One Month in Europe – Ultimate European Trip

Map of our route driving one month in Europe - Ultimate Road Trip
Map of our route driving one month in Europe – Ultimate Road Trip

We were excited to grab a last-minute cancellation on an ultimate European trip with a difference. This trip was to fly one-way to Italy, pick up a brand-new motorhome from the factory and take up to one month in Europe to drive it back to England.

This was my (Darren) first time getting a one-way flight, I had never driven outside of the UK and I had never driven a motorhome before. (It was a trip with quite a few firsts for me.) You can see our videos from the trip on our YouTube channel: iZog Adventure.

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Day 1 – Flying one-way to Italy

Itinerary

  • Country: England to Italy
  • Site: Hotel Albergo Italia (£57 for 2 people)
  • Stay again: No
  • Visited: Leaning Tower of Pisa and Poggibonsi
  • Video: Driving in Italy
  • Travel: 2-hour flight, 90-minute train journey and 90 minutes’ walking

Highlights of the day

  • Flying one-way for the first time is a strange feeling.
  • Seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • Realising that the next time I would be home would be after I had driven 1,500 miles and travelled through Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, France (again) and then caught a ferry back to England.

All packed and ready to go, we jumped aboard our one-way flight to Pisa in Italy. Our original intention for the day had been to go straight to the hotel and drive the following day to Pisa in the motorhome. However, we had heard several reports that people had had their motorhomes broken into in Pisa. We therefore decided to stop off along the way to Poggibonsi instead and walk from Pisa train station up to the tower and then get back on the train and travel on to the hotel. It was a crazy idea to walk into town with our luggage in tow, but a better option than driving the narrow streets in a brand-new motorhome.

Thoughts

  • Pisa is OK for a quick stop, but I wouldn’t want to stay there for too long. It’s worth seeing if you’re passing through. There are lots of unlicensed street vendors, which we found didn’t take no for an answer and could be quite pushy.
  • Our hotel was basic but clean and Poggibonsi was pleasant. We enjoyed a decent evening meal and some local wine.

Day 2 – Collecting the brand-new motorhome

Itinerary

  • Country: Italy
  • Site: L’Alveare Del Pinzi (€12 a night)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: supermarket and unpacked into the motorhome
  • Travel: 3-hour drive

Highlights of the day

  • Driving a motorhome for the first time.
  • Doing a ‘big shop’ in an Italian supermarket (exciting I know).
  • Arriving at our first aire.

We were able to book a local taxi to the factory to collect the motorhome. On arrival, we were shown around the motorhome, given a safety briefing and handed a set of keys. These keys were ours for our European road trip; we just had to make it to the ferry via any route we chose.

Our first stop was a local supermarket to stock up on food and other supplies for the first leg of our road trip. This was our only ‘big shop’ for the trip, as we aimed to stop at smaller stores along the way and eat local produce. We also needed to find a camping shop to buy the blue chemical for the portable toilet (Thetford Aqua Kem), as it is hard to find elsewhere in Europe.

Once we had loaded the motorhome, we headed off to the hills of Tuscany in search of Cascate del Mulino, a natural spa that had been recommended to us by friends.

Thoughts

  • Driving in Europe is really good fun. Driving games I had played as a teen had surprisingly taughtme to drive on the European side of the road.
  • Motorhomes rattle. A lot. No, really, they shake, and everything sounds like it is falling apart. You hear every little bump. This is normal, but we also quickly learnt that we had to make sure everything was secured in place before we set off.
  • New motorhome smell is not quite the same as new car smell, but that open road smell? YES! Let us at it. We love life on the road.

Day 3 – Visiting a natural spa in Tuscany

Itinerary

  • Country: Italy
  • Site: Campsite Taimì (€19 a night with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Cascate del Mulino, a free natural thermal spa
  • Video: Driving in Italy where we have been so far
  • Travel: 5-hour drive (via detour due to a closed road)

Highlights of the day

  • Spending the morning in the natural thermal spa, Cascate del Mulino.
  • Doing a 10-point turn in a village.
  • Eating Italian pizza and drinking local wine.

