All High Resolution Photos

France

Switzerland

Italy

Slovenia

Austria

Germany

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Summary

Total Distance Covered: 2684miles

Average MPG: 40.09

Litres of petrol: 304.32l

Total Cost of Fuel: £393.32

Average Cost of Fuel: £1.294 per/L

Average miles per day: 99.4

Total cost spent on equipment getting ready: £248

Costs during road trip: £2631

Total cost of road trip (All costs included): £2879

Unfortunately we stopped taking down the amount we spent on food and campsites so we've estimated the above costs (but they are pretty accurate).

Thanks to everyone who followed the blog.

Keep watching ajstan.com for another blog next summer - an Eastern European road trip is possibly coming!

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Back Home

Back home at 17.00 on 21/7/12. Utterly exhausted and in need of a nice relaxing holiday...

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21/7/12

Having covered 470miles and with the prospect of us doing quite a few today we decided to get a nice cheap hotel last night. Manda found it quite comfortable but unfortunately due to the very steep sloping roof line, I managed to punch the ceiling in the middle of the night - and no; it isn't funny!!!

With a bruised knuckle we headed towards Calais on the almost completely empty French motorways.

We are told that we were very lucky to get a train as everyone was fleeing to London for the Olympics..

As you can see, we are both very happy we made it onto a train: - (thus meaning going home, then back to normality).

 

20/7/12

Today we spent the whole day driving very quickly through the rest of Germany and France. We had a very quick stop off at Lake Constance (although we seemed to pick a duff area. I spent the whole time skimming rocks to amuse myself..

 

and Manda put her toes in

We got bored and left pretty soon and headed back towards Mandas favourite bit - Northern France!!!

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19/7/12

Amanda ill!! :( Spent most of the day in the hotel, I managed to make a doctors appointment and it turned out we both had throat infections.

I'm taking over writing now because Alex has gone and fallen asleep at 6pm and i need something to do. Although to be fair I only properly got up at 3:30 to go to the Doctors which Alex had arranged, oh and i got up just about every 3 minutes the whole morning to go be sick. The doctor said I had a throat infection but also he thought I had a virus which is why i was so feverish and kept being sick, he also said Alex had a throat infection but didn't think that he would get sick. So fingers crossed! The doctor put me on some drip thing which was amazing and i feel immeasurably better now and we're both on antibiotics. But Alex is still complaining of not feeling well, and now as just gone and fallen asleep, but hopefuly he'll feel better soon!! We decided this morning to just head home seeing as I felt proper awful and Alex not so great, and also we're both conscious of having 3 days left. But i couldn't stop being sick so we couldn't, so we've had to stay put another night and tomorrow we're going to try to plough on home and skip out belgium and all the other sights we were going to see just to get back.

So as you can imagine, we have no photos of today. Which is a shame, because it was a beautiful day (apparently, i didn't get out of bed) and we are right next to a beautiful lake and two big castles. But never mind.

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18/7/12

Today was something I had been looking forward to quite a bit, in Munich is the BMW head quarters. Here was a BMW museum of everything they had made but better still a building called BMW Welt (No idea what that means) but basically you can rent any BMW you like from 1hr to 1day. I had been looking forward to renting a BMW M5 but after reading small print I found you had to be 25 for all BMW M models (pftt) so I settled with a 135i cabrio for 1hr for 28€.

Unfortunately, the required 700€ deposit wouldnt go through with my credit card so it was just the museum for me.

BMW Headquarters

Every 3series ever made

After the BMW museum, we headed towards the first concentration camp the nazis built - Dachau. It was tiny compared to Auchwitz which I had been to a few years ago but still very haunting.

I only have 2 photos because it isn't really a place you want to be snapping away. All over the place including on the roof of the buildings were slogans like 'Work sets you free' - which of course wasnt true. There was also a very disturbing colour video being shown in one of the rooms of how they were treated - it really was horrible.

Glad to be out of the camp but constantly reminded about it by signs along German roads to other camps we headed towards Neuschwanstein castle. We stopped off a few times to take photos of the beautiful scenery - something I really didnt have Germany down for.

