Our Route 2012/2013

When we set off in October 2011 we had a vague plan. It was to head south to the Algarve region of Portugal for the winter, then head east to Italy and Greece and then back to the UK. We thought our savings would keep us on the road for about a year, but little did we know just how many free places there are to park overnight in Europe, or how cheap wine is in Portugal!

We’ve just set off for our second year on the road. Our plan is, as usual, flexible. We aim to travel south through Italy and Sicily into Tunisia, then back into Italy to Greece, and finally north through the Balkans. If time and budget allows, we’d like to visit Norway en route back to the UK.

The map below shows our latest adventure starting in September 2012 along with the locations we have stopped at. If you click on any of the locations (either in the list or on the map) it will take you to our first post from when we were there – you can then click through to get to later posts which may have more info after we’ve had time to explore a little. The posts will give more exact details on the location we stayed in – there’s a link in the first sentence of each post (we started adding GPS details from Cudillero, Northern Spain – Nov 2011).

CLICK HERE
for a route map of our 2011/2012 trip to
France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, German, The Netherlands and Belgium.

38 Comments

      • Hi

        I have just been reading your blog – amazing.

        We are in a similar position – we are in our mid 40’s and want to take the plunge to take 12 months out, buy a motorhome and do what you have done – it’s a big decision and the scariest thing we’ve ever consider but your blog is inspirational – like you we will rely mainly on letting our house (£800 pcm net) so it looks like we should be able to survive…..

        Good luck with the rest of your tour!

        Regards
        Simon

    • Hi! We didn’t look for work on the road, so can’t help with that. We’ve seen zero opportunities advertised in windows etc, but that’s not to say work can’t be found. Our plan at the moment is to stay in Europe, although I’d like to visit north Africa again. There is an awful lot of this continent left for us to see though. Cheers, Jay

  1. Hi, enjoyed reading this! Came across it while researching Narbonne-have just left there and driven in our autotrail Mohawk to Valencia region. Stayed at Narbonne aire last two nights. En route to Alicante as part of our gap year / mid life crisis! Hope you are having as mich fun as us and our two dogs Charlie and Anna! Regards, Brian and sue

    • Hi Sue, great to hear from you! We really enjoyed Spain, well we enjoy everywhere, it all beats sitting at a desk wondering if the 45 hour week, 30 hours of TV and getting rather drunk rather too often is all there is? Happy travels! Cheers, Jay x

    • Hi Rob, good to hear from you sir! Heading through Germany in late August, will drop you a line when we’ve sorted a route to see if you’ll be around for a guided tour! Hope all’s well, Jay

  2. Hi Julie and Jason.

    Just read your book. Congratulations on making it such an interesting read.

    We are intending to spend 6 months travelling next year. We will be selling up, Jacquie will take a sabbatical, and I have been subjected to extreme “ageism” within the insurance industry, and at the age of 54 I have had enough of redundancy and failing at final interviews.

    We will be purchasing a new motorhome – possibly a Dethleffs Alpa and are interested to know if you have discovered anything major missing from your chosen specification.

    Our intention is to follow a similar route to yours – certainly France,Spain, Portugal, and now Morocco. We will go further east on later tours.

    We look forward to hearing about all your experiences.

    Kind regards,

    Sandy and Jacquie.

    • Hi Sandy and Jacquie, great to hear from you! Sounds like you have a fabulous trip planned, and buying a new roving home, so exciting! We’re really pleased with our Hymer, there is nothing major missing. Small niggles, things like no electrical sockets near the table, but that’s all. We have no cruise control, but haven’t missed it. If anything, we would take things away, like the evaporative air cooling system and probably the bike rack, we don’t need them. If we had no pooch then a scooter would be great, especially for visiting cities.

      Thanks for the comments on the book, much appreciated. If you bought through Kindle, would you mind reviewing the book on Amazon? Morocco was a real experience for us, tough at first, but wonderful once we realised we were safe and learned how to deal with touts. You’ll have an adventure, that’s for sure!

      Pls don’t hesitate to ask if we can help in any way. We’ve had so many pointers from others, we’re happy to get the chance to pass it on.

      Jay

  3. Hi Jay.

    Thanks for your quick reply – we will keep in touch. I forgot to mention that we have 2 dogs, which will cramp our adventurous streak a little! We are intending to take electric bikes with us – and the large garage in the Alpa is a must as the bikes are too valuable to be hanging off the back.

    Cheers,

    Sandy

    • Hi Sandy

      Two dogs? Hooray! What breed are they, or are they tough Heinz 57s?

      We love our mutt, he’s a wonderful travel companion. In our experience, having Charlie with us has been a trade-off, one we’ve been really happy to make. Public transport across Europe is, on the whole, not dog friendly. There are notable exceptions, Prague was a great city to travel with a dog, but they are far between. On the other hand, apart from saving us a fortune on museum entry fees, he’s been an unwitting ice breaker, making an immediately link between us and people we’ve met everywhere.

      The electric bikes sound fabulous, they’re very popular in Germany we’ve noticed. We started off with a dog chariot for Charlie, but he really didn’t like it so after a few aborted attempts to get him used to it we traded it in Morocco. It’ll get some serious practical use out there.

