2011-2027: Zorba Repatriation And Unexpected Events

2011-12-: Preparation and Planning

Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd September 2021

Another early start to drop Jez back into Abacus for more work to be done … we coffee’d and walked locally into an Andover Park as we didn’t have the car.  Late afternoon arrival back at our usual 5 pitch C&CC site, Woodlands Farm.  

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Replacement rear view and reversing camera …  the last one had fogged over.  Driving a nearly 5 ton vehicle with no rear view is not ideal!

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Lots of resident deer at the farm … mostly Roe and a few Fallow.

The background to this trip is that cars can only remain in the UK for 6 months or they have to be imported.  6 months would be up at the end of October and we also had a load of belongings to take across to the house in Crete.  J’s consultant had not argued about us going to Ireland for J’s daughter’s wedding, but had said no to him travelling to Greece.  So he was going to stay home (in Jez) with CO2, whilst I took Zorba and stuff to Crete.

Zorba the Greek car was collected from the Aged P’s.  Well, eventually.  He didn’t want to start.  A new battery in May, so not that.  Jump started off the Merc.  No power steering.  Googled and apparently it is usual for electronics to go haywire on jump starting.  Switched off and jump started again … power steering worked this time.  Back at the Farm, he was then emptied and all the boxes re-sorted to reflect the fact that James’ heart surgery would mean us staying in the UK IN WINTER.  Then reloaded.  All the PLF and transit rules done and understood.  Route plotted.

Maddy, my daughter co-driver was put on the insurance.   Plan well and truly sorted …. Maddy and I would catch the late afternoon overnight ferry on 6th Sept from Ancona to Patras.  4 hours to do a 2 hour drive to catch the next overnight ferry to Crete, arriving early on 8th. Maddy’s boyfriend, Jordan, flying in on 10th.  All to fly back on 17th.  Friends rate my planning.  They’ve not met my mother or sister, who are scary when it comes to planning, but what could possibly go wrong?!

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Fully laden … no room for you Oscar!

2013: Refusual at the First Hurdle

Saturday 4th September 2021

Final check of all paperwork and in the afternoon I set off to collect Maddy from Farnborough.  Zorba wouldn’t start again, so another jump start and I took the jump leads with me!  I got quite adept at accosting men in car parks to allow me to jump start from their cars! … Tesco as I collected a prescription for J and then Halfords to buy a lithium jump starter pack.  This will be fine, really, honestly, I told myself.  We can just jump start our way across Europe!  Then once there, I’ll take Zorba into the garage to have starter motor and alternator checked.  

Maddy drove back down to Chichester to get used to a left hand drive manual car on the wrong side of the road and parked nose out so we could jump start it again!  We had supper at the Aged P’s as our Tunnel crossing not until 0230.  We thought they’d probably put us on the next available train if we arrived early, so we got in the car to set off …. awful grinding and whining noise.  Then deathly silence.  A similar noise to the last time Zorba had to be low loadered to the garage for new injectors.  Zorba really wasn’t going anywhere.  The whole point of the trip was get Zorba back to Greece and was refusing!  I was on the verge of aborting, until I looked at Maddy’s face … she and Jordan were really looking forward to a holiday.  Decision … a fast decision.  I’d take the Merc.  At least our stuff would get over to Greece and I could bring back some winter clothes, not that we have many!

If you’ve never tried emptying a roof box, removing it … fixing it to another car and reloading it in PITCH DARK …. don’t!  It really isn’t the easiest thing to do.  But we managed it and it did stay on!  The Merc’s seats down, the inside was filled to the gunwales.  Interestingly it is less capacious that the Skoda Roomster – aptly named.  Excess boxes and bags were relocated to the Aged P’s garage … despite their downsizing house move and being told they didnt have room to store our stuff!  Ooops!

Slightly frazzled we made it to the Tunnel in plenty of time and did catch and earlier train at 12.45 p.m.

