Arillas or Bust 2014 by Anne Durrant
Having recently retired after my husband's Heart by pass operation, we decided to buy a Campervan and drive to our favourite holiday destination in Greece. We had been going to Arillas for almost 20 years, but only 2 weeks at a time. This time we planned a 3 month stay. Poppy, our 6 year old Border collie cross had her rabies injection and obtained her own Passport. We drove to Hull on 30.3.14 and boarded North Sea Ferry to Zeebrugge. Poppy was placed in an air conditioned kennel and settled in quite easily. She had company in the next kennel, a black and white Border collie type dog, very friendly. We visited the kennels during the evening and both dogs were pleased to see us.
Day 1 - 31.3.14
We arrived in Belgium about 8am - let the adventure begin. We thought we would be able to follow the road signs but we did a slight detour, so had to stop and put the sat nav on, she soon found us. We had a pleasant drive, almost blinked and missed our short drive through Holland. We stopped for lunch in Germany @ Rasthof Peppenhoven, Rheinbach, Nordrhein-Westfalen - three countries in about 15 minutes! We settled down for the night @ Sindelfinger Wald near Stuttgart it was a lovely place to stop - lots of grass and picnic tables. Poppy had a good play.
Day 2 - 1.4.14 - April Fools Day
Today is our son Gary's 46th birthday. We found out our friend Amy had a baby girl at 6 minutes past midnight she is called Maddie. We drove on through Germany when we stopped for lunch at a restplace Poppy charmed a coach load of about 40 Chinese people. They all loved her - throwing sticks and having their photos taken with her - it was good fun. We tested our new toaster out in the Campervan - it works very well!The afternoon drive was a quick dash through Austria, the day before we left home, Phil read that you are supposed to have Winter tyres on until 15th April, but it was too late to do anything about it. Therefore we made the decision not to stop - it was only 1 hour and 50 minutes - luckily we were OK - no €5000 fine and no confiscating of the vehicle. Phew - we will be fine on the way back - after 15th April so we will be able to stop off because diesel is cheap there. We drove on through the spectacular Brenner Pass (€8.50). one apprehensive moment was when a car overtook me on a hill, I am sure he had forgotten he was towing a trailer, and almost clipped our front, I had to brake sharply - my heart was in my mouth and I forgot to 'wave' my horn at him! We stopped for the night @ Autogrill Affi Autostrada del Brennero near Lake Garda - nice Pizza - 700 miles done - 500 to go.
Day 3 - 2.4.14
Fairly boring drive today, but the Autostrada is a very good road, therefore we easily did another 300 miles. We stopped for the night @ Tortoreto near Pescara, Italy. We met a man who has a house in Perdita, he saw our wheel cover and came over and spoke to us as he knows Arillas well. He will be on the same ferry as us. from Bari. 1000 miles done!
Day 4 - 3.4.14
We had an easy drive down to Bari - and drove past Cattolica near Rimini, where we spent our honeymoon, 33 years ago. We had some lovely views of the Adriatic as we followed the coastline down the A14 to Termoli before we drove inland to Barletta and then more sea views to Bari. We paid the Toll - €74 - Total 1200 miles. We boarded the Superfast 1 ferry, and we were able to camp on deck with a mains hook up and also keep Poppy with us in the Campervan.
Day 5 - 4.4.14
We arrived in Igoumenitsa @ 6am and had a short drive to the other end of the Port to catch the ferry for Corfu (€90 - return). Sailed @ 8.30 and arrived @ 11am. We stopped off and did some shopping on the way up to Arillas - arriving early afternoon and was greeted by Sophia with the key to our apartment , our Campervan is too small to spend 3 months in. We unpacked and then had a drive down to the beach. We had a warm welcome off some of our local friends, both Greeks and ex-pats. The friendly people are the reason we keep coming back.
We have driven 1200 miles - spent €347.50 on Diesel and Tolls. +€850 on return Ferries. So assuming a similar total for diesel and tolls on the return - it has cost us €1545 or £1278.00. Not too bad for a 3 month holiday.
If you would like to read the full blog the link is annewineoclock.blogspot.co.uk