May has flown by, I spent the first week in England getting the MOT test done on the camper, having it serviced and a new tow-bar fitted. With all the carried out I set off to Dover where I took the DFDS ferry to Dunkirk. I'd booked to go to Calais, but due to a problem somewhere the ferries to Dover we're being delayed or cancelled, mine was cancelled and I was put onto the Dunkirk ferry instead. My original booking was on the midnight sailing but due to the delays I arrived at 05:30 feeling dead tired as I hadn't sleep for more than a couple of hours all night. Rather than hit the road I pulled into the terminal parking area and sleep for a while before setting off feeling a little fresher.
The journey through France was very pleasant, the weather quite warm and sunny. I stopped at a couple of aires I knew on the way. From France I crossed into Switzerland, passing through quickly on the excellent motorways until I reached Italy. Wanting to get back to Rome quickly I took the main A1 autostrada from Milano, stopping overnight at a service area before arriving back at Niki's house the following day.
I spent a little over two weeks at Niki's, looking after the dog, cats and other animals while she was away working. Before I knew it the end of the month was approaching and I prepared to set off with friends for the summer. Tom & Fran have never been to Italy before and although they had been staying with some other friends on the outskirts of Rome they had not been into the city. It would have been a shame if they had left without seeing one of the worlds most famous cities with all it's ancient monuments and history, so I offered to take them in and show them around. I felt like I was back at work as a tour guide as I took them round, but we had a great day, and I'm sure they enjoyed themselves. A couple of days later and we were ready to hit the road heading north. Our basic plan is to drive up through Italy stopping off in Firenze, Ravenna, San Marino, Chioggia and Venezia, before crossing into Slovenia. From there we'll make our way to Hungary then Romainia and Bulgaria before heading to Greece for the main summer season.
Arriving in Firenze we found a camperstop for the night and after a good nights sleep took the local bus into the centre, where we spent a good few hours wandering around the historical sights. From Firenze we drove to the worlds smallest Republic, the Republic of San Marino. With blue skies and warm sunshine it was great to be in San Marino where Niki and I were married, it brought back happy memories for me. After a night in San Marino we continued to Ravenna, where we stayed for two nights, then it was onto Chioggia and the beach area of Sottomarina, where we have been for the past two nights. The weather has been fantastic, the suntan building up nicely. We are looking forward to seeing Venezia, another place Tom & Fran have never been and I can be the tour guide again for the day. We also hope to be able to meet up with Niki who will be there with a tour group. For Niki and I it will be just like old times, wandering the streets of Venezia together, I'm looking forward to it.
It seems I've been travelling all my life. For the past eight years I've been following a simple, nomadic lifestyle full time touring in a camper van and meeting with other like minded travellers.
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