From There to Croatia

From the perspective of a tiny camping site nestled in a Slovenian vineyard, looking out on purple iris and hillsides of ancient vines, there is time to share some highlights of the trip thus far. My palate is savoring an amazing culinary experience we chanced upon at this winery last night which will be the subject of an entire blog as it was worthy of that serious attention!

After a trans-Atlantic flight we found ourselves welcomed with open arms by Pat and Michael (Thena’s cousins and custodians of the campervan). They had moved to a new home in the village of Darrington, Yorkshire so tours were the first order of business. They single handedly and with some measure of blood sweat and tears, transformed the purchase into a shiny new home! We experienced Yorkshire hospitality with all the stops pulled out as Pat and Michael’s sister and b-in-l, John and Barbara had us for a lovely dinner replete with catching up and ‘setting the world to rights’. This was followed by a delightful day with the next two generation of Harts at their new home in Harrogate.

Being wined and dined in Harrogate!

Walks from the front door of the Harrogate Home!

Full to the brim with love and gratitude we set off in a ‘sun glasses required’ shiny, newly polished van, compliments of Michael. 

An hours drive to Hull and an overnight ferry to Rotterdam found us in Holland and a rendezvous with Dutch friends, Marlene and Albert. We met in the town of Den Bosch where we spent the day visiting and exploring the touring exhibit of the work of Jheronimus Bosch, the most famous Dutch medieval artist. http://www.holland.com/global/tourism/interests/jheronimus-bosch-500.htm

Thena and Marleen and evidence of Jheronimus Bosch

Arriving in Rotterdam

After two days of driving through Germany, we arrived in Salzburg for a lovely visit with Beth and Arthur Domeg. A highlight was a day spent with them in Ober-Salzburg, the site of Hitler’s mountain headquarters. From Salzburg it was a few hours drive to Slovenia. What a beautiful country! We walked around Lake Bled, drank coffee in the sun on the terrace of Tito’s villa overlooking the lakes famous island. We camped by a river where the air was filled with bird song.

Lake Bled, Slovenia with its island Church and clifftop castle.

Ljubljana was the next stop. Maybe one of my favorite cities! So accessible and filled with young people, history, markets, interesting architecture, bridges and a myriad of riverside cafes! I must add that I was compelled to test the coffee and judge it to be excellent! The pastries weren’t bad either!

Riverside view in Ljubljana

That brings us to where we are currently camped in Western Slovenia wine region, near the Italian border. The subject of a further blog!

 

Highlights From the Highlands

Highlights from time in the Highlands of Scotland

Wait 5 minutes for the weather to change and indeed it does. We have been blessed with sun and snow and wind and rain, wonderful backdrops to this vast and sweeping landscape of scenery, people and culture. We have walked through the Harris Tweed colours of the outer Hebrides: dried brachen, heather, mosses and broom. Hours have been savoured walking on white expansive beaches, beside turquoise water while looking out on snow capped mountains in the distance. 

The local people we’ve met have been warm and welcoming resulting in many treasures moments and encounters.

We have had rich visits with various friends as we have been received with generous and gracious hospitality that has included wonderful conversation over delicious meals and by cosy fires.  

ps Click on picture to enlarge

 

A wonderful moment on a woodland walk with friends from Aberdeen.

Our  transportation for three days on the narrow roads of Wester Ross.  It proved unnecessary as we would have been fine in Hymer, but it was fun none the less!.

A morning surprise on Lewis. This is the view from the van window at our campsite. Two hours later it was bright and sunny, no more snow!

Our camping spot in the rocky bleak landscape on the east coast of South Harris.

One of the beaches on the west coast of South Harris

On  a walk, just inland from the dunes, I chanced upon this highland calf being born, licked fluffy, take his first steps and feed; all within half an hour! What a gift.

Another beach, Thena the speck in the distance.

Sunset at dinner on South Harris.