Dr. Who Van Blog
DR WHO - VANTOUR 09
It was just another one of many cold winter days in London, a few pints later at the pub when we started pondering the idea of travelling Europe in a van. How we were going to make this happen was beyond us at this stage, but the thought was so appealing. Many conversations and internet browsing later we came to the conclusion the safest way for us to do this “wicked” adventure was in a “wicked” van. We booked online, it all
seemed to good to be true, pay a deposit to secure your van and pay rest closer to when you depart! So it meant securing a van giving us time to save for the rest.. BINGO! Needless to say our social lives in London were cut to save for this once in a lifetime adventure, we are doing this once and doing it right!
After the anxiety of resigning from work wore of, it was time to get amped up ! Making plans, for the venture ahead! Many hour dedicated to studying lonely planet and Europe maps ..Gone were the days of Friday drinks at the pub after work.. it was all about VANOUR 2009!
As we had many friends with similar plans over summer it helped with putting the wheels in motion, sharing and comparing ideas and trying to work out a rough budget for this priceless experience. Having finished work and most the ground work in place it was time to start the final countdown, arranging travel money cards, roaming on mobile networks, travel insurance etc etc.
The day had finally come! 2nd July 09! a day to remember, our bags had been packed ready to go for days leading up to this moment, unsure what we were getting ourselves in for! 3 months living in a van travelling through at least 15 countries! Arrived at the depot with extreme anticipation to reveal our home for the next 3 months! So many different designs, are we going to be lucky?? We were lucky! Dr Who and the mystery machine, this could only mean good things for our time ahead.
The van was amazing! It had so much storage (maybe I didnt need to be so ruthless when packing my bag!) and the kitchen set up had everything needed! And one of the most important things, it had aircon!
Our chunnel crossing was booked for later that afternoon so we had time to make the van homely, fill the cupboards with cereal, noodles and dried food that would last the distance before kissing goodbye to London for 3 months!
We arrived in France, adjusted to the opposite site of the road and set on track towards Paris. We managed to drive into the eye of a massive thunder and lightning storm, panicking a little we pulled it together and managed to find safety under the golden arches being McDs! It couldnt have been a worse start! However keeping spirits high as things could only get better which they did. The rain eased and we were able to get back on track towards Paris.
Pamplona was the event that was our prize at this stage and we had our eye on it! Being that we were booked to stay with Stoke travel with all other wicked campers on hire and needless to say free booze excited us very much! We were at an awesome campground called Ezcaba with an awesome set up, Bar, DJ, Food etc. Introducing ourselves to our fellow campers and tucking into some sangria in preparation for the opening ceremony the following day.
The adrenaline, suspense and passion all at once! The colours white and red everywhere! Sangria everywhere! To drink and to spray everyone in sight with! Needless to say good ole primani whites were now rubbish. 3 days of sangria and many great memories created.
From here our next major stop was Portugal! Through the grapevine we heard that Lagos was a place not to me missed. It defiantly lived up to expectations. Many other vans both from wicked and independent van tour vans were in the only campground in Lagos so party everynight! Amazing beaches along the whole coastline however bone chilling water. 3 nights in a row spent at 1 hour of power, all the beer you can drink and a great feed for a tenner.
From Portugal we drove up the east coast of Spain stopping at many places (mainly coastal) along the way. Our fav being Alicante. The stretch of coastline was amazing! Finally some crystal blue warm Mediterranean waters. We spent several days soaking up the rays and swimming in the ocean.
One month into our Journey and we were well set in our ways of living life on the road. Finding many ideal free camp spots along the way, easily found around coastal towns for sure.
Moving onto Italy we found the jewel! Cinque Terre, 5 villages situated in the most picturesque setting. 16Km coastal walking tracks joining them. We walked between 3 of the 5 villages in 30+ temps, well worth the hike for the breathtaking views.
From Italy we caught an overnight ferry to Athens. We were allowed to sleep in the van which made it somewhat less painful. Being booked to head to Ios the following day we parked the van up and headed on yet another overnight ferry to the island this time sadly no comfort of a van :( We stayed 5 nights in Ios, the campsite we were staying at was party central and the clubs in town were awesome! 2 cocktails and 2 shots for a 5er! Who could say no to that!
Reunited with the van we headed on our way to Croatia being the next big stop. This also lived up to every expectation. Krka National Park was full of spectacular waterfalls, one of which we swam under.
Montenegro was a massive surprise for us as we were not expecting to stay as unfamiliar with what it had to offer! Almost rivalling Croatia with beauty we stayed for a night to enjoy the coastal paradise yet again!
Scheduled in from departure we were looking forward to reuniting with Stoke Travel and Wicked campers again at
Oktoberfest. Again an awesome set up for the festive events to follow. The beer halls were so busy and hot but still managed to be enjoyable as the atmosphere overrides that.
Down to the final 2 weeks with Dr Who, reality was setting in that soon the dream would be over! We had Amsterdam to look forward to however. It was great to finish our adventure on a high note before returning to London.
Throughout our tour we were so lucky with the weather and only encountered 2 days of rain! Other than that perfect blue sky's all the way.
The day of handing the van back to Wicked was a sad day. As much as we were longing to be in a house with more than 4 walls and to sleep in a proper bed, Dr who felt like our home. The day had to come sooner or later.
Within 3 months we visited 18 countries, drove 15,000KM, took over 2,000 photos and created countless memories.
Thank you Wicked for making our dream come true!