Week 8 BLOG - Riding Solo...

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Welcome back everyone, this week was completely flipped upside down and plans changed MASSIVELY! We have been super busy and the week finished all slightly different to how some of you might’ve expected it!

Monday we woke up to a chilly one! There was deep snow on the ground all around us but luckily the roads were gritted where they needed to be. It was safe to assume these people were pretty used to the cold weather!

We spoke briefly with our new Scottish mate before heading into town on the search for a little café, no way was i cooking breakfast out in this! We found a little place selling some amazing pastries, most importantly it was warm!

After breakfast we headed off to a lake called Lago di Carreza, it was actually the car park we had planned to stay in the night before but luckily for us we didn’t as the barriers would’ve locked us in in the morning. The lake was completely frozen over and the whole landscape covered in a foot of snow, it was magical! The towering mountains in the background finished off the scene beautifully and the white of the snow was almost blinding.

We made our way round the lake throwing snowballs at each other and admiring the sheer beauty. It was an easy loop and the weather was beautiful, full sunshine. When we got back to the van we changed shoes and headed back down the mountain for some lunch.

We saw a cable car in the car park we were in which we hadn’t noticed previously. For only €15 return we decided to hop on and see where it took us. We were only hoping it wasn’t where we’d just came from...

Half the trees were covered in snow whilst on the other side of the valley (the side the sun was shining on) the trees’ snow had melted rapidly and there was almost nothing left on them! The cable car was a beautiful ride up and after only 15 minutes we had arrived. Luckily in a different location to the one we just were!

We sat down at the pub and the view was incredible, snow covered Alps stretched as far as the eye could see and the sun was in full show keeping us nice as warm as we ordered our lunch.

The menu was in German and Italian which was strange to see in Italy but it was because we were so close to the border of Austria and Switzerland they chose to speak both, mainly German. We ordered some random things and waited to see what it was. When it arrived we saw we ordered a cheese and meat board which was delicious and a plate of cheese and white onion with a huge bread basket to accompany them both, the food was lovely although i wasn’t too keen on the cheese and onion plate, it was a really strong flavour which I just didn’t really like. For main we ate what I think were spinach dumplings in a gorgonzola sauce. It was delicious and the beer was good too.

We made our way back down the mountain on the cable car and arrived once again at our van. The weather was still brilliant so we sat in the sun for a few hours trying to maintain the heat for the evening. We stayed another night in the car park and ate fresh ravioli for dinner, it was still baltic outside.

Tuesday morning we were sick of the cold, we needed it to be at least 1°c all day! We grabbed breakfast from the same café but this time takeaway and hopped back in the van to drive to lower ground.

We headed for Lago di Alleghe and afternoon an hour or so we had arrived, it was a lot more barren than the pictures showed it to be but we made lunch and looked over the lake. It was beautiful with the mountains everywhere and trees turning shades of orange and yellow so we locked the van and went for a walk through the main town.

It was a ghost town at this time of year and we got down to the water edge to skim some stones on the flat glassy surface of the lake. We messed around for a bit throwing stones around and headed back to the van.

We drove further towards Milan (still miles away) and stopped at a campsite for the evening. It was the first of our trip and definitely needed. €20 later we were in and running for the showers. It was so nice feeling a warm shower again! Surprising what things you take for granted when you are presented with them every day. We headed out for the evening to a well known pizza bar and the food was delicious! They also sold 1.5l carafes of beer so we knew we’d be staying warm tonight!

Wednesday  was a very chilled out day, we made the most of the showers once again and used the washing facilities too, the weather was good so we washed our clothes and sheets and let them dry all day. It’s always nice chilling out for the day especially when there’s van jobs to be doing and free Wi-Fi a plenty.

We packed up our things and headed towards Verona to visit in the morning. We ate a quick dinner and went to bed.

Thursday it rained all day! From the minute we woke up to the minute we went to bed. Rain is quite obviously the worst weather when living in a van because, where do you go?! The house you are living in is tiny! We decided to suck it up and go into Verona for the day. We are English, We will not be defeated on our holidays!

Verona is a beautiful city and I’ve been once before on a road trip with two other friends last year almost to the date. We visited Juliet first and her balcony which seemed a lot quieter than last year (a global pandemic probably didn’t aid that) and then continued in to find brunch. I had found a small bohemian style café not far from us so we went in there and got bagels each. Mine was smoked salmon and almost the size of my head, I was very impressed usually they’re about the size of a hot crossed bun.