2014: Tyre Pressure but not Tired

Sunday 5th September 2021

One of the benefits of travelling across the EU on Sunday is that most countries ban trucks unless they are refrigerated goods, so the roads are relatively empty.  Our route was toll free through Belgium and Luxemberg, re fill with cheap diesel, and then toll free through France to Basel.  Bought a vignette for Switzerland and used the free Gotthard tunnel during Sunday night.  As Maddy had not been put on the insurance for the Merc, I was driving overnight.  Once offices opened, we tried to get her on my insurance … no, my ex pat insurance will not cover anyone under 25.  No go with her insurance either as they won’t cover 3rd party on other vehicles if under 25.  We ended up paying for expensive day insurance that ran for 24 hours so she did a couple of good stints behind the wheel.

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 It got warmer as we moved south … layers were peeled off….

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… and hair tied back … the air con doesn’t work, so windows had to be opened.  I found another use for a mask to keep my hair from blowing in my face.

A few weeks ago we’d had a tyre warning light come on … nail … tyre repaired.  However, having inflated the tyres for a heavy load, the warning light came on again.  Every time we stopped, I was having to check and re-inflate.  Could anything else go wrong?

Having made good time with only a few nanny naps, we stopped in Como and had a proper restaurant supper.  Well deserved.  We had made such good time we had some big nanny nap stops that later that night.

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Maddy had pizza, but my swordfish with caponata was lovely.

2015-2116: Killing Time and Missing the Next Ferry

Monday 6th & Tuesday 7th September 2021

We had made such good time, having allowed for holdups …. but we even managed to get past Milan before the rush hour and so arrived in Ancona at 9.00 a.m.  We parked up at a Motorhome stop that J and I have used a number of times … formerly Auchan, but a few other shops and cafes.  Breakfast and lunch … Maddy clothes shopped, of course!

We drove down to the port mid afternoon.  Paid for our tickets … only to be told the online office had incorrectly used previously bought tickets, but it did mean we paid less than we thought.

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The ship was late in … they didnt send the the text offering me alternative dates until after we had sailed!

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All these trucks did eventually make it on board….

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… meanwhile, I consumed a few of these.  It was Cretan wine, after all.

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We treated ourselves to serviced dining … if you can call it that!  Linen table napery, but rubbish food and service and very expensive.  J and I have never eaten on board before as we’ve the dogs, but never again.  And the cabin stank of ammonia … obviously the toilet tanks needed cleaning out!  The food was almost enough to make you gag, but the cabin stink certainly was!

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Fortunately we’d brough our own brunch.

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With time to kill on the 22 hour crossing, we dyed our eyebrows!

The ship was 4 hours late into Patras so no hope of catching the next overnight ferry.  Oops … my carefully laid plan!  Before we docked, Maddy was onto a booking site and found us a beach hotel for about £50.  We had a lovely supper at a neighbouring restaurant.  A fraction of the price compared to onboard too.  Before we left the port, we found the Minoan office and rebooked our Pireas – Chania ferry for the following evening.

2017: Tourist Day

Wednesday 8th September 2021

The ferry from Pireas was less than 2 hours away and didn’t depart until evening, so we had all day to kill.  We thought about sunbathing …. but it was grey with showers.  Tourists, it was to be.  We drove up the mountains to Kalavryta to a holocaust museum.  I’d been before with J and the Aged P’s but had found it very moving.

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Video recordings of some of the now grown up survivors and girls told of their first hand experiences, making it very real.  Descriptions of how the women and children tried to identify their family and then dig graves with bare hands in the frozen soil, as all the tools had been destroyed when the Germans burnt the all the houses.  Just as moving as the first visit.

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View from the hill were the men and boys were mown down and now where many still lay.

 Maddy is rather fond of Corrie (Oscar too sometimes!) and wanted to see where we had found her.  I think she rather hoped we would see a close relative of Corrie that she could adopt … don’t know who she thought would look after it with her about to go off to Kings to do her Masters!  Fortunately, this time, Accorinth was bare of strays.

