summer toboggan run on the hillside) for me to have a couple of cheeky downhill runs. The lake itself is fresh water with a castle high up on the cliffs above it and an island with a church in the middle. This can be visited utilising one of the many tourist boats ( that resemble a cross between a punt and a gondola and powered by 2 long oars operated by the boats operator who stands on the back). Due to the amount of folk around yesterday we couldn’t wait to get back to the van, away from the madding crowds.

Bled castle

Island with church on

And again from a different position

The toboggan run – might have to zoom.

Me at the end of the toboggan run

On returning to the van, we made an alarming discovery. Our passenger side mirror protector is missing. No idea how, where or why. Mrs Mac is convinced it was there about 30 mins before we arrived at the site. So have we lost it, or has it been stolen? All I know is that they were £130 a pair but have prevented the mirror (£400+) being damaged countless times.

We decided that the crowds didn’t allow us to do Lake Bled justice so an executive decision was made to stay an extra night and visit the castle and town. So this morning, that’s exactly what we did. Walking anti-clockwise towards the town this time. What a contrast. The path was dead and the town even deader. We did find a bakers ( frequented by officers from Bled PD) and enjoyed coffee, pizza and cake before walking further into the small town ( & getting me a haircut- not quite to Drew’s standards but a reasonable attempt). Then it was a hike up the steep path and steps 122m to Bled Castle where we paid €11 entry each. The entry fee is a bit exuberant but I suppose the views are fab. The Bled specialty is Bled cake – a cross between a custard slice and cream slice. So needless to say, coffee n cake were enjoyed, looking out over Lake Bled. Note, the plan was for me only to have cake (because Mrs Mac isn’t really a cakey person) but having tried a forkful, I was forced to share nicely.

Bled cake ( coffee)

See, she does like cakey stuff

We returned to the van, where we now have the heating on and it’s trying to rain outside but with the BBC forecast stating between 1800-0500hrs there’s 88-92% chance of heavy rain, I think it’s safe to say, it’s inbound.

Obligatory selfie- note the sharp haircut.

The route.

Losinj to Rabac (Croatian mainland).

Well, after my last post, we set off for a bimble to the nearby town of Mali Losenj (about a mile and a bit) along a coastal path and past the marina. It was evening, the earlier wind had subsided and the sun was breaking through.

We found the craft beer bar and ordered 2 pints of their craft lager. Very hoppy with a citrus after-tone. Decided one was enough otherwise it could be messy, very messy. The bar also did food – damn delicious food as it turned out. Couple of house burgers n chips. The burger was a little pink for Mrs Mac’s liking but she ate 90% of it before announcing ‘I was hungry and I really enjoyed that’.

The next day the weather turned and it was raining and windy in the morning and into the early afternoon so we used the time to catch up on a bit of admin and a few tasks we’d been putting off.

We were then joined by Phil & Liz ( who were on the rally and they/ we have shadowed our movements) so cuppas all round and then they went off to choose a pitch.

Even though it had stopped raining by mid afternoon, the temperature hadn’t risen much so decided against Rockydog having his daily swim and took him on a 1 mile forced march ( about as much as he can handle these days ☹️), however we both quickly realised that wearing our long trousers and light fleeces was not the order of the day and changed back into shorts before headed back into town for another explore. Typically whilst in town, the weather changed again and we wished we’d still had the long trousers and fleeces on. Heyho, back at the van and homemade curry was ready and waiting!!!

Mrs Mac with her fine pair of jugs. Phanaa phanaa

views of Mali Losenj

Tuesday (25th) saw us ride out on Thunderbird 2. First up-to a view point that overlooked the whole island of Losinj and both the town of Mali and the village of Veli. We then made our way down to the village of Veli (a small harbour village consisting of eateries of every different kind and obviously thriving on the tourist industry- this was apparent by the arrival of 2 tourist buses shortly after our arrival). Pictures taken and a wander round + getting battered by the winds whistling in from the sea, we set off in search for lunch in a sheltered position. We stopped for lunch in a cafe in another sheltered harbour before heading back to the van and undertaking our now routine of taking Rockydog for his late afternoon swim, then sitting at the bar ( in the sun) and having a beer whilst Rockydog dries in the sun. It’s a chore but heyho😊🍺🍺

View from the high viewpoint

Veli Losenj

Map of Losinj – showing position of Mali, Veli & viewpoint

Tuesday evening saw Phil & Liz join us for dinner in the beach bar where I’m surprised any of us managed to eat the food ( which was very good) for talking, talking and talking.

