Venice – Italy

06.06.2013

We woke up wonderful this morning. Around half past 9 we was out of the bed. Really early for us. We took it easy… took a shower, was eating breakfast and wasted some time. Around 12 we was finally ready for Venice. Quickly buying bus tickets, direct on the camping place and then to the bus stop. The bus drove us direct on the island, till the last station.

Our first target was the hostel. Because we went with 2 backpacks and it was the best to bring them first to the hostel. But the hostel is in the middle of the city. Like that we got the first impression of this famous and amazing city. Well, I’ve been there already 2 times, but for Julia was it the first time.
Inge was leading us again the way. And even with Inge we got lost on the last meters. It is really easy to get lost in this city.
At the end we ended up in a dead end and had to go around 3 corners before we found the hostel finally.

Unser Hostel - Our hostelIt is a very common building, between all the others. Just a small sign on the door shows ‘Casa Rosetta’. We rang the bell and someone was looking out of the window. We didn’t booked it online. A Chinese Lady opened the door. The owner of the hostel. We was a bit surprised about Asian owner, but ok. We are international. :)
And they was very nice. We even got the double bed room for the cheaper price. I think they thought that we are a couple :)
The hostel is not big. As far as I saw it have 3 rooms. Our double bed, a 4 bed room and in the 3rd I didn’t had a look. The price is also great (for Venice). We paid 23 Euro plus 3 Euro city tax. So 26 Euro per night and person (inclusive breakfast). It is just 5 minutes walking from the Rialto bridge. (Hostel ‚Casa Rosseta for Backpackers‘, San Polo 1108 (Campo S. Silvestro (der Name des Platzes)), Venedig)
The owner was just quickly cleaning our room and then we could move in. Changing clothes, repacking the backpacks and then we went out again. It was around 2 already and we wanted to explore the city.

P1000133 (Kopie)I can’t exactly tell where we went. Criss-Cross trough the city. Just following our nose and a bit the map :) First of all over the Rialto bridge, of course. Then to the St. Mark’s Square and then further, following the water. On the way we was walking through a park in which was the exhibition of the ‘Museum of Everything’, which we visited as well. And then further… this exhibition, church, cathedral and other sightseeing points… until our feeds started to hurt and we decided that it is time to go back to the hostel.

After a short break we went straight out again. We wanted to eat something on the canal Grande. It was just around the corner and there are several restaurants. We was choosing the restaurant ”Canal Grande”… how fitting.
We was choosing this one, because it was advertising with the best offers. A normal pizza for 8 Euro. A good price for Venice.
But I decided to order Gnocchi again, which was so jummy in the hotel. Julia ordered first and was choosing one of the cheap pizzas. An the waiter told her to relocate then, if she like to order one of this pizzas. The tables on the water are reserved for customer who order from the menu (means the expensive meals). The cheap pizza eater have to sit on the cheap places. … And he was absolutely serious. Unbelievable… and that is what we did… we couldn’t believe it and thought it was a joke.
Another waiter said something to our waiter and in the mess I ordered my Gnocchi (from the card) and we just stayed on that table. My 5 Euro beer was also not very cheap.
Later we asked the waiter again if he was serious with the table thing and he said ‘Yes’ and tried to explain it… really?

After our late meal, we walked through Venice by night.But my feet was still hurting and it was just a small round.
Venice by night is even more amazing then during the day. All the tourists are gone and it is much more quite. Quite enough to enjoy the city much better. The only light in the streets are from some lanterns. It’s mystical. Just wonderful. It was a great decision to stay over night on the island. Just pity that our feet didn’t wanted anymore.

The round trip ended on the hostel again. On the place in front of the hostel was some teenager partying. Maybe with a reason, maybe just to enjoy a Thursday evening. Who knows. But they was entertaining half Venice.
We didn’t cared. We was so tired that we fall asleep even with this noises in front of the window.
It was a great day in this amazing city. And tomorrow again :)

07.06.2013

Unfortunately was the night not so relaxing. I woke up in the middle of the night, don’t know why. But could fall asleep very quick again. And in the morning at 7:30 was the night over. The worker started their work on the place in front of the window. I couldn’t sleep anymore with this noises. But ok, at least we was – more or less – early awake and had more time to explore the city again.

Around 9 we went for breakfast. The other both Chinese girls, which slept in the hostel, was also at their breakfast. I even got a coffee. Great. It’s seldom at the moment, that I get one in the morning.
After we eat a bit and had an intercultural chat, we packed our stuff and left the hostel.
This time we had to carry all our stuff with us. And we was shopping yesterday. :( The first place to go was a post office. I bought a Venetian mask for my mum, and needed to get rid of the parcel. Luckily we passed the post on the way to the St. Mark’s Square. To send a parcel is no problem. I just hope it will arrive in one piece. And we bought straight a hoard on stamps for our post cards.

And then we arrived again on the St. Mark’s Square. Julia wanted to get full of Pigeons (which are in thousands on that Square and just wait for tourists who feed them with bread or corn). Julia bought some bread on the day before and started straight to allure them. But more then 3-4 didn’t wanted to sit on her, in the same time. And I made pictures of it :)
Until some people in orange came and told us that it is not allowed to feed the birds there. The St. Mark’s Square police… so we had to stop it and went to a shadow place to have a rest.
We made a plan where to go next and what to see. The new target was the Jewish ghetto of Venice. And on the way was several other sightseeing places to see. Lets go.

