Wrapping up the summer season

Wow. How quick did that go? I can’t believe I’ve been based around Lake Balaton in Hungary since mid-May, and it’s now September. It really feels like I only arrived a week or so ago.

The campsite will close next weekend (9 Sep) and most people here are packing up. For some of my other all-season neighbours it’s quite an operation – they move here with everything (and more) they will need to stay comfortably.

I’ve been doing a few odd-jobs, including applying a layer of colour restorer (Owatrol Polytron) to parts of the outside of Rayquaza and wow! It works a treat.

Here’s a video about it:

So where to next … ?

If I can get Olli’s paperwork sorted, I think I’m going to take the advice of a Dutch couple I know from this campsite (Eric and Johanna) and go to Turkey for October and November! But there are many “if’s” etc so let’s see if I can get everything sorted.

For now, most of my packing is done – thanks to the trailer – and I’m relatively ready to head to Budapest where I plan to spend most of September.

Life at Lake Balaton …

Pure bliss. I have to realise how absolutely priviliged I am to live at the shores of Lake Balaton for the European summer.

As a result, there’s not much to write about – my setup here is perfect for putting in a productive day of working, which I’ll scale down a bit in August, and still be able to go for swim, or paddleboard or just walk when I want. The campsite is as good as ever and last week I had Edd, business partner and friend, visiting and we got plenty done.

I’m also glad to report Olli’s injured foot is as as good as new and he’s started to run after the ball without showing any signs of pain, and I’ll start taking him on (possibly shorter) runs next week. He’s also making plenty of new friends…

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Speaking of which, my running has been fantastic and I’m aiming for 3x14KM runs this week, two already done, the last one under 5 mins/km. So not bad!

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At the moment I’m shopping for a trailer to put behind Rayquaza as I now have too much weight with the extra’s, and it will just be a better and safer option to put most of that weight into a trailer. Pics to follow once that’s in place!

 

Man down in Budapest

I came up to Budapest today for a work related item and some other errands, and given there was a turn in the weather, the rainy day was perfect for escaping Balaton (where I’m based all summer)

I took Olli with as he is allowed on all public transport in Hungary. He’s used to train and metro travel and it was quite easy.

We arrived at Budapest Deli Station and headed down the escalator to the metro. I am very aware of the dangers of the bottom bit at escalators for especially dogs but Olli is quite good at jumping over the end.

Untill today that is.

For the squeamish, stop reading here.

His left back foot’s one nail got caught, and ripped out clean, by the escalator. He also suffered substantial tissue loss to the cushions on that foot with pieces cut clean off.

Man! And he only yelped once, but he clearly was in pain and shock. There was blood everywhere and luckily I had a towel with me to wrap his bleeding foot in. Several very concerned bystanders offered helped and one very kind lady located a vet for me on my phone, saved it and helped me towards the taxi rank. Bless her.

The vet imemdialy helped and cleaned the wound, and gave me loads of creams, pills and bandages with a ton of instructions. Then he offered me one of the many shots he gave Olli for the shock and pain! I must have looked like I really needed it…

Wow do I feel bad. Olli is OK now hut it will take a some time for him to heal. In the meantime, he got a hamburger for dinner and he is certainly sleeping on the bed for some time to come! Luckily at Balaton he has a great relaxing environment to get better in.

Always carry your dog on a escalator!!

Discovering a gem in Freiburg, Germany

I was heading from Germany to some potential campsites around Lake Geneva last week, but got stuck in traffic due to an accident near Freiburg in Germany, and took to Google maps to find me a local campsite for the night.

It suggested a campsite on the outskirts of Freiburg, and I headed there with absolutely no expectations.

Wow! Easily the best short stay campsite I have ever been to. Thank you Google Maps…I ended up staying a week!

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The rather long name of “Camping & Gastezimmer am Möslepark in Freiburg” is a bit of a mouthful, but the campsite is superb. Fantastically located right along a stretch of the Black Forest, and on the outskirts of this amazing student town, it offers bike and running paths galore (I am convinced more than car roads) and a calm, relaxing athmosphere that is bliss after a long day on the road.

The management has recently invested in an upgrade of the facilities and they went for upmarket rather than cheap! The facilities were more 5 star hotel like than campsite, but with just the right balance of quality vs practicality with plenty of strong, hot showers.

