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Published: January 8th 2016
I have just realised two things. The first that is now 8 days into the New Year and we have been nowhere yet. The second that I have not written a blog for some while. At this time of year things always go quiet as anywhere to visit is shut up like a kipper until the weather improves. Places to visit are few and far between and work seems to get in the way. It is also though the time of the year when I look back at the last year and our trips out and holidays and re-visit in my minds eye the highlights, the lowlights and the downright awful and I look forward to another year on the road . Reading a calendar entry from the Buddha "Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment" made me think about what has been and what is to come. I like to dwell on the good things of the past and I definately dream of the future and all it holds for us and Suzy in 2016.
So what of last year? It was a year of ups and
downs. We didn't get out as much as I would have liked. The house got in the way of that for sure. We found ourselves digging up floors, taking off wallpaper and redecorating. Doors were taken down and replaced as were wardrobes and cupboards. It seemed a never ending task and a thankless one at that . In between though we still managed to get out and about. Best trips - Whitby with its lovely smell of the sea and all things seaside. Bolsover Castle - fairy tale on its own hill above the town. Sudbury with its collection of toys. Cambridge and its fabulous museums. Italy - Susa and the unexpected sosta. Turin and the Egyptian museum. The gardens we visited in Italy and the Tuscan hillside villages. The medieval towns on their lonely hilltops . The weather sunny , the food good and the wine - well quaffable. Lowlights - how on earth did we miss some castles in Spain, the weather in France on our way down to Spain, our speeding tickets although it is fair to say we are now four and a half months passed the first one and as yet no ticket has arrived
in our Derbyshire home. Surely the law must have checked the first photograph and realised we were not a lorry by now. I still wonder if it will turn up. Suzy passed her habitation checks and service with flying colours. She served us well and Sion became more educated as he searched out latrines to discuss with his best friend Woolly Mammoth.
So what of this year? We have received our 2016 ACSI book, always a pleasure to flick through the pages and see campsites that feel like old friends. New ones join and old ones leave. We have even considered joining French Passion something we blatently agreed to avoid but we can now see the merits. We are reading blogs - currently one from way back in 2009 , two Americans who are travelling in the their motorhome Homer across Europe for a whole year. A list has been made of National Trust and English Heritage places to visit between now and April when we go on holiday. Our train has been booked for our first holiday. Tesco vouchers exchanged easily via the internet and a quick phone call made to Eurotunnel to exchange them for tickets. Five
minutes later parted with £90 we now know we travel on the 8.50 train to France on our first day of the holiday. We stop overnight on the Wednesday at a caravan and camping club site Theobalds Park somewhere off the M25. The plan get away Wednesday about 3, travel for a couple of hours and stop for something to eat around Watford Gap. Hit the M25 after rushhour and sleep the night at Theobalds Park. Sadly their gates dont open before 7 so a quick phone call had to be made to check if we could sleep outside and still access their electricity and showers. Then shall we got right or left ? Right will take us over the der dum der dum der dum motorways of Belgium where Suzy is rattled to within an inch of her life. Pots and pans are scattered to the four winds. Then German motorways free but two lanes of utter boredom. Or is it left down the beautiful, quiet, efficient but boring and expensive French autoroutes. My gut feeling France will win.
Before that though Suzy needs another habitation check. We have found a company in Derby who will come to us rather than us go to them. It looks as if next month we will book them to come over and do the check. The service and MOT will still need to be done at a local garage. Do we use the one we used last year or do we go back to Fiat again? We have a month to mull it over and make a decision .
We have had to revisit the trip as it seems too much to fit in to the time we have available. We have picked the things we want to do and knocked out a couple of places. Hard but had to be done. It may change again before we set off but at the moment we have nothing much we want to stop at on the way. We just want to get to Italy as quickly as possible and perhaps have the benefit of some fantastic mountain scenery in Switzerland. Note to oneself - remember to order the Swiss vignette . So to the first stop Gorizia in the north of Italy a medieval town full of fantastic buildings and a history of carnage during the second world war. Grado on the lagoon where we can promenade, drink Aperol spritzers and dip our toes in the sea. Trieste - been before but we have found a decent campsite near the Obelisk where we can catch the historic tram into town and take in the place day and night. Miremare Castle by bus ride. Onto Croatia and the Venetian towns on the Istrian coast. Piran and Umag, Porec and Vsar such lovely names to conjure with. Spring should be lovely in this part of the world. On a ferry to Cres our first island this trip. Drive to Mali Losinj before boarding a ferry back to the mainland and a stop over at Senj with its castle. Second ferry to the island of Rab, over to Pag. We had planned to re-visit Zadar but have taken this off the list in favour of Pakostane and the Krka National Park. Sibenik and over to the next island Hvar. The names just roll off the tongue. The ferries should be fun, small , fairly cheap and very unreliable especially in the low season. From Hvar to Ston which means a trip through the Neum Corridor . Not to ourselves again Remember you are in Bosnia and need to sort out a different insurance company as our current one does not cover us to go into Bosnia as it is still considered a war zone. On to Mostar and its famous bridge. Finally Duga Resa , possibly Zagreb and finally Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic before the long drive home.
What a thing to look forward to . Only 15 weeks ................................................counting down and I have just seen the first snowdrops of the new year. How fantastic is that?
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