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1 R20 - 9 Weeks - 10 countries - Eastern Europe

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    1 R20 - 9 Weeks - 10 countries - Eastern Europe

    Hmm I thought I'd posted blog links on here previously but when Liz posted to FB yesterday she got a couple of requests for blog links from folk who usually read here so maybe I was remiss. If I did post previously, apologies for this repost - if not, here it is and sorry I didn't post earlier:

    This summer/autumn we decided to visit Czech/Poland/Slovakia/Hungary, and, of course, in order to do so we had to drive through France, Belgium,The Netherlands, Germany, then back through Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, France. We took 9 weeks, 63 nights in the van and camped at, or within public transport of, Antwerp, Hanover, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Český Krumlov, Brno, Ostrava, Krakow, Martin (Slovakia), Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Freiburg, Alpirsbach, Strasbourg, Luxembourg City and Calais - the idea being a visit of the major cities rather than an exercise in wild or aire camping. We visited breweries, distilleries, galleries, open-air opera, Auschwitz, the European Parliament etc. We went 1 mile high up a mountain and down a coal mine and photographed a multi-coloured MIG fighter and a pink tank!

    It was great fun and we regret not having more time, especially to spend in Slovakia where we just whistle-stopped through.

    Anyway my blog twodriftersbrian.wordpress.com contains the daily route maps (we drove about one day in 4) and personal, often prejudiced views along with too many tales of brewery visits whilst twodriftersliz.wordpress.com has Liz's accounts with often different highlights and generally better pictures.

    Anyway here's the route (with campsites):

    Screenshot from 2017-11-10 09-42-39.png
    Last edited by BrianTheSnail; 10-11-2017, 10:55 AM.

    #2
    The only blog you've done is this one Brian: https://community.smallmotorhome.co....rian-the-snail

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      #3
      Thanks Pauline - that was just me playing around with the blog on this Forum. We daily wrote blogs, initially on a computer back home and then hastily switched to the free wordpress accounts when that computer developed a problem. All the blogs and photo-editing were done on our phones so they are a bit ragged in places and predictive-text spelling mistakes probably abound. Also a few days we were tired or late back to the van and so the blogs became more a chore than labour of love; I suspect those days' entries reflect that but the prime purpose was to keep our kids informed, and let them know that their inheritance was being spent in a worthwhile manner!

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        #4
        Very interesting, Brian and Liz. I shall look forward to reading these blogs. Am interested in the costings - overall, was it very expensive or like travelling in the UK with ferry fares to add?

        I found my trip to France for 3 weeks cost about the same pro rata as my month long trip round Scotland and Yorkshire, but the ferry to Orkney was dearer as I couldn't use Tesco points for it.

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          #5
          Caz - I make no apologies for the simple political truth - the biggest cost saving is to go before b****y Brexit! In the end we decided against travel insurance as our EHIC and van insurance covered almost every eventuality except needing some emergency ambulance for failing down a mineshaft or something. Maybe not wise but... Also the trip would have been horrendously expensive without the recently introduced waiver of roaming charges across the EU. We used getting on for 15-20Gb of data via 4G networks - yeah, some of it was Facebook or BBC News but most was for looking up campsites, museums, attractions, opening hours, doing the basic research and trip planning that many folks do before leaving home. We did have a vague itinerary but it was very loosely adhered to. Would have cost a fortune or meant we spent much of ourr day skulking inside Starbucks/McDonalds etcd bumming free wifi. Many campsites had free wifi but it was general so slow as to be almost useless - since we were close to cities 4G was good and fast (particularly for me on E network, not so good for Liz on O2 though)

          As I said our goal was to visit cities and sites so we chose campsites that allowed that. If you are doing similar our #1 tip is to buy ACSI and CCI cards. They are cheap, we got ours via C&CC, and give good discounts. Certainly paid for themselves several times over.

          Countries varies in terms of value for money. Czech/Slovakia and Hungary were cheap. Our campsite near Prague was expensive at over £20 per night but it was cheap and easy to get into Prague via public transport. However the restaurant on site was excellent - dinner for the two of us turned out to be under 20 euro - nearer 15 and that included 3 beers for me and two for Liz as well as huge main courses each. Brno was under €15 I think, Ostrava/Martin about €18 - all 2 people with electric. On the other hand Budapest camping was cheap - the campsite was €16 per night (with ACSI) but had a stay 4 nights, pay for 3 deal which meant city camping (and just about walkable to the centre but easy trams) for €12 per night - we almost always included electric just to run the fridge. We probably would save quite a bit in future only doing so when necessary.

          Austria and Vienna, in particular was expensive. The downside of Vienna is that there are LOTs of museums/galleries but each one is €8-10 which means you have to select carefully. Top tip #2 - if you go to Salzburg for more than a day then get a Salzburg city card. They may seem expensive at €24/32/37 for 1/2/3 days in peak season but not only do they include all transport but all museums and sights/ The Untersberg cable car is €23.50 alone so if you do that, catch a few busses/trams your card has paid for itself and everything else (Funicular-Castle/Museums/Cruise/Brewery/Galleries/Zoo) is free. We certainly got our money back and didn't do that much because we stumbled upon a huge festival which occupied one full day.

          Santander do a Zero credit card which has no fees on foreign transactions so we used that wherever we could and drew cash out using our Santander 1-2-3 account card, always taking the rate in Euros rather than the local bank's rates which I suspect had a higher commission. Of course, being Europe credit cards weren't taken everywhere so we always had to keep some cash. We were careful to manage down our Polish zloty, Czech Kronar and Hungarian Forints so we didn't bring many home. Everywhere else (including Slovakia) was Euros I think.

          Bottom line budget on €20 per night for major city-based campsites (€15 in E Europe, €25 in Western) for 2 people with electric (probably 30-40% less for single person and no electric) and food/drink half UK prices in E Europe, about the same in W Europe and not a huge saving on fuel (although LPG seemed very cheap). Shopping similar.

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            #6
            Thanks Brian. Have read Liz’s blog so far. Enticed by the promise of photos. Great trip. Thanks for sharing.

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