On the way we got several times lost. Even with detailed map and Inge. But finally we arrived in the Jewish ghetto. Here we made a break to relax and to enjoy a great Italian ice cream. It was a great sunny day, with at least 25 degrees in the shadow. Weather to start to sweat and to be lucky about a nice ice cream. ;)

P1000230 (Kopie)

 

On the way to our bus station we was visiting another 2 churches. The bus no. 19 brought us back to the camping place, where we relaxed our hurting feet and was washing our laundry. And most important: relaxed.

I also used the (fucking slow) internet connection on the place. I found some mails from my customer… who was telling me that I have a lot of work to do. Work for several days… on a normal computer. Well… will see what it will be. Sitting days and working wasn’t in my plan. Especially is our time schedule tight as well at the moment.

08.06.2013

Hey,

another day where we did nothing much. Actually I planed to work in the morning a bit and then leaving the place. At 1 we had to be out of the place. But as I thought needed the work more time and we decided to stay on the place for one more day. As we have here internet (which was now during the day much faster) and good toilets and a shower.

So, that was all we have done today… I was working. In between we was quickly shopping at LIDL, as today is Saturday.

But tomorrow we go back on the street. Further to San Marino. After Florence, Pisa and then further to the west.

Best wishes
Gordon

Our current route:

Bigger map

Bassano del Grappa in Italy

03.06.2013

Hi together,

as expected was the view in the morning great. :) Like every morning, till now, when we slept in the car.
The sun was already above the mountains and was shining in the valley. Anyway we was early this morning, as long sleeper. It was still before 9, when we left our bed. After a short washing, we packed our stuff and went back on the street. It wasn’t far anymore till Bassano del Grappa, our target.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Inge (our navigation system) wasn’t in mood to work this morning. She wasn’t able to find satellites (I shouldn’t have said so many nice words to her). So I had to drive by signs. Luckily was Bassano already on it.
And the landscape was even more beautiful then the day before. The last end, before the Alps end, you drive through gorges… just amazing. If you ever drive from Austria to Italy… take the Brenner street, not the highway. It takes more time, but is much more beautiful.

A few kilometers later was Inge ready to work again and was leading us to Semonzo. A small town near Bassano del Grappa. This is the place where all the paraglider come to. Julia wanted to stay here for a few days, to see the place and the surrounding. She wanted to make a part of her paragliding course as well here, but unfortunately she didn’t managed to get all flights together, to make the course. So, she had to stay on the ground.

But she wanted to have a look anyway. So we went, after a small stop at the tourist information and a small supermarket, direct on the mountain. From 0 to a height of 900 meters in 15 curves. And this curves are nothing for softies :) Partly 180 degrees. I think that is even to much for biker to have fun. The Kangoo also didn’t liked the 3rd gear anymore. We drove up the hill with 30hm/h in the 2nd gear. Slowly slowly. :)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut the view up there made us forget everything. On half of the hill (the Mt. Grappa itself is around 1700 meter high) is a small restaurant with a bigger parking space. We stopped and enjoyed the view from there. I am sure you can see half of north Italy on a day with clear air. Today was it not soo clear, but still great. Even Venice is visible from here, and it is around 70km further.

Direct at the restaurant parking space is a ramp for hang-glider. The meadows for the paragliding was a bit more down and up the hill. On this mountain are several places for both sports. Seems like it is very popular for para- and hang-gliding.

The search for Julias people was a bit complicated. On the place where we was, they wasn’t. An other participant said that they are just down for lunch and they will come back later. So, we was waiting there and watched the other guys and enjoyed more the landscape. But as they wasn’t back at 3, we guessed that they are maybe on another place. So, we checked another place further up the hill, which is for beginner. And there they was. Julia started to chat with them and I used the time to make some pictures of the landscape and the nature.

We’ve decided to stay on the mountain over night. On the restaurant was a parking space and in the night is there nobody. So we went back to the parking. Julia was building again on the car and became mad from the short term rains in between. I wasn’t feeling very well that afternoon and I took a nap. My hayfever is here also back… great! :( After the nap I felt better again.

Mt. Bassano by nightAfter the night came and it became dark on the mountain, we could enjoy again the view. But a different this time. Everything was dark up there and in front of us we could see a star sky on the ground, below us. The lights of the houses and streets look from up there like a second star sky. If you ever come to this place to camp. Go up on the mountain and sleep one night there. It is amazing.

After we went to bed. Early this day… around 10. But it was good to relax a bit.

Best regards from Italy:)
Gordon

04.06.2013

Hi again.

Sleeping long was good :) I woke up sweating around 9. On the evening before the temperature went down to 13 degrees. But as soon as the sun was shining on the car it went up straight to 24 degrees in it. I guess I was never so quick out of my bed in the last days. Julia did got got disturbed by it so quickly.

