The idea of spending 6 months camper-vanning around Europe came about in the early 2000s.

The thought process developed along some broad principles.

A general overall route, with well-planned pockets joined together by vague and changeable links.

Our primary countries would be France, Italy and Spain

Southern Europe at the start and end with more northern parts during the hottest months.

We would try and get to see/follow some of the three European grand cycling tours (the Italian Giro in May, the Tour de France in July and the Spanish Vuelta end of Aug, Sept)

Ensuring we get a good mix of travelling but not spending all our time ….. travelling !!

Started with a list of favourite places we wanted to see/return to.

We looked at ‘Greatest 100’, ‘Best 500’ type articles online and added to our list.

Decided we would spend most time in Italy and added Switzerland (Germany) and eastern Adriatic to our countries list.

The current thinking is …

Ferry Poole to Cherbourg, probably Mon Apr 3rd.

Week travelling down to SW coast of France (popping into Mt. Saint Michel).

Week or so in Provence/French Riviera, see here for wish list.

Week or so travelling down Italy to Sicily, Italy wish list here.

Two weeks in Sicily.

May 9th. The Giro will be in Sicily. It and Ignatius will be cycling up Mount Etna (not at the same time!)

Week or so travelling back up Italy.

May 23rd. The Giro will be tackling the Stelvio pass.

Two/Three weeks travelling down the east Adriatic coast, see here for wish list.

Ferry from Bar in Montenegro to Bari in Italy.

Back up Italy to the Alps (hopefully we’ll have done most of what we what to do in Italy by then)

Bit vague here but during July early Aug we would like to fit in our Alps, Switzerland, Germany wish list, see here, Tour de France and a brief return to Britain for Fionn’s graduation.

Second week in Aug, hopefully Ignatius cycling and Kath walking in the Alps with some ‘visitors’ from the UK.

The rest is even vaguer. About seven weeks left from mid-Aug to first week in Oct (our end date). Hope to mop up anything left on our Alps/French wish list and head off to Spain (and the Vuelta).

I’m sure more detail will be added before we depart!

Ignatius

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12 thoughts on “Planning: the process

  1. “Week travelling down to SW coast of France (popping into Mt. Saint Michel)”

    Can highly recommend stopping in Cancale and having a seafood lunch sitting outside at one of the many restaurants opposite the oyster beds, with wine (and not driving that afternoon).

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  2. In Genoa, track down the Mercato Orientale to stock up on amazing groceries. The Palazzo Reale is well worth a visit. Gelateria Profumo takes a little finding, but makes the best gelato in the city. In the Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare is the largest and nicest town, though all the towns are over-run by cruise ship excursion groups between around 10 am and 4-5 pm, so best to be doing your walking then if you can. In the evenings, all the towns are lovely, but I liked Monterosso best; there’s a lovely long promenade along the seafront and through a short tunnel to the harbour. The little foccaccia place right next to one of the station entrances does amazing sandwiches and other savoury and sweet treats. The beach is great for swimming, and you can take a boat trip down the coast if you fancy a different kind of view for a while.

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    1. Thanks Helen. We’re hoping to walk the length of the 5 towns (Do you know if the path has reopened?) take the train, boat trip and hang around(!). Good heads up on the cruise ships, might be people watching with a coffee or beer when they come in!

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      1. A friend and I wanted to walk part of the path last year, I think from Vernazza to Corniglia, but it was very firmly closed at Vernazza. However, there are lots of walking routes; we saw many people walking higher up on the hills, and you can get maps etc at the tourist info place in Monterosso, probably at other places too. We visited all five towns in a day by train, which was a bit of a marathon and also great fun; you can get a reasonably priced one-day hop-on-hop-off ticket, and the trains are fairly frequent, even if they don’t stick particularly closely to the advertised timetable. The cruise ship groups really are a menace, you can’t move in the little mediaeval streets, the locals hate them, they don’t spend much money and they leave lots of rubbish. You get them in Genoa, too, but they’re easier to avoid in the city. In Genoa, do take a walk around the harbour; it’s huge and fascinating with all kinds of boats: palatial yachts, container ships, dinghies, cruise liners, the lot.

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  3. As mentioned before, Torbole at the northern end of Lake Garda is an outdoor pursuits centre, with lots of parks for campervans. Great for exploring the lake area and the lower Dolomites. Lots of walking and cycling enthusiasts go there. A shortish drive north of there is Bolzano, where you can get a cable car that connects with a light railway further up in the Dolomites: great for walks without having to backtrack. Bonus is that it’s in the region where Pinot Grigio comes from!

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  4. Another recommendation – the Haut Jura for late summer, cooler and quieter after the South. There are stunning valleys, hills and mountains and the view from the top of Le Grand Colombier is etched onto my brain! And you can almost hear the swish of Bradley’s tyres and the cries of ‘Allez Wiggo!’ up there.

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