Europe · 18 Days · 33 Moments · July 2017

Roadtrip Europe - the Volvo story

10 August 2017

We're home! After a 12 hour drive I didn't feel like walking back to the car to take a photo.. List of countries in order: - The Netherlands - Belgium - Luxembourg - France - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Croatia - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Croatia - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Croatia (ya really! Weird borders and stuff) - Slovenia - Italy - Austria - Germany - Chech Republic - Germany - The Netherlands All in 5800 km! Tim out.
Well.. That's it! We're making the long drive home today..

9 August 2017

We made it to the Chech Republic.. All day we've been driving in rain, traffic jams or both.. But life's pretty good here, we've found a local watering hole and all they play is punk! Tomorrow we'll check out some local architecture, museums and the catacombs of Plzen!

8 August 2017

The new plan is to keep changing plans I think.. we wanted to go to Austria and spend a day there. But it's raining there, so I think we're going to keep driving till we see the sun again. And that's probably in the Chech Republic....
Apparently, two times the people means six times the mess to clean up..

7 August 2017

We've decided to stay here one more day, so we've set up camp again. We had some problems with the license plate lights not working and falling out, so we replaced the whole wiring and glued them back in.

6 August 2017

Made it! The temperatures here are great! 22 degrees and rain, I love it (not even sarcastic)! We're staying in a hotel for a change. A good shower and not boiling in your own sweat in the morning feels good! Just had dinner with our friends, they drive a '69 MGB GT from the Netherlands to Slovenia. That's hardcore!
Change of plans! We wanted to drive to Austria today, but that's pretty far, so we're meeting a friend of mine in Bolzano, Italy (that's also 700km, we know, shhh). Oh and it's DAMN hot! Near Plitvice the temperatures were nice, but here it's scorching hot again..

5 August 2017

Today we went to the Plitvice Lakes national park. It was incredibly touristic, but absolutely worth it! Sometimes you have to wait in line just to see a waterfall, but most of the time you can walk/hike on your own pace. We took the 9km route, that way you get to see a lot of the park. There are some shorter routes, which would be good if you'd want to do the whole park in two days. The long route is a 18km hike, but the only difference with the route we did is that you walk along the coast of the big lake two times. We passed the lake once by bus and crossed it with a boat once. Unless you really like long hikes, I'd recommend the "H" route (9km) to see the park in one day. The color of the water amazed me the whole day! It's almost impossible to get it right on a photo. It changes from clear white, to a greenish blue, to deep blue, too almost purple where the lakes are really deep. And it's so incredibly clear! I had the urge to dive in all day!

4 August 2017

On the move again! I think we're getting used to the heat. We're going to the plitvica lakes!
Yesterday we took the boat to Dubrovnik, really touristic again, partly because game of thrones.. It's still worth going! It's truly a beautiful town. If you don't know where to look, you can hardly see the damage that the war has done. Only the city walls really give it away, they have visible patches.

3 August 2017

The little bit of coast that Bosnia has is called Neum-Klek. It was given to Bosnia by Tito so the Bosnians would have there own republics place by the sea for their annual vacations. At least that's what I've heard

2 August 2017

I know! A bunch of photos of the same type of car. The Volkswagen Golf MK2. When you're in former Yugoslavia, car lover or not, you can't help but noticing that there's tons of them. There used to be a VW factory near Sarajevo that built these things, and the Yugo's loved them. The factory was bombed in the war. The models produced for Yugoslavia were simple, but sturdy. It gave the people affordable, reliable transport. Even today they are still around, some as workhorses, some as truly loved cars. The Golf MK2 became a symbol here, almost as big as the Renault 4 in (what is now) Slovenia. By the way, I've uploaded a bunch more photos in the Avignon post!
Today we went back from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia, which meant crossing the border from Bosnia to Croatia, then back into Bosnia for a short stretch of land near the coast, and finally back into Croatia. With harsh border police every time, because Bosnia isn't in the EU yet. Bosnia was a bit of a cultural shock, as I've said earlier. As soon as you leave the (very) touristic coastlines the country changes. There are no fancy hotels anymore, there's trash on the sides of the roads everywhere, the supermarket we've been (a good and big one according to the locals) was full with half-rotten vegetables and did almost only sell vacuum packed food. Everywhere you find buildings half-built and abandoned, or just old and forgotten. It's strange to see this so close to the (seemingly) rich coasts of Croatia and Bosnia. I wish I had more pictures to show, I had a lot. But something went wrong when copying them from my camera.....