But it was good, because a bit later the first pilots arrived and was parking next to us. The first morning chats started (Julia from the bed).
Then also hang-glider came this morning to fly. It was interesting also to see this kind. But it looks very complicated with all the stuff and building the glider.Paragliding is much easier. You just need your parashoot and the backpack and that’s it. But even there a beginner equipment cost around 3000 Euro. Also an expensive hobby. But I think it is fun anyway :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday I had finally the chance to try the solar panel.The solar panel on the big tank and then in the great morning sun. After approx. 2,5 hours was the battery tank full (from 50%). That looked good. That the solar panel does not charge the battery (88Wh) in one hour is clear. But 2,5 hours for half a charge, is ok.

The rest of the day we was just relaxing. One day doing nothing. The restaurant was open from the noon and I had the chance to finally get a coffee… sorry, Cappuccino. And we got the WLAN key from the restaurant WIFI :) I need it to go online from time to time… for example to write here in my blog ;) or to check Couchsurfing or to check the weather forecast or to check my bank account or or or… :)

In the evening we relocated the car direct on the restaurant parking. As we are customers now :) From here we had a direct view, from the front window, from the cliff on the plain in front of us. That was even more great… to lie in the bed and look straight on the lights in the plain.

05.06.2013

Also this day was very quite today. We got up somewhen very slowly. The first pilots came also slowly on the mountain. The weather wasn’t that great this morning. Cloudy and a bit raining partly.
For us it didn’t matter. We was in use to shit weather already and we didn’t wanted to fly. Luckily it became better at the end of the morning and the pilots could start.

We was checking in the internet where we could park in Venice, talked a bit with the people and I made pictures. :)

We decided finally to stay on a camping place in Venice (mainland) and then having a look what we can do from there. There is really a camping place in Venice. That was our target. But before we passed by the hotel ‘Garden Relais’, where all the pilots stay. We hoped to get some warm food, a shower and toilet there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo we went straight there. Direct next to the hotel was the landing field for the paragliding. That’s why it was the favorite hotel for the pilots. The food was tasty, even we couldn’t order half of the menu. The kitchen was already half closed (at 2pm.). I’ve ordered noodles and got Gnocchi. Was very jummy, but for 8,50 Euro was it a very small portion. I didn’t got full at all, but at least the first hunger was gone.
And after I enjoyed the nice and clean toilet (sounds strange maybe, but in Italy they have usually the squat toilets… and public toilets are usually not really clean… then you’re happy about a usual and clean toilet). :)

And then, after a quick chat with Julias fly-school people, we went back on the street… direction Venice.

Inge has the option to give the drive a selection of several routes. She was showing me 3 different options. I was choosing this time another then the preselected one.It was an interesting decision. Because with this route Inge was leading us just a few kilometers later on field roads. I was thinking already that Inge is going mad. But I followed her instructions (couldn’t do anything else). At least we saw the nowhere of Italy. More in the middle of nowhere was not possible anymore :) We even had to drive through a (small) river. (I have it partly on video.)
But the Kangaroo managed everything very well.
Some when we came back on a normal road. We just ended up in the rush hour traffic. It was very busy and we needed again more time then Inge estimated.We also had to stop for the 5. petrol refill. It seems like in Italy is every petrol station doing their own prices. Even they belong to the same company. The best is to check a few petrol station to get a price range and then choosing a cheap on. We saw a range from 1,60 to 1,80 Euro in a circle of around 20 km. We got a petrol station with 1,70 (the 1,60 we saw first later).

Gordon

Gordon on the mount Grappa

And then we drove in direction to Venice… sometimes faster, sometimes slower. But Inge told us the way. And then we arrived in Venice.
Very strange to drive there. For most of the people (incl. me till a few days ago) is Venice just the island, with all the canals and no cars. But this is just a part of it. Venice is also on the main land. And this most of the people don’t know.
A few minutes later we was standing on the camping place. I almost missed it. It is in a dead end road, which starts in a roundabout and just a sign is mention it. But we saw it and found the camping place ‘Venezia’.

And we was lucky. The check in is closing at 8 pm. We arrived 5 minutes before 8. Lucky us. 28 Euro per night for 2 people and a car (good that we sleep in the car). Wlan for 2 Euro per 24 hours. The washing rooms are clean and new (shower, toilet (normal ones ;) ) and sinks). There is even a washing machine and a room to wash the dishes.
After a short visit at LIDL (800 meter around the corner), we prepared our bed and got straight in.

It was Julias first night on a camping place ;)

See you
Gordon :)

Our current route:

Bigger map

Munich, Castle Neuschwanenstein and more…

01.06.2013

Hi,

it goes on. :) And again we slept to long. We wanted to go today to Munich, to visit the German Museum. But I ignored successful my alarm clock again. So, we started around 10am. Then on the highway in direction to Munich. It was around one hour driving. The weather was – of course – shit already. It was raining like hell. :(

First of all we had to go to a special post office. Julia had to pick up a parcel from this post office, which was send there until her call. Of course I was adding a wrong address to the navigation system. We ended up in the wrong area of Munich. Luckily it was not far to the correct address. It was a time loss of half an hour.
Then we found finally the right post office. In the middle of the city. No parking. But it can’t take long in a post office – was my thought – and I just stopped opposite of the office, in a driveway. Of course… it took longer then a few moments. The post officers couldn’t find the parcels. It took them half an hour – plus Julias help – to find them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe German Museum was almost just around the corner. And again searching for a parking space. I decided to go in a car park. It’s easier and less stressful. But more expensive. 7 Euro per hour (max. 20 Euro). Really expensive. But it’s Munich city.
The exit of the car park was just next to a Globetrotter shop. Of course we needed to have a look inside. Julia wanted to have a look for shoes and I was looking for one of this great towels (very thin, feels like leather… but dries very good). So we went in the shop. 4 floors… probably the biggest Globetrotter store in Germany. In the basement the people can even try canoes. ^^

