After travelling the Europe south from Morocco to Turkey we've returned to our favourite country & geared up. Spain offers delicious food, positive people, best weather and a million of attractions including the almighty sea & beaches. This year was the most relaxed and we've tried a rented house & shared apartment.
105 Days On The Road
- Total kilometers travelled: 10 500 km
- 100 km per day travelled on average
- Campsites: 47 nights for €10 to 25 per night
- Stellplatzes (Boondocking spots): 38 nights
- Our friend's house in Spain: 19 nights for €23 per night
Searching for the Ultimate Freedom
This year, as mentioned in our previous article about becoming a Hippie, we took it the relaxing way. We didn't really pushed for optimised expenses, except replacing campsites with lovely boondocking spots. We enjoyed every available meal in restaurants and even ended in one on the border of France & Switzerland, where they had a Michelin award. So it honestly, this year was the best.
What was not that cool, or what was actually a little too cool, was weather. After all the sunny and hot years, this year was unusually cold. So we even left south of France earlier to escape 8 °C and came to Czechia for real summer with 24 °C.
We had all the equipment ready. New solar panels and batteries in the Toyota, easily powering inverters and my computer setup. We also bought a few new toys such as MSR Dragonfly fuel powered stove and BioLite CampStove that burns wood and charges your mobile.
Cold start in Austrian Alpes
We usually leave Czechia in March and at the end of that month we reach the destination country. This year I've chosen to leave in February and tried to get to the south as fast as possible. It took us 6 days of pure driving plus 3 days of a short break in a French campsite. To catch up with work.
We took it the longer and colder way, we later realised. We got stuck on the first night in snow storm in the Alpes and also went over the mountains avoiding toll roads, so it was quite a lot of ups and downs, all with our caravan trailer on the hitch.
Next time, and especially in winter, I strongly recommend to go via Germany and Lyon and down there to Marseille. It would save us a day or two. And it would probably not be snowing.
Anyway, we had a great meal and strong coffee in Italy, enjoyed the Cote de Azure in France and in a week, including one little stop, we've been in Torrevieja a lovely town near Alicante, where we have rented a house of our friend.
Renata is a great teacher already. I try to manage some english lessons too, but it's challenging with my working schedule, so results are poor. We are now comfy with doing lessons when we stay in one place. Well, mostly Renara does them. And she does a great deal of teaching. Few years ago, we would be scared, now we clearly see it's not that difficult to do homeschooling.
We get an email from the teacher every week. We're in sync with what is the subject of that week and so we follow closely with kids at the school. Next year, both girls would be homeschooled and also attending school when we're not travelling. And we hope they will learn the best of both worlds.
We've also spend a great two weeks in a camping near Estepona. As they have a pool that is covered, we were swimming almost every single day and since that campsite, we now have two junior swimmers and divers! Isn't that great way of learning new skill?
Meeting & finding Friends and Digital Nomads
Every year we meet some digital nomads on our travels. Meetings always gave us a great deal of inspiration and we have an opportunity to share our knowledge. People travelling like us, have so many things in common with us, we slowly realised. And so we try to meet all the awesome people we can. This year was really a highlight!
It almost feels like meeting us when we travel is way easier, than at home!
Cheers friends! We loved the time with you. We enjoyed every minute and you make our lives so much better every time we chat, eat, hug or just simply walk the beach. Thank you! We owe you a lot.
Windy Disaster after Sunny Torrevieja
The year 2018 was really quite colder, compared to previous years. Still we had many sunny and hot days (20 °C or more) and that was still February. We've been in a rented house for 3 weeks, keeping empty caravan near the house. Allowing me to do little repairs here and there. After we left to drive furter west, I checked the rain situarion many times and Torrevieja was dry all the time, while we had occasional rain almost every day, since we left the house. And wind.
We had quite some wind in the early spring. As a proof, here is a photo of a broken front window od the caravan which is a pain to replace, and as a bonus the wind took also our solid glass solar panel somewhere on the highway. So collectively we've lost quite a lot just in one day. But hey, that's life. Freedom has its price. I'm ready to pay for it.
Gibraltar, Cable Car & Monkeys
As we moved further east on the Spanish coast, we also made two trips to Gibraltar. First day was sunny, but we didn't made it to the Cable Car and thought that's the only way up the rock. The second day, we found a hidden parking space near the top of the rock, but it was raining like never before. So yeah, we made it there, we were robbed by the monkeys and we enjoyed cup of british tea and some fish and chips.
Boondocking in Portugal? Pure Magic.
If you lean to free and unplugged lifestyle like we do, you must live on the Portugese coast for some time. Many people do it, and it truly is a memorable experience. No matter what part of the coast you choose. We already have a few spots that are empowering while being free and even with fresh water and toilet dump station.
Our longest non-campsite living was actually half in Spain and half in Portugal. Those 11 days we were living truly on the street, while being able to work online, explore the county and cities and meet with nomadic families like we are. Insane!
South Coast of Spain
Same or similar beauty can be found on the south of Spain. We've lived for about a week on the Coast in Torrevieja and that was fun, because the restaurants and beaches of the city were in walking distance. The sunrise took me many times out of the caravan in the early morning.
Another spot was near Valencia. There's a closed Five Star hotel, that was rejected the license as being too close to the beach. So now there's a marvellous parking spot with unbelievably great local restaurant Lahiver near by.
We've met an awesome dutch dude here. Living in his Toyota Hilux camper, in a crazy brown color that blends perfectly with the background if you need to be unseen. Smart idea! This guy also showed me how to refill gas bottles outside our country.
Visit to a Dentist as Usual
I'd say more than a half of our caravanning trips, we've visited a doctor. We have a credit card family insurance, so it's just about calling an assistant who then finds a proper doctor in the area. Renata had a tooth pain this year and so we tried to find a dentist on our own for the first time. It was actually fun, there were many. The only issue was, that on Friday afternoon it's a little harder to find one who's not yet at home. But we made it, and everything is all right. Even the €80 payment for just a look in Renata's mouth is back in our bank account.
Rooftop Tent Experience
We need to go out and explore, as folks from Overland Bound would say. And we like the expeditions and documentaries that Andrew St. Pierre White does (Yup, I'm addicted), and folks at Lifestyle Overland, and Mali Mish, and Graeme with his family in a LandRover is doing. These people inspired us to try to get out of the comfort zone, yet again. So we thought let's try something new. That something is called Overlanding.
We were considering campers for our pickup, such as Gazell or AeroOne, both lightweight fibreglass campers for the Hilux. But ended up staying on a budget and so we bought Alu-Cab canopy & awning, and we've put a Skycamp by iKamper on top.
On this trip, we took it for a spin. Together with the caravan. And we learned a great deal of what a comfort is, how agility matters on the road, and what is the feasibility of travelling with family in just a tent on the roof of a car. An article helping you to choose the right rooftop tent.
Places & Campsites we've Visited
Do you have any Trip Ideas?
As I'm writing this, in the middle of the summer of 2018, we're travelling a little around Czech Republic, went to Croatia for a few days and we're thinking where to go next. Tell us your best locations, best places, best memories. So we get excited and inspired for our coming adventures!