Amanda wasn't feeling so good today so we headed towards a hotel - we saw this church on the way. It looked like it had been taken out the middle of a city and plonked in a field.

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17/7/12

View from half way up the mountain to Hitler's secret house

To get to the house, you drive half way, then there are special buses that run up to the next bit, then you walk down this tunnel to a lift which takes you into the house. Annoyingly however the house is now owned by a restaurant which are pretty fussy about people looking around without buying anything so we bought some lunch.

Hitler's house

We then headed towards Munich:

We stumbled across this restaurant in Munich which was one of the most beautiful I've ever been to.

It was the first place we found with a proper vege menu for Manda!! Food here was yummy and they accidentally gave me 2 steaks :D

Cycling back along the river to the campsite from Munich

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16/7/12

Salzburg was a stunning city with many beautiful buildings. The main reason we came was to see the castle on the mountain behind the city.

You were free to wonder around any of the churches - one in particular was very beautiful.

Photos taken form castle

We spent ages fiddling with shutter speed settings on the camera to get a smooth look to the river. I think this was 30sec shutter speed.

After Salzburg we headed towards the Eagles nest in Germany. We missed the last bus by about 10mins and decided to stay the night so we could see it in the morning. We think the Eagles Nest (Hitler's secret house) was the building on top of the mountain top left of this photo.

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15/7/12

Lake Bled was our next and last stop off in boring Slovenia. It was stunning when we got there in the evening, none of the photos properly captured it which was a shame. An added bonus was as it was in Slovenia and not Italy, there were hardly any tourists! It really gave it a nice feel

The above photo was taken in the evening, we planned to go for a lovely swim in the morning but unfortunatly it decided to bucket down - oh, and I do mean bucket down. Neither me or Manda had ever seen a storm like it - it felt like the tent was going to be swept away - we could feel the water gushing underneath the sealed floor of our tent...

The next day we decided to get out of rainy, boring Slovenia. But we had an issue. The cigarette socket had stopped working. This wouldnt usually be much of a problem but we were relying on it to: Charge both our phones, ipods, laptop, cameras but most importantly THE SAT NAV. Faced with the prospect of Amanda map reading us back from Slovenia, I decided this had to be fixed no matter what.

Amanda left to go find me some brain food while I set to work, after some poking around and pulling apart various electrical boxes I found the central fuse box (which turned out to be behind the glove box). I found it to be a blown ford fuse. This, however, was very lucky as I just so happened to not only have one in my small selection of spares, but one of the right Amp. I swapped it and it worked perfectly. Amanda soon returned with a Ham & Salami roll and 4 packs of tic tacs. She knows me well. Yumyumyum.

We set off for Austria, Salzburg and got about half way, then realised we needed a vignette to use the motorway. We came off next junction to buy one at a petrol station and amazingly came across a world record attempt. 4 men, lacking in brain cells jumped from this crane into the shallow pool. 27m I believe it was.

Before anyone jumped in, a man got out a hose and stirred up the water - I guess it helps soften the impact?

They built up until 3 of them jumped off together - didnt get a photo of that though

Tunnels in Austria were often over 1km - it felt like they went on forever.

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14/7/12

We left Venice today and headed along the Adriatic coast towards Slovenia - although very touristy, we found a little spot and had a swim - sea was sooo lovely and warm compared to the freshly melted snow lakes we were used to. The spot we found was a private part for one of the glitzy hotels, we tried to pretent we were in the hotel when asked, are you staying at the hotel: Yes. Room Number: 22, Name: realised this wasn't going anyway and we ran away but managed to sneak on at an un guarded bit further down.

We pushed through Slovenia to its capital, Ljubljana, which turned out to be pretty damn dull. It was empty and there really wasn't much to do - pretty disappointing after our travelling guide book heralded it as a mini Prague.

Right in the centre

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13/7/12

Venice!

Delivery boat full of fruit

We found despite Venice being expensive, it was actually a pretty run down place. The buildings were crumbling, covered in graffiti and were dirty. Was great great fun walking down the much less touristy streets - we did get hugely lost though.

The streets were super narrow!

