Write2Camp in Europe

Come and literally join me on my literary journey!


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What a Travel Show! The Canary Islands

I’ve never done this before!

I just got back from the movies, better said – a travel show.  It was so good; I just had to sit right down, turn on my computer and share this with you.

I can honestly say there is nothing on TV that can compare to private travel slide shows, films and/or documentaries shown in theaters, libraries, cramped backstage rooms, and dusty attics.  Not only are the films presented from the movie makers personally, but the producers moderate  – live –  in front of enthusiastic applauding audiences.

Tonight I drove about 40 kilometers in order to see a film on the Canary Islands. Although I have already visited three of the islands: Tenerife, Grand Canary, and Fuerteventura, I’m aware  that I have just touched the tip of the iceberg… or better said the top of the volcanoes. This particular documentary interested me since it is  a compact review of all seven of the Canary Islands: their people, the  breathtaking beauty, and the unique differences each island presents.

The architect, Andre’ Schumacher, is not only a film maker, but a photographer, who can hold his own in the National Geographic league. His combination of  breathtaking photos, slowly turning to life through moving pictures and charming animations were all skillfully combined. His live presentation was not only informative, but it was  witty and delightfully entertaining.

clouds

Waves of Clouds.

Waves of Clouds, a phenomenon that I have only seen in Tenerife.

sea-of-clouds

 

If you would like to see unusual places,  hear music played by the natives and where tourists can’t be found– then check out Schumacher’s website. He offers personal guided tours on the Canary Islands, as well as many other beautiful spots on this earth.

http://www.seabreeze.travel/reisen-mit-andre-schumacher/


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Beautiful Blue Croatia – Part 3

campers view

Looks like we’re on a boat, doesn’t it? lol

Our campsite in Pula was special, since we could
park our caravan on the cliffs.

We saw some spectacular sunsets from our deck chairs, and every evening at sunset, dozens of  Dolphins swam by.

To round off the evening, we sat with new-found  camper friends, and exchanged travel experiences over a bottle of Croatian  wine, (which is delicious by the way.)

If you would like to see  more of our camping
impressions in Pula  Just click on  the above photo. ⇑

The following beaches were all within a few minutes walking distance from us. What a Rhapsody in blues and greens. The water  was  so crystal clear, but unfortunately still too cold for us in April.

City in Lights , Pula

We changed our original plans to visit the Plitvice Lakes and decided to drive to Pula, to see ‘The Night of the Lights Festivities’.  Well, they should have named it, the night of the THREE lights festivities. Lol…as usual, the advertisements were more impressive than the show.

It was more a conglomerate of family gatherings than a city of lights. Little  girls dressed in petticoats and oversized bows kicked soccer balls through narrow alleyways with their brothers, while mothers’ ran after the short-stops, snatching one or the other to wipe dripping chocolate ice-cream from their chins.

Our walk through the rather ‘dark’ city of lights, turned out to be a — dodge the flying soccer balls —  hike. But  we took it all in stride, and to Herbert’s delight,  he kicked the soccer ball a few times himself.

If you would like to see  more of our impressions in Pula, just click on  the photo above. ⇑

Of course we visited the Roman Amphibium theater in Pula, which has hosted some of the greatest bands in the world, and still does on a regular basis. As you see, one of the knights from bygone days is still chained to one of the columns. Tsk tsk… I wasn’t sure if I should free him, but being a generous kind maiden of the court, I took heart and released the poor soul of his misery.

 I’m happy to say there are no further images of this brave knight in gray.

Moving  right along….

DSC04169Pula has a large harbor, and has one of the most impressive ship restorers and ship
building manufacturers
.  It was a treat to stroll through the ship yards, and admire the highly polished mahogany decks,
adorned with brass framed pothole windows and shining bells.

The highlight of our stay, though,  was an excursion to Motovun…………,IMG_0084

an ancient village built on the top of a mountain. The landscape was breathtaking. Rolling green hills, miles of wild forests, and serpentine rivers

If you would like to see  more

 photos of Motovan
Just

click

on  the photo

below. ⇓

 

DSC03781

Thank you for visiting, and I would love to read your thoughts. Please do leave a comment. ♥


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Lake Garda, Italy

A favorite camping vacation spot for Europeans is Lake Garda. It’s the largest lake in Italy and lies between Venice and Milan.

