We arrived in Ancona and were quickly heading back to Camping Belamare for a night stop! What a different place off season. It was a week before the camp closed for the winter. Luckily for us the restaurant was open so we went for a pleasant meal. Lots of space on the campsite so we were soon settled in and had a quick stroll on the now deserted beach. Not freezing cold but definitely a nip of Autumn in the air, at least it wasn't raining.
After a good nights sleep we were soon back on the road heading for Bologna.
We had decided we needed a stop before heading for Milan. Camping Bologna was another "camping in the city" site. Very well placed for travelling into the city centre with a handy bus stop just outside the site.
Easy access and parking. The facilities were good with a small shop and restaurant. Bologna is a beautiful city to wander around. Loads of churches, museums and fabulous architecture. Not as busy as some of the other places we have been to in Italy and compact enough to stroll around in. A selection of some of the sites on our whistle stop tour.
Churches and statues in abundance.
And of course towers.
Plenty of old fashioned amazing real food shops.
Loads of fabulously expensive clothes shops! Bologna is on our return list and a good halfway stop on the way to Ancona.
We were really on our way to Milan to meet Den's cousin Margaret. So another camping in the city stop. Camping Milan, an easy bus ride to the centre of the city. Next door is a water park which would be great in the summer.
The campsite in Milan was not in the best area of the city but was convenient. We had met very few Brits on our travels this year but the Milan site was full of the travelling community who had set up home there. We watched all the comings and goings, there were dozens of small children playing on bikes and scooters but the site was pretty well run and we had no problems. The travelling community were sited at one end of the campsite with their own toilet block, the rest of the visitors were at the other end.
Camping Milano is well placed for visiting the city with a bus stop by the campsite which went straight to the metro. A 45 minute journey into the heart of Milano. We caught the bus into town and had a good look around. The Duomo was stunning and not too busy. We bought a combination ticket ( with wrinkly discount!) which took us into the Duomo and around the archaeological site which was fascinating.
There is so much to see and do in Milano. The shops are unbelievable, but so interesting just watching the people. They are all so well dressed. We spent a lovely few days with Margaret, met the family and had a beautiful traditional meal cooked by Margaret's amazing mother-in-law. Certainly Irish hospitality with a real Italian twist. Thank you so much to Margaret and Luigi for their kindness, we have learned so much more about the family!
Very aware that the time for the Tunnel was approaching fast and we would soon have to leave Italy to travel northwards.
We decided to have a final two days in Pescheria del Garda before heading through Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and France, on the final run home. Lake Garda was much as we remembered it from last year. We were able to have a better look around the town this time.
Not quite Venice but still the odd gondola.
Water racing on the lake. Pretty scary stuff.
An evening stroll by the river.
The lake at it's best when the tourists have gone.
Krystal bags another prime spot overlooking the lake.
The last stage of our journey was through Austria and Germany. We headed towards Innsbruck for our next stop back to Camping Nattersee.
Another prime spot overlooking the lake with the best shower block we have ever experienced including piped music and under floor heating!
Austria never fails to stun, with beautiful scenery and everywhere is so clean and tidy. We caught the bus into Innsbruck courtesy of the camp site, you get a free bus pass. We had a lovely afternoon browsing around the city in the cool sunshine. The buses were of course all perfectly on time.
Around Innsbruk. I would like to come back early in the season, perhaps another year.
The final trip from Austria was over the Fern Pass into Germany and a night just outside Stuttgart. We were hoping to use the campsite in Stuttgart and visit the Mercedes museum. However, the campsite appeared shut and after driving through the traffic we gave up! Camping Wald Park just outside would have to do. A happy accident as it turned out. We found a very nice Italian restaurant a 10 minute walk from the site so had an excellent meal and a good nights sleep before setting out for Luxembourg.
The thing I really enjoy about travelling in our van is the few small unexpected pleasures. We headed for Luxembourg ( cheap fuel) and decided to stay at Camping Bonne Actuel another short bus ride to Luxembourg City.
The village had a few shops and bakery and after a tiring day looking at what Luxemburg City had to offer we found a delightful little restaurant where we had a great meal, reasonably priced with fantastic desserts. all in all a lovely stop and one we will certainly do again.
Our final destination was the tunnel so we headed for France and spent the next night at Serrancourt Le Grande and Camping Les Vivier Carpes.
We had been to this site before, so walked up through the village to the tiny military cemetery, always so touching and peaceful.
Finally we were on the last leg of the journey. Calais, we decided to try the new municipal site just outside town so we could walk into Calais and have a proper look around. The weather had turned quite cool and damp.
The campsite was brilliant. Excellent facilities and an easy walk to the centre of Calais.
Camping Gravelot. A municipal site fairly newly built, with an aire at the gate. Very friendly and clean with a lovely communal room complete with free wifi and a table football machine. We spent our last two nights here and had our last French meal in the Cafe de Paris. No problems and it was a quiet peaceful night. Next morning a quick super van scan in the super new van scanner at the tunnel and we were homeward bound.