We saw these 2 boats get wedged together lol

Their door buzzers looked like something out of Futurama

Hiring Gondola was 80€ per boat!!! We gave it a miss

A beautiful palace

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12/7/12

We left the hotel early (ish) and headed on to Verona, I think this was the hottest day of them all with temperatures creeping up towards 36, 37. Alex could barely gather the energy to walk in the heat, in Verona there was a big open air roman auditorium. We had a look around and even though it was only fairly impressive, it was shady and cool which was very much welcomed.

Manda now onto her 3rd pair of sunglasses in Verona:

A man doing a very bad job of being the Statue of Liberty

 

 

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11/7/12

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MANDAAAA

It wasnt the best nights sleep in the hotel, Manda woke up screaming in the night about drowning in the car (or something like that) causing me to fumble around madly for the torch in the tent side pocket (forgetting I was actually in a hotel room) - after about 10secs I realised I needed to press the light switch. We spent the rest of the night being freaked out at how far away all the walls were - was weird after spending so much time being cocooned in a tent.

We didnt take a single photo today, we did however have a wonderful time standing on surfboards with a paddle - we still have no idea what it was called. We just know that it looked easy but it really really isnt! After this we did some snorkling in the lake and saw loads of fish.

Later on we had a lovely meal out at the hotel and deicded it would be a good idea to have a cocktail! This, however, turned out to be rather a bad idea. The cocktails we ordered turned were strong, and after half a glass Manda was very very drunk. After embarrassing herself in 2skype conversations with our parents she decided we needed a walk. I grabbed a glass of water and the loaf of bread out of the car. We walked around for about 45mins while I fed her bread like a duck and eventually she sobered up. Silly Manda. (She did only have soup for dinner to be fair - there isnt muchh vegetarian variety).

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10/7/12

Today we spent more time looking around the lake and then travelled towards our first night in a hotel!!

Sorry, we didnt take any pics until the evening today so they all look pretty dark.

The view from the car park was spectacular enough

Nearby town

The nearby town was very pretty, Manda bought her 2nd pair of flip flops here.

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9/7/12

To those who are interested even after the alps the car is still averaging a very reasonable 38.5mpg despite it being filled to the brim with all Manda's toot.

Very north tip of Lake Garda

It was very beautiful - if a little touristy

We forgot the lock for the folding bikes (again) today and decided that just half folding them up would stop anyone from riding off with them - (they really do need a knack to set then up)

We foudn these locks all over Italian bridges - especially around Lake Garda. Apparently they signify love locked together.

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeseee

Im slightly tempted to make Amanda write about this campsite as she is better at ranting but I think I'll have a go at this one. This was quite simply the worst campsite ever. It cost 31€ which was a lot for a small piece of grass which I couldnt even fit the car on. The toilets were filthy, the seats were broken, there was no toilet roll in any of the toilets (men and women), there was no soap anywhere, no bins, cold water with broken taps for washing up, drinking water was disgusting and the pool which looked quite reasonable was closed 90% of the time.

We were so disgusted that we decided to make a complaint - we waited for the manager to come back from the bank (he probably robbed a few people on the way). When he was back he told us yes, it was crappy (he didnt use this word though), but as we only were staying for 1 night, we should just move on and forget it, after a heated discussion/argument and Amanda ranted in Spanish, he threatend to call the police. So we left. It was 'Camping Riveriera' btw. Dont go there.

We did make a nice curry though

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08/07/12

I'After thinking it was a Monday and walking around the whole town dispairing at the 'stupid italians' for not opening their shops we realised it was a Sunday. So with a rather limited breakfast and some more apalling directions from an Italian to an 'open supermarket', that was SHUT, we set off to do some white water rafting. Everyone else went in a raft together with the instructor but me and Alex decided we were too hardcore for that and went in a 'Canadian Canoe' on our own. Everyone else was German there and we had to have our own personal safety talks in English whilst everyone else waited around. However, I do now wish we (I) had paid more attention because the first rapid the boat tipped completely and landed on top of us. I just panicked, tried to scream (under water), took in loads of water and decided i was going to die. Alex was more practical, he swam out from under the raft and grabbed it and the side before it went down stream.

This alex all dressed up in the kit.