After ages later we left the store. No shoes, but I found a towel, a map of Europe and lashing straps.
After we left, we went quick to the next cash machine. I was out of money again. The third time I took 200 Euro from my account. Slowly it becomes expensive… but there was till now a lot of stuff which was not planed in the travel budget, like the solar system. And then we went finally in direction to the museum.

Finally we reached around 2pm. the museum. It was full, for such shit weather. We payed our 8,50 Euro entrance fee and realized that the museum will close at 5pm already again. So we had 3 hours for this huge museum. It’s not much, but well… what we will see, we will see… and the rest unfortunately not.
First of all we came in the shipping area. Old vessels, new vessels… original ones and replications. For me was the U1 (submarine) the most interesting part of this exhibition. It was in the basement and sliced, so that you can see everything inside. That was very interesting. To see the first submarine.
Then we reached the electronic section. So, generators and high voltage devices. And every 3 hours they make a high voltage simulation. We came back for the next show. Really interesting and very loud. I made a movie, but can’t show it. As well the pictures. It is not allowed to show any video or pictures from inside the museum. Totally dumb… but what can I do. :(

We had around one hour left, after the show. We decided to go separated ways. To see more what is interesting for us. I decided to have a look in the IT section. But it was boring. Sure was it interesting to see this old technique and how it works before (I mean before the computer came in every single house). But when I passed by the air section of the museum… in the last 5 minutes, on my way out … I know that this would have been much more interesting. Well… it was to late. I had a quick look through and then had to go out.

Julia was waiting already outside… or better in the souvenir shop, direct in front of the postcards. Postcards… good idea. I also needed some. I took 3 nice ones from Munich. I always take 3. 1 is always going to Lotta :) and the other both always to 2 different people.

After we went back to the car. But first to Globetrotter again. :) I found a knife and a tool for the way (each for just 10 Euro) and 2 books about traveling. Something to read on the way :)

Then we payed our 15 Euro parking ticket and back on the street in direction to Castle Neuschwanenstein. Not much further Julia realized that we forgot the mountings for the solar panel on the roof in Augsburg. We took the panel off in Augsburg, but didn’t put it back on the place… and now was the mounting still in Augsburg. We had to go back. :(
Around 8 we was back in Augsburg. Christine was out and we went in the city to have a lunch. Then we went to her home, took the mountings and got straight a few more tips from her, for the next days.

And straight back on the street, from Augsburg on the B17 down in direction to Schloss Neuschwanenstein. Christine told us a parking place on the street, where we could sleep over night. We found a place (maybe the one she told us, maybe another) und sleept there.

02.06.2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t talk about sleeping late anymore. We got up around 10, packed everything and went straight to the castle. On the way we remembered that we wanted to visit the church ‘Wieskirche’. Christine said that the church is beautiful. So, we had to visit it. Luckily we didn’t passed the point where we had to turn to the church. I told Inge (our Navigation System) that we want to make a stop at the church and she told us where to go :)
The church is hidden somewhere in the nowhere.Looks like she is also a very popular pilgrimage destination. And it was not a lie, inside like outside is the church very beautiful. Mural art inside and outside.

Today there just arrived pilgrims. They walked partly over 100 km to this church. Well…

We checked the souvenir stands quickly and left the place again. Heading forward to our main target of the day, castle Neuschwanenstein. It is just a few minutes away (by car). We saw a castle from far already, but we thought it is the second one. There are 2 in this place. It didn’t looked like the one from the postcards. Much more grey and smaller and the shape was different as well. But then we realized, it is Neuschwanenstein. Well, maybe it looked so grey because of the weather.

Schloss NeuschwanensteinAnyway, the village was full of tourists. Almost no Germans, many Asians and people from Eastern Europe. We decided to have a look to the Marien-bridge anyway. From there shall be a great view on the castle. So, we packed our stuff (incl. umbrella) and started our walk… in the rain. After the way up, of 20 minutes, we reached the bridge. The view was really great. The weather was still shit, but it looked anyway great.
The castle is approx. 100 meter direct in front of the bridge, on the same height. The bridge itself is approx. 50 meter over the ground. It’s great to make good pictures. Much better pictures when there is no rain and sunshine… but we have to take what we get.

We went back to the car, without a visit of the castle itself. Julias shoes was totally wet already, it was cold and we needed to head forward. We wanted to reach Italy on the same day. Inge (our Navi) estimated 5 hours for the 350km way, via country roads, to avoid toll roads.

We was back on the road in direction to Bassano del Grappa. That was the final destination of the day.
It seems like Inge is calculating the arrival time by the highest speed you can drive on the roads. But in the Alps is it mostly hard to drive with 100km/h on a street. Partly it is still hard with 30km/h. Plus the cars in front of you, which are even more afraid and which drive just 20-30km/h. Our estimated arrival time delayed more and more.

