Overall we still love our lives on the tour, but we have definitely ‘motorhome life’ matured a little over the previous 3 months. First of all, the heat has now become a factor, especially over the last month and a half. We have found that the van can get too hot to enjoy a good nights sleep and this is made worse if you are staying on a public car parks as we feel reluctant to leave the windows open during the night. Also the heat has affected our sight seeing and often we have returned from walking through a city completely ‘boiled’ and unable to return back to a cooler state.
Our 12 volt fan. It is badged up a Marshall (Chinese) and it powerful and relatively silent.
On a practical side, the 12 volt fan that we purchased for the trip has been excellent and has proved to be very reliable as often it has been left on for hours at a time. We would definitely think twice in the future about where we would travel in the summer months and from our experience Italy, more precisely the Venice region, proved to be just too hot and humid for us and probably would be better leaving for the months in the autumn or spring.
Typical motorhome stop over scene. German beer is excellent!
On the budget front we are still slightly ahead of target by about 80 euros only. The French Rivera and Italy in general proved to be more expensive. We found that fewer of the stop overs were free, especially on the French coast and our 40 euro per day budget would be heavily compromised just to ensure we could park. For this reason we found that ‘weaving’ between coast and inland helped and more often than not we found stunning small villages inland that were free to stop over and this diluted the expense of staying on the coast. Another observation is that there are many more motorhomes on the road from June onwards obviously as people take their annual holidays. However, this increased population has not effected us and nearly always we have arrived at our destination and there has been space for us, be it at times the last one. Some motorhomers have passed on tips to us about trying to arrive at the next destination by noon or early afternoon at the latest to ensure they can park. Even though this makes complete sense to us we find it difficult to stick to. Often we arrive at random times, sometimes in the early evening, but this haphazardness has not affected our stop overs on this trip so far.
Returning to costs, Italy certainly consumed more money, and upon analysis of this we have come to the conclusion that we spent more time out of the van, and defiantly more time in bars and restaurants!!! Generally, though the supermarkets and fuel are more expensive than France, Spain and Portugal but this is a small difference in price to pay to enjoy such a great country in our opinion. Conversely, Germany proved to be really cheap and after a few weeks there we managed to get back on track, several times we only spent 200 euros in total per week between us – long live Netto!!!
We could not resist the giant Schnitzels from Netto!
The van on the whole is going well and any minor interior problems have been rectified. We have found the fridge really capable running on gas during the summer months and often turn down ‘paid for’ hook ups as we believe it costs less to keep it on gas. The twin 12 litre LPG tanks seem to last forever, keeping us ‘cooking on gas’ for between 15 – 20 days and at roughly 0.5 euros per litre cost very little to fill. Finally, on the consumption note, the 2.8 diesel roughly returns 28mpg, which on the face of it seems low, but when you consider that we rarely use toll roads and prefer to tootle down the A and B roads taking in all the towns and villages enroute, seems more reasonable (note we have covered circa 10,000 Kms so far).
This is what it is all about, meeting people out on the road.
More recently we have become a little ‘Camino’ obsessed and we are really excited that this part of the tour is upon us. Are we pleased to be leaving the van after 6 months? I don’t think so overall, the touring experience has been wholly positive for us, after all it is our home and we are now used to thinking about it in this way. For sure, we are looking forward to picking up the motorhome tour again in early October, be it with a few blisters maybe!
Our Swift Suntor parked up. For next few weeks we are swapping wheels for feet…….