      Cheers, Jay

  4. Hi Jay.

    Two rescue dogs – Cally, a lab / staffie cross, who apparently lived on the streets with a guy, and Jasper, a chocolate lab, who was so fat when he arrived that he was unable to trot – he still has a food fixation!

    Interesting to read your comments on Europe being generally dog-unfriendly. Naively I had expected the opposite. Still wouldn’t travel without them though.

    Scorchio in Bournemouth today – and through the weekend. Also had our first house-viewing today – the house only went on the market yesterday. The selling price will dictate how we plan for our future travels.

    Happy travels!

    Sandy

  5. Amazing blog guys!
    Were leaving in feb next year to do exactly the same thing,our hymer looks almost identical to yours only older lol and were taking two dogs,they are all passported up and ready to go.
    House is rented out already,just a few final things to tie up before we leave (leave rat race etc) :P
    if your still out there we could meet up for a glass or two of wine!
    Pete and sam

    • Hi guys

      I’m a little bit jealous, the preparation, planning and anticipation is always a great part of the trip. It sounds like you have everything sorted, but don’t hesitate to drop us an email if you’ve got any questions (julieandjason@ourtour.co.uk) we’ll help if we can.

      We’ll hopefully be kicking around Europe for a good few months yet, so we’ll make sure we’ve got a box of Lidl’s finest at the ready. Keep in touch and let us know if you have a blog so we can track your progress.

      Cheers

      Julie

      PS – Old Hymers rule!!

  6. Not long now guys,another two months and we will be on our way.
    Have been reading your blog regularly and cant wait as you two are having a fab time.
    How do you find all this stuff youve photographed? youve seen some amazing places,sams worried we are going to miss it by driving past it completely lol
    will send you an email shortly too as would like to ask a few things if thats ok,plus to keep in touch as we may cross paths,weve booked our eurotunnel and land in france on feb 24th at 0700!
    pete and sam :)

    • Serious countdown for you guys now – very exciting!

      Go slowly, stop when you like and you’ll see plenty of amazing stuff. Some people plan to the max, we prefer to amble and see what we find mainly with a general direction to aim in.

      Please email and we’ll do our best to answer any questions. Keep in touch and let me know how you’re getting on.

      Julie

  7. Hi, just come across your website, very interesting. We are currently in Morocco at Moulay Bousellham and are on our way back to Europe having almost had our 90 days here, we’ve been to many of the same places as you. We have two dogs with us. I notice you are currently in Tunisia, we were under the impression that Morocco was the only African country that we could visit with the dogs, or rather, get them back into the UK from. Seems we are wrong?
    We are already planning on coming back to Morocco next year, so much more to see and do.

    • Hi Margaret

      Glad you’re enjoying Morocco as much as we did. Charlie loved it, and has developed a taste for dates – he even spits the stones out! Bringing him into Tunisia was easy. He had to be up to date on his jabs and pet passport stuff, then at the port in Tunis I took him into a small room where the vet looked at his passport, asked me what kind of dog he was and wrote his details in a big old book. Job done.

      As for getting out and back to the UK, we understand that it’s the same as Morocco. Possibly a check of his passport and/or chip in Italy (although I doubt it) and that’s it. Whenever his pet passport has been looked (at the Hungarian border) the staff just looked at the photo and say his name – not sure they know what else to do with him. It’s only really the UK that seems to have strict checks.

      Once you’ve seen all there is in Morocco, I can now recommend Tunisia – now we are over our culture shock and have found guarded places to stay!

      Julie

  8. After reading your preparations and ‘Living with a’ in the 3 Ms, I bought your book ‘A Monkey ate’ onto my Kindle. Thank you, I loved it all. I and my partner are senior citizens and are not so intrepid as yourselves, although we have been to Kenya, camping with a school. We also have an elderly motor home in an Auto sleeper Legend reg N, 17 yrs old, and a 3 yr old mongrel dog. We have been to Venice and drove over the Glasslockner but the last 2 yrs have been in Britain because of the dog. We walked the Pennine Way last year using the motor home as base but next winter we hope to go South to Spain and this started my interest in your travels. I am not that computer literate as can be seen by where I have placed this blog. I don’t know how to blog!!!
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your travels and well done for doing it now whilst you are still young. You never know what is around the corner, so take every opportunity and you are……..Hope I have put this message int he right place this time!
    x
    Di
    Ps. I am not sure what’ Your comment is awaiting moderation’ means. message in red on my screen. When did life get so complicated?!

    • Hi Di

      Lovely to hear from you, thanks for getting in touch. Don’t worry about where you message goes, it’ll get to us. We moderate comments because of spam (not the meat but rubbish comments people put onto blogs to sell stuff – we don’t like it, so we check the comments and approve them first!).

      It sounds like you’ve already had quite an adventure and many more to come. Having managed to avoid the worst of the British winter for two years now I can thoroughly recommend Spain in the winter – although as I type this it’s raining in Sicily, but at least it’s not the snow that northern Europe has been struck by.