Of course it was also raining the whole time. Car convoys was moving slowly over the mountain roads. I felt mostly said for the biker, in this weather conditions. And there was many on the road.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe left Germany and was crossing Austria till we reached Italy, via the Brenner road. Further and further trough the alps, always next to the highway, on the country road. The landscape, in the moments I risked a view, was very nice. Mostly I had to concentrate on the street. It was stressful to drive there. The rain, the curvy street and partly mountain pass. And then also watching the signs.
But we managed it. But not till Bassano del Grappa. This night we stopped, somewhere 70km before Bassano, on a petrol station. A few trucker was already there.
The place is in the middle of a valley. Also a great landscape. Of course something with a great view :)

I am looking forward what will be tomorrow.

Best wishes
Gordon


The church is hidden somewhere in the nowhere.

Visiting Liechtenstein and storm in Germany.

29.05.2013

Hello together,

Chur in the morningunfortunately today in the morning was the view not so great as we expected…but it was anyway great. It became cloudy during the night and it was raining in the morning, when we woke up. Clouds moved trough the valley. That looked really great. Imagine the valley, down is a little city (Chur). And a long cloud is moving slowly trough the valley. And you are in between the clouds and the city. That was stunning.

We packed our stuff around 10 and started in direction to Liechtenstein. Our next target.

Vadouz was just 50km away from Chur and is the capitol of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
We parked in the middle of the city, to walk around a bit. It’s not that big… more small. :) The weather was ok. The clouds was hanging in the mountains, not high above us, but it was not raining.

We saw the whole inner city within one hour by walking.
The town hall in VaduzWith town hall, parliament building and all other important buildings. Quick a Döner against the hunger… for 8 Euro(!!!) … I was really hungry… and then we went back to the car, half past 1.
But because the weather was not really nice, we decided to move our visit at Castle Neuschwanstein to the way back from Munich, and to drive today straight to Augsburg. We want to meet there a friend from Julia, from the world travel forum.

I disallowed our navigation system to use toll roads, because we didn’t wanted to pay for it in Austria, which we had to cross on the way to Augsburg. So, we drove on the country roads.
We left Liechtenstein a few kilometers later already again. Not very big this country :)
And then on the normal road through Austria. The landscape is in this area everywhere (almost) the same. Everything very mountainous :) But very beautiful! I think it’s because I don’t live in the mountains and even never been there and never saw this kind of landscape. Maybe that’s why it is so stunning for me. But it is stunning! :)
A few kilometer more and we was back in Germany. Nowadays there are just little signs left, which are telling you that you just left a country and entered another country. Nothing else. Just in Switzerland and Liechtenstein there was still a real border crossing.Back in Germany we went straight on the next Highway, to save time. It is tiring to drive the whole day and walk around.
Around half past 5 we arrived in Augsburg. Julias friend is living a bit outside of the city, direct on the highway. Here are just a few houses… but 2 big DIY markets, 2 big supermarkets, a big electronic store and even IKEA.Of course we went straight shopping :) We still had to buy plastic boxes for our stuff. We found some in the DIY store. The Media Markt visit was not so successful. I still needed a charger for my pocket camera. I couldn’t charge it with USB, like the girl in the Media Markt, where I bought it, told me. But also here I couldn’t find something with which I could charge it. :(

Reorganisation of the car in AugsburgThen we went finally to the Lady. After a short welcome, we unpacked everything and Julia started the reorganization. To put all our stuff from the temporary bags into the plastic boxes. I wasn’t allowed to help :)

After it we got nice dinner (vegetarian) and then we got internet *yess* :) Of course I had also emails from my customer. And then I had to spend the whole evening to make my customers happy. No time for writing my blog anymore.
I hope I’ll find the time tomorrow, to write a few lines.

See you then. Lovely regards from Augsburg (Germany):
Gordon

30. und 31.05.2013

Hi,

I just add some lines straight behind. There is not much to tell about the last 2 days. We decided to make resting day yesterday. I had to work and Julia wanted to work a bit more on the car.

We decided to change our plans again. Munich then on Friday and Saturday. And Sunday morning straight from Munich to Castle Neuschwanstein and then further to Bassano del Grappa in Italy.

And we had the chance to wash some clothes.

Today (Friday, 31.05.2013) was it raining. We decided that there is no sense to go to Munich. It wouldn’t be fun in the rain. We are staying today also ‘at home’ (Chrstines place). I still have to work and Julia is using the chance to visit some relatives here in Augsburg.

But tomorrow morning we definitely leave to Munich. We want to visit the German museum. And then straight further in direction to Castle Neuschwanstein. On the way we will watch out for a nice place to sleep again. Maybe with view on the Castle :)
My only worry is the storm, which the weather forecast told, with heavy rain and storm. I hope it will be not that heavy and the wind will not blow us away in the night.

Ok, then read you soon and warm regards from Augsburg (Germany).
Gordon

parliament building

Switzerland – Solar energy, Zurich, Chur

28. Mai 2013

We are on the way… yeah! :)

We stayed at Julias friend till monday. He had to work on monday again, and we left with him in the morning at 9. The first point of interest was the next Media Markt. We got told that the prices in Switzerland are good for electronic stuff. Well…

We decided to buy some external memory and Julia needed a new camera. At least we wanted to check what they have.
First of all we had to wait half an hour, because they open first at 10 am.