We woke to bright sunshine and blue sky. I often believe that good things happen to good people and today was that day. We put on shorts and flip-flopped our way down to the spa. There is a free shuttle every hour from the aire to the spa, but we had just missed one, so we chose to walk down and enjoy views of the rolling hills of Tuscany before relaxing in the spa waters.

After our spa visit we headed north to Massa. Our original route took us up over the hills and through the winding roads, but we arrived at a village that had closed the main road off for two days for a market. After the world’s most awkward 10-point turn in the narrow main street, we headed back down and towards the coast.

Thoughts

  • The spa was an amazing and relaxing start to the day. We hope to visit Cascate Del Mulino again on a future trip.
  • Roads in Italy are fun to drive, even if you have to go back the way you came for an hour to get around a village. Oh, and in parts the roads are not even tarmacked!
  • Arriving in Massa was a relief and we were presented with a stunning beach location with mountains in the background.
  • It was an eventful day and one that will live in our memories forever.

Day 4 – Massa

Itinerary

  • Country: Italy
  • Site: Campsite Taimì (€19 a night)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Massa beach and town
  • Travel: Walking and exploring the local area

Highlights of the day

  • Paddling in the sea.
  • Trying €2 Italian wine and liking it.
  • Eating a fresh Italian ‘fritto misto’ brunch.

This was our first full day stopping anywhere. We headed to the beach and saw the most amazing backdrop of mountains. It was like something out of the movies. A paddle in the sea and a spot of fresh seafood for lunch was a wonderful start to another relaxing day.

Heading back to the campsite, we picked up some supplies, which included a €2 carton of wine. I know I’m no wine buff, but even I wouldn’t normally buy wine from a carton, but this wine was OK.

We ate in the restaurant at the campsite and enjoyed real Italian pizza and house wine. The house wine was better than the carton, but hey, you have to try everything once right?

Thoughts

  • €2 carton wine is OK, much better than expected.
  • Italian pizza with Italian wine is epic. I think I could live in Italy.
  • Massa was lovely to spend a beach day and the campsite restaurant was good.

Day 5 – Views over Lake Como

Itinerary

  • Country: Italy
  • Site: Camping Spiaggia (€26 a night)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Lake Como
  • Travel: 4-hour drive

Highlights of the day

  • Parking up with views over Lake Como.
  • Eating local Italian pizza in a restaurant packed with locals.

We set off ‘handy’ (that’s to say we left at a good time to have time the other end to do something useful with the day). It was a 4-hour drive to Lake Como from Massa, and we wanted time to enjoy the views when we arrived.

We love the mountains and had considered a day trip to Lake Como on our memorable trip to Milan, but decided to save it for our month-long road trip instead. Finding a great spot in a campsite that has two pitches overlooking the lake. Once set up we explored the quiet village, ate pastries and enjoyed the views.

There was a small village shop that had fresh fruit and vegetables and a local pastry shop called Pasticceria Gelateria that had delicious coffee and cake. The campsite restaurant was also excellent, and we ate very well during our stay.

Thoughts

  • The restaurant here had a great atmosphere and lunch with a Lake Como view is something we are planning to do again.
  • More Italian pizza and beer is always good.
  • Local village shops have the best fruit and vegetables and pastries.
  • You’ll not like it here, with its amazing lake views, beer, fresh pizza and pastries. (OK, maybe I just want to make sure I can get a lakeside spot on our next visit.)

Day 6 – Relaxing by Lake Como

Itinerary

  • Country: Italy
  • Site: Camping Spiaggia (€26 a night)
  • Visited: Lake Como
  • Video: Our Just Go van tour
  • Travel: Walking and exploring the local village

Highlights of the day

  • Filming our Just Go motorhome van tour
  • Enjoying more local Italian food and lake views

We worked a little while on this trip, so we took the opportunity to gather our thoughts and film a van tour since we had now spent just under a week living on the road and getting to know our home on wheels.

It was a rainy morning, but as the weather broke and the sun came out, we sat and had lunch in the campsite restaurant. We became very popular with the local wildlife, as the waiter accidentally dropped our first lasagne on the floor and all the birds came over to have some.

