The icy wind hit us. A cup of tea in hand, we leaned against the rail and saw the white cliffs of Dover on the horizon. Immortalized in countless songs, movies, and literature.
Dover’s unique cliffs are part of the National Consciousness and are the grand and unmistakable “Welcome Home” sign to generations of travelers and soldiers. Over 100 meters high, these giants rise as witnesses of time on the canal.
After four months in Europe, we were “ready for the island.” We looked forward to endless green meadows, delightful romantic places, a lot of fish and chips, tea and scones and a few beers in a quaint pub with locals. Welcome to England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom.
What happened so far – 4 months in a Nutshell
In May 2019, due to an unfortunate chain of coincidences, we ended up in Europe and started our odyssey in Paris. The city of love and the home of my favorite building in Europe – the Eiffel Tower.
The city is not new territory for us, and so we can explore the not so common areas and attractions. From our unlucky rented apartment (no hot water or internet) in the 20th arrondissement, we explored the Parisian life. According to the motto “20 arrondissements in 20 days.”
We met travel friends, we got to know in New Zealand, ate tons of baguette, pain-a-Chocolat and croissants, drank wine and other French specialties, we “strolled” as it is possible only in Paris.
Copenhagen and South Sweden
The next destination was Copenhagen. By accident, we chose this destination. We found a small holiday house in Tisvilde, on the Danish Riviera in the north of Denmark. Over the next 14 days, we explored the area as well as Copenhagen.
We were discussing the first steps of our online project, which has been maturing for some time. Of course, we will introduce you to our project as soon as there is something presentable.
My birthday we spent in southern Sweden in a tastefully decorated cottage in one of the suburbs Malmö. Our Airbnb Hosts, a crazy and charming Englishman and his pregnant, adorable, Swedish wife, invited us to the BBQ and provided a lot of entertainment with stories.
In Tisvilde, a friend from our former home visited us. She was traveling as well, and when she learned that we were only six hours away by car, she took this detour to see us.
Another incredible coincidence took place when we met two different travel buddies – one form Copenhagen and a couple from London at the same time. We knew them both from Bali.
Germany & France
After a month, we realize that traveling without a camper was torture for us and by the way incredibly expensive. So we picked a suitable motorhome on one of the many online sites. We found one in Dusseldorf.
A flight later, we stood with the young family – the previous owners – in a place outside of Dusseldorf – and visited the only six-meter-long motorhome.
It was well maintained and had already made a trip through Europe, and so we bought on the same day. The first night we spent in our “Henry” on a River just with purchased bed linen from the Ikea. We immediately felt at home in our new home.
From Dusseldorf, we drove via Mannheim and Strassbourg to Lake Constance and visited friends from our trip there.
Austria – Part 1
For a few days, it was fun to visit our old home as tourists. However, we did not find much time for sightseeing. We had to reduce our stored items from our former home – again. The house where everything was stored was for sale, and therefore there was no room left for our belongings.
Among the stored things were my books – a lot of books, pottery, Christmas tree decorations, and many things we had gathered from friends or travel. When we started our new lives, we had only stored the stuff we had a personal relationship. Furniture was not one of them. We left the most. Since selling is barely successful in the “all-must-be-new-world,” we donated most of the stuff to charities – which is not so easy in Austria – the wealth has captured even the poorest and a first-generation Xbox was returned with a smile.
At this point, we would like to have visited more of you, the loyal followers of our journey. We were overwhelmed by the negativity and the triviality in our old country, which has become unfamiliar to us. We were simply out of place, and so after the work was done, we escaped as quickly as possible.
We drove to the second-largest island of Italy – Sardinia. Nina had long been the desire to explore the island by motorhome. Said and done.
Julien and Laure, our Parisian friends, visited us and together we spent relaxing holidays on one of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. Even an old school friend of Nina visited us spontaneously.
At this point, I would like to ask all of you to visit us also somewhere in this world. Just get in touch when you’re around. Lunch, dinner, or a few days together – we are happy!
Our next destination was Baden near Vienna in Austria. There, after 20 months of travel, we would meet Nina’s mother.
But we took our time. Explore parts of Tuscany that we have not known so far. Above all, the Val d’Orcia. Also, I gave Florence, a city that I never really liked, a second chance. With success.
Another destination was Venice in northern Italy. An incredible city that we had visited many times, but this time Venice was almost without people. So we strolled hand in hand through the narrow streets without encounter a lot of people. It was wonderful.
After Italy, we drove to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and were impressed by this touristy city. The city seemed to copied little things from other big cities in Europe.
The selection of restaurants and bars in the pedestrian area was overwhelming. Everywhere street musicians and a meeting with a tour group from Alberta, Canada was a bonus.
Austria – Part 2
So we return to Austria – the second time. We spent time with Nina’s mother. Our departure from Austria was with a smiling and a crying eye. Mine was the smiling one (because of Austria not because of Nina’s mother :-)), Nina was sad about saying goodbye to her mother.
We drove to Budapest. A city that we had never seen, but only seven hours from our former house in Tyrol and only 2.5 hours from Vienna.
The city or rather the cities (Buda and Pest) divided by the Danube pleased us. A beautiful town. Probably number four on my city hit list of Europe.
On the way to Croatia, we stayed at a few places on Lake Balaton. When I was a kid, people drove to Lake Balaton because there was cheap beer. That did not seem to have changed. I can not say how much beer costs, but we saw enough drunken people to assume that it could not be much.
We visited Zagreb, a cute little town. The hype about this city we could not understand.
We hiked in the smallest and least known National Park in Croatia – Risnjak.
Afterward, we enjoyed the nostalgic charm of Opatija, a place paused in time, which seemed to have originated from Italian and Austrian influences.
We explored a bit of Istria with Pula and Rovinj, where we met friends from Austria and spent a few excellent days with them.
We drove on – our ultimate goal – Greece. A few kilometers to Rijeka we stopped at a gas station, looked at each other, and said at the same time, “I do not want to go to Greece.” What we meant was that we did not want to stay in Croatia any longer. Albania and Montenegro seemed even less tempting after our experiences in Croatia and the many blogs we read about these countries.
Summed up our short stay, Croatia was not a country for us. Rude and unfriendly, are the words that come to my mind when I think about Croatia. During the conversation with locals, we were told that this is simply the Croatian style. It’s probably the most expensive country we’ve ever been to in Europe. As we learned along our journey, we did not take cultural differences personally. Each country had its history, and the result is appropriate behavior.
We talked briefly and laughed as we announced at the same time, England as our next destination. We love our lives and traveling and on a day like this, just changed the plan for months – even more. And so we drove for three days to Calais in France, where a ferry was waiting to take us to the island.
A few words about the blog
For those of you who have made it to this point, I have a few words about our blog. Unfortunately, the articles that we have created here reflect only a small part of our experiences and our journey.
Why? I was always in conflict, which experiences and tips about a place or circumstances I can give. What can I say about a city that I only visited for a day or two? I know travelers like us who make a TOP 10 list of a city after just spent one day there, I know travelers who describe countries they’ve traveled for only a week (or less), and I did not want to be one of them. I’ve read many of these blogs and noticed that they rarely match reality. After an interesting conversation with a friend, we now publish much more often, the goal is to publish one post per week, to reflect our view of the world in which we are.
Would you like more about us, visit the About us site.