All posts by Andy Burrows

GERMANY ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช (The Eagles Nest)

BERCHTESGADEN

As our holiday got to the mid way point in Croatia, we knew that things would get a little fluid. Reason being was that we had only planned the first couple of weeks before we set off from the UK. This has it’s pros and cons, but it’s nice to have some flexibility as we move around for a number of reasons. As has been said in previous posts for this trip, the weather for Salzburg was not looking particularly favorable at the time we were planning to visit. So making the decision to stay further south in Trieste was last minute, but it worked for us, and we got to see another fantastic location unexpectedly. Leading on, I hope you will see why the above is particularly relevant here.

After another hot day in Trieste we made the decision late afternoon to leave the campsite and move towards Salzburg rather than stay for the fourth and final night. This meant we could get the majority of driving out of the way in the evening when it would be cooler, and quieter on the roads. We knew we would be to late to check into the campsite so planned to wild camp somewhere. After three and a half hours drive, and with only one hour predicted drive to Salzburg we started to consider a stopping point.

We went into an service station that allowed over night camping, but decided it was too noisy. So we consulted a mobile phone app for flexible camping in the area. We found one that looked like it was going to be be in more tranquil surroundings a little further up the road, so we moved off the A10 motorway at a place called Flaucheuwinkle and found a layby under the cover of darkness. All we could see was limited by the headlights. We had a sneaky suspicion that we were near a fast flowing alpine streams due to the noise, but the views when we got up this morning were amazing.

Mandy had messaged her brother last night before we went to bed regarding our location. He is quite well traveled in Europe and suggested we visit The Eagles Nest. Being really interested in the Second World War, I was excited to find out we were so close to this place our historic interest. After all, this was Adolf Hitler’s summer retreat high in the mountains, in Germany, just on the border of Austria. It was also where a lot of the meetings took place during Hitler’s reign. It was literally a few kilometers off the main road as we moved towards Salzburg, so we both felt it would be to good an opportunity to miss.

As we moved off the main road towards Salzburg, towards Germany, the road started to climb. My van with its 1.9TD engine conversion is prone to getting warm / hot when climbing hills. I always feel it would never really be an issue, but when it gets to a certain temperature on the gauge, if the opportunity arises, I try and stop just to let things settle. The location was amazing as we entered a small alpine village. So we stopped at a hotel / restaurant for a coffee. It was still relatively early, and the Eagles Nest was only a short drive away.

Hotel Neuhausl

We were immediately greeted by one of the members of staff that showed a genuine interests in my camper-van. Lots of questions, but I’m always willing to share my passion with others should the opportunity arise. Her name was Katherine.

Katherine

After some discussion we were lead along the front of the hotel to a decked terrace area. This gave us a great vantage point to a fantastic panorama. Shortly after our cappuccinos were brought to our table by Katherine, who told us to enjoys these free of charge. This was a pleasant surprise. She also added that we were to come and find her in the kitchen before we departed as she wanted to bid us fare well. We really weren’t used to such hospitality.

After enjoying the view and our coffees we wandered inside the hotel to find Katherine. I don’t think I’ve ever been inside a hotel that was so prefect. It looked nice from the outside, but the attention to detail inside got me thinking this is 5 star. We moved outside and took a few photos by the van with Katherine. During our parting conversation, we found that it was a family run business with all members, and Katherine was the daughter. Just before we left we were presented with some amazing cakes packaged in a parcel with “have a nice drive”.

We carried on another 4 kilometers up a steep windey road until we got to the Eagles Nest car park and visitors center at the town of Berchtesgaden . This was approximately 11am and all of the car parks were full so we had to park on the grass verge. We brought tickets an had a short wait before we got on one of the specially adapted buses equipped to climb and descend the steep, narrow road to the Kehlsteinhaus.

The journey was amazing, and one of the most interesting stretches of road I have ever traveled. We were informed over the intercom in the bus that we needed to arrange a departure time with the reception at the top. We the first people off the first bus, but after moving to one side to get a drink out of my ruck sack, we found ourselves at the back of a very long que made up of four busses worth of passengers. Not the best move. Still, we are British and we waited with a stiff upper lip. After all, it’s what we do best.

Once we had arranged our bur return, we made our way into a long tunnel to the base of the lift shaft.

