Croatia Trip September/October 2015 Post 10

Day 29  Wednesday 07/10/2015 – 94570 on Speedo
A very noisy night with the rain thundering on the roof. We paid and left not happy with the site, they charged four euros more that the price in the ASCI book with the excuse of “Touristic Taxes”, I suppose that’s what you get if you stay on the Croatian Riviera even at the end of the season in the pouring rain!
We set the coordinates in TomTom for the Fortified  Church in Slovenia we were heading for, Steve had established on the internet last night that we didn’t need a Vignette as long as we didn’t go on any motorways while in Slovenia, another traveller had told us a couple of weeks earlier that it was essential and we were lucky not to get fined on the way down. But perhaps he mainly used motorways.
We really needed to get fuel and LPG before leaving Croatia as it was so cheap but the garage we passed just after leaving the site was very tight and it required a “U” turn in the midst of rush hour traffic so Steve thought it best to go on to the next one then suddenly TomTom turned us left on to a small white road on the map which said limited to 12 Tonnes, which is a pretty big vehicle we thought so it should be ok for us. Well it was just big enough for us. We decided to stop and check where TomTom was taking us on Autoroute on the computer we found it was a small road which travelled about fifty miles west parallel with the boarder before looping into Slovenia just a few miles before our intended destination. Pretty sure we wouldn’t find a petrol station so we wouldn’t be able to get cheap fuel nor get rid of our last Croatian Kuna as Slovenia uses the Euro. But the route was indeed quite a bit shorter than the one we would have picked out on the map. The road P1050342turned out to be fine and a very quiet and picturesque drive especially as the autumn colours were appearing.
Turning a corner we saw a deserted dilapidated Portacabin with a”Douane” sign on it, we stopped but there was no movement so we moved on wondering whether we would be thought of as smugglers coming along such a small road but turning another corner we came across a large brightly painted Europe flag then a fairly substantial brick building. The young boarder guard looked at us a bit quizzically, glanced in the back of the van then at our passports and waived us on.
TP1050359he Church we were heading for was at Hrastovlje about ten miles further on unfortunately we arrived at noon and a sign on the gate said it was closed P1050355from 12 till 1 so we had lunch while we waited. About 1:30 we walked up again but it was still closed unfortunately maybe for the season.. But from what we could see it was quite interesting from the outside. There were thick castle like walls about twenty foot high. surrounding a fairly small church. It was a shame we couldn’t see inside though because we had read that there were some terrific frescos inside. Oh well another place to come back to.
Steve set TomTom for a Sosta parking place in Trieste and TomTom again  took us down a tiny road, but we met a bus coming the other way so it must be OK. We drove through a couple of tiny villages and at one point it felt as if we were driving through somebodies garden then suddenly with no ceremony we were in Italy so straight through Slovenia still without finding fuel. So expensive Italian diesel it would have to be.
We  arrived at the Sosta in Trieste quite quickly at about 2:30 and realised that we wanted some rest rather than “doing” another City so set TomTom for Grado which we saw was at the end of a peninsula and would probably have quiet beaches to chill out for a couple of days.
The Sosta was large charging 16 Euro for 24hours with a graduated charge from 4 to 25 hours with all services including electric. But across the road was a very large car park which said P1050363campers 4 Euro for 24 hours but no services except water which we found later. We didn’t need electric so went for the pay-n-display 4 Euros.  They were both council run so a bit strange to have the two and of course the people in the cheaper one were just walking across the road and emptying their WC Cassettes in the other ones facilities. So the only difference was electric and a barrier. We actually didn’t need electric or to empty our waste.
We went for a long walk and found that the whole peninsular was in fact a holiday complex, in the season some form of payment was required for the long stretch of sandy beach with swimming pools and all sorts of other amenities but out of season the gates were open for all to use. With many people running, jogging or just walking along the prom. like us.
Stopped at 16:30 – 94723 – 153 km today – Grado Sosta – Grado – 45.67994N, 13.41272E
Day 30  Thursday 08/10/2015 – 94723 on Speedo
We woke to a fine morning but the Meteo had said it was going to rain, not a day for the beach so we decided that today would be a motoring day and with about 750 km of Italian roads it would  probably be a good idea to use the Autostrada which previously we had found not too expensive especially when compared with the up and down speed limits which if you adhered to them would drive you nuts and every driver behind you. plus it would take about three days.
We found fuel at an eye watering 1.35 Euro a litre possibly not high by English standards but much higher than we had become used to.
The drive was good in fact mainly dry we did 621km on the motorway and it cost 60.30 Euro so roughly 10cents a km which is similar to the journey on the way down. But oh so much better on the nerves. We had an Aire de Camping car programmed in and it brought us off the motorway perhaps a bit early so we ended up driving right through Nice which has quite a bit of road works so a few circles on on temporary way streets and getting desperately low on fuel. We finally found a Geant supermarket but it had a very tight entrance and a low canopy so we had a bit of fun getting our aerials caught in the canopy but managed with Judy Standing on the table reaching through the roof light to hold our special WiFi  one so it wouldn’t get damaged. The Aire was not there nor were the next two  so we ended up driving quite late with everywhere saying no Camping Cars until we found a layby  high up above St Raphael without a no Camping Car sign. But Judy had a bad night wondering if the Police would be knocking on the door.
Stopped at 23:30 – 95476 – 758 km today – Near St Raphael – 43.47426N, 6.57877E
Day 31  Friday 09/10/2015
Nobody knocked on the door but we left early to drive to St Raphael and parked at the harbour to have breakfast but the Aire de Camping Car was right in the middle of a busy car park so we moved on towards St Tropez, didn’t like the look of the first few sites then spotted an Aire de Camping Car  just as we P1050394were about to turn round to go back to investigate a couple of sites on the other side of the road we couldn’t pull over to as it was a solid traffic jam. The Aire was supposed to be 13 Euros a night with a credit card machine to pay but it was switched off but the water and electric was left on?  We asked another French Camper and he said Gratuiete No Problem so we stopped there. Looking at Autoroute to see exactly where we were it showed us only a few hundred yards from Port Grimaud where we had visited 25 years ago and had wanted to come back to.
So we had a nice walk around to bring back memories of P1050379our first MotorhomeP1050376 holiday in France.
We were then treated to an air display by the French Aerobatic team practicing over the bay.
We can’t find any internet here so will have to try to send this blog tomorrow.