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James and I have stayed here twice later in the year so never seen it so dry.  It was about to close, so we only had a quick wander.

This ferry left on time AND the cabin did not stink.  And we’d taken our own picnic, so altogether a better and shorter crossing.

2018: Cleaning Day

Thursday 9th September 2021

We were up in plenty of time to have a coffee on deck and watch the approach into Chania port.  And with no more set backs, we were straight off and within 20 minutes we parked by our house.  Before we unpacked the car, we had to clean.  It had been empty since end April, but unwelcome residents had moved in!  Yep, stink worms and cockroaches again, especially in the basement where Maddy was to sleep.  So debugging and bleaching started at 0630!  Once Maddy’s bed was made, she climbed into it and I continued the clean moving up the house … she gave me a hand for the last bit and then we unloaded the car and roof box.

With the house pretty much in order, we had supper Almyrida with Gillian … lovely to try a restaurant that has been shut whilst we have been in residence during the winter.

2019-2024: A Holiday

Thursday 9th – Thursday16th September 2021

Jordan arrived the next day, so he and Maddy spent a few days sunbathing.  He is very fair (strawberry blond!) and used more than a tube of factor 50.  We went into Chania, I collected a ring a jeweller friend of a friend had replaced the stone.  I hired a car for Maddy for 2 days and they had an overnight in Rethmyno and visited Knossos Palace.  We ate out a lot … with friends, including a Sunday tea party in aid of animal charities: we ate our body weight in cake!  I also spent some time visiting car dealerships … after a summer forking our thousands on cars, we had decided we really do need a reliable car.  It needs to be Greek as we will be in Greece for more than 6 months each year and big enough to transport us and CO2 to and fro to the UK.  Short list of a Hyundai Kona and Suzuki Vitara … need to test drive and J to look at them in the UK.

On his own in the UK, J dog walked and waded through a pile of admin and jobs.  He had use of my sister’s car for a week and ate in a few pubs and at my parents … just as well as he’s a can’t cook won’t cook man.  I’d left him a few frozen soups and casseroles …. honest!

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 Almyrida with all the sun umbrellas out. 

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I got to walk and run one of our favourite local walks … Plaka head.

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On the way to one of my favourite restaurants, we stopped for a sundowner overlooking Almyrida.

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One of our meals in Eleanora’s.

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Maddy and Jordan flew out lunchtime on Thursday.  Think they had a good time, as they spent most of the previous day trying to work out how they could stay!  Having cleaned their room, I dined back up the hill with friends …. it really was fabulous to see friends after 5 months.

2025: The Return Journey Commences

Friday 17th September 2021

With the ‘children gone I completed the cleaning and got all my paperwork in order.  Rather hoping for an incident free trip as I was doing the return leg solo.

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I treated myself to a good late lunch in Chania at Salis restaurant which has been recommended by Ann … wonderful fish followed by two flavours of ice cream  Didn’t realise each was an entire pudding … I was offered two spoons lol!  Dill ice cream with strawberry jam and watermelon with pickled rind … both delicious.

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To save a little money, I’d booked an airplane reclining chair instead of a cabin … only an overnight crossing … medicine to help me sleep!

2026: Patras Tourism

Saturday 18th September 2021

Arrival in Pireas early morning and I drove to Corinth … I’d booked an antigen test there at 10.00.  I had a walk and beachside coffee beforehand.  Test was only EUR10, so a bargain compared the Kalives ones that Maddy and Jordan had had at EUR25 each.

Still with lots of time to kill, I drove to Patras.  Despite sailing in and out, we’ve never actually gone into the town centre.  I walked up a massive flight of steps to Patras castle … arriving as a sweaty puddle.  The first thing I did once on board was shower!  Fortunately I’d a cabin for this 22 hour crossing to Ancona.  Very few tourists, no British again and mostly truck drivers.  At Pireas the lorry loads were being clambered all over by a private security firm looking for immigrants.  I’d had to open the rear doors and boot.

