Seeking warmer climates

I’ve been using the UK as a base for Rayquaza whilst I traveled to Asia and Australia and spent the last few days preparing for a much anticipated return to Spain.

I decided to take out the main dining table that came with the motorhome as it is very heavy, too big and consuming much needed floor space with its big leg.

Typically this table offers a second bed but I never use that option anyway, and the replacement is from a UK comany (Teak Marine) which can swivel in a number of ways. (and lock in place)

It also makes much better space for Olli to be more out of the way and all in, a great change.

I also managed to update the “garage” and put some shelves in, and had some clearing out.

So, all set for the warmer weather in Spain. First stop is Castelldefels just outside Barcelona to visit old friends and collecting / dropping a few items at the storage I have there.

Then I’ll head further south to near Huelva, my brother Melt lives, and I’m likely to make that area the base for the winter.

Whilst it’s going to be great to be back in the road, I did enjoy being back in Suffolk albeit briefly. The opportunities for running in this area are endless and I managed to capture this picture along the river here in Woodbridge on one of my runs.

I am however looking forward to being back on my old running track along the beach in Castelldefels which ends at the marina, where I can continue dreaming about the next step after motorhome living….

Porto!

I’ve been UK based for a bit but doing a few work trips from there, the most recent being a trip to Ireland and instead of coming back directly to England I escaped to Porto for a romantic weekend away with my better half.

I did go via Lisbon and after seeing a client there we took a fast train (AP) to Porto, which took 2 1/2 hours and was super nice.

We also got lucky with an Airbnb find which was usually booked, but which must have had a cancellation. Smack bang in the middle of the town with most of the major attractions short walks or uber rides away.

It was a mostly culinary weekend with some sightseeing, as both me and the boyfriend love good food, and there is plenty of that in Porto. And almost around every corner is a great view.

It’s a magical place to visit and I would highly recommend it. I’d also recommend you try eat dinner at Yuko Tavern where you can try the very traditional and amazing Franceshina dish. Tip: don’t eat lunch if you’re going to do this for dinner. You’ll need the space….

Another super thing to do is Sunday “brunch” at Champ’s de Baixa Bistro which serves an incredible brunch menu with wonderful food and a superb atmosphere. Lucky me to have had all of this pre-arranged by my guy 😀

Overall Porto is an incredibly romantic city and it’s somewhere I’ll be back, for sure. Quite conveniently I can fly our of Porto direct to London Gatwick. I’ll let the pics below tell the rest of the story.

Italy to the UK

I left Andrea and his wonderful town of Pieve di Soligo and routed through the Austrian alps to Germany.

Wow. What an amazing routing. I’ll simply have to come back and do this at a far more leisurely pace as clearly there is plenty to explore.

The scenery was stunning and I can imagine the drone footage to be shot here!

On the Italian side, I stopped at a petrol station that even had a dedicated area for motorhomes complete with electricity (seemingly free) and some lawn space. I’ll write about this as a review but it’s the first time I saw something like that. Certainly very easy to sleep over there on a longer journey.

I made my way to Germany where I paid a quick visit to my friend Kiki, and it’s obvious I’ll have to go back and properly explore the beautiful town of Rottweil. (this is becoming a theme, clearly, wanting to go back to places…)

Then a stopover in Menz, France, using the superbly located municipal campsite there.

Before the crossing on the very efficient Eurotunnel, I usually stay over just outside Calais, and was greeted with a superb farewell sunrise this morning.

Farewell to the Continent for now, I’ll be back soon. For reasons other than just scenery, let me assure you.. Portugal beckons! 💘

Leaving Eastern Europe

The summer in Europe is coming to a quick end… All of a sudden you need to put a jumper on at night.

But what a summer. If you saw my video featuring some scenes from Lake Balaton you’ll know I had an amazing time.

That was however nothing compared to me ending up hopelessly in love with a rather special guy from Portugal, and me concluding my summer with a visit from him and the subsequent wonderful realisation that I’m now in a relationship. Which if you know me, is a very rare situation for me to be in.

He’s back in Portugal now but we are working on some options. I suspect however Rayquaza will be touring in Portugal more than initially planned!

