With their first season of caravanning around the UK under their belts Gav Grayston and his family head across the Channel and embark on a 2,400 mile trip to Venice and back... with their caravan in tow, of course.
We don't always go to the Med for our summer holidays, but when we do I look out of the plane window to Europe 30,000 feet below and wonder what it would be like to drive instead of fly.
This year we found out. We did drive – to the Adriatic Coast – and we did it with our caravan in tow.
Our destination was Camping Ca'Savio just outside the lagoon of Venice in Italy. We have been before, but we flew there and stayed in a static caravan. And, although we knew where we were going, the journey there was a completely new experience.
After an overnight stay at Canterbury Club Site and a quick trip on the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle across the Channel, we began our long migration south towards the sun.
After travelling through the flat land of Belgium, the Rhine Valley was full of tree covered hills dotted with castles. At the top of one of those hills, complete with a castle, was Burg Lahneck campsite – our first overnight stop. Wow.
Burg Lahneck is a popular campsite with the British, and clearly a hit with Club members.
Our caravan was pitched with the big panoramic window overlooking the valley and hillside opposite. A castle or two completed the view. What a fantastic spot to spend the night.
We made the most of our stay in the Rhine Valley, before continuing our journey south the following day.
Our next stop was Seeblick Toni campsite in Austria. If the Rhine Valley was "Wow", Austria was a double "Wow". As we headed south in Germany, the hills became larger and the castles and houses took on the Bavarian and Alpine look you would expect.
By the time we got near the Austrian border, the hills became mountains, complete with snow on the top despite it being August and the area at the tail end of a heat wave.
Seeblick Toni campsite is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains and the views from our caravan were amazing.
A two-night stopover in Austria allowed us to take in the sights including a trip up a mountain and a swim in the campsite's mountain lake. Austria is definitely on our list of places to revisit. The country was amazing and an unexpected delight. And a place many people miss as they fly thousands of feet above. Our journey continued on the Autobahn over the Austrian Alps and on to the Autostrade as we met the Italian Alps.
Initially the Italian Alps looked pretty much the same as the Austrian Alps, except for signs for pizza. However, as we headed south towards the Dolomites region, everything started to take on more of an Italian look. We even drove past the Ferrari museum, though we were not doing Ferrari speeds with the caravan in tow!
By the time we reached the Venice area, the land was flatter, hotter, and more familiar from our previous visit. We had a great pitch at Camping Ca'Savio close to the main pools, toilet block, supermarket, and the path to the beach. This is a big site catering for people from all over Europe. Most of the Brits fly there, although we did meet some caravanners from the UK.
The campsite is a great base if you have kids and want the family beach holiday combined with a bit of culture – just a short bus and ferry ride, you are in the spectacular ancient floating city of Venice.
This was a fantastic trip. The family saw so much that they would have missed if we had flown and not taken the caravan.
Look out for my next blog when I talk about some of my (unfounded) concerns that first-time caravanning abroad can present, plus a few practical points to consider.
If you're planning your next camping holiday overseas, the Club's Travel Service can help with all of your arrangements, from selecting and booking your campsites to discounted ferry and Eurotunnel crossings. Visit the website or call 024 7642 2024.