Stopped at 12:00 – 95530 – 54 km today – Near Port Grimaud – 43.28005N, 6.57877E

Day 32 Saturday 10/10/2015 – 10:30

Although it was a nice day we realised that we still had quite a bit of travelling to do and as we were so near home and Steve had to pay the French taxes by Thursday it would be much easier from home. So we set off aiming for a Camper Stop in our database at le Grand Motte near Montpellier. The drive across country was really nice up and down mountains through wooded areas. Apart from one tiny town TomTom took us through, he did  quite well finding a nice route P1050397until Marseille where he took us up onto a free motorway which took us past all the industrial bit then dumped us in the middle of Marseilles for about two miles of the city but then the Police had closed the overpass we were supposed to be taking which would take us out so we had about an hour of traffic jam and impatient French drivers on a Saturday. One even decided to stop at the side of the road and eat their lunch of unpeeled prawns and salad so the two lanes had to squeeze into one to get past. I know lunch is important to the French but really!!

Out of the city we had another 30 minutes or so of motorway then a really nice drive through the edge of the Camargue. Spotting the lovely white horses and water birds.

We arrived at the camper stop and it was really nice with a 24 hour card payment machine 11.50 Euro for 24 hours with all the necessary services.  Access to tP1050405he miles of sandy beach is about 100 meters away so a nice place for a few days if it is sunny. Except for WiFi which was a really expensive system which needed a card from the office which was closed for the season. Surprisingly, although it was amongst houses there were no “Fon” connections available which is a consortium of providers like SFR & BT throughout Europe, who have thousands of open connections available for subscribers. So another day we are unable to send this blog. Something we  really need to research to find a reasonably priced mobile way of getting  the internet. Although to be fair we have only had a few days when we haven’t been able  to connect. The trouble is really going from country to country which we thought the “FON” system would sort out, this holiday we have only  found one.

Stopped at 17:3- 95826 – 296 km today – le Grand Motte – 43.55146N, 3.99360E

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