Afterwards

We found the Italians (basically Austrians) here friendly, warm and eager to help... unfortunately this was NOT a taste for what was to come in the rest of Italy!!!!!!!!! After white-water rafting we had one more little bike ride in the sun alongside the river and then set off towards Arco at the tip of Lake Garda.

Arco, Lake Garda

Cold

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07/07/12

First day in Italy - we started getting really confused when everything seemed to be in German alongside Italian or just German. Everyone in the streets spoke German and they didn't act that Italian. Apparently that town belonged to Austia, i think they said it did up until 1918, or something like that and then Italy took it, but the language and culture had remained. However, weirdly all the food was Italian, Pizzerias were everywhere and they were still just as awful at giving directions. Actually AWFUl! We've worked out that if an Italian gives you directions you may as well do the opposite and you're more likely to find your destination. We wanted to go mountain biking in the alps, but couldn't find any good paths and after following about the billionth wrong instruction/direction from Italians we gave up and went along this really nice riverside path. Flat and easy but beautiful, shadowed by the alps and along side the river and massive orchards. Both accidently leaving the cameras in the tent we don't have photos... but honestly! It was beautiful! We went for a swim in the pool just before dinner to cool off then ate Italian Pizza in a Pizzeria that literally had 10 times as many flies in it than it did people. We walked around the town for a while which was beautiful, oh, and i forgot to say we both completely freaked out when a really loud siren went off that sounded just like the blitz bomb warning!!! No-one else batted an eyelid. but apparently, that is just how they mark mid-day there....Sorry for writing so much, but we don't have any photos! Sorry!

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6/7/12

Heading up into the alps towards the Stelvio pass there was sooo much snow at the side of the roads..

Manda tried to run up it......and failed...

Wheres Wally with Amandas head....

The Fuela pass was HUGE fun (think thats how you spell it)

This is a lake. Manda wanted to swim in it until she realised it was freshly melted snow..

Silly girl didnt eat lunch

Loads and loads of hairpin bends, it was so steep the car wouldnt go above 20mph :( Even the oil pressure light came on telling me to slow down :(

Still huge fun though!

Manda was obsessed with her dog Bernie

Just thought I'd say, this isnt copied and pasted from google images - I TOOK THIS :D

I then drove down that, so many holes in the concrete barrier and RIP signs around and we could see why - every corner had a 30m drop at least!

Interesting looking restaurant behind us from where I took the above photo

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5/7/12

The view from our campsite in the morning. Manda had a shock in the morning when she saw a basejumper jump from one of the cliffs jump off the edge and open his parachute a few hundred feet from the floor.

Top of Schithorn

Longest cablecar in europe - top of schilthorn

Had a cup of tea in the revolving restaurant which spins 360 so you get a lovely view

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04/07/12

after one more early morning swim in Lake Geneve we head off towards the alps, we stay in a little town, i think it's called murren. It's pretty quant but full of crazy base jumpers determined to kill themselves as they jump off the edge of the cliffs in some sort of bat costumes and glide down. The campsite we stay in is completely overlooked by some mountains but the woman who runs it is horrifically scary. An old English couple who we met in the campsite called her 'she who must be obeyed', they were right, we took up too much space with the tent and car and I thought she might kill us. It started raining in the evening and we hadn't done the airbed yet so we had to do it outside to plug it into the car, it started tipping it down and the bed got absolutely soaked. So we baerly slept all night, it was really wet and really coldI thought I'd got pneumonia. So at 6am we both got up and went to sit in the car with the heating on until the shop opened at 8.

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03/07/12

I'm updating the blog because Alex is driving, I'm not really allowed to drive in Italy yet because they are literally maniacs. They pretend to dart out into the road when at a junction to scare you into stopping, all seem to be playing the 'break as fast and late as possible' game. they beep insessently and undertake in the HARD SHOULDER!!! Anyway, back to the 3rd, we stayed at a campsite bang on Lake Geneve which turned out to be utterly breath-taking. Shadowed by mountains on both sides and clear, blue water, freezing but of course we had to go in for a swim. Well, I only went in the first time because Alex half threw me in and he only went in because i said he was a coward. But anyway, we went in. In the afternoon we hired a pedalo with a slide, alex's choice, he only went down it once when he accidently fell down after sitting at the top. Most amusing.

