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9 weeks, Europe and a campervan - a true adventure

Old Jun 20th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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9 weeks, Europe and a campervan - a true adventure

Back from an amazing,extended camping trip to Europe that included Germany(Munich,Dinkelsbuhl,Garmisch Partenkirchen,Fussen,Titisee,Freiburg) France(Beaune,Sarlat,Domme,Cahors,Grau d'Agde,Castellane,Gorge du Verdon)
(continued on next post)
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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(cont. from above)
Spain(San Sebastian,Bilbao,Potes,Santiago de Compostella,Salamanca,Avila,Segovia,
Barcelona) Portugal(Oporto),Italy(San Remo,Cinque Terra,Florence,Sienna,Assisi and
Umbria,Chianti,Venice) Slovenia (Ljubljana) and Austria (Vienna, Hallstatt,Salzburg). 8500
kms, 32 campgrounds and many fond memories. I should also mention that we stayed at Le Case
Gialle for three nights as a birthday treat-it's a wonderful agriturismo in Umbria. As I am still
unpacking and have too much laundry and mail to sit here without feeling guilty thought I would
at least post this morsel. If anyone has questions, I'll try and answer, in between loads and letters!
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Sounds like it must have been a fabulous trip. I am suitably envious.
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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I am envious, and would love to read your comments on the various campgrounds when you have time.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:19 PM
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Unfortunately comments on the individual campgrounds probably won't happen but I'm happy to give you specifics if you need them. I can tell you that Europe is very well organized for camping near major cities making it very easy to get to the city centres using their public transit systems. Or, as in the case of Florence, the campground is right beside Piazza Michaelangelo which overlooks Florence and is within walking distance to the centre of town. Awesome and unless you are camping, most folks don't realize these campgrounds are even located where they are. If I had to rank our faves, they would be Beaune,Sarlat and Grau d'Agde in France, Freiburg in Germany, Florence and Venice in Italy, Potes in Spain and Hallstatt in Austria. Alot depends on the time of year though and how busy it gets. We were fortunate for most of the trip to be travelling in the off season. I'm not sure how much we would have liked these in high season. Let me know if you need further details.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:06 PM
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starfish1, I stayed at that Florence campground 35 years ago when my parents took us to Europe. I remember it had those "hole in the ground" porcelain toilets - I would imagine it has modernized a bit since then!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:31 PM
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I enjoyed your post. It reminded me of the time years ago we stayed in the most beautiful park-like campground practically in the Vienna city center! It was an idyllic few days.


I was at Piazza Michelangelo last month and didn't even notice the campground, what a fantastic campsite that must have been!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:09 PM
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Hi starfish 1
I am pleased to hear that your trip was great. I remember your posts from last summer when you were just beginning to plan. I look forward to hearing more.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 06:55 AM
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Hi S,

Wunderbar!

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Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Can I ask about your travelling party and their ages? Thanks!
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 05:07 AM
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KTtravel - yes, thankfully the "hole in the ground" toilets have been replaced at the Florence campground. Very modern and up to date!
travelgirl2 - just my husband and me travelling and we are, hmmmmmm, over 50 by a wee bit. I can say that for at least the first half of the trip, we were the youngest ones in the campgrounds!
I should also mention that we took bikes with us of the folding variety. Checked them in as regular baggage and didn't fess up to the airlines that they were bikes or we would have had to pay extra. They were great to have especially in Germany,France and Austria which are highly organized for cycling with dedicated bike routes or great back roads. Italy,Spain and Portugal not so good.
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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DeeW - good to hear from you again. I rememeber you were very helpful in the planning stages. We did end up getting The Traveller's Guide to European Camping that you recommended and were very pleased with all the suggestions.
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Thanks, starfish1. I was wondering if this would be a good idea for a family with teenagers?
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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Hey, ktravel, I was probably camping right next to you and your family 35 years ago in the Piazzale Michelangelo campground. I went backpacking with a friend, and we didn't actually have a tent (duh!), so ended up crashing with some other Americans we met there. 3 years ago, I dragged my 2 teenagers there to revisit the scene of my misspent youth. I told them the story of the dirt hole-in-the-ground toilets. Then we checked out the new toilets, which are now PORCELAIN holes in the ground, (except for the handicap accessible ones). My daughter was horrified to hear about the wild exploits on that trip; my son's attitude was "you'd KILL us if we ever did any of that stuff!" Ahh, how the years change us.
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 07:33 PM
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lesliec1, so that was you partying next to our tent! It is amazing to think 35 years have passed. I have such vivid memories of that trip, my first to Europe. Now, why is it I can hardly remember what I did last week?
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 09:48 PM
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Finally someone is posting a campervan trip report! Congratulations for doing it and motivating others as well. Glad to hear it was easy to do. Did you reserve your space beforehand or just drive into a campground and hope for the best?
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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travelgirl2, I guess it depends on the teens and how adventuresome/involved they are in travelling. It could be a great trip with the right dynamics but - everyone needs enough space to truly enjoy the experience. I wouldn't suggest a pop up VWcamper! We did love the freedom it gave us though and changed our itinerary quite a few times.
schuler - didn't book anything ahead and only once was one campground full to the brim in Vienna but we did manage to squeeze in a spot for the night before getting a proper spot the next day.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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Thank you for posting your experiences!

I am interested in some of the logistics: I assume you rented the van? Where? What facilities did the van have? What kinds of things did you have to take with you from home that you wouldn't have to take on a non-camper-van trip? And anything else you have the time to report on for people who might like to follow in your footsteps (tire tracks?)

Thanks again.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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NorCalif, we started by getting the book Europe by Van and Motorhome by David Shore/Patty Campbell. The book covers alot of the logistics of travelling by campervan - where best to rent, rent vs. buy, trip planning, roads, etc. Gives a good overview of what to expect/prepare for. You can email David Shore with any questions and he was great to deal with. We ended up renting through him with McRent out of Munich (Germany has the best rates) and had what they call a Compact Plus. It slept two people in a permanent bed which was nice because it meant we didn't have to convert the dining table into the bed each night as is the case with some campers. We had our own bathroom (shower,sink and toilet) and kitchen (gas cooktop, fridge, sink) - small as they were it was great to have them. The only things we took that were different from what we would take on any other non-camping trip were towels and pillowcases. McRent provided the bed linens which weren't great but they would have been more than we could pack. They also provided an outdoor table and chairs and of course dishes, cutlery and pots/pans. That's about all I can think of for now.
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Thank you Starfish1! I really appreciate your time to provide those details.
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