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On the road again
The Netherlands to Dubrovnik (Croatia), September & October 2011

We are writing this web log on a mini camping near the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. And that means only one thing: we are on the road again. We were very busy last months. We have spent hours, days, weeks and even months preparing our Toyota Landcruiser for this trip. We initially had the idea to be on the road again in the first half of September, but eventually left with more than a month delay.

But we have to say that we did more restoration work on the car than initially planned. We had the idea to make the car just good enough to make the trip, but during the activities we decided to do the work more properly. That means that we can enjoy all the wok done for a longer time. So, that is how it went and that is the reason why we spent much more time in getting the car ready for the trip. The result is that we have a super car for the travels we want to make with it. The car is technically perfect, the looks are good and the interior is in conformance with our wishes. We made some bigger and smaller wooden boxes that result in a flat floor in the car which we use to sleep on. The mother of Ivonne made curtains that obscure all the light. Sleeping in the car is now very comfortable. Despite that, we still brought a tent. Just in case.

A view on spooky Lake Bled in Slovenia
We also spend some time to make a separated electric system in the car. We use some electronics that disconnect the start batteries and the household batteries when the car is not in use. That means that the start batteries, which are essential to start the car, are not used by household appliances that we use in the car during our camping activities. When the car is started, the electronics take care that both the start batteries and the household batteries are charged. We connected for example a 220 Volt inverter to the household batteries to have 220 Volts available in the car. That is very handy for typing these kinds of web logs on camp sites where no electricity is available, or for charging our batteries. We are quite self-sufficient at the moment.

There is one thing we didn’t do yet and that is making a water filter system. That isn’t really an issue at the moment because drinking water is available everywhere in Europe and Turkey. In many European countries, like here in Croatia, we can drink the water from the tap. And if we can’t drink it from the tap, we buy it in the shop. But before we travel to more desolate areas in the future, we want to make a small water filtering system in the car which makes it possible to convert water from non pure sources to safe drinking water. But like we said, that’s an activity for the future.

As we mentioned in the previous web log, we decided to make a long test drive with our freshly restored Landcruiser. We initially had the idea to start driving with the car in April 2012 for the trip to Russia and Mongolia. However, we decided that it would be wise to make a test drive first, to see how the car behaves, what he can and especially what he can’t, and how we like camping. We travelled last four years with the backpack and that is quite different. Travelling with a backpack makes you dependent on the public transport and the hotels and restaurants you can find on the way. An own car makes us much more flexible, but a car has not only positive effects. A car is on the other hand also less flexible. You can’t leave it if you want which makes it impossible to book a flight and travel to another part of the world if you want to. Besides that, a car can break down which can give you a lot of hassle and worries.

For the first time real camping in Dubrovnik

It was not easy to leave The Netherlands again. We spend some time there to restore the car and enjoyed the luxury and hospitality of our family and friends. They spoiled us and helped us a lot in preparing the car for the trip. We are very thankful for that. Also Thieu, a friend of Edwin’s father helped a lot. Without him, the car wouldn’t have the condition as it has today (see the car page for more details about our car).

Last days we are enjoying the great weather. During the first days since we left The Netherlands, we drove through freezing Germany, Austria and Slovenia. Our initial idea was to drive to Greece and Turkey via Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, but due to the cold water more inland, we decided to drive to the Adriatic coast. And that was a good idea. The temperature during the day is around 20 degrees Celsius and at night it’s not getting colder than 15 degrees. Great camping weather! We are now in Dubrovnik but we will travel tomorrow further southwards. We will stick to the coast to optimize our chances on good weather. The plan is to drive via Montenegro and Albania to Greece and eventually to Turkey. But as always, plans are made to be changed. We’ll see.


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