Attached to the campsite is a hotel with spa facilities and an incredible coffee/cake shop that also served breakfast. They also have a full kitchen with utilities, laundry room with washer/dryer and sinks for hand washing and plenty of well laid out sinks for washing dishes. There are not too many plots (about 30) and they are all short stay (no permanent plots). In the same spirit as Freiburg in general they are extremely eco friendly and focused on recycling and a more natural approach to things. They do not allow plastic or other types of outdoor ground sheets that will damage the grass, for instance. They also offer free, open WiFi that was good enough for me to use for work purposes.

What is strange about the site is that all of the above things I’ve found in some other sites as well but there was balance of things here that just made my whole stay so fantastic. It did not come that cheaply – €150 for 5 days – but it was so worth it, I will certainly be back.

I discovered many trail runs all around the site and the town was within easy reach either by bike or foot, with plenty of supermarkets and other shops.

As an added bonus, I discovered that I was not too far from my dear friend Kiki, who I then got to see towards the end of the week.

If you are ever near Freiburg and need a place to stop, don’t hesitate! 5 Stars.

Scenes from Denmark

In a first for Olli and Rayquaza, we camped in Denmark, in the lovely town of Vejle.

I wanted to go see a client we have there and the campsite  – Vejle City Camping – is about 300m from their offices! Could not be more convenient.

Quick review – lovely campsite, not too cheap but not bad at €104 for 3 nights which included a laundry wash/dry token. Decent, new shower and other facilities and some items for sale in reception. There is a nearby bakery and a bit further (5 more mins walk) a range of small shops and supermarkets.

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They had quite a few spaces but most were still too soggy from the winter and I could only choose from plots which were all a bit slopy. It took a bit of trying to get the van level. The only other thing that bothered me a bit was that it was next to a relatively busy residential road. Though thankfully quiet at night. I got lucky with the light and managed to get this pic of one of their cabins they hire out.

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What was amazing about the campsite was the forest right next to it, and the fantastic trail walking, running and mountain biking options it offers.

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It is truly spectactular and leads to an apparently famous Vejle landmark.

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All in, a nice place to visit – really friendly people, fantastic nature scenes and heaps of access to outdoor things to do.

 

 

Andalusia to Algarve and back

Wow! Where to start – so much has happened since the Tarifa stay.  The stretch from Tarifa to Ayamonte, where my brother lives, is in an area called Andalusia, which covers quite a large chunk of Southern Spain.Screenshot 2017-12-27 21.20.58                                                                                   It’s a great area and the drive from Tarifa to Ayamonte was super. In Ayamonte it was OK to park Rayquaza on the street outside my brother’s place, and no-one bothered us there. I kept on making good use of this over Christmas and well into the New Year even. After a few days though it’s good to have a drive to re-charge tbe batteries.  (of Rayquaza!)

We took to exploring the area around Faro on the Portugal side a bit more and ended up staying in a super campsite (Camping Olhao). It’s a very large campsite and packed with sun-seekers from Norway, Sweden, France, Germany and the UK, all sitting like lizards outside in the sun in the day, and drinking/eating in the superb little on-site restaurant.

There is plenty to do around here, and Faro itself is a short train ride away.  The food in this area is also great and especially fish is a common meal, in some restaurants even BBQ’d right in front of you, and as tasty as you can imagine. I will certainly go back!

A drive further up the coast of Portugal was also great and we ended up in Porto Covo, a small but really quaint holiday town with amazing cliffs and views out to sea. Wild camping here was spectacular and will feature in a properly edited video at some stage….

For Christmas I went to my brother again and we enjoyed the silence 🙂 Had a good meal with local friends and then I had the McArdles – Edd, Kinga, Dominik and Dylan visit for a week of fun in the sun and stayed in my brother’s house.

It was a busy, hectic time with the kids but they loved every minute of it. They’ve all gone back now and Olli and I have been preparing to leave and find a camping spot in the sun for a month or so, to serve as a base, before we will head back to England with a stop at my storage in Barcelona, over February.

I have a ton of video footage but need to find the time to produce a “winter in Spain” video. In the meantime, you’ll have to do with the pics and one short unedited clip. (this being from a spot at a nearby beach at Isla Cristina where we went with Rayquaza as our base and spent the day there.)

For now, greetings from sunny Andalusia in Spain.