Due to the dash down south from York to celebrate Lottie's birthday in Stamford, we've leapt at the chance to give the girls a sleepover and take in a little of the activities you can find around this corner of the East Midlands..... Close to the tiny county of Rutland, lies the thriving market town of Stamford and it's impressive Burghley House. A town perhaps left behind by the Industrial Revolution that remains full of timber framed buildings and numerous fine spired churches, cobble streets and mellow old stone buildings...
There is no better place than Lake Constance for bike lovers, especially for anyone staying at Camping Wirthshof. It's impressive Bodensee-Radweg is a 170-mile cycle path for all abilities. From beginners who want to go around one of Europe's most popular lakes to more advanced rider seeking to beat the record for a circumnavigation Surrounded by snowcapped Swiss mountains and forested shores, in Germany its lakeside is strewn with charming villages, fruit farms and picturesque islands. Islands that include the famous Insel Mainau 'Island of Flowers' which had been on our list of 'must sees' (alongside the UNESCO stilt village of Pfahlbau)
Almost all of the adrenaline-fuelled activities are to the north of Lake Garda, where the lake cuts spectacularly into the Italian Dolomite mountain range. But we had no intention of adding to our Family Adventures . So no white water rafting, kayaking or climbing, this time we'd be adding to our Bike Adventures alongside the south-east corner of Lake Garda, leaving our well placed campsite at Piani di Clodia and heading for Lazise & Sirmione.
Set on a sloping hillside draped in pines, we've been lucky enough to find Camping Šimuni on the Croatian island of Pag. Our spacious pitch offers a shady, secluded spot with spectacular views across the Adriatic Sea. All no more than a few metres from the wide sweeping expanse of beach. What's more the campsite appears to offers extensive facilities, including aqua parks, playgrounds and even it's own impressive stage for live music (although we may be a month too early for all that!) ... and both girls are desperate to return and join their 'Summer Sports Camp for Kids'
Cologne (Köln) offered plenty of potential for a bike ride on a seemingly perfect spring day. Full of sunshine and the promise of spring flowers... the ideal opportunity to grab our bikes and head for the centre of Cologne along the bike paths alongside the River Rhine...
The best part of any road trip is the ability to pick and choose your destinations.. so having thoroughly enjoyed our quick visit to Valencia last year, we're back to find out what more this wonderful city on the eastern Spanish coastline can offer...but this time by bike! Using metro/trains to allow quick and easy access into the city from our convenient overnight destination at Valencia Camper Park. Even easier if you take advantage of the Valencia Card (24hr,48hr or 72hr).. brilliant as it both covers public transport costs but also offers an amazing array of reduce cost of free attractions plus plenty more!
We'd heard that Teruel was a hidden gem protected by the Pyrenees but one worthy of a detour... so detour we did from Zaragoza and onto perhaps the safest motorhome aire you could imagine.... situated right outside the regional police headquarters.. it boasts an hourly inspection by the police and is free too!!! (at least that'll please the bank manager again :))
It's easy to enjoy the amazing sights around Europe during this trip, but our John O'Groats to Lands End leg of this trip also reminded us of the equally beautiful countries in the United Kingdom...
Lying some 65km south west of Bordeaux,it’s hard to exaggerate the sheer enormity of ‘Dune du Pilat’… at some 114m above sea level, it is Europe’s highest sand dune and it’s still growing!! Spreading over 4.5m eastwards each year
The whole Bassin d’Arcachon area is an abundant mecca for bird lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers…. as the Dune du Pilat stretches from the mouth of the Bassin for almost 3km past amazing beaches and sand bars (big enough to be termed small islands!)
With a full 4hrs from Karlstad to Stockholm, there was time to discuss our adventures so far.... with over 25 European Countries now visited in the past 8 months.... we're starting to get a feel for which countries really welcome family travel, and perhaps those that are seeking other audiences.... With summer fast approaching, we hope this might appeal to families considering last minutes dashes for some summer sun and family fun!
Having spent Easter in the wonderfully sunny Catania, it seemed a good opportunity to grab the bikes and work off some of those Easter Eggs that adorned the cupboards of our motorhome...
With no fixed plans, but a great map from the kind owners of Camping Jonio, we headed out on Easter Monday to see what we could find...
Wonderful day in a wonderful place! Zany, super chic and full of people having fun!!! San Sebastian has the views to match the energy of it's townsfolk ..... endless runners, surfers, cyclists seem to populate the beach and it's fantastic promenade/cycle tracks....
The sea was in it's element today - in fact elemental is a good word to describe the 30ft waves that crashed into the sea walls.... Clearly this was too good an opportunity to miss, so from the relative safety of the sea walls, we played dodge the waves and see who can get the wettest... one somehow seemed to cancel the other out, but it was great (but wet) fun!
Onto the aquarium, via a lift!!! not too unusual.... but bearing in mind we had 4 bikes too!! it was a first for any of us!!!! The aquarium was fantastic and far more than just endless fish tanks... it had superb displays on the history of whaling, the area's maritime history and fish anatomy... It was truly enthralling and we were highly entertained... with the ubiquitous big shark present in the main tank... we all left more than happy...
Back onto the bikes for another decent trek around the town and it's promenades before returning to the van to change out of the wet clothes and then back to base.....
Will we manage Bilbao in the morning?? Will Libby get to join the many surfers at San Sebastian tomorrow or will we goto Pamplona to see the route of the bull running.... Choices, choices, choices???
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