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Patras Castle steps were right at the end of this boulevard.

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View from Patras Castle. 

2027: Mostly Bored On-Board

Sunday 19th September 2021

Straight off the boat in Ancona and I’d not had to show my double tax cert or even my passport.  More docs had to be presented from Crete to the mainland.  Being Sunday afternoon, I knew to expect traffic heading up to Milan and Como, but there were quite a few road works too.  I got my head down for a bit and then it was plain sailing back through the Gotthard Tunnel at just after midnight and Switzerland.


2028: A Good Run and a 3rd Ferry

Monday 20th September 2021

A pretty straight run up to Calais, with another cheap fuel stop in Luxemberg.  On one morning stop, I booked my day 2 Covid test, did the Gov PLF and booked the ferry.  Not used a Channel ferry in years as a) I remember lots of times where I felt sea sick (funnily enough don’t on the Greek ferries), and b) you have to leave the dogs in the car.  This time, I booked DFDS as it was a lot cheaper than the Tunnel at short notice and with a Flexi ticket I could turn up 72 hours either side of my booked crossing and be put on the next available ferry.

I arrived a day earlier than I’d booked and caught the 5.30 ferry. Again largely empty other than trucks.  The hour and a half passed really quickly as part of the Flexi ticket bonus is that I had a meal voucher.

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DFDS chicken curry free … as part of my ticket.  OK it was too … better than Minoan / Grimaldi!

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A meal with a view.

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Before I knew it, Dover in sight.

I got hauled over in Dover … why and where had I been.  Was this my car? etc.  I handed over V5, passport, Greek residency, Greek Tax number, Greek rental agreement and explained why and where I’d been.  He conferred with colleagues and checked my boot and I was allowed to leave.  

Back home to James and CO2 by 9.00 UK time.

So this return drive was just over 3 days door to door, with 3 ferries, 2 of which were overnight.  1125 miles door to door.  963 miles in 24 hours including nanny naps from Ancona to Calais.

Was it hard?  No, not really.  Audio books kill the journey.  More fun coming out with Maddy.

Would I do it again?  Yes, if need be.

Maddy and Jordan got a holiday.

We got most of our ‘stuff’ from the Aged P’s old house to Crete.

I saw some friends.

Failed on getting Zorba out of the UK  … Since our return the garage has established that the diesel pump must be disintegrating to cause the new injectors to fail and the battery was also not being charged …. so he is definitely for the scrap heap.  Not one of our better buys.

166 – 171: Lakes Good and Bad, Milan and 6 Month Milestone

166 – Saturday 3rd October 2015 -K to Brescia

K ran the furthest yet … 5 km… felt good.  More laundry and then an early lunch.  Cycled to the train station and travelled the 24 mins to Brescia.  Very uninspiring near the station: drunks and druggies!  However, the main part of the city is inspiring.  I had seen that there were two museums up at the castle … quite a steep walk up and I should have counted the steps!  Unfortunately the museum I wanted about the unification of Italy was closed and the armaments museum had little interest for me.  The photographic temporary exhibition about the 1904 was quite interesting, given that Milan is hosting the world fair 2015.


A proper cobbler - he glued and stitched my walking shoe .... EUR2!!!

A proper cobbler – he glued and stitched my walking shoe …. EUR2!!!

Back down the hill, I bumbled around the squares, which all became alive about 3 p.m. … lots of exhibitions about sustainability, selling books, cookery demos and giving away seedings.  Buzzing.  Attractive architecture.  Highlight was the Basilica as it was also a church with a crypt and mosaics – a spiritual place.  Not too touristy and worth a visit.

James returned from Dublin via taxi, which the campsite manager had kindly booked … it would not have been possible to get the van back into the campsite after about 9.30 and it saved K trying to park up at the airport when airport carparks are not designed for 8m vans.