The camping site we stayed at is http://www.camping-bellaitalia.it/de/ I can recommend it.  Everything was clean, people were friendly, and prices were more than fair. They offer  great animation programs for children, or  for adults who still like to play. 🙂

Our son and 7  year old granddaughter came with us. Within the first hour she made loads of friends. That’s what I love about camping. It’s so easy to make friends, not just acquaintances. We’ve met people who we have remained in contact with over the years.

Bike and hiking trails lead along the lake shores  through tiny ancient villages to modern squares with spewing fountains at every corner.  But why say more… take a glimpse of Lake Garda through my eyes. Maybe you would like to come visit here too. Let me know… maybe we are there when you are and we’ll drink Italian wine together! Ciao! Ciao my friends!

By the way these were all taken around the beginning of September. We had perfect weather, between  75 and 80 degrees.

If you double click on a photo you can see it in a slide show and LARGE!


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Croatia – Part 2

Do you know what Croatia was called before it was Croatia?

Yes!  Yugoslavia.

If you should ever travel to Croatia I recommend renting a small sail boat, or hop on as a passenger and allow yourself to enter the land of Peter Pan. You can sale to the small picturesque harbors and dock on one of the 1,186 islands (of which 60 are inhabited), along the Croatian’s coastline. There you can explore the villages tucked away on slanted hillsides. The natives live in stone cottages that blend into the surroundings. Their camouflage served to hide their dwellings from pirates so long ago.

Just imagine − their fishing, farming and handcrafting techniques have hardly changed in more than 2,000 years. The Croatian industry is dominated by shipbuilding exports, followed up by organic foods, such as Croatian wine, olive oil, and lavender.

The states in former Yugoslavia, which were held together by the communist President Tito, separated in 1991. Now each one rules as an independent country, and Croatia, the coastal country is, like the other, a democratic country. In 2013 Croatia joined the European Union, and unfortunately has the third highest unemployment rate of 18,3% in the Union, after Greece 27% and Spain 26,8%.

Some fun and interesting facts that I have collected for you!

• The White House was built out of Croatian stone, obtained from the island of Brac.

• The necktie was invented in Croatia and is locally known as ‘cravat’.

The Dalmatian dog, also known as the Dubrovnik hunter, originally came from a region of Croatia known as Dalmatia.

Croatians can vote at the age of 16, if they have a job, but if they are unemployed they have to wait till they are 18.

• Croatia is ranked among the top 20 most popular tourist destinations in the world.

• Tamburitza, related to the Russian balalaika, is the Croatian national string Instrument.

 

• The majority of Croatians are Roman Catholic.

 Hope you enjoy my own photos of  the cities
Poric, Reminj and Vrasis
and the northern Croatia Coastline.
CLICK ON PHOTO BELOW TO WATCH THE  6 MINUTE  VIDEO

View through door

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

AND here is the
REAL STORY!
I’ve listed some facts and personal experiences we have had…
t
hat you won’t find in a travel  catalogue. 

1.  Be aware! Credit cards, especially in restaurants aren’t  accepted – only Euros!

2. Gypsies have knocked at our caravan door, and on opening it, suddenly pile into your caravan selling you sunglasses! They were harmless… but very insistent. Yes, I bought a pair. 🙂

3. Be prepared to see some depressing  sights,  like  sad fishermen, that  don’t even bother to sail out on their  rusty boats… because the coastlines have already been fished clean from larger industrial fishing boats.

4. The camping ground grocery stores in May were all closed.  We had to do our shopping outside of the camping areas. This might be very important for RV owners.

5. In northern Croatia we  didn’t find any sandy beaches, but  as you could see in the photos, beautifully tiled swimming areas with stainless steel  ladders  leading into the water were everywhere. It was like stepping into a huge saltwater swimming pool. Also fresh water showers, for all to use, dotted the coastline.

6. Don’t be surprised by the nudist areas, which are zoned off between textile bathing areas.

7. Last, but certainly not least…plenty of public rest rooms are everywhere…and they were all  sparkly clean! As a matter of fact Croatia may have poverty stricken areas, but everything is very clean.

8.  And a special note for  seniors. We felt very safe, even when walking through dark streets at night. People are friendly  and tourists feel welcomed.

Copyright © Angelika Schwarz, https://write2campeuro.wordpress.com/ (blog), 2015. All rights reserved.


