19th June - Bastogne Camperlaats, Belgium
We drove into Luxembourg city today on our way to Belgium. We managed to get a car park just outside of the town and walked into the city through suburbia. It was pretty nice with some Victorian terrace style houses. The town centre was full of shops and restaurants and it was crazy busy, we grabbed some lunch did some shopping and headed back to BB and drove to Bastogne for the night.
20th June - Zutphen Camperplaats, Netherlands
We drove though Liege in Belgium on our way to Holland, it actually reminded us of Amsterdam a little bit. We didn't stick around very long but it looked like a nice city, I think we are both a little anxious to get back to Amsterdam and get ready for our return to the UAE.
We headed towards Zutphen after a recommendation from Nat's mum, the camperplaats was along a small lake and the town was only 10min walk in. It was a cute town, typical Dutch style with crooked houses along the streets. We tried to have an early night which was made easier with no t.v. reception!
21st June - Geithoorn Camperplaats, Netherlands
After a quick stop in Deventer where we each bought a large freshly made warm stroopwafel we drove onto Geithoorn. We are really starting to enjoy this country even more. Every city you visit has a really clean and tidy feel and all look really cute with water ways and little operable bridges, something out of the movies.
Giethoorn is again another really cute little town, the Venice of Holland as they say and in some ways looks a lot greener, nicer and definitely smells better (well sort of, you cant really compare against Venice). The "Venice" area was small but had all the thatched roof houses along the river with cafes and restaurants and loads of boats. Tomorrow we are renting a fluister boat which is the thing to do here.
22nd June - Heeg Jachthaven Camperplaats, Netherlands
Luckily the sun came out just in time for us to take the fluister boat around Giethoorn. Its a little electric dingy, easy to drive and nice and quiet for the residents. We took an hour to go through the canal and around the back through the lake and back again, was very relaxing.
We quickly checked out Sneek which didn't let us down again on the cute scale, unfortunately the Dutchies were all inside eating cheese this Sunday so it was pretty dead.
We headed to the camperplaats in Heeg which was in the marina and was a pretty nice spot again. We walked into town and enjoyed the casual atmosphere.
23rd June - Enkhuisen camperplaats, Netherlands
We drove over the Afsluit dijk today which is something I have wanted to do for a while. The dijk is 30km long and 90m wide, it was built in the late 1920's to help prevent flooding of certain areas in Holland, probably because 1/4 of Holland is lower than sea level...de platteland and two thirds of its area is vulnerable to flooding. Holland itself is apparently one of the most densely populated areas on Earth (although it certainly doesn't feel like it) so flood control here is "dam" important.
There are dikes, dams, floodgates along with drainage ditches, canals and pumping stations which used to be (and in some cases still are) windmills. One of the biggest construction projects was the Afsluit Dijk.
After we had lunch on the dijk we drove to Enkhuisen which was a really nice town with a pretty marina. Netherlands were playing Chile in the soccer world cup so we found a pub and enjoyed the victory with the Dutchies.
We enjoyed the beers, the gin and tonics and tapas while watching the sun go down and then back to BB....it wasn't hard to fall asleep tonight.
24th to 25th June, Gaasperplas, Netherlands
Well today is the beginning of the end for us and BB and this trip. We are heading back to Nat's mums to offload our things and get ready for our cleaning day tomorrow. So it was a day of mixed emotions. We held on to the holiday as long as we could and visited Volendam and checked it out, but it was only a wimper of a flame in the wind, the trip was over.....
We headed to the same caravan park that we started at and relaxed while we thought about the mountain of cleaning we needed to do the next day.
|A slipper for a princess, a huge slipper|
OUR LAST DAY IN BB : (
Well today was a cleaning day, the outside, the inside, the garage ...everything. There may have even been a tear or two from Nat at certain times during the day. Not much else to say other than by the end of the day we had BB looking fab.
We had Japanese for dinner with Nats mum and I turned to comfort eating for the night and ate as much as I could.
We had few days left before we flew out so before leaving BB for the last time we took him to Hoorn for the cheese market which was pretty entertaining.
I couldn't help myself and had to volunteer to carry the cheese, I thought I had the true Dutch experience by marrying one but now it is complete. The elderly guys were fun but I don't think they could really understand what I was saying or why I was wearing thongs.
|Scale they used in the old days, they even weighed Nat when they took her around|
I then managed to get them to take Nat for a ride which was pretty funny, especially when Nat didn't see it coming.
We then dropped off BB at his hibernation place and visited Nats Uncle and Auntie who live nearby and then Nat's cousins Peter and Joan. On the way back to Nats mum we had one more stop over in BB to make sure the freezer had defrosted and everything was ok for his hibernation. We then drove off into the sunset with BB getting smaller and smaller in the distance...sniff.....we will miss the big guy.
Can't believe the year is over but what a year it was. This was the best thing we could have done and we have no regrets at all. We ignored the people who thought it was crazy for us to quit our jobs and just went out and did it.
Ignoring how soppy and typical it sounds, the trip has brought us even closer together. We definitely learned a little bit more about each other and considering we were together 24/7 and are still together we are ready for whatever comes our way. Not that every day was bliss......
Travelling for a year in a camper is not for everyone but there is nothing better than having your home on wheels with you wherever you go, plus you never feel homesick. We have talked about BB a lot throughout the blog and it may seem crazy but you really do become attached to your camper because if it wasnt for your camper you wouldnt be able to experience such a holiday....and maybe some electronics....
A holiday like this really makes you see what the world has to offer, and its so much more than the Monday to Friday same old same old that we all do every week. Life is for living and enjoying when you can because you just dont know when your days are up.
There is so much to see in Europe and you really need two to three years to see it but what we saw was amazing. We met some cool people, saw some amazing places and this trip has opened up our eyes to what is out there. A priceless experience and we are already planning our next trip!!!!
Now for the stats:
Total countries - 18
Total kilometres travelled - 22,378
Total tyres blown - 1
Total mirrors smashed - 1
Total clipped mirrors - 2
Total water leaks - 1
Total run ins with the law - 2
The only thing not included in the expenses is the total cost for BB, we won't know the exact figure until we sell it next year.
Our favourite Countries and Cities keep changing and will probably continue to change, however here it is as of now:
Ben's Top 3 Countries
- UK (I know ....more than 1 country)
Ben's Top 3 Towns/Cities
Nat's Top 3 Towns/Cities
Most positively surprising country Slovenia
Participation award Slovakia
Nicest people Slovenia/Holland
Old favourite Amsterdam
The Hulk award Nat
Stomach churning award Squid ink ball soup
Most valuable player award BB
Pizza consumption award Ben
Finally, our most favourite souvenir from the trip!!!!!!!!!!