Alex soaking up some sun

Is it cold Alex? Alex looking at his best. Also, growing a beard! Just so you know.

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02/07/12

Swiss people are scary, they like everything to be just so, an Italian (I think) cleaner at the campsite told us that if you speed and they see you they WILL ring the police themselves. After almost putting a plastic bottle in the glass bottle recycling a swiss man ran over to tick me off. We hang around some more in Bern, Alex couldn't help but to buy a real Swiss Swiss Army Knife, for not actually very much, compared to the rest of Switzerland's extortionate prices anyway. Alex fell in love with Bern, the streets were beautiful, we got honked at by trams twice for nearly getting run over. They seem to like statues and paintings and stuff of children getting eaten by ogre-like things or getting thrown into the depths of hell, which was pretty charming. In the evening we roll on down to Lake Geneve, AND we find some sunshine!!!!! And then, we got to see Alanis Morrisette in the Montreux Jazz Festival which was amazing!!!!!!! Unfortunately we miss the train back by a whisker and have to wait ages. But it was worth it!1 Well I htought so anyway. Pictures to come!!!

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01/07/12

First day in Switzerland and we get lost, in the rain (ish) up a 'mountain' (ish), well 700 metres high apparently. After getting sent on our way by a Swiss super-cyclist we came to a little town right out in the sticks where they were 'a big family and we were welcome.' In the restaurant after mocking Alex for demanding tea the owner recommended we had the Swiss take on cheese on toast for 10 times the price and for -10 times the niceness. But Alex thought it was 'delicious'. We then moved on to Bern which was amazing, especially by the night when it was all lit up and buzzing.

 

The swiss man outside his restaurant

Bern

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30/6/12

After very hot day I noticed a gash/rip in the front right tyre, it seems yesterdays curb bash had done some damage. A few tyre shops later and nobody seems to know whether it is safe or not - I decided to change it but it turns out they don't sell the sport tyres I had fitted to the front of my car and so 2 different tyres are currently being fitted at a cost of 200€ :(

At least however before I noticed this we did drive through the beautiful town of Hippolyte.

St Hippolyte:

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29/6/12

Last night I saw one of the biggest thunder storms I've ever seen (also one of the loudest) - not good for sleeping - even more frustrating than that was watching Manda sleep soundly with her ear plugs (she claims when I breathe I sound like Darth Vader)

We stayed at the same campsite (Brabois) today and went back into Reims.

Baguette and 4 crossiants eaten on a very hot and sunny french morning.

Manda decided she HAD to pose with the baguette.

Planning route for next day

We tried some weird green yoghurt time thing - not the best to be honest

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28/6/12

On advice from our neighbours on the campsite, we headed towards the nearby WW1 British cemetry which was very harrowing (pics to come)

We then headed Reims for lunch and had a nice cycle around.

Cycling into Reims

'Notre Dame' Cathedral

Half way beween Reims and Nancy we saw this cow at a stop off space and deicded it was devil cow.

Ghost town

Nancy in the evening we thought was stunning, went back there in the day and it was nowhere near as impressive.

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27/6/12

Car starting mileage 152,563. Caught train to france at 2.50.

Arrived at campsite Vivier aux Carpes near St Quentin after deciding Reims was a bit far to travel for the first day. Campsite had a lovely lake but we were eaten alive.

We cycled out on our bikes in the evening

 

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25/06/12

Table, chairs and tent

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19/06/12

Photo slideshow added here. The full size photos will be uploaded to here as we go.

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17/06/12

Sucessfully managed to fix car seat adjuster without accidentally setting off an airbag!! - Amanda should now be able to see over the wheel lol

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16/06/12

Comment box added - please make some comments!!

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15/06/12

Campstove with travelling cookset and kettle. All packs neatly in the biggest pot.

It even has a toaster underneath!

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01/06/12

Another route update has been made - Berlin and Amsterdam have now been cut out to save 300miles. We needed to lower the average miles per day - it now stands at about 70miles per day.