167 – Sunday 4th October 2015:  Rest and Cycling in the Rain

A late start.  After lunch, the rain seemed to have cleared so we cycled past Iseo town and onto the peat bogs …. fine until we lost the route.  We decided to cycle onto the next largish town for ice creams and coffee, but the heavens opened –  a serious deluge.  We watched the stair rods and lightening from the shelter of a tree for about an hour.  Once it eased off we about faced and headed back to Iseo.  By this time the sun was out, so we stopped off and ate the planned ice cream.

Watery view from our Iseo ice cream stop

Watery view from our Iseo ice cream stop in Iseo


And then check out the most amazing sun set from the campsite

Received a pic message from our Bristol neighbours, Kay and Stephen … they had a super duper caravan and the pic is of an amazing motorhome.  Apparently the caravan ‘morphed’!!!!  They claim our ability to move on easily is partly to blame for the transition.  We are so delighted to see the birth of Phoebe.  Sort out the dog passports and please join us, very latest, end March / early April in N France.  Grinning from ear to ear for you.

Phoebe - can't wait to see her.

Phoebe – can’t wait to see her.

J sporting his Ireland cap. Could not mange to watch the game as all fee paying channels. TY Stephen for text updates. A wonderful win... K will now HAVE to support Ireland, although so long as an European team wins...

J sporting his Ireland cap. Could not mange to watch the game as all fee paying channels. TY Stephen for text updates. A wonderful win… K will now HAVE to support Ireland, although so long as an European team wins…

Our pitch - could not be any closer to the water.

Our pitch – could not be any closer to the water.

View from the campsite over the lake

View from the campsite over the lake

168 – Monday 5th October 2015:  Boat to Monte d’Iseo and Circular Cycle Wine Tour

We cycled to Iseo port and caught the ferry to the 1) European 2) largest 3) inhabited 4) lake island … quite a lot of criteria here to reduce the competition in this category.  We helped out some fellow Brits who knew they were catching a ferry but not where to and how to get back again! We are just so organised … some of the time!

Once on the island we turned right on the 9.5 km bike route around the island perimeter.  No cars, just the odd moped and three wheeler car and paths good.  Until, K suggested we detour from the shore path inland a bit to see a Medieval village …. the path became cobbles and it was VERY steep uphill.  For a loooong way.  At one point we considered turning back to the nice level shore path …but that would have been defeatist and surely we must be at the top soon….. NOT!

As soon as we passed though the Medieval village … more of a cluster of houses all on top of each other, we finally descended and found a cafe for a couple of glasses of wine and a snack.  Did I omit to mention, we’d had several glasses already … seemed wise the break the trip up and contribute to the local economy!

Another stop for the mandatory gelato.  Phone call from Maddy about why she may like to read History at Uni … Horrible Histories seems a good starting point, but what do I know about personal statements?!?

Time for another glass before we caught the return ferry.



Part of the long push up


Glass Number 1

Glass Number 2 - forgot glass 3 pic

Glass Number 2 – forgot glass 3 pic


We ate at the campsite restaurant.  The lake is known for its Perch, which I had with a lemon sauce …. yummy.  J went for his usual – Wiener Schnitzel and chips (seems to have replaced scampi and chips in Euroland) and could not manage a Tiramasu after … shock / horror!  I managed cheese … all of it and there was a lot!  But cheese and ice-cream go into that other stomach.  And the campsite manger sent through a complimentary Limoncello – had to buy a bottle the next day – developed a taste for it!  He was also roasting chestnuts over a fire pit for the campers … a really excellent site.  The washrooms seemed to be constantly being cleaned.

I managed the lot! May have been some dairy induced snoring that night!

I managed the lot! May have been some dairy induced snoring that night!