Thoughts

  • Birds like local food as much as humans. Seagulls like fish and chips by the seaside in the UK and Italian ducks like pasta. I can almost imagine birds gathering round for an afternoon tea in the English countryside.
  • Views and more views.
  • Just to confirm though, you will not like it here; they have amazing lake views, beer, pizza and pastries.

Day 7 – Swiss lakes are better than Italian ones (maybe)

Itinerary

  • Country: Switzerland
  • Site: Campsite Obsee (€19 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Lake Lungern (Lungernersee)
  • Video: Driving from Italy to Switzerland
  • Travel: 4-hour drive (even though Google thinks we did some of this on skis)

Highlights of the day

  • Driving through the Gotthard Road tunnel.
  • Enjoying lakeside views and a waterfall.

It was time to leave Italy behind and head north to Switzerland. We travelled through the Gotthard Road tunnel. At 17 kilometres (11 miles), it’s the longest road tunnel in Switzerland. This was a safer option than going over the top of the mountain. Once on the other side, we were presented with Swiss mountains and another amazing lakeside view.

Our pitch looked out over a lake, there were cows with bells on, and a waterfall and lots of places to hike and explore.

Thoughts

  • We arrived later than originally planned, but we stayed for three days so settled in and explored.
  • This area has incredible views over Lake Lungern (Lungernersee), surrounded by snow-capped mountains. This was Switzerland exactly as we imagined it, right down to the cows with bells.
  • The tunnel was the better option, but we did have to queue for a long time.
  • You will need Swiss Francs, but some places will accept Euros.
  • Switzerland is expensive, so prepare for that, and then add another 25% to your budget on top.

Day 8 – Chasing waterfalls in Switzerland

Itinerary

  • Country: Switzerland
  • Site: Campsite Obsee (€19 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Lake Lungern (Lungernersee)
  • Travel: Walk and explore the local area

Highlights of the day

  • Hearing Swiss cowbells and waterfalls from our motorhome.
  • Drinking in the incredible lake views.

We were planning to head to Lucerne the following day, so we decided to relax and explore the local village. We explored the waterfall and said hello to the local cows. We also had to catch up on some chores like washing our clothes. Ironically, as expensive as everything else in Switzerland was, the washing machine on the campsite was the cheapest we found on the trip.

We walked up to the village and bought some supplies for the next few days and to check out how we would get to Lucerne the following day.

Thoughts

  • We should have stocked up on basic supplies in Italy, as Switzerland is more expensive than we thought. Even though we had been to Switzerland before, we had stayed in Basel, and had imagined that the more rural areas would be cheaper.
  • The cable car ride to the top of the gorge looked like a good option, but we chose to spend our travel budget on getting the train in to Lucerne the following day.
  • The morning started with very low cloud cover, but soon brightened up and showed us the beautiful landscape that we were in. If only I had had my drone at the time.

Day 9 – Views over Lucerne

Itinerary

  • Country: Switzerland
  • Site: Campsite Obsee (€19 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Lucerne
  • Video: What to do in Lucerne for a day
  • Travel: 2-hour train ride to Lucerne and back

Highlights of the day

  • Seeing Lucerne from above.
  • Climbing the city walls and walking along the ramparts.
  • Crossing Chapel Bridge and looking at the ancient wooden plaques.

So far on our trip we had mostly been enjoying the landscapes, fresh air and general countryside. But today we caught a train to Lucerne. Not just any train though, a train with the most amazing views we have ever seen from a train. It’s part of the Glacier Express route, with panoramic views. We didn’t know which side to sit on to make the most of the huge picture windows.

Arriving in Lucerne we were not sure which direction to head, so decided to follow our noses and could see a bridge that looked pretty and out of place among the modern buildings. It turned out to be not just any old bridge, but Chapel Bridge, built in the 1300s and one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe.

After this we headed to the city walls and climbed each of the towers for some amazing views over the town. Each tower was taller than the last, with more steps to climb, and Rebecca joked that it was our interval training for the week.