We waited in a que for about ten minutes before we got in the lift. It was larger than anticipated but this was enhanced further by the fact that the entire lift had a mirror effect from the polished brass that formed the walls and ceiling. The distance elevated to the Restaurant / viewpoint at the top was pretty substantial, but it was really quick which surprised us especially considering the amount of people it held.

Once at the top we filtered out onto the patio area where the views were amazing. I had a beer and Mandy a coffee, and we reminded ourselves just how luck we were to have had this opportunity to visit such an amazing place. It’s difficult to convey in words just how interesting this attraction is. The weather was certainly in our favor on that day, and I’m sure the visit would have been subdued somewhat with low cloud cover, but we had struck lucky.

“As symbol of power of the NS regime, decisions were made at the Eagleโ€™s Nest.  It still stands for the insanity of the regime and the world on the Obersalzberg, where plans for war and mass murder were formed.


In defiance, the building stands perched over a sheer rock wall. A road was cut into the mountain through previously impassable terrain. Although it is an architectural master piece, it was still an act of waste on nature and other resources. To reach it, there is a golden brass elevator buried in the heart of the mountain, through which one can reach โ€žthe summit of powerโ€œ โ€“ all this has been created with the sole purpose to impress and dazzle people. “

Quote from official Eagles Nest Website

It’s very thought provoking knowing that many of Hitler’s plans were hatched here. The duration of our stay was approximately four hours. After this we headed for Salzburg.

Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น (Trieste)

Our time on the island of Krk was unbelievable. However, we knew that we had to move on. For the first time in a week there was cloud cover, but the temperature wasn’t affected. It felt really muggy and even after a shower I couldn’t stop the perspiration. We had breakfast and finished packing the van.

Both Mandy and I wondered whether or not we are making the right choice trying to stay south to miss the wet weather up north. The difference was a good 8 degrees between Croatia/ Italy, and our original planned Saturday night in Saltzburg, Austria. But we were where we were, and our destination was set for Trieste, Italy.

Apparently the campsite we chose is run by the Camping Club of Italy, who make visitors aware that they are basic, clean, and affordable.

Camping Obelesco is managed by the Camping Club Trieste,
an association of local campers that tries to do everything possible, with great efforts, to improve the structure from year to year. We are a 2-star , simple, small, spartan and with reasonable prices.

The campsite was founded in 1968 (the year both Mandy and me were born). After the relative experience of the last campsite we are happy to do affordable, but initial impressions of their dated website, we were a little dubious.

For the duration of the drive between Krk and Trieste we travelled under overcast skies, which probably helped from the point of view that we weren’t getting fried to a crisp by direct sunlight. We needed to get some supplies from Lidl so when we got close to our destination we used Google to find the nearest one. This took us back out of Italy, briefly into Slovenia, past a stud farm . It was all very strange, but great as there were fields full of white horses.

We eventually found the supermarket and continued on towards the campsite. The entrance wasn’t obvious or very well sign posted and when Google maps told me I had reached my destination on the left as we drove downhill towards Trieste it took a while before I could pull in and do a u-turn, but I was alerted as we approached the entrance a second time. A small discreet ageing brown sign was all there was to make us aware we should turn right up a very steep tarmac path.

After 500 meters taking it slow in first gear, with constant concern I may meet something coming the other way on a road that was obviously only wide enough for one vehicle, it finally opened out to car park, a barrier, and the campsite reception.We checked in and were asked to follow the receptionist to our pitch via a scooter .

Our low expectations of this campsite changed for the better as we followed on the narrow, windy path that meandered up into the hillside. Many of the pitches were taken up by caravans that are clearly long term residents. It was all very cosy and secluded being surrounded by trees, and the further up we moved into the campsite, the quieter and more remote it got.

After a few minutes we arrived at a roomy terrace pitch, edged by a low trellis fence with Jasmine growing the entire length. The aroma was unbelivable.

We went through the now all familiar 5 minute process of elevating the roof, winding the awning out, swivelling the chairs and setting up the table and chairs for outdoor living. We spent the rest of the afternoon in a state of disbelief at just how nice our new plot of land was high in the hillside of Trieste. This was a definite win for us! The shade from the trees was welcome, and there was very little noise aside from birds and an occasional bee pollinating the abundance of small white flowers. Bliss!

Later that evening I wandered down to the small taverna at the campsite entrance for a cool beer. The sunset just outside the entrance to the camp was amazing!

Our first view of Trieste from our campsite.