I’ve now left Hungary and stopped over in Maribor on the way back to Pieve di Soligo in Italy, to visit my friend Andrea again and have some more tweaks done to Rayquaza. From there I plan to visit my friend Kiki in Germany, and eventually head over to the UK, where I will be based over September and October whilst doing some international travel.

The campsite I’m staying at in Maribor is one of my favourites and I’ll post a more detailed review of it soon.

The Balaton life

It’s been a month since I posted on here but that’s me keeping to my previous post’s promise that I’m here to take some R&R here at Lake Balaton, in Hungary. And that I did, though there’s been plenty of work and I’m pleased to say my running has received some very serious attention – I managed more than 240km in July alone, averaging 10km a day, six days a week, and making sure the 10k’s come in ideally under 50 mins, but given the heat, in most cases around the 54min mark. I’m well pleased with that.

Olli and I also had some serious bonding time, and he’s thoroughly loving the Balaton visit again. He is now better known in the campsite than me – he’s made a lot or friends.
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I’ve also had plenty of trials with my DJI Spark, a drone which I had my eye on for some time, and made the swift decision during an unplanned trip to Sofia to get at Munich airport. I’m well pleased I did, and shout-out to Till Carlos (and thanks for the visit!) who pushed my decision on that purchase over the edge. He’s patiently waiting for my first video, but I’m still learning the ropes with the drone. And I’m not ready to upgrade my WordPress plan just for the preview videos!

The bike + trailer I got has turned out one of my best buys ever. I’ve now done more than 550km in it and it’s superb to transport Olli over long distances, or do the shopping (or to Olli’s dismay, sometimes both). I’m up north now near where Edd and family is staying and could do a 20km there / 20km back trip to them without much fuss. It’s fantastic. The little electric engine in there just gives me that bit of extra assistance with the trolley – you still have to peddle hard – but it helps and I’m well pleased with it.

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The buggy is also a great basket for Olli if I’m stopping somewhere where he can’t come in, and it’s well ventilated on all sides. Best of all, it folds totally flat and is quite light, so perfect for Rayquaza!

I’m staying at Balaton till end August when the work gets back to full swing and I’m kicking it off with a quick work trip to South Africa then, out of Budapest. Then I’ll route back to the UK via Italy again and will be UK based, but traveling out to Asia and Australia via air during October. Till then, the R&R continues, ideally!

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#IAmLucky #AlienInEurope

 

R&R and some work, at Lake Balaton

After the Bulgaria trip I spent a few days back in Belgrade (thanks Donogh and Sneza, and Gabbi! – I parked in their driveway) and then came over to one my favourite European summer spots – Lake Balaton in Hungary.

I’ve been coming here for many years now and have a few favourite camping spots all around the lake. At some I’ve become such a regular they reserve the same plot for me, and all the other campers know not only me, but also Olli (and he gets lots of attention, not to mention treats…)

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Lake Balaton is a superb summer destination for all sorts of holidaymakers – if you have kids, it’s a perfectly safe and secure environment with the lake itself offering shallow, fresh water swimming that really is perfect for kids. If you are a birdwatcher, there’s plenty of that and if you’re a cyclist or runner – there is a fantastic cycle and run track around almost the entire 100km+ length of the Lake. There are even nudist campsites if that’s your thing, they cater for all tastes! I can really recommend a holiday at the lake. Plenty of guest houses, or most campsites also offer bungalows if you don’t come with your caravan or motorhome. And very good value for money overall! (Average night for a huge camping plot around €20 a night, in peak season.)

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I’m staying here for most of July and August, traveling around and also meeting up with Edd and family when they come to their vacation spot at the lake for August.

My postings on here for most of July and August will be relatively few and far between as I’m trying to switch off a bit, but I do want to do some reviews of the best buys I’ve done for the motorhome living. These include the 4g antennna, the electric bike + buggy and a few other camping items. Good stuff to do on a rainy day 😉

For now, I’m trying to balance around 4 – 5 hours of work with some sun time, swimming, plenty of running and catching up on some outstanding reading. It’s a great place to be doing all those things!