Considering Tuesday was a late night by our standards, we were up early Wednesday and having reviewed the weather forecast decided to use the dull forecast to out optimum and made tracks for the port of Porozina and the crossing to Brestova on the Croatian mainland.

On the drive, we stopped quickly at Osar to have a better look at the canal dug by the Romans and a bimble round the tiny village. The wind by the canal made it not a place to be! Bizarrely the village was dotted with bronze statues and busts of people whom we have no knowledge of (‘cause we’re hethans)😆

Canal at Osar – originally dug by the Romans

Bronze statues

We then stopped at Cres, the main town of the island where we had a bimble round – sorry to say but we’ve become blaze and most of these Adriatic harbours are very pretty but very Samey samey.

We returned from lunch to find a parking ticket on the van, even though we had paid. A quick trip to the local council office and Mrs Mac had it resolved. It appears Mr Overzealous Parking Attendant ( they are a phenomenon around the world) couldn’t see our ticket hanging on a clip in the middle of the windscreen ( for such things) and issued us a ticket.

Cres

We then headed for the port at Porozine over what can be described as a wonderful but challenging drive in places. Another mountain road with inclines and descents of 14% in places. The majority of the rad is two way, well surfaced and a pleasure to drive on. Then the road goes into single carriageway with pot holes and rust coloured amco barriers for varying distances before returning to excellent two way roads. This happens on a number of occasions and there doesn’t appear to be a specific reason (ie rocks to be blasted or through old villages) just that it hasn’t happened (yet).

The above wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the other road users ( who are all bloody Johnny foreigners- German, Austrian, Croatian and Italians) all thinking they’ve paid for the road, they’ll drive how and as fast as they want on it. It’s obviously just a lack of understanding and respect. We’re British so we automatically have right of way and we paid for the road!!!!😂😂😂😂

Arriving at the port, we were straight on the boat for the 25 minute crossing (€40) – obviously another EU rule that they are exempt from obeying ( ferry crossing should cost no more than driving same distance – that’s why all Scottish ferries lowered their prices).

Driving onto ferry

Having landed at Brestova we headed for our chosen site ‘ The Marina’ south of Latin. This is another in the Camping-Adriatic (Valamar) Group so we knew it would be of an excellent standard. We’re glad that we’d read the blurb as it states that it is a Mecca for divers. Had we not read that, as we looked round the site we would have suspected we had arrived at a ‘Ninja or SBS Training Camp’ or similar.

The sun was going down and heat was disappearing quickly as Rockydog had his swim. We decided to put Rockydog in his doggy bag in the van whilst we went for a beer and to watch the sunset at the poolside bar but we got too cold before the sun had set and supped up and went back to settle down for the evening.

So this morning (Thursday) it’s 18+ degrees, I’m sat in blazing sunshine and we should really go explore the local area but it’ll be a struggle moving from this spot😎

I can now report that we have carried out an official recce in daylight and the original plan was to move tomorrow but that is now under re- consideration 😎🍺🍷

Bay near campsite

Campsite pool

Ninja training camp

Finally, Rockydog having his swim on the ‘dogs only beach’

And the obligatory selfie

Baska to Nerozine and Mali Losinj.

Our chosen site at Baska sits on the west side of the town and on the beach. There’s a promenade into town with restaurant and cafe bars and booths offering boat trips, quad biking and all other sorts of tours. Actually it’s not as bad as it sounds and you don’t have to run the gauntlet of Mediterranean style hard sell of come into my restaurant/shop.

The jewel in Baska’s crown is the 1.8km pebble beach and azure blue waters.

The old part of the town consists of a small harbour with very nice looking restaurants opposite the sea. The coastal path continues south to Bunculuka Camping resort , the naturist resort.

Considering it’s just about the end of the season here, Baska was still busy with predominantly Germans occupying most of the pitches. This was evident as we strolled back from town on Friday evening against the flow of pedestrian traffic

heading into town.

Beach at the campsite

Looking over at the town from the harbour

Some views of the town

The naturist resort

On Saturday we decided to move off and head over to the island of Cres and the sub island of Losinj ( especially as it had turned windy and was raining lightly on and off).

As we were packing up, our German neighbours engaged us in conversation- interesting as they spoke no English and my German is purely ‘squaddie German . We got by. Transpires he was called Victor and he was Russian. His wife was from Austria and they lived near Hamburg. He then became animated and using his phone intimated to me that Povetkin was going to trounce Joshua in the boxing that night and he was going to watch it on his satellite system. I suppose he was disappointed then!