169 – Tuesday 6th October 2015:  Come on Como

We left our lovely lakeside pitch and headed towards lake Como.  The lake is actually in 3 parts, like a person with two running legs.  Imagine and upside down Y.  Lecco is at the bottom of the right hand leg and Como off the tip of the one on the left.  Bellagio is in the crotch where these two legs of the lakes meet.  The guide book says that Bellagio is the prettiest town on Lago di Como, so this was our via point with the intention of driving after down the other leg to Como.  However, by the time we had shopped … twice (K looking for a pressure cooker … Lyn, who we met in Idryia and then Piran in Slovenia, cooked lots in one … so I wanted one!) … time had marched on.

By the time we arrived in Bellagio it was knocking on the door of 4pm.  All the car parks, again like Lake Garda, are not motorhome friendly.  We managed to find a free parking by the cemetery which was a bit of a walk into the town, but not suitable for overnighting in.  We asked in the TIC and the young girl said it was OK to overnight in the main carparks after 8.00 pm until 8.00 am.  Our plan was to stay up at the cemetery and then move at 8.00.  Does anyone know the French for cemetery … we were with 4 French motorhomes at one point, in a non friendly motorhome car park, and I could only describe a cemetery as a ‘champs des morts’ … but they understood!   We relaxed and watched the world go by over a coffee and an ice-cream.  We then relaxed some more and did the 1 hour walking tour around the town and managed (just) not to buy a very expensive, but beautiful green Italian handbag that I need like a hole in the head.

Best laid plans awry again … we had the collywobbles (what a wonderful old word that is) about staying in a non friendly motorhome carpark with no other vans.  It was a long drive the Plan A, Plan B and Plan C that K had identified in Como and it was now starting to get dark!  Oops!  One of the Italian apps described a motorhome parking up the hill between the legs and only 30 mins.  Bollocks on two counts.  It was a frigging mountain with the tightest hairpins we have done on this trip and it was now dark!  And it took the best part of 45 mins.  And we could not find it in the pitch black.  So we parked off the road and made sure all the blinds were shut fast so we did not alert people to our whereabouts by sending out light sabres.  Being now 9.00, we dined only on the leek, potato and blue cheese soup that had been in the slow cooker all day – lunch planned for tomorrow!

We also agreed, again, that not having a Plan A -C within reach is not on and that we need to possibly get up earlier!!!  Gulp.

170 – Wednesday 7th October:  Narrow Misses, Ferry and onto Milan

K woken in the night to the sound of Alpine cow bells … VERY close.  I stuck my head out of the bathroom window to be greeted by a very relaxed flock of sheep only about 1.5 metres from me … it was so still and quiet I could even hear them ripping at the grass.  Don’t they sleep?

We set the alarm … our new found and probably short lived new early rising discipline!  Discovered that we were next to a helipad … yep, so remote up this mountain it would be a necessity.  J took on the challenge of the hairpin descent … at least I had had the benefit of on-coming headlights going up last night.  In theory, I should have been able to enjoy the lake views … but it was seriously steep and the hairpins were very tight.  Not relaxing.

The next stage of the trip back along the lake to Bellagio was, if anything, even less relaxing!  Narrow roads with on-coming traffic and a resurfacing vehicle that decided to reverse suddenly – missing us by millimetres.  J managed a polite ‘Oh No’ … my reaction was unprintable.

We arrived at Bellagio and J queued in Chard whilst I went to buy the ticket, having read about a supplement if you buy on the ferry.  J was been ushered on board whilst I was still waiting for the card machine to connect with the UK via Mars, Venus and Pluto .. thought I was going to have to do an Indiana Jones style leap across gaping water to catch up!

The west shore of the lake is supposed to be the more attractive …. the plan (can you tell this one went awry too!) was to leisurely meander down to Como, and spend the night there.  HOWEVER, the roads around Como are NOT designed for traffic … of any kind.  And again, we could not find anywhere to park.  So we kept going to Como … drove in and drove out!  Large and not inviting.

