A Travellerspoint blog

From Ancona to Split to Dubrovnik

Hello Croatia!


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Jeremy and I took advantage of the on board breakfast to help us wake up, and upon arrival we transferred the boys into the van whilst they slept. They woke up to a pretty awesome view of Croatian waters and we were all buzzing with excitement to be here. The bathrooms on the ferry were as awful as the rooms so we pulled in to a gorgeous coastal layby with a stone jetty to give the boys breakie and to freshen up in the van.

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Our 6am ferry arrival had guaranteed us an early start (a rare thing in this family!) so we thought that we may reach Dubrovnik by lunchtime. As always, we massively underestimated our journey time, largely due to the numerous stops where we pulled off the road to absorb the unparalleled beauty. The coastline reminded me a lot of New Zealand, particularly of the Bay of Islands where I am from, but it was even more dramatic. The road (we took the coastal road 8) was literally RIGHT on the face of cliffs with their silhouettes being reflected in the expanding ocean below.

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We stopped at a layby with incredible views of crop fields below, and after having local honey and jams spooned into his mouth by an adoring local, Jeremy could not resist a purchase so we left laden with condiments and fresh fruit which was an expensive but memorable stop!

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We arrived in Dubrovnik by late afternoon and were all in awe of the massive ships in the port. We followed campsite signs to campsite "Solitudo" and pretty much as soon as we were parked up we ran down to get a glimpse of the water at the local beach, just in time for sunset.

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The campsite was about a 20 minute bus ride from Dubrovnik old town and were relieved to not be driving ourselves as our limited driving experience here had indicated that road rules were not particularly well adhered to (or that we were following the wrong ones!). We spent a full day exploring the old city and walking around the impressive city wall which gave spectacular views of the old town within, the "new" town outside, and the incredible oceanscape beyond.

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When we purchased our tickets for the wall walk the ticket seller was so excited to meet Kiwi's as he was a huge fan of LOTR and was unimpressed by Game of Thrones, filmed in Dubrovnik, by comparison! For reasons of safety no buggys were allowed on the wall but Mylo was an absolute champion and walked almost the entire circumference, including up some very steep stairs of a tower, all by himself. We forgot to pack the carrier so Jeremy carried Felix the whole way which made for a hot journey for both of them as it was a sweltering day and the open walls afforded no shade from the sun.

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Two birds kissing on the wall

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We stopped for some cold ones at a perfectly placed bar and enjoyed which may prove to be the most scenic drink stop of a lifetime

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After exiting the wall we welcomed our buggy back to the family and wandered around the old town at street level and couldn't resist a coffee and baklava from the wonderful restaurant where we had left our buggy.

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Although we had enjoyed a few bevvies on this day, a cocktail window just could't be passed by and I was rather excited to get two takeaway Mojitos ;-)

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Just as we were about to exit the old city we saw a man with several gorgeous, colourful parrots. He was an absolute sweetie and let all of us touch and hold them - at one point I think I had 4 on me at once! Felix's reaction was priceless!

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The guards at the city walls were very friendly, much more so than those in London, and were happy to high-five Mylo which he was pretty chuffed with and made sure Felix got his turn too :-)

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Posted by bywaterbyland 02:47 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

From West to East, Hello Adriatic coast!

Our last leg in Italy


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Leaving Naples we had a brilliant view of Vesuvius.

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Our cross-country drive was utterly gorgeous with a constantly changing landscapes with almost tropical scenes of cacti contrasted with long, wide landscapes.

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We failed miserably with the "scenic route" after finding ourselves on unsealed roads so returned to the motorway which was still a visual feast. We had lunch in a lay-by and arrived at "Lido Saldi" in Manfredonia in time for sunset and a walk along the beach.

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We spent half of the next day enjoying the gorgeous setting.

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The next day we drove around the coastal "nipple" and feasted on dramatic sea views with white cliff tops contrasting against the brilliant blue sea.

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We passed through some of "Parco Nazional del Gargano" and stopped at a stall selling local goodies.

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We pulled in for the night at stopping at "Camping Villaggio Internazionale", half way between Rodi Garganico and Peschici where we ate a delicious meal that was sort of a mystery order as we could not translate the menu!

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Before setting off the next day the boys had fun playing on the campground driveway. Mylo's confidence on the scooter was improving so much but unfortunately he did have a nasty fall coming down a hill that perhaps I should not have let him come down .......large_IMG_2472.jpglarge_IMG_2473.jpg

It was a LONG drive to Ancona where we were to catch the ferry to Spit the next day. We found a perfect layby for lunch with picnic tables and a playground :-)

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As with previous stretches, our time on the road was rewarded with gorgeous, ever changing scenery with clustered hill top villages, bright facades, scattered rural towns and populated coastal hubs constantly changing the landscape.