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Why Croatia? Part 1

If you’re like me, then I’m sure you’ll understand how the past holidays have been preoccupying our lives.  The necessary peace needed to sort out and decide where to go in 2015 wasn’t there. Between house guests, four grandchildren friends and family….well you know how it is… And if not, then maybe you have had the quiet to organize and compare  various travel destinations. If so — then you’re a big step ahead of me. 🙂

But as soon as New Year’s Eve becomes history − something happens.  A warm peaceful veil slowly drifts upon our home and covers our lives with a lazy, hazy, snuggly feeling. That’s when Hubby and I put our feet up, sip a glass of wine and finally enjoy our season’s decorations.  In no way are we ready to take down the tree, holly and lights − at least not in the next few weeks. I do believe chillin’ after the holidays is the best part of the holidays.

Still, it doesn’t take all that long for the quiet and relaxing days to seem a little empty, maybe even mundane. The next question is unavoidable. Where will we be heading to this year? 

The European palette offers more flavors than the biggest Italian ice-cream parlor ever could. Shall we go after those vanilla covered beaches or head for the crunchy mountain tops? … Sorry… I think I’m hungry… I’m okay… I just need to lose those Christmas cookie pounds. I sure don’t want to give Herbert any reason to yell; “Who turned the lights off!” every time I bend over in our caravan.

***

mapWe have been considering taking a trip to Croatia this spring, for two simple reasons. The climate is about two months further along than the  typical rainy, sometimes slushy and cold spring in Germany, and secondly because we’ve been to Croatia before and have only seen a fraction of the beautiful sights the country has to offer.

As far as the spring weather goes, the days are sunny and warm.  But just about every night, we experienced horrendous hurricanes. One night it was extremely hefty.  Lightening cracked over our camp site, and the pounding rain reminded me of huge thundering waterfalls.

The beautiful camp site, in Vrsar, is built on terraces. Each caravan or RV parks on its own platform, which resemble stairs going up the hill-side.

Two platforms above our camping spot, stood a small igloo tent. That wasn’t unusual; a lot of students pitch their igloo tents at camping sites.  But I was surprised to see a really old couple crawl in and out of their tent opening. I swear they were in their late 80’s, maybe even early 90’s. Every day they got their little folding chairs out, and sat in front of their tent, sipping drinks, and looking completely at peace. So far so good − but one particular night, hurricane winds and rain hit us so hard, − it sounded like hundreds of horses’ hoofs were galloping nonstop over the roof of our caravan.

As usual, dear Herbert was in a deep comatose-like sleep, while I paced Moby Dick, our caravan, wondering if the roof would hold out.  Every once in a while I looked out of our tiny kitchen window, up to the  round igloo tent,  praying  it wouldn’t swim away with the old folks inside, slipping and sliding in the soggy mud, down the platform stairs.

But the tent, illuminated under the yellow street light, stood strong and sturdy in the wind, not showing the slightest billow or wave in its gleaming canvas.

Eventually towards the early morning hours the rain slowly subsided. Instead of climbing back into my bed to get some much-needed sleep, I kept looking over to the old couple’s tent, hoping they made it through the night without any serious mishaps.

The sun came out bright and hot the next morning. The sky was blue and a warm breeze, from the Mediterranean, swept over our camp site.  With my towel and bath bag tucked under my arm, I proceeded up the hill to the rest rooms.  Sincerely concerned and laden heavily with guilt about not coming to the old people’s rescue, I paused in front of their tent. Suddenly a white claw like hand pushed the flap back, and the old man’s head appeared through the opening.

“Good morning!”  I called, maybe a little too loudly.

The old man looked up and gave me a toothless grin.

“That sure was the biggest hurricane I’ve ever experienced.” I said, reaching out to help the old man to his feet.

“What’s that?”

“The hurricane, the hurricane last night sure was a big one!”

The old man drew his white bushy eyebrows together and studied me. I suppose I was a sorry sight to see: disheveled hair and red swollen eyes underlined by dark purple rings, sufficed to give me a wild crazy look.  And I guess my rant about horses’ hoofs and thundering waterfalls didn’t help much either. He then eyed the blue sky and the paths that were meanwhile dry  from the sun. “There wasn’t any hurricane here. “ He croaked and shook his head, which resembled that of a Bald Eagle. His expression suddenly softened and he gave my hand a gentle pat. “It’s all right dear.”

With a red face, not quite sure why I turned red, I turned on my heel and continued up the path to the rest rooms.…. There are, I thought, some advantages to getting old and being half deaf after all.  