Click for link

We bought some 80s Dahon folding bikes on ebay!! Great fun to ride if a bit wobbly...

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25/01/12

Route slightly modified. The travelling south west towards Nuburgring has been changed to a more western route through Germany uptowards Amsterdam. Google map link of new map here.

route2

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18/01/12

Car serviced, lock fixed, new front tyres. Car almost ready to go! (Clutch next). Amsterdam will be added to trip. Google map needs to be modified.

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3/01/12

Unpaid time off work accepted. 25/06/12 - 20/07/12.

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6/12/11

Thought it would be nice to get some pictures up and start designing the layout of the blog.

Here is the rough route, (google map link here).

route1

The car we plan to do this in.

Mondeo

 

 

 

 

 

 

European Road Trip

The Plan:

In June 2012 my girlfriend Amanda Cole and I intend to do a 3000mile road trip across Europe, through 10 countries over the course of a month finding campsites/hotels/hostels as we go.

The Car:

We plan to take my 10yr old 1.8l Ford Mondeo which has a mileage of over 150,000 miles. It does, however, have an enormous boot - especially when the back seats are folded flat -and is therefore the perfect machine for the job - assuming it keeps going!

The Actual Route:

Click for link

The Rough Route:

Click for link

Countries we planned to go to:

  1. France
  2. Switzerland
  3. Italy
  4. Slovenia
  5. Croatia
  6. Hungary
  7. Austria
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Germany
  10. Belgium

Countries we went to:

  1. France
  2. Switzerland
  3. Italy
  4. Slovenia
  5. Austria
  6. Germany

 

Costs:

Obviously a 3000mile 1month trip doesn't come cheap - but with camping and a lot of eco driving we estimate the costs to be:

Costs to buy equipment we needed:  
Coleman Coastline Tent £90
Campingaz Gas Stove £50
Crook Lock £8
Coleman LED Rechargable Lantern £40
Tesco Airbed + Electric Pump £20
Camping Table £20
Maps/Guide Books £20
   
Costs During Trip:  
Fuel - 2684miles £400
Swiss Road Tax (to use swiss motorways, purchase at border) £27
Austrian Road Tax £14
Manda on insurance £50
Euro Insurance Free!
Green Flag Euro Breakdown + Car recovery £100
Travel Insurance £20
Eurotunnel single (booked) £70
Eurotunnel return (not booked) £130
   
Costs we Have Estimated During Trip:  
Motorway Tolls (Mostly France) £180
Campsites £300
Food/Drink £800
Hotels (Unexpected cost with Amanda ill) £340
Spending Money £200
   
Total Costs (Including Equipment bought): £2879
Total Costs During Trip: £2631

 

Things We Took:

Car related:
  • 4L of oil
  • Windscreen wash
  • Engine Coolant
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Yellow Jacket
  • Spare bulb kit
  • Breathalyzer (Stupid french requirement)
  • Sat Nav
  • Assorted tools
  • Tow rope
  • Jump leads
  • GB Sticker
  • Blind spot mirrors
  • EU light beam deflectors
  • Haynes manual for car
  • Fire extinguisher (Slovenian requirement)
Camping related:
  • Tent
  • Mallet
  • Floor lining
  • Airbed
  • Electric Pump
  • Camp stove
  • Gas for camp stove
  • Camp cookset
  • Plates/Cutlery
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bin liners
  • Washing up bowl
  • Double Duvet
  • Pillows
  • Kettle
  • Lantern battery powered
  • Lantern Wind up
  • Maglite 2D torch
  • Bike light torch
  • Wind up torch
  • Camping seats
  • Camping table
  • Large water container
  • Tea towel
Clothes:
  • Shorts
  • Tshirts
  • Swimming stuff
  • Coats
Entertainment related:
  • DLSR Camera
  • Ipod
  • Netbook
  • Magazines
  • Driving abroad book
  • Europe on shoestring book
  • Bikes
  • Bike helmets
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Pump
Food/Drink:
  • Lots of bottles of water
  • Lots of easily storable food
Documents:
  • Passport
  • Driving license + counterpart
  • Health vcard
  • Travel insurance
  • Insurance proof
  • V5 for car
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