We finished up brunch and went to Verona  Arena. We decided against going in, it seemed quite expensive and also didn’t have a roof, if I was getting wet either way I’d much rather it be free of charge.

We walked round the shops and Isaac splashed some cash on the new Inter Milan shirt. It looked good and once he was spending the money he couldn’t stop, he paired it with a nice camo grey dri nit t shirt and we headed back to the van.

We decided to camp at Lake Garda for the evening and yet again it was stil raining, we made the most of it and went for a walk down the waters edge before realising nothing was open and heading back to the van. What we were to find out next would shift the entire dynamic of the trip. Italy would be taken off the quarantine-exempt list.

We found out and almost instantly were on the phone to our parents, Isaac had been planning to go home on the 25th October to sort some things at home but this was crunch time, it was either stay and do the two weeks or head to Germany where we would be exempt again but it would mean a change of flight for Isaac and a big change of plan for me.

The rest of the evening consisted of dodging the rain under our awning and sorting out our very impending future, if we wanted to be exempt we would have to leave for Germany in the morning. Minds in overdrive we headed to bed for a pretty rough nights sleep.

Friday we woke and were straight back on the blowers relaying what we had been thinking about all night. Isaac and I agreed we’d go to Germany and he’d book a different flight from Munich leaving tomorrow (17th). We also wanted to go to Milan so would make a flying visit on the way up to Munich.

Milan is definitely I will be coming back to in the future it was such a shame we only had 2 hours on parking before we had to do the long drive up to Munich. We had a huge toastie (18cm x 18cm!) from a well known toast café and headed to the main square, we only had an hour left on parking so had to grab the e - scooters and fly around on them to make sure we would be there and back on time. The square was super busy but Isaac had been before and said in February when he came it was a madhouse, COVID had obviously sent people away.

We spent only a few minutes in the square before heading back to the van in time for the parking, even tho it was only a flying visit the cathedral and expensive shopping mall were absolute works of art and I’m so glad we came.

We got back to the van with only minutes to spare and headed to Munich. 6 hours.

We took it in turns and when we arrived we were exhausted, it also didn’t help the first camp spot was a lorry park so I had a quick shower and we went somewhere else. We enjoyed a few final beers and headed to sleep. The final couple of weeks had come to an abrupt end and it was time for Isaac to go home.

Saturday we woke up and went to the shop so I could grab the things I needed for dinner and then played a couple of hours of cards and chatted. We got to the airport and said our goodbyes, there would be no tears shed here but I could tell Isaac was close to flicking the water works. It’s been fun whilst it lasted and will be going home better people.

I headed off and left the airport. A lone wolf. It was a strange feeling but something I feel like I’ll get used to, I also didn’t really have a choice! My flight is on the 30th October so only a couple of weeks but I know it’ll fly round.

I headed south into the Bavarian countryside surrounding Munich and to my first camp spot alone, it wasn’t long and I was there. I milled around the van for a few hours sorting things out seeing what  direction I wanted to head in the next few days and made some lunch. In the evening I headed into the town and got a couple of beers, it would’ve been nice to meet some people but also I was enjoying my first time fully alone in my lifetime.

Sunday I woke up and headed to Starnbergersee Lake, it was really gorgeous and backdropped with the Alps in the distance. I made some toasties and had a walk round the lake. It was nice doing things at a slower pace and if i wanted to do something else I could although I know Isaac always was very easy going.

I headed south on the same lake and had another walk around the area, thinking and not blabbering to whoever is unlucky enough to be by my side! I hopped back in the van and headed to a little village where my next stop over would be, or so I thought.

I headed into the town and had a look around, I went into a little pub and sat at the bar, it was tiny and only about 10 people inside, it had a nice atmosphere. I sat on my own for a bit and then got speaking in very broken English to the locals using Google Translate to help us both out. One of them told me about some goings on tomorrow in the village so I decided to stay to check it out, I sat for another couple of beers and headed home. I was starving and hadn’t eaten for hours, it was 9pm so I dug out the emergency pasta n’ sauce and had that for dinner.

Thanks for reading this weeks instalment of the blog, it took many twists and turns and half the time neither me or Isaac knew whether we were coming or going, literally!

I’d just like to say a huge thank you to Isaac for making this trip a huge part of my life and know he’s going home a better and stronger man. Without him and others who will soon join me on this trip it wouldn’t be what I wanted to come of it. I don’t even think even I could live with myself in this van for 2 1/2 months so it’s more of a well done/congratulations!

Anyway, thanks for reading everyone and see you next week!


Kieran 🚐💨

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