The following day was a Sunday and the high-street stores would be closed. So we spent time considering our options as to whether or not to venture into the city. We took our time  in the morning and breakfast turned into brunch as we chilled. But by midday we had decided that we would dip into Trieste for a wander around and a coffee.

Transport options were restricted to a bus service since the trams had stopped operating some four or five years ago. I’m not sure exactly why because all of the infrastructure is still there. Maybe EU intervention saying the vehicles weren’t up to regulations? Talking to one local the night before in the restaurant told me they have plans to run it again, but it is a slow process which is frustrating the region. As it transpired, the bus service is reliable and very cheap. We had to buy our tickets from kiosks machine as you couldn’t buy them on the bus. โ‚ฌ1.30 was the price of an hours travel on every day of the week except Sunday where it was valid for 4 hours due to a reduced service.

The bus followed the steep windy road into the city and stopped on a back street where everybody got off and the bus was empty! The obvious conclusion was this must be the end of the line so we followed suit. It was a little confusing as we were expecting a bus terminal, or some local place of interest like a water feature or town square, but nothing so obvious. By the time we realised this, the crowd of people that had gotten off at our stop had dispersed. So we were left scratching our heads on the adjacent street corners before we committed to a direction that looked the busiest. Our instincts proved to be correct and it wasn’t long before the quiet back streets were left behind us as, and we moved into the heart of Trieste.

Over the course of the afternoon we covered a great deal of distance. With no real plan we found it easy to find many of the things that makes this city so enticing. Towards late afternoon, and with the heat beating down on us we sought sanctuary in the air conditioning of a MacDonalds. Mandy was hungry, and I was thirsty. Never ordered a beer in MacDonalds before. This was a first!

We had certainly put the leg work in, and our smart watches were backing up what our feet already knew !

We were suprised when we returned to the campervan and settled down to look at a guide to the things to see and do in Trieste, that a large chunk had been ticked off the list during our afternoons outing.

That evening we were blessed with a cool breeze. This seemed to be exaggerated overnight due to the abundance of trees surrounding our van at the campsite, and I was really surprised we had no rain. On the morning the wind dropped a little and it was slightly overcast. We used this as an excuse to catch up with some of the UK news via BBC iplayer, and were slow to decide on a plan for the day. Based on our progress the day before around the city, we felt we were in a position where we could look a little further afield for the next days sight seeing. We chose to visit the local attraction Parco del Castello Miramare.

We chose to visit using the campervan, which we seldom use to get around locally once the van has been set up for camping. However, the options to catch two buses each way to get to the castle, one into Trieste, the other out and vice versa on return, really didn’t appeal to us knowing how hot it was going to be. It was only a 20 minute drive by van so it was a bit of a no brainer. We didn’t realise just how steep an incline it was to get to the Castle. Some of the steepest inclines I’ve experienced. This required cooling the breaks with water at one point on the way down, and a slightly scary moment where i had to stop for a bus coming down the road on just about the steepest (worst) place i could have wished to have stopped..

As is often the case we knew little about Parco del Castello Miramare before we arrived. We had no doubts that it was worth a visit but we were blown away by the beauty of this place. It’s a coastal Castle with amazing gardens. It didn’t cost is a penny to get in, which was amazing, considering.

Our third day at this location saw us catching the bus into the city again for one final look around. Originally our plans were to stay at Camping Obelisco for 4 nights as it was really nice. It was a bit of a last minuite decission as it approached late afternoon that we may be better off leaving that evening and heading towards Saltzburg taking advantage of the cooler temprature, and less traffic on the roads. After a quick shower we were back on the road within an hour.

Camping Obelisco – Strada Nuova for Opicina 37 – 34151 Triestetel / fax: +39 040 212744email: campeggioobelisco@gmail.com

Croatia ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท (Krk)

With supplies replenished via the local Lidl, we left Rovinj with a comparatively short, two hour thirty minute stint to our next destination on the island of Krk.

The temperature had been rising the further south we came, and staying cool while travelling was becoming a bit off a losing battle. Climate control in our classic camper tends to be done by altering the window aperture to one degree or another. However, due to the ridiculous heat even early morning, opening the windows was just letting warm air into the cab, so we had started to be creative with small USB travel fans positioned to try and offer a little extra help.

I would like to say that the journey was an uneventful one but a hiccup at a set of roadworks put us on the wrong side of the motorway with no possible option other than to carry on up to the next junction some 15 kilometres up the road. I was a little miffed as I was knowingly travelling in exactly the opposite direction which increased our ETA to the next campsite and wasted fuel in the process. Not to mention the fact we had just entered a toll section and I was convinced I was going to have to pay to get off, before I could get back on again.