To our relief we arrived in Ancona in good time to get ferry tickets. All options were fairly pricey so we chose to "sail" with Jadrolinija lines and booked a sleeping cabin. It was a thrill for us all to see our vessel and to drive onto the deck knowing that the next time we touched land we would be in Croatia, a country virgin to all of us.

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After our incredible ferry experience travelling from Harwich to the Hook of Holland we were optimistic that we would be comfortable and able to sleep during this overnight sailing. We could not believe our eyes when we opened the door to our cabin. It was TINY with two sets of bunks with barely any room between, not even enough to fit our buggy. We were all shattered and Jeremy and I did our absolute best to make the boys comfortable. It was not an easy task as Felix needed to be in his tent on the floor as the bunks were too narrow to co-sleep and he would be at risk of falling out of one if he was on his own. With the tent on the floor there was literally no room for anything else so we piled our bags on the spare bed and tried to get some sleep.

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After just a few minutes I started to get horribly itchy and soon realised that the carpet was filthy and swarming with goodness knows what. We had no choice but to put all spare linen on the floor to try and cover up any nasties and hope that we would make it through the night without contracting any horrible disease! Thankfully the boys eventually slept and we must of too as we awoke to the sound of the ferry horn informing us that we were approaching Croatia!

Posted by bywaterbyland 18:27 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Vico Equense


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After a full day in Pompeii we decided to minimise our travel time so chose to stay in Vico Equense, right on the coast. The drive in was utterly bonkers which no clear right of way rules, with everything from scooters to buses pulling out in front of us in narrow, bustling roads.

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Thankfully, after the stress of the drive we found a wonderful campsite "Sant'Antonio" which was owned by the loveliest of gentleman. The campsite was very tranquil, and again we were surrounded by citrus trees which added to the charm. We had a lovely spot and enough sun to catch up on washing. IMG_2377.jpglarge_IMG_2376.jpglarge_IMG_2378.jpglarge_IMG_2373.jpg

The day after our arrival we visited the local beach which was packed - it definitely felt a lot warmer here than in Northern Italy. The boys loved playing in the sand and Felix, as usual, attracted a host of admirers.

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We took a brilliant day trip to Positano, first catching a train to Sorrento. Our wonderful campground host was so kind to drop us off at the train station as the local buses weren't running. It was a gorgeous town with views to die for.

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Elderly gentlemen enjoying a picnic

From Sorrento we caught a bus and were relieved to be driven rather than driving along the steep, windy roads which felt far too narrow, especially when two buses drove past each other! Not driving meant we could both soak up the glorious views which were utterly breathtaking.

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In Positano we slurped on Limoncello slushies and relaxed on the cobbled beach before taking a dip.

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We did a bit of shopping before catching the bus back to Vico Equense where we had a brilliant meal with our own lawned play area for the boys :-)

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Posted by bywaterbyland 04:33 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

To Pompeii via Trevignano


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After 10 days in Bracciano we left feeling rested and recovered and ready to continue our adventure. On route to Pomepeii we stopped for lunch in the gorgeous town of Trevignano Romano on the Naples coast where we indulged in Italian pastries.

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In Pompeii we found Campsite Zeus, abundant with citrus trees and right by the entrance to the archaeological site. We spent a gloriously sunny day walking through the site and taking in as much as we possibly could while visiting with two young children. The old roads made of huge cobblestones made seriously hard work with the buggy but we covered a lot of ground and had a really great day.

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Posted by bywaterbyland 03:34 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Bracciano

For rest and recuperation


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Despite our stay at i Cedri we all really needed to "settle" for a decent chunk of time. Jeremy had visited lake Bracciano when he was younger so we decided to make that our spot. We chose "Roma Flash" as our campground and because it was now the end of the summer season, we managed to get a fantastic possie right by the lake. Pretty much soon after arriving both Felix and Jeremy came down with a nasty chest infection which meant for the majority of our stay, we didn't leave the campsite. It was actually really nice to "stay put" as we couldn't have been in a more beautiful place and had all that we needed.

We enjoyed sunsets an sunrises, mini dance sessions, daily swimming in the lake and just enjoying our glorious surroundings.

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Beautiful roses given to us by the Italian couple before our wedding

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Our lovely German neighbors

We did take a day trip to Bracciano town and visited Bracciano castle which was worth the visit although we struggled to find the entrance way!

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When Jeremy and Felix were feeling better we decided to take a boat trip across the lake but after catching a lift with a fellow camper we realised that the boat wasn't running. It actually turned out to be the most brilliant thing as we hired a kayak for all four of us and we explored the coast by paddle and vessel :-) It was utterly perfect, the sun was shining and it was so peaceful and quiet and both boys first time on a kayak which made for a a pretty awesome introduction :-)

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After our kayak we relaxed at the local beach eating icecream, drinking cocktails and playing Foosball :-)

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Posted by bywaterbyland 03:21 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

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