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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Folks,
Thought it was about time we gave you an update, on our travels – whether you want it or not.

We have now been full timing in our Burstner 747 for 20 months - 14 months of which we have been gallivanting around Europe.

We have clocked up just under 20.000 miles, and visited 8 countries.
We have gone from elated, through, gob smacked to disappointed then totally shattered, but loved every minute of it.

We have gone from being afraid of our own shadows to being seasoned travellers, and able to pass on our help, advice and experiences to loads of lovely folks we have met along the way.

We feel we chose right with our van, only three things we would change, one, the eye level oven that I defy death with each time I take anything out of it, fearing I will have my facial feature re arranged by one of my piping hot creations, two, a bigger freezer, an inch of ice around the small in fridge freezer and I can only manage to keep a small packet of peas and one fish finger in, three, electric immersion heater. Having been on hook up so often it would have been nice to use the electric we were paying for rather than our gas. Apart from that we love our Bertie beer belly (so named because poor thing is always stuffed full).

Having the scooter aboard has been a God send. Getting to all those out of the way places that Bertie would never had managed made the world of difference, also choosing a 125cc rather than a smaller model was also a clever move. We have met so many couples who had a 50cc with woeful tales of the ¨missus¨ having to jump off and walk up hills on numerous occasions.

Another clever move – from my point of view - was bringing along an ancient Electra spin dryer. We can use this off the inverter where ever we are, rain or shine I can get the washing done – even if the inside of the van looks like a Chinese laundry on those rainy days!

Clever move number...?... Oh well, whatever the number.... to have a Gaslow and Spanish bottle aboard. Anywhere but Spain we can use Gaslow , many of the petrol stations in other countries have LPG. When in Spain, a quick switch over to the (Cepsa)bottle and we are all set again.
Little foot note re Spanish gas bottles. You cannot just go to Spain and buy a bottle from a petrol station. You have to get a certificate to prove your vehicles gas system is safe, which is a lot of red tape, however *coughs* if you go to a local flea market you buy an empty gas bottle, for between €10 to €15 which you can exchange for a full bottle - no questions asked, at the corresponding garage for around about €13. You will however, have to make sure you have the right connector for that bottle, which can be easily, bought in most hardware stores.

So, do we have any regrets? Oh yes, we regret missing the below zero temperatures back in the UK during this last winter, we regret waking up to a different view through the window every few days, we regret having zero stress and having nothing more to worry about than shall we head for the mountains or the coast – by main or picturesque road – NOT!
Finally, we met up with Mr & Mrs Tubbytuba who want us to say Hi to everyone and to tell you that they are having a whale of a time.

We are coming to you, courtesy of a Spanish, Vodafone, Pay and you go, mobile modem, that here in Oliva, Spain, has the connection speed of Broadband, however, in Requena, 60 miles in land, in the mountains would not even go as fast as our Avatar!!!
That’s all folks – as the saying goes – but, if anyone is thinking of doing as we are doing, and have any doubts or questions, please feel free to PM us, and as long as we can get on line will be only too glad to reply.

Bi for now
Sandy & Graham
:D
 

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Hi

Sounds like you are having the time of your lives! Michelle (my wife) and I are hoping to have a European adventure in the next few weeks. I want to go full time but Michelle wants to try it for a couple of months first. We were all set to go in the next couple of weeks but I have just been offered some work at the end of May for a week or so which will probably fund us for a year in the MH so I cant turn it down. It just seems like I am so close but there is always something dragging me back! What countries have you been to? I am interested to know more about the ups and downs of your trips. It looks like its going to be eary to mid June now for us to go on our trial trip. We are going to start in Brittany but beyond there I dont know where to go. I wondered about heading south but its probably going to be too hot by the time we get there so I wondered about the Italian Lakes and maybe even Scandinavia. We love to wild camp and like to be out in the wilds so any advice appreciated. Good luck with your adventure. Who knows, this time next year it could be us writing about our full timing!


Regards
Barry
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello Barry,
Thank you for your reply.

Don´t turn your job offer down! We put off leaving on our ¨big holiday¨ to see our son off for a new job in Australia, so we know what it is to put your plans on hold for while. Also knowing you have funded yourself for a year will take any stress away that watching the pennies might otherwise cause!

We have visited, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Each of these have there pro´s and cons.
Portugal and Italy are expensive food and petrol wise, but campsites were cheaper. France has the advantage of Aires. Austria and Switzerland, if you are over three and a half tons, beware of additional charges for using some roads. Portugal and Spain, out of season are good for Wild camping, as long as you are sensible.