Mandy tried to make me feel better about the mistake by telling me the roadworks would have confused anybody and they should have made things clearer. But I wouldn’t be happy until I knew I was back on the right trajectory again. My foot was to the floor and at 120kph+ Wolfgang was certainly getting the brunt of my annoyance. Fortunately as we entered the slip road, toll booths in sight, Google maps said something that for the first time I was happy to hear. “Do a U turn when possible!” . It was s bit naughty but there wasn’t any traffic so that’s exactly what I did meaning we didn’t have to pay. That would have really rubbed salt in my wounds.

We eventually arrived an hour or so later than predicted to find weren’t due until the following day ๐Ÿ˜’. Not sure exactly how this happened but they managed to accommodate us for a night before we could move to our allocated pitch the the following day.

We set the van up as quickly as possible, had a walk round to get out bearings for the essentials like the toilets,  showers and water points, then sought the sanctuary of the van and the shade the trees around it offered.

It was always going to be the most expensive camp site we had on the agenda, but after our brief site exploration we could see that this was all about the location, and very special it was indeed. I had booked it after looking on the Cool Camping website. You always pay a premium for these locations, but I’ve never had a bad experience yet. This was pretty much the pinnacle of our holiday, so for it to be spoiled by scrimping on funds would have made a mockery of the whole holiday knowing it had taken so much time, fuel and effort, just to be let down by a mediocre location. We realised at this point it was well worth the extra!

The following day our booked pitch was vacated relatively early, so we quickly bundled everything into the van in a rather unorganised manner, dropped the pop-top roof and wound the awning in. It took about 2 minutes to literally drive round the corner to our new spot with an amazing sea view. Things just couldn’t get better. Crystal clear seas, the shade of the trees, and a 30 second walk to the beach. Bliss.

The facilities included bakery,  swimming / infinity pool, and a really nice restaurant. It was lacking nothing.

I can’t really say anymore about this place, but it’s really one of those rare instances where you don’t need to say anymore. Everything is to like, and less is more. Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!

ECO Camping Glavotok
(Arrival: 12 June – Depart: 15 June)

Contact address: Glavotok 4
51500 KRK
Croatia (HR)

Telephone: +385 51 867 880
Fax: +385 51 867 882

Info: info@kamp-glavotok.hr

www.kamp-glavotok.hr

Croatia ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท (Rovinj)

A long day at the wheel, but been through some amazing scenery which included the Dolomite mountain range.

We set off from north Austria at 9am, drove into Italy, Slovenia and Croatia arriving at Rovinj for 6.30pm. It was warm as we entered the campsite’s reception where we explained that we would like a pitch for five nights. We made enquiries before our trip, but couldn’t book in advance because we were staying less than one week. As it transpired, the feedback from the campsite at the time was such that we shouldn’t have an issue finding a pitch as it wasn’t high season.

The options were they could allocate us a pitch or we could find one ourselves. My concern was the solar panels having enough light as I like to live on free energy whilst camping and not using electric hook up if we can. Proof of concept and all that :). So we wandered around the campsite looking for the perfect pitch. A couple were in contention , but the one that Mandy was drawn to was in a line of three, newly created pitches overlooking the sea. It was right next to the main coastal road, which I said could potentially cause us issues from a noise point of view, but we committed to the location and we’re pretty happy, although it was narrow.

Our first full day in Croatia was fantastic. Beach lounging, swimming, and in the afternoon a walk into the town of Rovinj. The icing on the cake has been a climb to the top of the church of St. Euphemia. Really proud of Mandy for accompanying me as I know she struggles with heights, but we did it all the same and both really enjoyed it. We had to remind ourselves that since having the campervan, we hadn’t been this close to the equator as all of our holidays had been in the van. We had done some nice travelling don’t get me wrong, but this put us on the beach with crystal clear seas in temperatures of 30+.

On day three our neighbours left for their home in Switzerland and after a brief conversation with the campsite reception we found that their pitch was free for the rest of our stay. It was far bigger than our pitch for just a couple of Euros more per night. This gave us much more sunlight which was also good for the solar panels

New pitch

Shortly after relocating we were approached by a couple of young Austrian guys who admired the van, and said that they had just setup on the campsite with similar age VW vans. I took a walk over to find they were both pretty rare. One a syncro multivan, the other a panel van that used to be used as a funeral van. Both in excellent condition. I was invited round for cold Austrian beers later that evening, but due to a decision to go paddle boarding sadly this didn’t transpire.

