hello, again, holland

We made it back! Alive and well. Phew! The steep (very) windy (very) roads back were a challenge, but we pulled through. The stop in Germany at the castle was a delight. A drastic change in temperature for us, though – 30 Celsius in Zadar to 10 Celsius in the mountains in Germany, thankfully we had a heater in the caravan.

This weekend we will be selling ice-cream one last time at an event in Amsterdam, at a cultural center. Hopefully it will be blistering hot inside, and people will want to eat ice-cream. Then the ice-cream business will over for the season.

Now we’re back in the country where I was born, it’s rather cold and rainy which is a bit of a drag and it will take some time to get used to.
No I’m in need of figuring out what to do in the cold months ahead, and where to do this chosen thing.

burg rabeneck

We made it to Germany – what a trip that was. When we mapped out our route along the way in Slovenia, we decided to bypass the toll-roads. This was a good idea, except for the fact that we had chosen a road that wasn’t caravan friendly. I will not go into details, but it was quite the adventure, and eventually we took a different route; via Italy.

Now we are in Germany, at castle Rabeneck – Sebastiaan is friends with the owners of the castle. Norman has owned this castle since the 1970s, and has fixed it up, as when he bought the Rabeneck it was a ruin, and now he rents out the three rooms to guests. The large dining hall is often rented out to larger groups for wedding parties and such.

The forest around the castle is beautiful, autumn has arrived by now, and it is thus raining, but the trees look especially nice in the autumn, there are many Beech nut trees, and the Beech nuts can be picked off of the ground and whenever it stops raining we head out and take nice long walks. The air is so fresh and clean here, breathing is such a treat. Breathing is something we don’t usually think of, but here we are constantly reminded due to the pure air.

This time is election season in Germany, and yesterday the Germans got to vote for their district, which Norman did as well, the district here is Bayern – his wife Dagmar is Czech, so she didn’t get to vote for the German elections. The CDU is the largest party in this district. Next Sunday the Germans get to vote for the national elections. Now I am curious as to what the results of the national elections will be.

Tomorrow early we will head back to Holland. It’s raining there as well, so there is not much difference between where we are now, and where we are headed.

bok, croatia

Bok means hello and goodbye in Croatian.

Croatia has been good to us, stunning sea-side views, free camping spots, some of the most friendly people I’ve ever come across, beautiful and delicious local produce, honey, olive oil, and so much more. Croatia is to me a lovely mixture between Eastern Europe and Italy, even the accent seems to me to be phonetically a mixture between the two. The lovely small streets, Mediterranean sea, and olive trees galore have pleased my eyes on this trip. Ice-cream isn’t selling at all since recent days, and it’s about time for us to head back up to the rainy north.

We have thus far slowly driven from Zadar to Rijeka, and are about to head to Trieste in Italy, which is 80 kilometers from here. I have been to Trieste once before when I was on a road trip with my brothers Henjo and Morgan, and I remember it to be quite lovely. Our goal is to drive approximately 300 kilometers every day, so after Trieste we will drive another 220 kilometers today and, hopefully, make it all the way to Austria. Where I broke my leg while skiing when I was ten and a half. The half was very important at that time, and I remember the doctor as well my father laughing because of the importance in my tone while saying the half part.

* Bok doesn’t officially mean goodbye, but it is often used to say goodbye.

finding free camping spots in croatia

We are driving along the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean Sea, our windows are open which makes our hair blow in the breeze and music is blasting from the speakers. Kuchi, the cat, is on my lap, Sebastiaan is driving our Seat Inca with our home, the caravan, which is being pulled behind the car – we are searching for a spot to spend the day and night as close as possible to the rocky beaches of Croatia, but it needs to be an area where the cat can roam around in nature, and thus spots that are close to a busy road are not an option.

We finally find a road off of the beaten path and we decide to walk to down the path to see if it’s a good place to set up camp. We pass a beautiful old brick church along the way, and I climb up to the window to see if there is anything inside, but it’s too dark for me to see. I decide I need to come back with a flashlight to investigate the inside. We walk along the rocky road, and we begin to see some good spots that are large enough for us to park both the car as well as the caravan, we keep walking further down the path to see if there’s an entrance to the sea from here. We eventually find a little path that seems to be headed towards the water, we decide to check it out to be sure it indeed leads to a spot where we can get into the water, we pass sharp bushes and branches while walking down this small path, and eventually we see the glistening water; the view is stunning from here, there are many sailboats on the water and there are mountains on the other side. There are large rocks in front of us, so we will need to climb over them to be able to get into the water, but we don’t see this as a problem, we will just have to wear shoes to climb the rocks before we jump in. We are excited about this spot, and we decide to walk back to get the car, caravan & cat and park here for the night.

That evening a group of three Belgian people ask us if we are camping here, they are searching for a spot to set up camp as well and we inform them that we indeed are camping here for the night and tell them that there is a good spot a little while up the road. We join them later that evening, after sunset, they cooked some food, we drank some beers, and we chatted about the travels in Croatia.

This is one example of how we find spots to sleep while traveling through Croatia, there have been many other spots, mainly in nature. The only downside of these spots has been the abnormally large amount of mosquitos that keep us up all night – we wake up in the mornings with about 10-20 bites. The only spot where we were nearly mosquito free was on the parking lot of the Lidl (German discounter) grocery store – not the fanciest nor quaintest spot, but the sleep was the best in days.

yoga poses while traveling

Sitting down for long hours on end can really start to make your body feel tighter and tighter every day, here are some of my favorite poses that I do to help my aching neck, back, and loosen up my legs during and after traveling.

Repeat the poses as often until you feel the ache lessen or just until you feel the need to stop. Don’t overstretch ever!

Poses you can do while seated

  • Roll your neck clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Bend neck slowly forward and backward and from side to side
  • Roll your shoulders backwards slowly, I tend to not roll them to the front since I tend to have them too far forward in general
  • Bring your elbows out to the sides at shoulder level while keeping the elbows bent and roll them in large circles backwards as many times as you feel is comfortable
  • Twist your torso to the right while keeping your legs in place and hold for as long as you feel comfortable, you can keep your left hand on your knee to help get deeper into the twist, repeat on the other side

  • Poses for when you exit

  • Forward bend; fold forward and touch your feet with your hands
  • Back bend; put your hands on your lower back and bend backwards slightly (keep your hips above your ankles or you will hurt your lower back)
  • Stretch your arms up in the air, keep your hips above your feet and move your arms and head to one side and hold, then repeat on the other side
  • Yoga poses to do once you arrive at your sleeping accommodation

    First some sun salutations to warm up your body

    Sun Salutations
    Sun Salutations

    At the fourth pose you first bring your right foot back, then at the tenth pose you bring your right foot forward again. Once you repeat this with the left foot you have completed one round. One time with the right foot, and one time with the left foot; I usually repeat this six times (a total of six times with the right foot and six times left foot) but just a few times will do after traveling.

    And then continue with:

    Standing forward fold
    Standing forward fold
    Downward facing dog
    Downward facing dog
    Upward facing dog
    Upward facing dog
    Spinal twist
    Spinal twist
    Bound angle pose
    Bound angle pose

    You can end the short session with some meditation in corpse pose before you take a nap.
    Then off to explore your new destination!

    Yoga pose images via freretstreetyoga