July and August are the busiest and hottest times, and most of the ACSI campsites will not accept your discount card in those two months, making nightly fees very expensive at times, 28€ plus per night is not unheard of!
If you are considering a lot of wild camping, think seriously about a solar panel, please do not go down the generator road, fellow campers hate them, and it can cause badly feelings.

Make sure you have adequate inverters if you intend running 240v appliances when wild camping.

As for advice where to go, well, on our first trip we said we were going to land in Calais, turn right and see where we ended up! We did Brittany and Normandy, zig zagged across the rest of France, through Andorra and into Spain. When entering each new country there was a feeling of apprehension, leaving the familiar behind, but within a couple of days you will feel comfortable again.

Take plenty of tea bags, as the ones sold in the countries we have visited are a bit weak to say the least. Packet rice, flavoured noodle, gravy mix, brown sauce, tinned salmon, corned beef, these things you can buy in British shops abroad - but at a price!

Something I would like to add, if you are out of the UK for more than three months in any 12 month period, you will no longer be eligible for national health treatment for 6 months when you return – if you are daft enough to admit to it that is!!!!

Don´t forget your European Health Insurance Card, no one intends to have an accident or fall sick while abroad, but for peace of mind get a card.

Hope these few things help you. If you want to know about anything specific please PM us.
Sandy & Graham
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Steve,
Yup, just the two of us. Gives us a nice bit of room to rattle about, and the lay out suits us fine.

We are pleased with our choice, not really much we would want to change apart from the couple I mentioned in my original post – well perhaps if the van had the ability to shrink when being stuck firmly on a tiny bend in a Portuguese village tom tom sent us down would be useful.
:oops:
 

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Thanks for the advice. I wanted to avoid July and August but it looks like we will at least be away in July now. I think however we may decide to head north up to Sweden or Norway, who knows! Michelle is a Lemon Tea addict and can go through a jar in 3-4 days so I guess I will have to pack a crate as I assume you probably cant get it abroad (well we have never seen it).
 

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Get your EHIC card on line at www.ehic.org, or at a Post Office.
Easy peasy.

Regards,
John

edited to add:

or even by phone:- NHSBSA EHIC Application Line on 0845 606 2030
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
barryd said:
I get free travel insurance through Lloyds Bank, presumably I dont need anything else?
It depends how long you will be away. We are with HSBC who give you 30 days travel insurance free, but because we are away for much longer than that we have to take out seperate insurance, so check how long the cover is for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
barryd said:
Thanks for the advice. I wanted to avoid July and August but it looks like we will at least be away in July now. I think however we may decide to head north up to Sweden or Norway, who knows! Michelle is a Lemon Tea addict and can go through a jar in 3-4 days so I guess I will have to pack a crate as I assume you probably cant get it abroad (well we have never seen it).
Throughout Europe there are branches of Lidls. I know they do Lemon tea in their UK stores but to be honest have not noticed it anywhere else, but then I do not drink it so would not have been especially looking for it, I can have a look next time I am in one here in Spain if that would help.
 

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castaway said:
barryd said:
Thanks for the advice. I wanted to avoid July and August but it looks like we will at least be away in July now. I think however we may decide to head north up to Sweden or Norway, who knows! Michelle is a Lemon Tea addict and can go through a jar in 3-4 days so I guess I will have to pack a crate as I assume you probably cant get it abroad (well we have never seen it).
Throughout Europe there are branches of Lidls. I know they do Lemon tea in their UK stores but to be honest have not noticed it anywhere else, but then I do not drink it so would not have been especially looking for it, I can have a look next time I am in one here in Spain if that would help.
Thanks Castaway that would be really kind. Might help reduce my payload if I dont have to cart a crate full of the stuff around with us!
 

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Hello both glad that you are happy with your 747. Like you we are fulltimers and have been for 2 years. We have an Burstner 821 for the 2 of us and we are also happy with our choise of vehicle.

I would just like to say that the advice you gave is absolutly spot on with our own thoughts and experiences.

We find ourselves in Sicily for 6 months on a summer job so you never know if you if you end up here we might see you on the camp site we are on. We shall certainly look out for UK reg 747.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hiya Pixie,
thank you for your comments.

Have not found ourselves that far down yet, however, we will be looking for pastures new after our July and August back in the UK, so you never know - if a 747 come through the gate with couple with wide grins on their faces and a Harry Potter, Dobby bobble head on the dash board that's us!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Barry,
have PM´D you but incase you didn´t pick it up, Lidls here in Spain - so probably through rest of Europe, have a 400g jar of granulated Lemon tea for €1.29.
Sandy :D
 
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