I scolded; you need to get a life! But I didn’t take that self-criticism very well; thus I freaking grounded myself on that sunny day in Croatia, which I spent napping between reading and eating on our fold out lounge chair.  Not such a bad day after all.

A little preview of Croatia – Part 2

 

Copyright © Angelika Schwarz, https://write2campeuro.wordpress.com/ (blog), 2015. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 


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Lake Constance, Our Favorite Camping Spot!

 I believe every camper has a favorite vacation spot. A place that they keep returning to, or at least say they would want to return to someday.

Our favorite spot is at Lake Constance, in Germany, or as the Europeans call it: Bodensee. Of course it helps that it’s only an hours drive from us. For you travelers, who want to pack in a lot of sights within a short period of time,  this is the perfect place to park your RV, or rent a caravan at one of the many camping sites.

Camp Gohren, at Lake Constance —  Our fingerprints are all over the place.

What makes Lake Constance so unique is that its shores lie between three beautiful countries: Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It’s the third largest lake in Europe and covers 220 square miles. Beautiful islands dot the lake, presenting gorgeous parks, which display, because of the mild climate, unusual varieties of vegetation. From the German shores, visitors can enjoy looking over the lake to the breathtaking panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.

We have been to a number of camping sites along the shores, but love this one the best. It’s an ideal location for it lies between two fascinating cities: Friedrichshafen and Lindau. Beautiful bike trails lead from the camp grounds to both towns.

Lake Constance and why it’s so special.

One of the many attractions on Lake Constance is the largest waterfall in Europe, the Rhein Fall in Stein-am-Rhein, where the lake officially − falls − into a river once again.

I created a short film spot on one of our visits there.  If you like, click on the photo to see the video …and please turn up the volume to really hear, see and feel the dynamics.

Rhein Falls — click on photo to see Video.

 There is so much to share about Lake Constance; I have to hold myself back from gushing. I think the best thing is to make a series on this. So for now… you have gotten a first impression, which I hope will make you want to see more. (Please let me know if this topic interests you.) This little corner of Europe represents a particular part of the continent in a most fitting and condensed way, and makes it possible for one to see, just within a few miles, uncountable unique sights.


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The European continent doesn’t have a ‘Florida’….but….

Although Germany can be truly beautiful in winter,  for many seniors in Europe — the number one question is: where can we spend our winter? Where can we flee the gray skies and wet cold that creeps under the skin and into our bones, making us walk like stiff zombies?…And where can we go, to avoid looking at  our sad  RV.

I used to think Italy might be the answer. Italy’s climate varies according to the location, but the warmest part is still cold, (28 ° F), and usually rainy in winter.  What about Spain?   Once we stayed from February to April in Andalusian. Although the temperatures were around 50-60 degrees, the wind was freezing, and there was hardly a day where it didn’t drizzle.  Mallorca…the same thing…Greece and its islands… are not only cold in winter, but everything is closed. It’s amazing, entire beautiful sparkly islands get shut down, and  evolve into ghost towns.

There is one place in Europe, though, which basks under a warm sun, offers beautiful landscapes, and other than paying the normal flight costs, the islands have fair prices.  Because of their tropical location, just off the coast of Africa − the volcanic Canary Islands enjoy permanent spring-like conditions.  The weather is dry, (often windy), with year-round high temperatures near 72°F (22°C), and 100% sunshiny days are commonplace.

Of course we can’t fly over with our caravan, ( I wish), so this is one travel report that has nothing to do with camping. But since the Canary Islands belong to Spain, thus Europe, I hope to warm you up with some of our own personal experiences.

Each Island has its own character and beauty spots, but our personal favorite is Tenerife. To my surprise, I thought the Canary Islands were named after all the Canaries chirping away in their cages, hanging outside of the  white adobe house entrances . But no; the Canary Islands were named after the large dogs (Canes), which were once found living on the islands.

We were so lucky to have been able to stay in a beautiful hotel, on the island, at an incredible – off season price. If you want to get a great deal, don’t book! Just fly over, and go hotel hunting. That’s what we did, and found a gorgeous studio apartment, that normally goes for 200 Euros a night, for 40 Euros a night! No kidding! But please, I can’t guarantee this. Maybe we were just lucky − still, we are planning to risk that again.

Now kick off your shoes, lean back and enjoy some glimpses,  (3 minute video) through our eyes, of beautiful Tenerife and the other Canarian  Islands.

Teneriffa_199 Kopie