We left Baska and made for the port of Valbiska for the ferry to Mareg on the island of Cres. We planned to be on the 12:15 ferry. We arrived in plenty of time, booked in and went for coffee n cake. As we headed back to the van, vehicles were already being loaded on to the ferry so we got our act together and drove onto the boat, with it departing shortly afterwards. When we arrived in Cres 25 minutes later, it was apparent that the timetable had gone out of the window due to the volume of traffic waiting to leave the island.

Same as our ferry

We’re on DAS boat😊🚢

Mrs Mac & Rockydog

We drove over the island, past Cres ( the main town – we’ll look at stopping in there as we travel back north on the island). We headed for Nazerene along what can only be described as fabulous roads until we got to the bridge at Osar ( more about that in a mo). The last 4-5 mile to Nezerene were very poor, pot holes & uneven.

As we traveled along the waters edge we saw all the sail boats out in the sea taking part in a local regatta. Bizarre really as the weather in Croatia has been calm for weeks but happened to become windy in time for the Nezerene sailing regatta.

Pitched; we walked Rockydog to the dog beach for his daily swim before having a cuppa with Phil & Liz ( from the rally) before heading into the village to see what was happening. The regatta had finished and the vintage sail boats were being put away and the locals were preparing for and evening of music, drink and dance.

We opted for an early dinner as there were fireworks scheduled for 2130hrs and we wanted to be back with Rockydog as he hates them.

A local restaurant ( a street back from all the activities) was chosen and Mrs Mac ordered Sea Bass ( filleted) and I ordered breaded fried squid. To say it was mediocre would be about right. Disappointing really because the restaurant was busy with locals. As we finished our meal we were joined by Phil & Liz and as we shared a drink, the fireworks started ( apparently 2130hrs in Croatia is actually 2015hrs!!!!) so we rushed back to the van to find Rockydog cowering in our bedroom. We’d chosen a restaurant away from the main square as they had music set up and it was ear burstingly loud. However we did see lots of locals heading for the town in local/ National costume and heard music that can only be described as sounding out of tune and a cross between the chanter, a snake charmers pipe and a recorder. Or a better description, bloody awful! It was loud enough from where we were so glad we chose a restaurant a street back!

Rockydog coming out of the sea after his daily therapeutic dip

Views of Nerezine

Interesting- a Deutz single cylinder diesel tractor

Beer o’clock

A walk with Rockydog this morning allowed better examination of the site we were on. It was best described as ‘utilitarian ‘ and had a concrete promenade and although the facilities had recently been updated can only surmise that it dated from communist days and if you were a good loyal party member you’d be entitled to go there one summer out of ten!

If you’re a good communist, you can holiday here!

This morning saw a leisurely morning then a move 17km further south to Mali Losinj along what were once again fabulous roads. Upon arrival at our chosen site we had an instant dilemma. A cheap ACSI (camping club) pitch or a double or even three times the cost pitch with a possible, partial sea view. No brainier as it means more money to spend in the bar. And on that note, according to Facebook there’s a Craft beer bar 1 km away, so watch this space.

Finally, back to Osar and the bridge. In roman times there was no need for a bridge as this was one island but to avoid extra sea passage by circumnavigating the island they divided the it by building a canal so the ships could pass through.

Map of our route

Obligatory selfie taken at Baska

The Camping Adriatic (Valamar resorts) Group

We left the rally and headed to our chosen site, Camping Jezevac in Krk purely so we could relax on the beach, let Rockydog have some beach time and just spend a wee bit more time in the town.

We arrived and got set up quickly on a nice pitch. Our first thoughts were, this is a big, busy site. We’ll probably hate it but we’ll stick it out. WRONG.

Within a few minutes and a visit to the nearby facilities found them spotless, plentiful and a pleasure to visit. A walk round the site and boxes just kept getting ticked. Nice beach. Nice bar. Restaurant etc, oh and exceptional free WiFi all round the site. So we then headed into town and somehow ended up back at the coffee shop where we previously had the monster apple pie and before we knew what was happening, we’d sat down and ordered more apple pie🥧.

The afternoon was spent on the beach debating whether we should bring Rockydog down and whether he would settle after a dip in the sea and lay contentedly by our sun beds. It was a pointless debate because we both knew he would just run around like a dog possessed and dig, dig, dig and bark.