Thoughts

  • It was worth the 31.60 CHF it cost us to get in to Lucerne from Lungern and explore a new city.
  • Switzerland has very clean rivers (even in the city) compared to the Thames in London.
  • The views over Lucerne were worth the climb.

Day 10 – Lungern

Itinerary

  • Country: Switzerland
  • Site: Campsite Obsee (€19 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Lake Lungern (Lungernersee)
  • Travel: Just walking in local area

Highlights of the day

  • Relaxing for the day and enjoying the views.
  • Practising some travel photography skills.

After a busy day exploring the city of Lucerne on Day 9, today we chose to have a relaxing day, explore the local town, soak up the lake views and catch up on some work.

We took out our cameras and spent a couple of hours taking pictures of the lake and a nearby waterfall, watching as the mists rolled in and the landscape constantly changed.

Thoughts

  • Sometimes it’s good to just relax, soak it all in and appreciate the landscape that surrounds you. This was one of those days.
  • I enjoyed spending some time learning how to use my camera.

Day 11 – Germany and Camp Adam

Itinerary

  • Country: Germany
  • Site: Campsite Adam (quoted €21.50 on arrival, charged €28 on departure)
  • Stay again: No
  • Visited: Black Forest
  • Travel: 4-hour drive

Highlights of the day

  • Driving through the Black Forest.
  • Buying pink, blue and yellow eggs from the supermarket.

We had originally planned a couple of stops in the Black Forest, with the first one at Campsite Hochschwarzwald, but when we arrived the campsite didn’t really appeal to us, so we only stayed long enough to eat lunch. After a sandwich, we hopped back into the motorhome and headed to our next location in the hope we could get in a day early.

German is one of our weak languages and we struggled to understand the receptionist at Camp Adam, but Rebecca smiled and with the power of hand waving and sketches, we were guided to a pitch.

Unbeknown to us, our stay fell over the shift from low to high season, and the site grew busier and more crowded during our three-day stay.

Thoughts

  • Sometimes plans change and you have to go with the flow. If you don’t like the look of a site when you arrive, there is no need to stay.
  • If we had not been able to get a pitch, we would have been able to sleep in the van and park up just outside. There were many vehicles who appeared to have done just that.

Day 12 – Day off relaxing on site

Itinerary

  • Country: Germany
  • Site: Campsite Adam (€28 per night)
  • Stay again: No
  • Visited: Lake on the campsite
  • Video: Keeping cool in a van
  • Travel: Just around the campsite

Highlights of the day

  • Swimming in the lake.
  • Finding new ways to keep cool in the van.
  • Trying pink, blue and yellow eggs.

It was a very warm day and we had chosen to have a relaxing day on the campsite. We got some work done in the morning and relaxed by the lake in the campsite grounds for a couple of hours in the afternoon. We swam in the lake and the cool water was a welcome relief from the sweltering heat.

The shop on the campsite had minimal supplies, but we had stocked up on our way to the campsite the day before, so we had enough food to get by. Rebecca said the shop reminded her of a trip in the Nineties to post-communist Poland, where most of the shelves were empty of food, but there was plenty of vodka on sale.

Thoughts

  • Camp Adam is a large campsite with a lake to swim in or relax by the side of, but there was almost no signage in English, and none of the staff spoke English either.
  • I think we had been spoilt so far on our trip, as this site didn’t feel quite as clean or well-run as others we had stayed on. It was also some kind of school holiday and the campsite was very busy and noisy compared to other campsites.
  • I wouldn’t recommend Camp Adam.

Day 13 – Day trip to Baden-Baden

Itinerary

  • Country: Germany
  • Site: Campsite Adam (€28 per night)
  • Stay again: No
  • Visited: Caracalla Therme spa
  • Video: Visiting Baden-Baden
  • Travel: 30-minute train ride and a 30-minute bus journey (plus return journey)

Visiting the spa at Baden-Baden was the main reason for our stay in Germany. Baden-Baden is a historical spa town on the edge of the Black Forest. Even with a few European towns under our belt, we were not disappointed to explore this town. And if a spa in the Black Forest doesn’t sound impressive enough, try the cake. Yes, we had to try the Black Forest Gateau. It didn’t disappoint.

