Surprise! We’re Home! The Last Leg…

So after Old Rusty’s little wobble blew a massive hole in what was left of our budget we decided it was time to make tracks for home… a shame but there was still plenty adventures to be had…

As we left Croatia, it started to rain heavily and didn’t really stop for three days (read: massive snowfall in the Alps!) so our time in Slovenia was mostly spent in cafes or under umbrellas.

Slovenia - Lovely Ljubiana

From Ljubiana we headed to lake Bled for the night which seemed very beautiful from what we could tell through the clouds. The following day we had a bit of a long haul to get back to the Zillertal through the end of that snow storm… that had dumped 1m of fresh pow on the mountains. It was pretty weird driving back in to a valley that looked far more wintery at the end of April than it did when we left in March!

One last postcard picture

After spending the evening discovering all our old haunts were closed for ‘spring break’ we had a to find a few new bars to hang out in before hitting the sack early in preparation for our powder day the day after! Let’s just say it was worth the diversion.. 1m of fresh and perfect sunny weather! Definitely lost a lot of the fitness in the last two months! We also forgot how badly you can get sun burnt on the mountain… wear sunscreen kids!

Disney

That evening we made our way over the border to Fussen in Germany, home to the famous Disney Castle… unfortunately due to the sunburn situation we couldn’t really walk around but we got to see from afar in any case. We spent most of that day on the road, trying to cover the miles back to Calais while not being killed on the Autobahn. That night we stayed in probably the weirdest Aire de Camping yet, in the middle of an old steelworks at Volkingen, Germany’s answer to Sheffield.

Steel

From there it was a quick stop in Luxembourg which was fairly sleepy on a bank holiday Monday but very pretty and on for a quick look around Brussels which is very pretty and a bit more lively! Of course there was chocolate and chips to be had but we skipped the Belgian beer for once!

Luxembourg... land of many bins

And a very funky skatepark

Brussels' odd clock

And gallery

The day after we headed for Bruges, keen to see what it was like without a belly full of wedding wine this time ( Annabel and Matt 😛 ), pretty touristy but very pretty is the answer! We didn’t hang about too long, instead we thought we’d add to the depression of our trip coming to an end by visiting one of the WW1 graveyards in Flanders. Very impressive, an a good reminder of the price people paid so we could have to freedom to drive for 3000km in pretty much any direction without a second thought.

Bruges

Tyne Cot

The final french feast!!

And that was it, it was cold, pissing rain, and all we had to do was take a trip to Franglais Vins to top off the van’s cellar and head for the ferry to Dover!

Oh, I almost forgot… we hadn’t told the Plummers we were on the way, sure to result in hilarity! Here’s the reaction we got… classic!

The Homecoming! from Trevor Sweetnam on Vimeo.

Albania, Montenegro, Croatia

We can’t say we were glad to leave Greece but we were definitely glad to be back on the road with Old Rusty behaving herself again. This week its been a bit of a whistle stop tour of the Balkan coast…

First stop was Albania, where we decided we’d treat ourselves to a campsite after the stresses of the previous few days!

Crazy 'Blue Eye' thingy on the road to Sarande

Albanian surf with Corfu in the background!

The Southern Albanian coastline is quite like Greece in many ways, currently not very developed but there are new (not so pretty) buildings going up all over the place… Shout out to Denis at Camping Kranea who gave us a great welcome.

The view from Camping Kranea

Making our way North towards Durres and Tirana we passed tonnes of beautiful beaches and saw a few strange sights…we also learned a lot about Albania drivers and roads. The Albanian’s it seems, understand neither the meaning or purpose of a roundabout and seem to embark on each journey with the aim of getting as close to death as possible. There are a lot of memorials by the roadside… fortunately ours won’t be added!

Moped? Wheelbarrow? We're not sure!

Tirana itself was a real surprise. The city centre has some really nice squares and little tree lined pedestrian streets as well as a massive market area and some of the best and cheapest souvlaki we’ve found yet!

One of those nice streets in Tirana

A crazy fountain thingy!

And the Berlin wall... why not!

From Tirana we headed on towards Montenegro eventually making it through the crazy border control queues and finding a nice spot by the beach to park up for the night.

The day after we drove the whole coast of Montenegro (it doesn’t take too long) which is full of really nice seaside towns (perhaps more tastefully developed than Albania) and amazing scenery. Then there was Kotor, set in a fjord, it is pretty spectacular, quite small and very walkable. Unfortunately it was raining so we skipped the walk up to the castle, which must be great in good weather, and walked ourselves straight to a pub for the afternoon – for internet usage purposes of course!

The walls of Kotor

And the setting...

In the end, as the weather was bad we decided to make some more progress and head into Croatia. Here’s a tip, don’t cross a border after you’ve had a beer… we got the major third degree from the border guys who it turned out thought we’d been smoking something illicit. It didn’t help we’d just been through Albania and were driving a very rough looking van I think! The parking spot we found that night made up for the hassle though!

Croatia spot number 1

Dubrovnik was next on the hit list… like Kotor it’s a stunner. The only drawback is the throngs of tourists, can’t imagine what it’s like in peak season. Never the less, we had fun wandering round and trying to spot all the backdrops to Game of Thrones…now we understand why it’s always sunny ‘Dooooon Soooof’ not exactly London is it?!

Kings Landing.... I mean Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Walls

The whole coastline of Croatia is breath taking, and we drove pretty much all of it, making a brief stop at Split, which is less touristed than Dubrovnik but is also really interesting with a crazy mish mash of buildings built inside and around the old palace.

The same goes for the northern Croatian coastline above Zadar. There’s no massive hotels here like there is in the south, but some amazing coastline with these barren islands just offshore and mountains rising up from the sea.

Split

Bed with a view!

Till next time x