And then we checked out the external hard disks. They had a lot… hard to decide which one to buy… but finally we found both each an 1TB hard disk. We need to store our pictures, videos and other stuff on it.
The same with cameras. Julia asked the stuff for their advice… checked this one and this one. In the mean time I got the idea to buy a cheap camera as pocket camera. For the pictures between, when I don’t want to take out the big DSLR.

After one hour we left the Media Markt… and a lot of money left us. :( After that expensive stop we was driving further to Bubikon. There is the company Sistech. The company is specialist for solar panels. Especially for people like us… traveler. So, not the big ones on the roof, the smaller ones for backpacker and outdoor friends.
Julia had earlier already contact to the company. It’s a small but very nice company. Familiar somehow.

I was thinking already a long time about buying such a solar system. When I go to the next camping trip somewhere in the middle of nowhere, then I can charge my camera and netbook and all other batteries just with solar energy.

We asked the poor manager thousands of questions, the get information about the products and which would be the best for me. Also Julia didn’t know most of the products, because they changed a lot after her last sale.

SisTechThere are a lot of provider for solar systems, with a lot of offers. But this supplier was always my favorite one. They have the most powerful panels and the best batteries to cache the electricity. I checked a lot of other companies. But when you check clother… the exact information about the panels/cells and batteries, then is quick clear that they are maybe powerful enough to charge a mobile.. but that’s it. Not even close to what they promise.

I’ve bought finally a foldable solar panel with 46 Watt (max. power) and a power tank with 88.000 Wh. With this combination I can charge all my batteries… netbook, cameras, mobile, rechargeable batteries, etc. I will try it on our journey and later under the sun of Cyprus :)We had later a long chat with Hugo (the manager). And suddenly it was 6pm. already. Actually we wanted to visit Zurich on this day as well. We could forget about it. … So we changed our plans and decided to visit Zurich on Tuesday.After we said Good Bye to Hugo and the other people, we went to watch out for a nice place to sleep. We’ve got the tip that a Hotel, which is close, isn’t open yet, and we could maybe sleep there on the parking place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe arrived, thanks to our navigation system, before the darkness. The hotel was closed, but the restaurant was open already. Shit :( So, we left the place and went to the city, to find maybe another place. There is a public beach area. And such places have mostly a parking place as well. But a big sign welcomed us ‘Camping not allowed’ :( Great.But the place was absolutely beautiful. We decided to eat at least dinner here. And we did it. We was sitting on a bench, direct on the Zurich lake, behind the alps – with snow on the hills – and was eating our dinner :) Just beautiful! Really!Generally is Switzerland a very beautiful country. So green and colorful. And the landscape and the hills… a dream. Also the people are very friendly.

After the dinner we went back to that hotel. It was late and dark already. We went to the restaurant and took a sit on the terrace. Nobody else was there, just inside was some people still sitting. We had a great view from there on the lake and the city.
Then the waiter came and asked us if we would like to drink something. We didn’t… but we asked him if we can stay over night on the parking and had a little chat with him about the journey. A few minutes later he came back to us and said that he spoke with the manager, if we can sleep there and the manager said yes and even said that we can take a shower in a room, which is not booked at the moment. Cool! :)

We had the plan now to went the next day to Zurich and then we wanted to come back, to spent one more night on that parking place. So we decided to take the shower next day. Who knows when we have next time the opportunity for a shower.
So, we said ‘Thank you’ and made the car ready for the night. The first night in the car.
Wasn’t so great then I thought. First I was freezing and in the morning I was sweating like hell. But else it was good. I think I need to get used to it.

Tuesday morning we got up around 10 and then straight to the next ferry dock. We wanted to drive with the boat to Zurich. First of all less stress then with the car and it’s something special. :) We drove from Zollikon. The ships are here like usual buses. They have a schedule and stations. You even have to buy a ticket :) And that doesn’t cost less… around 28 CHF for a ticket for one day. But therefore we went on the seaway to Zurich.

ZurichWe walked absolutely unorganized thought the city. We had no idea where is was. So, we just followed our nose. In the water church and next to it into another church (I forgot the name). Here I went even up on the tower (for 4 CHF). Julia wasn’t in mood for it and was waiting in the church. The view from the tower was great. An overview over whole Zurich. Of course I made a lot of pictures! ;) Then back down and further in the city. We found even the townhall and the main train station. And then we had to go back to the ‘bus’ already.
The time was running like hell. :( One blink and the time is over.

In between we had a stop at Starbucks. I needed a coffee and we got the opportunity to get normal internet.
A friend wrote me, why I didn’t wrote her that I come to Switzerland. I check where she is living and saw that she is living in Chur… close Lichtenstein, which we wanted to visit the next day anyway.
So I offered her that we could come spontaneously to Chur, on the same evening. Then we could meet and for us it would have been also good to be closer to Lichtenstein already. She said that she has late shift that day and first around 11pm off. And next day morning shift. So, it was not clear if we could meet or not.