We spent 3-4 hours in the spa, which was enormous with a range of saunas at different temperatures, thermal baths and hot tubs. The complex is huge and relaxing, and quite unlike anywhere either of us had ever visited before.

Baden-Baden is a town we will be passing by again in 2019, although we won’t stay at Camp Adam.

Highlights of the day

  • Relaxing in the incredible Caracalla Therme spa.
  • Eating Black Forest Gateau in Becky’s Café.
  • Escaping Camp Adam for the day.

Thoughts

  • The journey to Baden-Baden from Camp Adam required a bus and a train. With the last bus home being about 5pm we nearly got stuck, so do check your return route before you head out.
  • Caracalla Therme spa is very big, and we could easily spend the day there again. The only place I’ve been to that was similar is the Thermae Bath Spa in Bath, England, only Caracalla Therme is much larger even than that.
  • The saunas are naturist, so don’t be shy!
  • Upon leaving Camp Adam, they charged us a higher rate than originally agreed and wouldn’t let us out until we paid up. They were quite threatening about it and made us feel trapped behind the barrier. If you visit the Black Forest I’d avoid this campsite and look for alternatives.
  • Agree a price and pay for your pitch in advance or get it written down on an official invoice. If they refuse, move on!

Day 14 – Strasbourg

Itinerary

  • Country: France
  • Site: Camping de Strasbourg (€19 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Strasbourg Petite France
  • Video: Strasbourg Day 1
  • Travel: 1-hour drive and exploring Strasbourg

Highlights of the day

  • Photographing the street art everywhere in Strasbourg.
  • Exploring the canals of Strasbourg

It was only just over an hour’s drive over the German-French border to Strasbourg, so we arrived nice and early. The campsite was easy to find and felt very clean and modern. We wished we had fled Germany a day earlier and headed here instead.

We had planned to spend three nights here, giving us plenty of time to explore the town and relax, but we didn’t book and were only able to get a pitch for two nights. This is a site worth booking in advance if you can.

Thoughts

  • Head towards Petite France and you can’t go wrong.
  • We didn’t expect to see much street art, but we found some very interesting images.
  • If you have time, the canal tour looked like good fun and everyone was smiling when it passed under the bridge we were on.
  • Take your time and explore Strasbourg on foot.

Day 15 – Musée Vodou

Itinerary

  • Country: France
  • Site: Camping de Strasbourg (€19 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Musée Vodou
  • Video: Strasbourg Day 2
  • Travel: Walking around Strasbourg

Highlights of the day

  • Walking around the unique and wonderful voodoo museum.
  • Eating doughnuts the size of my head.
  • Seeing Strasbourg Cathedral (also known as Strasbourg Minster).
  • Exploring more of the street art of Strasbourg 

On our walk back from town on Day 14, we had seen the unusual-looking building that houses the Musée Vodou, Strasbourg’s unique voodoo museum. If you like to seek out the unusual while travelling, or perhaps you are a fan of dark tourism, the Musée Vodou is worth a visit. Housed in an old water tower, it is home to the largest private collection of West-African voodoo items. It is only open at certain times, so it is worth checking in advance to make sure you fit in a visit.

Another area we had overlooked the previous day was the Quartier de la Gare. It is a street lined with colourful painted cobbles and art on the walls of the local businesses.

Thoughts

  • We thought we had seen most of Strasbourg on our first day there, but we found there was much more to see. We would like to go back in the winter for the Christmas markets.
  • Our two days in Strasbourg were packed with things to see and do and we could easily have spent a third day there. You only have to look at all the activities on offer at Get Your Guide

Day 16 – Arriving in Luxembourg

Itinerary

  • Country: Luxembourg
  • Site: Campsite Bon Accueil (€17 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Just the campsite
  • Travel: 3-hour drive

Highlights of the day

  • Driving to Luxembourg.
  • Getting stopped 100 yards away from the campsite by a cigar-smoking policeman.