      Thanks for buying our book and glad you liked it, although we didn’t enjoy writing it entirely (it became a bit of a chore towards the end) we now love the fact that it’s out there and hopefully inspiring people to go a little bit further afield than they would normally.

      Cheers

      Julie

  9. just found you after reading MMM mag we are contemplating a camper on a pension so cheap is the word I found your last year trip and comment about Condom we went in 2004 and found the Condom museum very interesting but limited to one subject the young 20 at most ticket lady also gave us 2 samples which we have yet to find a use for We have toured with a caravan in France for a year or two but the thought of Aires is tempting
    John

    • Hi John & Christine,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We’ve met many people motorhoming on their pensions, with all the free/cheap Aires available it’s a great way to tour.

      Keep hold of your samples, one day they might come in handy – if only for covering your electric hookup connectors to keep the rain out! :-D

      Julie

  10. Hi guys,

    We stumbled across your website last week and have been fascinated ever since. We are planning an indefinite length (possibly 2 years) European road trip with our pooch, Powell. Unfortunately a number of unavoidable constraints mean we have to wait another 18 months until we can start it, so we have quite a long countdown. It’s wonderful to see people of a similar age to us just upping sticks and doing it; life’s just too short not to take the leap when the opportunity arises! Happy travels and if you decide to go again in 2014/15, we’ll keep an eye out for Dave! :-D

    • Hi Guys

      When we first started planning we had an 18 month or so wait – these adventures take some saving up for! We only started the blog when we began to get close to going, when Jay finished work and had the spare time to set it up. But it was good to have a long time to plan, not the route or anything like that, but what to sell in the house (decluttering brings the whole thing much closer) what to take with you, buying and prep of the van etc. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are getting along – we’ll need to live through other people’s adventures once we’re back to reality :(

      Ju x

  11. Hi guys loving reading your blogs. Shaun, jäger (the 2 year old English Springer) and myself are setting off on our travels from March 14!!! It is exciting times I have just given notice to leave the Army after 24 years. I do hope we can keep in touch over the next few months and when we set off. I did my first car boot last weekend to start getting rid of our stuff!! What an experience that was after never doing one or being to one before. Happy traveling guys Dawn :0)

    • Hi Dawn

      Countdown begins! So exciting! I’ve dropped you an email, so if you’ve any questions just fire away!

      Julie :)

  12. Hello,

    Just found your website, we are on the final stages of our 6 month escape from the US. One more week in Morocco then off to Spain France Italy and eventually make it back to Netherlands to return our RV. Great reading about your adventure. Check out our hsenanigans on our facebook page. Safe travels. 8o)

  13. Epic blog. We have just purchased an identical van for a similar amount, albeit with 68k miles and less service history and I was nervous but your blog fills me with confidence.

    I’d ask questions but I am pretty sure they will all be answered in your blog and its fun to read, thanks for sharing.

    Peter

  14. Hello both of you,

    First of all let me say that this blog is thoughtful, encouraging and incredibly uiseful – especially the page with the list of things you took with you.

    I’m in the middle of converting a van with my partner and we’re loving it and can’t wait to get going. We’ve looked at all the practicalities and done loads of research but, perhaps I’m just being a worry wort, but I’m concerned about security. I’ve lived in Spain for 14 years so as much I’m looking forward to getting into the thick of it and meeting the locals I know sometimes you can just end up in rough places. So do you have any advice besides using common sense and researching where you’re hoing? I’m especially impressed you drove around Morroco, I’ve visited about 5 times on the fast ferry to Tangier and it is a beautiful country but a little scary too. Any advice?

    Perhaps I’m just a worry wort!

    Denica

    • Hi Denica

      My favourite topic, security! :-)

      When we started travelling, we were terrified. Our first night free camping in France had us both jumping at every teeny weeny noise, and we were parked up in a beautiful, isolated spot. The sight of the Spanish mountains across the Bay of Biscay had us nervously chatting about our fear of this new place. Morocco nearly had us turning around. As did Tunisia and Ukraine! It’s absolutely normal to be fearful but please, please consider this: The biggest danger you’ll be in, I think, is when you’re driving. Take care of this bit, drive defensively, fit decent tyres, use your brake lights stupidly early to control the traffic behind you, let people past as and when you can, go as slow as you need to, and you’ll be fine.

      Yep, use your common sense, expect criminals to be idle opportunists. Parking on the street or unguarded location in a big city was a big no-no for us, as was using motorway services for overnight kipping (especially on toll-free sections). You develop a sense of it after a while, probably an irrational one, and the sense changes over time. Palermo looked full of thieves when we first visited it and we paid for secure parking, but after coming back from Tunisia, it looked like home and we cheerfully parked up on the sea front for free. One chap told us Southern Italy looked like you’d be robbed everywhere, but we found it pretty and safe (although we bottled parking anywhere near Naples!)

      Overcoming the fear is all part of the journey. Hmmm, sounded a bit like Yoda there, did I?

      Cheers, and have a fab time! Jay

      • Thank you so much Jason, that’s incredibly helpful. We’re looking at about a two year wait before we can go so I may ask you a question or two again in furture! But thank you again for such a useful and encouraging blog and enjoy your travels!

        Denica

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