On the way back to the car we was thinking what to do now… and decided that we just drive there and then we will see what will happen. If the meeting would happen, would be nice (at least for me) and if not, then we would have been at least already closer to the next target. We miss our shower… but on Wednesday evening we planed anyway to visit a friend from Julia, where we could take also a shower.
And we did is like that. Back to the car (it started raining already on the way) and straight on the street in direction to Chur.
It was more then I thought. 120km… more then one hour to go. And again beautiful landscape… and this time lots of tunnel.

ChurWe arrived at Chur around 8. My friend didn’t wrote back anymore. We decided then to watch out for a nice place to sleep. I thought it would be good to check on the outskirts for a parking place for the night.
But all parking places we found had a sign ‘No camping!’… damn. :( Something which I really don’t like
We followed the street more and more outside of the city… until we went up and up the hill… and finally we saw a parking bay. Enough space for 2 cars… and a great view over the valley with the city below us and behind a big mountain with snow on the top again. Really a high class place! And the best… no sign ‘No parking’. :D

And here we are now. I will turn around in a minute and watch this great view for a while… before I will fall asleep…. until I will wake up in the morning again… with this great view again. :)

Cu soon and best regards from Chur in Switzerland
Gordon

Lets get started…

Hi together,

I didn’t had so much time to write in the last days, as I promised. Now I have just a few minutes time to write some lines about the first/last days :) It was stress, it was hard, it was worse and absolutely not as I expected or planed it.

But one by one. As I wrote last time already, I found someone with whom I was planing a road trip through west Europe. (Our home will be the whole time – more or less – the car)
The start date was planed on the Friday, 24th of May 2013… Julia (my travel buddy) had an appointment on Friday in Switzerland already. So, we had to arrive in Switzerland on Friday.

The best fly would have been on Thursday with Condor. I’ve checked the flights before already – when I remember correct – was the price that time around 150 Euro. Not optimal, but could be worse. Like that I could work at home till the last moment, to earn a few more euros.
Unfortunately I was waiting to long and the price went up to 230 Euro. Which was not acceptable anymore for me. I had to switch to the Monday flight. Now I had to leave earlier and could work less. But Julia said it is no problem, I could work there. … Well, my netbook was anyway with me, that I could store my pictures on the way and to blog a bit and so on. Now I had a new plan. Another advantage of this plan was that I could visit, on Tuesday, a customer in Germany as well. Then Wednesday and Thursday working and Friday packing the car and go! Good plan!

Chester drove me to the airport and I was on the way. I arrived around 11 pm. in Germany and Oliver drove me to the same Hotel like always when I am there. Tuesday then a training and a bit other work at the customer. And he took me after the work also to Aachen, to Julia. Very nice… no stress for me.Julia itself wasn’t there that time. Luckily her boyfriend was. So I didn’t had to wait in the rain. She came a few minutes later.

We was talking a few minutes and went to bed soon.

The next day she had to visit the garage with the car. I made some strange noises… and we didn’t wanted to drive 8000km with a car which makes strange noises. Then the surprise… the guys found more then expected. The brake cable, manifold and several other things needed to be replaced. A few hundred Euros left the travel wallet. :( I was working in the meantime at home.

P5240560 (Kopie)Then the next jar… the car wasn’t ready… and I was sure that we can’t finish it in the 1-2 days, plus I had planed both days full with my work. The solar panel had to be installed (as second electricity supply) – half of the car had to be taken apart, the reversing camera had to be installed, the ‘kitchen’ had to be rebuild, lamps had to be installed, moped holder had to be build, curtains had to be made, the water supply wasn’t installed yet and some other small stuff had to be done. Enough work for weeks.
And now we should finish it in 1-2 days… We was building the whole Thursday and Friday (incl. half nights) on it. Of course we didn’t finished it on Friday and rescheduled the start to Saturday. A few things was ready on Saturday morning 2 am. I should drive on Saturday, so I went to bed that time. Julia wasn’t sleeping the whole night. At 8 I wanted to get up again, to drink a coffee, taking a shower and packing the car with our stuff. I was up at 8, drank my coffee, took the shower and packed my stuff. I was – almost – ready in time.

But we managed to get on the street first 2pm. … then was finally everything in the car. In the meantime I was so angry the I liked to unpack everything again and would liked to fly back and cancel everything. That was not was I expected. Just stress … and the start was more and more delayed… that I didn’t believed at the end that we will ever start.But it happened. Saturday at 2pm we finally left her home. First for a quick stop in the city of Aachen and then finally on the highway in direction to Switzerland.

I was tired already again. Not enough (and good) sleep in the last nights. But it was ok. A few Red Bull and some small breaks and I managed it to drive whole way to Switzerland. We arrived there around 10pm.

The wanderlust also came back partly… even the whole things in the last days (with all the struggling) destroyed it a lot. But I hope it will be forgotten soon and I can enjoy the trip… and there will be no new struggles.