The drive from Strasbourg to Luxembourg took about three hours. We were just about to arrive at the campsite when we reached a roadblock. A cigar-smoking police officer stopped us. Nervous about where we were heading and what was going on, we were told the road was shut off for the Tour de Luxembourg. But we were waved through and arrived safely at the campsite.

Arriving at the campsite at lunchtime meant we had a short wait for the office to open. The campsite warden prefers new guests to arrive after lunch. We parked up in the shade, as the weather had now started to get a little warmer, and we headed to the supermarket up the road and made plans for exploring Luxembourg the following day.

Thoughts

  • We could have done with an awning on the side of the motorhome, as we were travelling at the start of summer and Europe was very hot. During the day it was too hot to sit inside the van or outside without shade.
  • The supermarket was just a short walk up the road and reasonable for food supplies.
  • Try not to arrive at lunchtime if you go, the warden seemed a little annoyed.
  • If we were to visit again, we would head into town and book the Luxembourg Hop-on Hop-off Tour. We have enjoyed these in many cities we have visited. Get Your Guide

Day 17 – Bruno Mars tribute party

Itinerary

  • Country: Luxembourg
  • Site: Campsite Bon Accueil (€17 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Just the campsite
  • Travel: Exploring local area

Highlights of the day

  • Finding a random Bruno Mars tribute party in the park next to our campsite.

It was a little cooler, so we spent the day relaxing on the campsite and getting some work and chores done. Then in the early afternoon we heard loud music. At first we thought a party bus had entered the campsite, but heading out and following the sound, we found it was a local party with a Bruno Mars tribute act on stage. We stayed and danced a little, surprised to have found something so unexpected.

Thoughts

  • When random things happen, go with it. You can’t plan everything all the time.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’re not a fan of a particular band or act, when it’s in a park with locals, enjoy it.
  • Always look for the positive in a situation. Road trips never go entirely according to plan and you have to just enjoy the journey.

Day 18 – Exploring Luxembourg

Itinerary

  • Country: Luxembourg
  • Site: Campsite Bon Accueil (€17 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: Yes
  • Visited: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
  • Video: Exploring Luxembourg
  • Travel: 20-minute bus ride and exploring Luxembourg (plus return journey)

Highlights of the day

  • Heading underground into the Casemates du Bock.
  • Sharing a cookie the size of my head with Rebecca.
  • Enjoying the views from Luxembourg’s many bridges.

On our third day in Luxembourg we finally headed in to the city centre to explore. Buses take 20 minutes from the campsite and on a Saturday are free to use. Even if you use them on another day, they are not very expensive.

Once in town we headed towards the main city area, not sure which direction to head, as the compass on Google Maps seemed to be playing up. So, we decided to follow our nose and see where we would end up.

Thoughts

  • More cities should offer a free public transport option at the weekend.
  • Getting between different areas in Luxembourg City isn’t straightforward. Places look close, but then are on the other side of a valley.
  • Exploring the Casemates du Bock gave us many amazing views over the lower area of town.
  • Eating a cookie the size of my head was a lot of sugar.

Days 19 to 21 – Relaxing in Belgium

Itinerary

  • Country: Belgium
  • Site: Parc La Clusure (€20 a night)
  • Stay again: Yes (we would like to come back when fully open)
  • Visited: Just the campsite and surrounding woods
  • Travel: 1.5-hour drive

Highlights of the day(s)

  • Walking in the woods near the campsite.
  • Watching the camp staff practise their end-of-season show.
  • Eating a whole chicken from a 1950s-style diner.

We had ticked off 1,000 miles and wanted some time to sit back, relax and reflect on our journey so far, so that is what we did. Our stay in Belgium comprised three days of relaxing, walking and exploring just being on the campsite.

Now, on most campsites I wouldn’t recommend doing this, but at La Clusure there was plenty of forest and a riverside walk to enjoy. The campsite was huge, almost the size of a village. During the main summer season, there is plenty to get involved in, including canoeing, paintball, mountain biking and archery to name a few. You can order fresh bread from the campsite shop and a full cooked chicken from the 1950s-style diner. Order this at the campsite shop in the morning and collect it in the evening.

