Posts for March, 2017


Back in Europe (Venlo, Netherlands)

Journal entry for Wednesday 15th Mar, 2017 (day 1, miles 69610)

We flew into Amsterdam last night and stayed in an airport hotel to allow some of the jet-lag to wash away and then this morning took a train to Eindhoven and taxi to our friend Erik's place (the power behind adventure-trucks.com) in the little village of Sint-Michielsgestel where our yellow GXV has been stored for more than a year.

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Back in Europe II (Kettenheim, Germany)

Journal entry for Thursday 16th Mar, 2017 (day 2, miles 69782)

Looking over the map last night we discovered that our overnight spot was close to another jumbo supermarket and so once underway this morning that was our first stop.

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Family visit (Badenweiler, Germany)

Journal entry for Friday 17th Mar, 2017 (day 3, miles 69782)

Today we had a specific destination, the village of Badenweiler, which is located in the Black Forest and is known for its thermal spa. There is a nice campground in the town (that we have stayed in previously) and it is close to where our son and fiancee live (when not in Berlin). We plan on staying in Badenweiler 5 days or so for a "family catchup".

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Aires and Alternators (Chalon sur Saone, France)

Journal entry for Wednesday 22nd Mar, 2017 (day 8, miles 70163)

We have been hearing about Aires for years from people and publications about motorhome travel in Europe (but more specifically France). We have been told, and read widely, that these are like overnight parking places for RVs that typically are not suitable for trucks, are specifically set aside for RVs in or on the edge of towns, and usually provide a sani-dump, fresh water (and even sometimes) electrical facilities. But in truth in our last two seasons in Europe we have not actually used one. We have often had conversations with non Europeans about the word Aires and its meaning. Google translate will tell you it means something like area, or zone. But that does not really explain the terminology Aires

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Just plain alternators, and a Volvo dealer (Aire de Portes Les Valence, France)

Journal entry for Thursday 23rd Mar, 2017 (day 9, miles 70322)

As I mentioned in yesterdays entry I was somewhat nervous that today we would find that the guys in Eindhoven had replaced the previously faulty alternator with some European part that was not up to the job. This concern was driven in part by the understanding that in Europe the U500 Unimog is a full 24 volt truck whereas the US version has a 12 volt alternator and 12-24 volt dc-dc converter to boost the voltage for all the control units.

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The rain in (almost) Spain (Le Boulou, France)

Journal entry for Friday 24th Mar, 2017 (day 10, miles 70550)

It rained heavily throughout the day as we travelled down the A7 and then the A9 motorways towards the Spanish border. These sections of motorway seem to be managed by a different company and in general the road, and facilities were in poorer condition than those of the first few days.

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Salvador Dali Part I (Figueres, Spain)

Journal entry for Saturday 25th Mar, 2017 (day 11, miles 70577)

The Spanish town of Figueres is famous as the location of the Dail Theatre Museum. As the name implies this is an old theater building that was converted (by Dali) into a museum to display various of Dali's works. Visiting this museum and soaking up some Dali atmosphere was our plan for today.

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Salvador Dali Part II (Figueres, Spain)

Journal entry for Sunday 26th Mar, 2017 (day 12, miles 70577)

Dali was born in Figueres and lived much of his life in the nearby village of Port Lligat where, over the years, he combined and converted a total of 7 cottages into an elaborate and some what eccentric house. That house is now a major tourist attraction. A visit requires a pre- purchased ticket, lasts only an hour, and all visits are supervised. To visit this house one must travel to the village of Cadaques then find ones way the extra 1 km to Port Lligat.

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3 Estrellas (Barcelona, Spain)

Journal entry for Monday 27th Mar, 2017 (day 13, miles 70680)

Just a short hop today of about 100 kms to Barcelona and we hope a camping spot from which we can base ourselves for 4-5 days while we explore the city and its attractions. The motorway south from Figueres was pretty easy to find and follow until we got into the complex of roads around and through Barcelona and then it was very helpful to have a co-pilot and a GPS/SATNAV each and to know that our intended campground was south of the city near the airport. That meant that at the numerous merging and separation of motorways if all else failed we could simply follow the airport sign.

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On-off Bus (Barcelona, Spain)

Journal entry for Tuesday 28th Mar, 2017 (day 14, miles 70680)

Today was proof that plans are made to be changed. We set off this morning with the intention of visiting a couple of the major sights but one look around Plaça Catalunya at the number of people we decided we should probably spend the day getting the lay-of-the-land and make sure on subsequent days we got tickets in advance. The wisdom of this decision was confirmed later in the day as by 12:00 there was a 4-5 hour delay for tickets at most major tourist venues. Thus we spent the day getting on-off one of the tourist buses. The photographs below show glimpses of various land marks.

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Sagrada Familia (Barcelona, Spain)

Journal entry for Wednesday 29th Mar, 2017 (day 15, miles 70680)

Last night we bought tickets online for an 11:30 entry to Sagrada Familia and because of an early start got tickets at the entrance for a 9:00 visit to Casa Milá (La Pedrera). La Pedrera was built in 1906 as an apartment building for a newly married couple Pere and Roser Milá. The Milás planned to occupy the ground floor and rent the other apartment floors, apparently a common practice at the time. There are many notable features of this building, too many to remember without extensive study. But the three that struck me are:

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Parc Güell (Barcelona, Spain)

Journal entry for Thursday 30th Mar, 2017 (day 16, miles 70680)

Another day on our feet being a tourist in Barcelona. After yesterdays effort we were both very tired and it was only after consulting Nina's Apple watch that we understood why. Well over 25,000 steps and 9+ miles. Maybe I am getting too old for this. But regardless of that we went back into Barcelona for another dose today.

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Casa Batlló (Barcelona, Spain)

Journal entry for Friday 31st Mar, 2017 (day 16, miles 70680)

Back into the city this morning for another Gaudí building, another apartment complex called Casa Batlló, though in fact this building was only renovated (not constructed) by Gaudí for Josep Batlló. Like other Gaudí buildings there are numerous features of interest, roof fixtures to hide chimneys and air ducts, light well, attic area for services like laundry, but key theme of this building remodel is the ocean like curves and colors throughout the building.

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