So, I will get soon now in my bed and hope I can sleep well and long the night. Will see how the day tomorrow will be. I hope good :)

Best regards from Switzerland.
Gordon

PS: Julia is living here in the middle of Aachen. Behind the house is the parking space of the house. And behind it is the plot of the next house. They have a small garden in front and a little house. In the garden are 3-4 bigger trees and it seems like the owner like birds and animals in general. Everywhere in the garden are feeding places. Everywhere in the garden can you see different kinds of birds.. which fly around and talking … just wonderful. I was standing often there for some time and just watched the scene. One time even a squirrel came across. Brilliant! Of course I made pictures ;)

PSS: The writing take me hours. Really hours. I need to reduce the time consumption of it. So, I think I will write from now on just quick and dirty. And maybe I’ll find the time to write a proper article when I am back. Also with good pictures.
To edit pictures on the netbook takes hours. Not possible. :(

45 days on 2m² living space … in half Europe.

Hi together,

I came just back from my long Germany trip and don’t know at the moment what to do first. Editing pictures, writing the report, working, enjoying the sun, going for a dive. Terrible.
But it’s weekend, so I was editing the pictures at first now and uploaded them in my facebook account. Now I’ll write the 2 articles (that will take time ^^) and then working… accord. The rest has to wait, I think :(

But you don’t read this article to listen to that. I guess you are reading this article because of the headline. ;)
I wasn’t telling about this plan before, but I found a few month ago an ad in a globetrotter forum. A young lady was looking for someone who would like to travel with her in a micro camper for 6 weeks through Europe. A road-trip.

I was straight interested. Even I am not living in Germany anymore, and even on an island in the Mediterranean sea… which doesn’t mean that I see a lot. Nothing to be honest. The only flights I have is to Germany and back. But that wasn’t my plan. Actually I always wanted to travel more… but it never happened.

Fernwehtreffen in Weeze

Globetrotter meeting in Weeze

And when I was reading this ad, I got straight the thought “But now!”. She was describing her idea very detailed… what she want and what she imagine. She had a plan and I liked it. :) And Micro camper… well, I am anyway very minimalistic. That wasn’t a problem for me. But she didn’t had a plan for the routing yet… so, it was still open and we could plan it together.
So, I was writing her and got even a reply… a few weeks later. We started to write in Skype and to get known to each other (the distance isn’t that helpful… but luckily we have internet). And so we Skyped a while… and it seems like that she is a nice woman, which which I could live for a while (not to forget… 6 weeks all the time in a micro camper… that must fit).
And it seemed like that I am also likeable for her.

After a few weeks she told me that she made a decision… for me :) What can I say… I loved it! :) So, it was fix… we would travel together.
We decided to go west. Even we would both like to see the east as well… but it’s not that safe in the east and west Europe is more warm ;) Maybe we can travel to the east some when later.

Understandably she was asking for a personal meeting. Which I also preferred. Only in real life you really can figure out if you like someone or not. And also the car needed some attention. It is good when both lend a hand on it.
So, I decided to combine a round trip in Germany… customer, a visit at her and a visit at home. That’s why I was the whole April in Germany on tour. First one week at the customer, then a week with her and home. (Report will follow… some when :) ).

And so I met Julia at the beginning of April personally… and the Renault Kangoo… which will bring us hopefully good through Europe.
Julia is a very interesting person (yeah, don’t think something wrong here… she is happily taken! ;) ) and I think we will survive this 6 weeks. :)

Der Kangoo auf dem Lift

Der Kangoo auf dem Lift

In was talking a lot, was getting known to each other, was working on the car – building a bed, changing the exhaust pipe (I did it! :D), changing oil, added a coupling device, etc. – in the 9 days. And we even was 2 days on a globetrotter meeting, which was close, by chance.
So, I think we’ll manage all right. And I can’t wait to start the trip :)

As route we was choosing – as I said already – the west. There is still no detailed plan yet. But the rough plan is: Start in the last May week. Then first going down via Bavaria to Italy. Julia wants to make there her paragliding course. After a few days to Venice. And then south-France, south-Spain till Gibraltar. Then further to Portugal… on the coast up to the north… north-Spain and back east. North-France and some when turning more east… back to Germany via Paris.
The distance will be around 7000km – in 6 weeks. I think it will turn out a bit tight with the time… but we will see. She can’t go longer and I think the same for me – financial. :( Pity. I guess at the end of the trip I’ll not leave the car… just going on… further :) We will see.

Anyway, in my imagination it will be a great trip. In the car and just drive on. Finally exploring something from the world… well, at least Europe for now. Leaving all worries home… for sure fighting with new ones… but at least different ones. Taking a break from everyday life, exploring, discovering, photographing… doing as it pleases. Hmm…. :)

Of course we are also working on a plan how to get internet on the way. I want to keep writing (and even more on the trip)… to keep you updated. ;) Writing some words in my blog every evening… maybe even with some pictures.
Unfortunately there is no option to get a card for whole Europe. And roaming is expensive. The cheapest provider I could find is a German discounter. His offer is 7 days, 60MB for 5 Euro. But 60 MB is not much for emails, blogging, uploading some pictures and most important: searching for places of interest around.
But couldn’t find any better solution yet.
That is really something what the provider need to do.

Anyway. I was adding a new category in my blog (“Traveling” – “Road Trip West Europe 2013”). Here you’ll find from next month the travel reports ;) Stay tuned. You can also register for my newsletter, then you’ll get always a mail when I publish a report. So, you don’t need to come across every day and you will not miss anything ;)

CU
Gordon