Nice to know we weren’t wrong, so we kept him occupied swimming after a big stick for about 25 minutes, including me trying to swim with him ( but he wasn’t overly impressed at my version of the doggy paddle😂) before retiring to the beach bar for a couple of beers whilst Rockydog dried off in the remaining sun of the day.

Just as a note, the current temperatures are between 23-29 degrees during the day, dropping to around 15 at night and the sea temperature is about 22 degrees.

Pictures of the beach at the site

The boy is happy

watching my boy!

Restaurant area

Beach again

Tuesday saw us depart Krk for Stara Baska, a peninsular on the SW of the island about 18km from Krk. A nice drive, however I was warned about the 12% descent to the site, however this allowed spectacular views for Mrs Mac ( I was too busy concentrating on the descent and the bends!).

Croatia ( the dot is us on Krk Island)

Route from Stara Baska to Baska

On the site, chose a nice pitch. A bit of manoeuvring to get on and we were sorted. Rockydog could smell the sea. This site was the same group as the previous one so facilities all top notch. Doesn’t get much better until Mrs Austrian woman came and complained about the noise of our air conditioning unit. We had put it on as it was 29 degrees, no breeze and Rockydog was panting like the Flying Scotsman going for the speed record. Being good brits, I turned it off (even though it’s not loud and others had theirs going). I know think she was just jealous. Not bad though, 30 minutes and got a complaint. Just like being back at work!😂👮‍♂️

Another lazy beach day, followed by doggy paddling and beer ( think there might be a theme here).

Our pitch

The doggy beach

A few views of the site and a bit of sunset

Wednesday saw us unload Thunderbird 2 and head to the nearby village of Stara Baska. It’s actually only a mile away but there’s no path and hills ( up & down) are just crazy. The village consists of a small harbour, a couple of restaurants and a public beach. Idyllic and very unspoilt with no tourist tat for sale. We then looked at some of the other nearby bays. We also headed back up the road we traveled down to the site and parked so that I could appreciate the views . It became apparent that people’s had been hard at work writing what appear to be love messages in the stones. We then headed back to hit the beach and sea again.

Stara Baska

Thunderbird 2

Zala beach – miles from anywhere but packed!

Pictures from the descent to Stara Baska site and rocks making names.

Wfe got chatting to an American lady (Shayne) who was on the site ( we were the only English speaking people on the site) and her and her husband (Todd) had been travelling around Europe, the Scandic country’s and Greece.

We met up with them for sundowner beers and gassed, gassed and gassed. Great company so we decided on a quick meal break interlude before re-convening in our van with each couple supplying a bottle of red. Needless to sat, it was a late night but lots of stories and laughs.

Us with Shayne, Todd and their miniature Pincer, Sebastian

Today saw us move from Scarra Baska to Baska – only a distance of about 3 miles as the crow flies but using the road, about 25 km. we also stopped at the village of Punat and parked in the car par of the local supermarket where it clearly says ( in English) 1 hr free gratis parking. The rest is in foreign squiggly writing where apparently it says you must be parked wholly in a bay, not across 3 bays. Oh the expletives when we returned to a parking ticket, especially as the car park had been empty apart from a couple of other motor homes (parked similarly). Needless to say, we paid the charge (about £11) at the local council office but the chief parking man who had given us the ticket and obviously likes to justify his trumped up position didn’t return and make an appearance!!!!!!!! I would have ignored it but know that these things get sold to debt collection agencies who just add costs and costs and it escalates out of control with an £11 ticket ending up being £500+. All because the UK is willing to provide info to other European countries but we have no reciprocating agreement- somebody kick my soapbox away😭

Oh there’s another thing- we haven’t come across any real crap roads here in Croatia. Maybe it’s all the EU money?😊

So again this site is part of the Adriatic camping (Valamar Resorts) Group and again its exceptional. All these sites have static bungalows on varying quality with basic being far superior to that found on similar group sites in the Med and other popular holiday destinations. Honest, we’re not on commission but have a look at www. camping-Adriatic.com – it could be your next holiday destination.

So, the next few days. A bimble into Baska tomorrow and then who knows. The weather is supposed to turn on Saturday with wind and rain. We were planning to Island hop to Cres about then and have heard from Phillip & Elizebeth tonight, They have arrived in Cres today and there’s a regatta of sailing boats over the ages on Sunday there, so might have to try and fit that in.

Watch this space 😊

Finally, a selfie

And how clear is that water?