Tuesday 29 September 2015

Lake Bled and the Vintgar Gorge

Slovenia, 25th – 28th September 2015

Today marks our third day around Lake Bled before moving onto Bohinj, and it seems bad things really do come in threes.  The first is that it would appear there is a clothing thief on the loose around the campsite and I have now been deprived of my favourite pair of jeans (more on that later).  The second was our trip across the Lake to a pizzeria we’d read offered English breakfasts ending in disappointment (short answer: didn’t sell enough, not on the menu any more).  The third was that we decided to test the durability of one of our camping mugs by giving it a collision with the ground en-route to the washing up sinks (short answer: it’s brittle, one of us will have to have hot drinks from a glass instead).  Given that these bad things are getting less serious with each encounter, I can only assume that things are on the way up.  So it’s time to focus on the positives: Vintgar Gorge, and Lake Bled.

Sunday 27 September 2015

Ljubljana and Northern Slovenia

Slovenia, 21st – 24th September 2015

Triple Bridge and Franciscan Church in Presernov Square
Our next stop was the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. It has an attractive city centre with lots of cafés on the riverside. It is compact so doesn’t feel like a capital city, also helped by not having hordes of tourists, so is easy to get around. It is one of the greenest capital cities in Europe, awarded the European Green Capital Award 2016, with a pedestrianised centre that has electric vehicles giving free rides around for the less able, green open spaces with four nature parks and one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe.

To visit Ljubljana we had two options, the first of which was a campsite that’s part of a hotel complex which is in the ACSI book but would be around €20/night with taxes etc included, or the second option was a restaurant in the village of Sostro just outside the ring road that has a Camper Stop which we found online. We went for the latter cheaper option as it is €10 per night including electricity and WiFi at Gostilna Pri Kovacu (GPS: 46.03144 14.60383), or free if you have a meal in the restaurant. Handily there is a bus stop right outside and it’s just a 20 min ride into the centre.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

The Skocjan Caves and the Slovenian Coast

Italy and Slovenia, 19th – 21st September 2015

As of today we have now officially been travelling Europe for six months.  Given that we had to come back for Matt’s work we’ve only been out of the UK consecutively for five months, but it still marks us being away for half of our original travel time.  The good news is that we’re only a hundred pounds over budget which should level out very soon; the bad news is we’re at the halfway point, and time suddenly feels rather short.  But there’s no use dwelling: we’ve got to make the use of the time that we have got, and so it’s time for some exploration of Slovenia.

Saturday 19 September 2015

Into Istria: Pula, Rovinj and the Kamenjak Peninsula

Croatia, 15th – 18th September 2015

The Forum (one of Pula's main squares)
In the north of Croatia lies Istria, the largest peninsula in the Adriatic sea.  Although a small part of it is over the border in Slovenia and Italy, most of the land is Croatian, and it’s where we’ve been spending the last few days.  Pula sits towards the southern end, and is the main city of the region with a strong tourist trade, no doubt helped along by its plethora of churches and Roman remains, such as a well preserved amphitheatre.

We received a tourist map of Pula from our campsite’s reception which had all of the main sites to see which was helpful (given that we saw the same map being used by others all over town, presumably it’s also the main map provided by the tourist office).  Buses run to the centre every 20 minutes for 11 kuna, but it’s around a 3km walk/cycle for anyone who is so inclined.  We took the bus, and the driver either

Thursday 17 September 2015

Plitvice National Park and Heading North

Croatia, 11th – 14th September 2015

When checking out from Auto Camp Uvala Borova in Zaostrog after two nights there this was the first time here that tourist tax has been built into the ACSI price which earns them bonus points and saved us a few Euros. We decided this would be our turning point to start heading back north with Plitvice National Park (NP) our next destination. We stopped at Lidl in Makarska to do some shopping and had lunch in the car park before deciding which way to head next. We considered cutting inland from Split but might have had trouble finding somewhere to stay the night (as it was too far to travel the whole way in this afternoon) so took the coast road for a start to give us more options. In our Camperstop book the only free overnight parking spot listed for Croatia is near Krka so we followed the GPS hoping to stay

Thursday 10 September 2015

Krka National Park and Southern Croatia

Croatia, 6th – 10th September 2015

Freecamping or no freecamping: at least the views are great
We’ve now officially been in Croatia for over a week, and have now started to warm a little more to the place.  To give the country credit, the coastline itself is very beautiful, with lots of pebbled beaches and a crystal clear sea.  The people are very friendly and the weather has improved significantly; after the heatwave and downpours of our first few days, we’ve had blue skies and temperatures somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees: perfect.  As a place to go on a holiday it would be great (although maybe not in July/August when it’s packed).  It’s just not really somewhere you can spend extended periods in a camper if you’re trying to keep to a tight budget like we are as freecamping is pretty much non-existent here and many of the campsites are still extremely busy and pricey in September.  As it stands, we’re running a little over budget.  Without our ACSI discount card, the budget would have been blown out of the water completely.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Goodbye Hungary, Hello Croatia

Hungary and Croatia, 31st August – 6th September 2015

We’ve now moved on to another country, Croatia, which was one I was looking forward to, expecting nice scenery and sandy beaches, but so far have been unimpressed. Maybe it’s just the areas we’ve seen this far, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot here, mainly a series of villages geared up for tourists with a few shops/restaurants and lots of rooms and apartments to let, along a rocky coastline, or it could be because it had a lot to live up to after Greece. Plus there’s the disadvantage of freecamping not being allowed so we’re forced to stay on campsites every night which is restrictive and not good for the budget. There are lots of campsites along the coast here, of which normal ones are huge with 400-1200 pitches, and mini-camps are the size of regular ones that we’re used to. Time’s gone quickly and it seems I’ve got a week to cover in this entry since last time.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Miles from Budapest

Hungary, 27th – 30th August 2015

The view from Gellért Hill
We’re currently parked up in Tihani on the northwest side of Lake Balaton, having just spent four great days in Budapest.  Our original plan was to only spend two nights with one day visiting Budapest as we’re not really city people and we wanted our stay in Hungary to be under the weekly budget to make up for the next country—Croatia—which we expect to be expensive.  However we found ourselves quite taken with Budapest, and after the two days we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave when there was still so much more to see.

For our stay, we travelled into the city from Visegrad (via a Lidl, where we were excited to find real bacon for the first time since the UK!) until we reached Camping Haller (GPS: 47.47610, 19.08364, 6900Ft, approx. £16/€22, including electric, WiFi and washing machines, every 4th night is free).  There were a few campsites in our