We had committed to a boat trip and were due to be collected at just after 11am. This was to view the 13 Islands close to Rovinj, and immediatly after we were due to head inland via an estuary to visit a local fishing village for an hour, with one final short stop to view some caves late afternoon before heading to port in the evening. This turned out to be a really good day out. We learnt a great deal and it gave us a better perspective of the town of Rovinj and its surrounding locations. Lunch was free as we had subscribed to two trips in succession, which also included wine throughout the duration of both trips. All for 70 euros (ยฃ63) for both of us.

In the afternoon of the fifth and final day we took one last walk into Rovinj. We were trying our best to be sensible to seek shade by the narrow streets in the heart of the town. We didn’t feel the need to do another boat trip, but the timing was right when we found ourselves on the harbor for the dolphin spotting, sunset tour. At 10โ‚ฌ each (ยฃ8) for two hours on the sea in such idyllic conditions seemed like a nice way to finish our five day stop in this wonderful location. Boy was it worth every penny. We saw dolphins, and although they were distant, we felt strangely humbled.

The following morning we got up knowing that we were moving on, so after breakfast we packed up, went to the local Lidl supermarket for supplies (very prominent throughout Europe), and headed over to our next stop some 2 hours away on the island of Krk.

Note: Currency for Croatia is the Kunar. Accept euros at some of the main attractions and fuel stops, but better to use kunar, or a card that lets you pay in their currency. Halifax Clarity card offers this functionality.

5,Autocamp Porton Biondi
Porton Biondi 1
52210 Rovinj
Croatia
Tel: +385 / 52 / 81 35 57
fax: +385 / 52 / 81 15 09
Mail: portonbiondi@web.de
google maps Coordinates: 45.094922 , 13.641508

http://www.portonbiondirovinj.com/

Austria ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น(Fernsteinsee)

The journey to Austria took approximately four hours with a single fuel stop. The weather is still fantastic and the van is performing brilliantly cruising at 80mph (120kmh). The last hour off the journey the landscape and roads changed noticeably as we moved into the Alps. We arrived early afternoon and had a great deal of flexibility as far as a camping pitch was concerned. There were trees dotted around which could offer some welcome shade, but with mountains looming all around I needed to make sure my solar panels could harvest enough power to keep the fridge working effectivley, so one was chosen free of tree canopy. Once the van had been set up we just chilled. I drank beer and Mandy read her kindle.

The following morning after breakfast and a shower we were slow to do anything meaningfull. I think we knew that we needed to start slowing things down. Don’t get me wrong we had enjoyed everything since we leaft the UK, but we needed to relax. I was adamant that i needed to update my BLOG as i travelled, because it was a lot more difficult to try and collaite all of the media and remember the experience if it was updated weeks after the event.

Blog updates using my tablet

There seemed to be an excess of energy due to the blue skies via solar pannels. So much so that after Mandy had used her hair straightners, she decided to ironed all her clothes.

We ventured out around 11am and had a walk to the local lake. We had seen photos on the campsite website of boats for hire, and this was also promoted in a small brochure they had given us after checking in. That said they were all locked up with no real way of being able to use them. It was a really nice day, and it would have been a different way to explore, but I figured that this would most probably be something that became available at weekends or as things began to spring into life in July, during the holiday season.

So we made our way around the lake on foot which took just over an hour. The vistas are truely awe inspiring. I have tried to capture this in the photos i took, but it doesn’t really do it justice.

Originally we planned to stay in Fernstiensee for 3 nights, but we have decided to try and break the journey up with only two nights here, then springboard into Croatia via an overnight stealth camp. This means we can enjoy our current location and explore for a day, knowing we will be on schedule without having to endure a whole day behind the wheel to get to Rovinj by Friday. 

I would highly recommend this campsite. We saw this on the Cool Camping website: https://coolcamping.com/campsites/europe/austria/west-austria/tyrol/2849-fernsteinsee

https://www.camping-fernsteinsee.at/camping/stellplatzplan/
Address:
Camping Fernsteinsee
Fernstein 475
A-6465 Nassereith / Tyrol
AUSTRIA
Tel .: +43 (0) 5265 5210
E-Mail: welcome@camping-fernsteinsee.at