Almost the end of our Asian adventure

Written by ralph on October 22nd, 2015. Posted in Ralph's blog

The miserable weather gave us the motivation and the light traffic and clear roads (until the end) gave us the means.  So we decided to push on and catch our ferry, back to the UK, early. 

Things were going well until gridlock as Brussels, traffic meltdown at Antwerp and a multi car pile up on the Breda road. 

The satnav threw a wobbly during the most crucial phase (Rotterdam in the dark) but we still managed to make the boat with just 17 minutes to spare.  

Matilda performed faultlessly.  After mud, mountain trails, corrugations and being throne in a ditch she still managed to cruise most of the day at 75mph!

I’m now off to my bunk to try and remember how to drive on the correct side of the road. 

End of chapter one

Written by ralph on October 18th, 2015. Posted in Ralph's blog

So, where were we?  I remember, we were chilling out on Kos. 

Nick, Karen and Ken arrived later that morning and we continued to chill with gusto. 

Another three hour lunch was followed with a short drive to the port.  It was a sad sight to see numerous inflatable rafts in the harbour and many, many tents along the dock wall.  All a sign of the ongoing Syrian refugee problem. 

  
Eventually the ferry arrived and, what can only be described as, “every man for themselves” boarding took place.  trucks were coming off as passengers, cars and more trucks were boarding. Vehicles were crisscrossing each other.  In the middle of all this a Police van drove through it all, onto the boat, with his sirens and lights blazing, only to come off again a few minutes later.  Base real army trucks joined the fray but cutting across everybody. 

Eventually we all fought our way through the meley and parked up. 

  
The ferry was heaving with people and communist seats were at a premium.  Eventually Belinda and I sat in the fast food cafeteria and ate one of the most unremarkable meals of our lives. 

After a reasonable nights sleep we arrived at Pireus.  Paul asked if we fancied some fun and said “let’s have breakfast in Athens”.  Remarkably the tragic was kind to us as we found a secure car park only a short walk from the Acropolis.  Stopping at  a cafe for a bite and a coffee we then spent a lovely hour and a half wandering around the ruins. 

   
 After Athens we headed out and found a nice wild camping spot. 

  
I flashed up the Braai and Karen, Nick, Belimda and I enjoyed a mixed BBQ of octopus, crayfish, sausages, pork chops and various bits of vegetation. 

  
Two bottles of bubbly were opened, around the campfire, to celebrate Nick & Laten’s wedding anniversary and my birthday. 

This morning we set off again towards Patra, for our ferry to Italy.  We headed higher and higher on various mountain tracks and the cloud base was insuring any view. 

In the end we decided that we preferred to take the road route so we split away from the main group, again, and followed our own path to the ferry port via some spectacular scenery. 

  
As I type this we have boarded the boat and we are waiting for it to sail. 

Tomorrow, chapter two of this journey commences with our solo drive back through Europe. 

A very short chapter

Written by ralph on October 20th, 2015. Posted in Ralph's blog

Our intention was to take a roundabout route back home vie several capital cities.  Namely Ljubljana, Budapest and Prague.  

Having sat down a studied the news it seemed that many of the border crossings and routes we wanted to take were heavily effected by the current Syrian refugee crisis. 

Feeling tired and not wishing to add any additional stress we have decided to err on the side of caution and head in the opposite direction. 

Having escaped from the lowest, stinkiest, hottest compartment in the ferry we, separately, made our way north and stopped at the municipal campsite in Bologna.  Feeling idle we decided to rent one of their chalets rather than camp. 

  
We had a superb meal with Karen and Nick and finally said goodbye to our fellow travellers; Geoff & Irene, Pat & John and Paul, our guide.  Ken had decide to head for San Marino, as he hadn’t slept well on the boat, and so we had said our goodbyes to him on board. 

We wish them all safe travels in the future. 

This morning we set off in that opposite direction, I mentioned earlier, with the aim of visiting Monte Carlo.   

So, here we are camped at Latte, on the Mediterranean coast. 

  
It’s not exactly rufty tufty overlanding, surrounded by plastic battlebus campervans, but we don’t feel we have anything to prove and it suits us. 

Tomorrow we shall pass through Monaco, then into France and hope to reach Lyon where we will look for somewhere to stop.  Depending on the weather, and our mood, it may be another campsite or it may be s hotel.  Only time will tell😀

Breakfast in Athens

Written by ralph on October 17th, 2015. Posted in Ralph's blog

  

Hello Italy

Written by ralph on October 19th, 2015. Posted in Ralph's blog

  
Looking a bit dismal

Chilled and filled

Written by ralph on October 16th, 2015. Posted in Ralph's blog

Today was a ‘maintenance day’. 

  
We’re catching the ferry to Athens this evening so we can relax today.  

Yesterday morning the ferry boarding was an interesting experience (to say the least). 

We turned up at the port and were checked through immigration and customs.  It was only as we arrived at the boarding ramp of the vessel that the problems became apparent. 

There was clearly limited headroom and no way that any vehicle fitted with a rooftent was going to fit. 

I won’t go into all the details here but let’s just say that there was s lot of arm waving, shrugging of shoulders, intense discussion and numerous attempts with each car until a final solution was found. 

Geoff had to remove his rooftent, from his disco 2 (fortunately this was relatively straightforward) and Paul ended up with his rear bumper overhanging the ramp. 

Matilda was fitted in with, literally, an inch to spare. 

   
   
  
Eventually we set sail. 

The others didn’t fair so well. 

Going on a different ferry, only John was able to fit onboard, leaving Nick & Karen and Ken ‘stranded’ in Turkey. 

  
  Once we arrived in Kos we refitted Geoff’s rooftent, cleared customs and immigration and drove to a secluded restaurant where we were allowed to camp. 
The view from this little paradise spot was lovely and with the sound of the Aegean, once again, as our soundtrack we had a wonderful 4 hour lunch followed by a short rest then a 3 hour evening meal. 

  
This morning I went for a refreshing swim and then we did a bit of washing a tidying up. 

  
We are now ‘bracing’ ourselves for another lunch!