Thoughts

  • Check when campsites are open and when activities start. This site has plenty of activities during the main season, but in the off-season it is very quiet.
  • If you are travelling here in the height of the main season, you will need to book.
  • Shade is your friend in the heat. It was here that we made the decision we would want an awning of some kind when we do our off-grid van conversion.
  • Maybe three days of relaxing on a campsite was too much. Mostly because the bar and shop were both shut while we were there.

Day 22 – Quick stop in France

Itinerary

  • Country: France
  • Site: Campsite Pommiers des Trois Pays (€17 with ACSI)
  • Stay again: No (it was nice enough, but we would look for alternatives)
  • Visited: Just the campsite and surrounding area
  • Travel: 4-hour drive

Highlights of the day

  • Trying locally-made cidre.
  • Enjoying a swim in the indoor pool.

This was our last stop before heading back to England. I had a real sense of achievement and had faced many fears head-on. Maybe as one of my fears was driving in Europe, I should think of a better phrase. I’ll speak more about facing fears in a future blog post, but having quit my job in December 2017, this journey marked the start of big changes ahead. It was also the start of planning our own van conversion for 2019.

Thoughts

  • If you feel overwhelmed by a large task, break it down into smaller chunks.
  • Spending a month exploring Europe really wasn’t long enough and we will be back for many more adventures.
  • Local cider is strong and we both love it. Maybe that’s why we were drawn to living in Somerset when we returned to the UK!

Day 23 – Trying out an English campsite

Itinerary

  • Country: England
  • Site: Horsley Camping and Caravanning Club site (£23.65 a night)
  • Stay again: No
  • Visited: Just the campsite
  • Travel: 3-hour drive, 2-hour ferry crossing

Highlights of the day

  • Getting on and off the ferry.
  • Being back on the left side of the road.
  • Showing Rebecca’s family the van we had spent one month in Europe in.
  • Giving our bags to Rebecca’s parents, so we didn’t have to carry them on the train home after we dropped off the motorhome.

It was a good start to the day. We packed the van and headed off. First turning, the satnav said right and I turned left. But all was OK and we were just re-routed and headed for the ferry terminal. At the ferry terminal, I got slightly confused. There are signs for cars and there are signs for lorries. Not wanting to get trapped, I headed for the lorry area, which was a mistake. Anyone watching my moves on CCTV would have been laughing at me taking all the wrong turns, but we eventually arrived and made it to the ferry.

I’d not been on a ferry from dover before, but we had visited the white cliffs a few times. It was a rather strange feeling heading back, as it was the end of our time in Europe, but we will visit again.

A short drive off the ferry and before we knew it, we were arriving at Horsley. One thing I noticed was how narrow the British roads felt (it was also raining). The entrance to the campsite was very narrow, but we made it through and set up before Rebecca’s parents arrived with a platter of food large enough to feed the whole campsite it felt. (Perhaps they thought we might have not been eating much while we were away.)

  • That evening we packed our bags, cleaned out the cupboards and lay listening to the rain, dreaming of our next adventure.

Thoughts

  • Our first campsite in the UK felt very different from any others we had visited on this trip.
  • We preferred being in Europe (mostly because it was warmer).

Day 24 – Dropping the motorhome off

Itinerary

  • Country: England
  • Site: None
  • Visited: Just Go depot
  • Travel: 2-hour drive to the depot and a 2-hour train ride home

Highlights of the day

  • Handing the keys back.

After one month in Europe, we were home in the UK. Our trip had been made possible by using Just Go and being part of their relocation tour. It’s available for anyone and you can find out about it on their website here. To help them bring their new motorhomes to the UK, they offer half-price hire for up to four weeks and a free ferry crossing. You just need to get yourself to Italy to pick one up.

Thoughts

  • After spending one month in Europe in a motorhome, we have decided that in 2019 we will do another trip, this time in our own van.
  • Travel in Europe is amazing, and I encourage you to travel the open road and meet random people.
  • Doing this trip made me realise the Importance of travel and why we need to travel more.

See more from our one month in Europe 

Here is a collection of videos from our one month in Europe. Travelling through Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and England

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