Top tip:  if you want to visit Lake Como – arrive at a main town and go everywhere by boat.  Max two days, as although pretty, all the villages look the same!  What was good to see was some of the fantastic waterside villas that I remember from my childhood – all pink and yellow.

We found a huge supermarket complex which delivered:

  1. K bought a pressure cooker
  2. J had a MacDonalds …. even if a slight comms issue and he needed up with a Happy Meal 🙂
  3. We managed to ring Camping Milano to see if they had a space to take us … no need to book – just turn up.

We arrived at Camping Milano mid afternoon and got ourselves set up.  We then caught the bus and Metro into the centre.  Coming up from the Metro to the Duomo Piazza is quite something.  The architecture of the cathedral alone is special, but then add in the Vittorio Emmanulle mall … wow factor.  We eventually found the Expo ticket office and bought our consecutive day 2 day tickets…. so pleased J is a senior again …. EUR57 versus EUR42!  Then found the TIC and picked up info for when we come to the do the city properly.

Vittorio Emanuelle Mall

Vittorio Emanuelle Mall – after the First King after Unification in 1861 and this was completed in 1867.

And inside it.

And inside it – largest glass work after Crystal Place World Expo.  Glass lit originally and had little wind up ‘mouse’ that trundled on a track around the top … the first ear knocked the top off the gas pipes and the second ear was the incendiary.  Must have been quite a sight.

Old trams everywhere - we will have a ride.

Old trams everywhere:  some had wooden panelling  – we will have a ride.

Expo Gate: where we purchased the tickets ... statue and church behind

Expo Gate: where we purchased the tickets … statue and church behind

The cathedral - mellow evening light making it look golden. The quarry belongs to the Duomo so no other building has this stone. It is rippled with blue, grey and pink, so takes on a different colour in different lights.

The cathedral – mellow evening light making it look golden. The quarry belongs to the Duomo so no other building has this stone. It is rippled with blue, grey and pink, so takes on a different colour in different lights.


Rounded off our quick visit with a glass before the return  … and home cooked perch with a compot made in the new pressure cooker 🙂

171 – Thursday 8th October 2015:  Expo Exposed

We caught the campsite shuttle to the Milan Expo – theme of food sustainability and feeding the world.  A LOT, and I mean seriously a lot of people, and so many school groups, all arriving at the same time.  



We had googled the best bits and had a shortlist of country stands that we really wanted to visit.  

So we started with UK – they do this kind of thing well – a bee hive with a live feed to a bee hive.  Given we visited an amazing bee museum in Slovenia and K listened to a  Farming Today broadcast about the importance of bees and pollination … this exhibit gave very little info, but it was sensory with a wild flower meadow and the bee sounds.


Ireland was next … best bits … a thunderstorm audio and giving kids a soft cuddly toy of a cow.  If you knew nothing about Ireland you would think it rained all the time and all the landscape is covered with cows!

So it rains all the time?!

So it rains all the time?!


We don’t do well in queues, so the only other country we visited was Czech republic – no queue and it was evident why!  UAE had a 3 hour queue.  Korea 2 hour etc etc. One spends this long at the airport to fly to these countries, not to spend 5-10 mins seeing a stand!    We got into some of the smaller countries, such as some of the African nations who were part of the Legumes section, but that was it.  We still managed to spend 5 hours walking it … It is truly vast!  And so busy!  People kept pouring in.  

Wine to help us with the crowds!

Wine to help us with the crowds!

We have decided not to use our day 2 tickets … our time will be better spent exploring Milan for an extra day.

Milestone – 6 months

We have reached the 6 month travelling mark …

3rd April:  Vacated our house in Bristol

4th April:  Flew to Jordan for a 11 days driving trip

We cannot tell you how pleased we are to still be loving this.  The time has just flown by.  We do not miss TV (even the rugby or Strictly, which has just started), washing machines etc.  Just people.

We are just so incredibly lucky and we know it.