1 August 2017

From Facebook; Made it! Just did some groceries here in Buna, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ehm, It's a bit of a cultural shock, coming from Croatia. It's a wonderful country to drive through though. Tomorrow we're off to Dubrovnik, Croatia!
From Facebook: On the move again! IT. IS. HOT. We can't really go faster than 120 kmh downhill and 100 kmh uphill or the old 240 will overheat. I can't really blame the thing, 31 years old, drove around the world 11 times and suffered a lot of neglect before I got it.. It's so hot I had to cool my phone with an icepack from the cooler every now and then to keep it working long enough to write this! Even the glue holding the plastic strips on the doors is melting, had to tape it back on for now. I'll keep you posted when and if we make it to the campsite in Bosnia and Herzegovina!

31 July 2017

We went back to the mainland, and south a bit! Nice camping with shitty showers at the sea.

30 July 2017

Slow, slow, sloooooowly roasted pork.. So good!
From Facebook: On the beautiful Croatian island named "krk". Awesome driving roads and awesome backcountry to explore! Did some light offroading too. Went fine, even with a full trunk.
Apparently this is considered junkfood here.. It just isn't. It's by far the best fish and chips I've ever had! Eat your heart out England!
Boom! Slovenia!

29 July 2017

From Facebook: Today we went into Venice! To be honest, we were a bit disappointed.. It's touristic as hell (no shit). We couldn't really find the romantic ambiance they talk about. The buildings are not maintained very well, that's a shame. But don't get me wrong, it's a very unique city and its beautiful to walk through! It's just ruined by tourism (can't really complain, we're tourists as well). We saw a Da Vinci exposition and I had to see that. Was nice to see, some digital copies of his paintings, a timeline of his life and research and most of all, 50 working tools and machines that he sketched and/or invented. I've tried to avoid the tourism a bit in my photo's, to try and capture that idillic look of Venice (and one photo to show the crowd that's just EVERYWHERE). I think I did an OK job framing Venice.

28 July 2017

From Facebook: Unbelievably hot in the car today. The 240 didn't care though. We drove to Venice, as planned. The route was kinda boring, but apart from two short traffic jams we cruised at about 130/140 kmh all day. So, nothing exiting or special today.. Sorry for the lousy photo's today. Too hot and tired to get up.

27 July 2017

We made it to a campsite near Garbagna, Italy. Right between Milan and Genoa. Although we tried to camp in the middle of nowhere to avoid the Dutch, they are everywhere!
From Facebook: There are a bunch of forest fires in the south of France now (see map). We drove through the middle of them, that was the only highway in the direction we wanted to go. Luckily we missed them, although it would've made some good stories. All we saw was some smoke over the hills, a whole bunch of big wheel off-road firetrucks and some water bombers flying low. After climbing some hills at (almost) full throttle the engine got hot a bit. No problem you'd say, if we wouldn't have rolled into a huge traffic jam. The engine cooled down, but I suspect the temperatures under the hood went sky-high. We had some problems with vapor lock and backfiring. We let it cool down with the hood open and it started and drove normal again.

26 July 2017

We went to the old city centre of Avignon tonight. Proved to be a beautiful town with great views over the valley from the city walls. We were lucky enough to walk right into a festival with loads of musicians, street vendors and artists!
From Facebook: No Volvo today! Just hanging out by the pool. We'll go into Avignon's city center later today. Not from Facebook: Every dot on the map is a forest fire. Guess where we're driving tomorrow...

25 July 2017

From Facebook: We've been driving all day in the rain again. So we ditched the idea of checking out Lyon and just kept on driving till the weather got better. Which it did! Just arrived in Avignon, France. We'll stay here tomorrow and the day after we're off to Italy!

24 July 2017

From Facebook: After driving in the pouring rain for hours, we made it to Langres! Volvo held up good, even though she's a little heavy in the back now. Talia had some trouble with the clutch, but it's all right! Time for pizza and beer!
From Facebook: Roadtrip is ON! On our way from the Netherlands to where the road takes us. The plan for tonight is Langres, France. Just had a stop in Luxembourg now. People interested in a travel journal here?
Cheapest propane I've ever bought!
So, to be honest, my girlfriend and I are already halfway through the roadtrip. She's been using this app since we left and I'm just starting now. Her story is the holiday side of the story, mine focusses more on the Volvo side. About how the thing's doing and what we're seeing. The first couple of days I've kept a journal on a Volvo 240 Facebook group. So the first posts will be copies of my posts there!