Blue Fern Adventures

Namibia and South Africa

We visited Namibia and South Africa in March 2023 and had a blast!

We spent 2 ½ weeks touring Namibia with our friends, Nishant, Debbie and Asha and then spent time with Gary’s family in South Africa. There was just under a week in Cape Town, a couple of nights in St Lucia (to see hippos) and a week in the southern parts of Kruger National Park.

We had so much fun that we are about to go back for even longer and will include a month in Botswana. We’ll type a blog after our upcoming 4 months in southern Africa that includes details of both trips and a ‘practicalities‘ post from what we learnt last and this year.

In the meantime, here’s a selection of photos from last year. Enjoy!


In February 2023, we decided to do a 3-week self-drive trip around Morocco – inspired by recommendations from our friends Debbie and Nishant who we met at the Luxor Hub in Egypt.

A night in Rabat and the blue city of Chefchaouen

We started by renting a car in Casablanca and driving to Rabat. In Rabat, we enjoyed staying in a riad (traditional Moroccan house with an indoor garden/courtyard), strolling around the market, and trying our first Moroccan meal – a couscous with tfaya (a raisin and onion topping) and a chicken tagine – couscous and tagine aren’t typically served together but we ordered separate dishes in a restaurant). We found Rabat to be relatively relaxing; it is not focused on tourism so we did not encounter any pushy sales or attempted scams.


Next, we drove to Chefchaouen, Morocco’s famous blue city. We did encounter a bit more touting here but it felt very safe. There was some over-the-top Instagramming (for example, during an early-morning walk, we watched an orange juice vendor hang up a fake grape vine in the street, and then festoon it with fake oranges. Sure enough, when we walked back a few hours later Instagrammers were lining up to photograph themselves and his juice in front of it). But, we loved exploring the beautiful quiet backstreets and hiking up above the town. We also enjoyed the relatively warm weather and the lovely roof-top deck of our hotel. Unfortunately, though, we came down with colds while we were in Chefchaouen, which lingered for most of the rest of our trip.

Exploring Fes

Next, we stopped at the interesting Roman ruins of Volubilis, and then drove to Fes, where we stayed in another riad. We found Fes to have more hassle and scams – such as people trying to give us un-wanted directions and telling us that our riad was closed, which of course it wasn’t. Each morning at our riad, we enjoyed an incredible breakfast of coffee, tea, orange juice, olives, dates and figs, oranges sprinkled with cinnamon, bread, butter, honey, and jams, yogurt, and omelets and we explored the markets with a guide the riad arranged. He took us to shops selling beautiful high-quality products and explained that as cheap import products become more prevalent, it is becoming more difficult to sell handmade goods at prices which can pay for the time which is put into producing them.

The quality of some of the items was stunning but it seemed difficult to determine the value because sales were high pressure – a form of attempted mind control (for example, vendors would start to wrap up products before you had agreed to buy them – or quickly substitute a different price from the one you had said, making it hard to resist the social pressure of just going along with things). This was more intense than Egypt except in the most difficult sales environments such as Khan el Khalili.

We also found the medina difficult because there were camel heads hanging from hooks (seemingly alive enough to blink their gorgeous eye-lashes) and live animals like chickens waiting to be slaughtered in the street. While Gary and Amelia took a break relaxing in our riad, Janice visited a traditional Moroccan hammam spa. She loved the heat and the scrub with a kessa glove – we bought one and have taken this practice with us!

Todra River and the Atlas Gorge

Next, we headed for the mountains where we enjoyed views of the Todra River and the Atlas Gorge. During this phase of our trip, we stayed in incredibly charming family run guest houses – but they were unheated or barely heated which didn’t help our colds! Since we were a bit sick, we didn’t go hiking or do any cultural experiences so we felt like we were skimming the surface in Morocco – unlike the deep immersion we were lucky enough to have in Egypt. And our delight in the typical Moroccan food began to fade as we were served what seemed like an endless progression of bread, marmalade, and greasy omelets for breakfast and watery chicken tagine for dinner.

The Sahara

Our next stop was the Sahara desert, starting in Mhamid at Dar Sahara Guest House – which had been recommended by Debbie and Nishant. Chicken tagine was on the menu again – but we were thrilled by how delicious it was; it was a totally different dish from the soggy vegetables and chicken which we had eaten so many times; instead, the chicken and vegetables were roasted with rich oil and spices. We asked the owner and chef Mbarek why his tagine was so much better than the others we had tried and he said that he did not add any water to the tagine pot and never lifted the lid until the tagine was cooked. Many other chefs lift the lid and periodically add water – which results in a dish that is steamed rather than roasted. His recipe has been filmed and is online on his YouTube Channel, Dar Sahara Tour – Culinary (Making Tajin).


We had rain during our first night on the edge of the Sahara, but the next day we were able to set out on our trip. We had two gorgeous camels – one which carried our gear and one which we could take turns riding. The camel stride is extremely long so Amelia spent most of the time on the camel and Gary and I almost had to run to keep up. The desert was cold and windy and we were happy that our guides had suggested bringing scarves which could be wrapped around our heads and faces. That night we camped in an open tent in the desert and enjoyed a tagine cooked on the fire and traditional bread baked under the sand. We woke up with our eyes crusted shut from sand and were extremely grateful for the frequent cups of hot tea our guides made on the fire whenever we stopped.  We also liked sharing snacks with the camels (they were obsessed with oranges). The next day, we stayed in a permanent camp with small buildings instead of canvas tents. Not quite as romantic but we were relieved to sleep in a slightly warmer environment, out of the wind. And in the evening, we climbed a high dune for the sunset.

Then we returned to Dar Sahara for another delicious meal, collected our car, and headed back into the Atlas Mountains which continued to be beautiful but extremely cold – we even crossed through snow! We recommend making this trip at another time of year – or staying in slightly more expensive places with good central heat – though we loved the charm of the family guest houses and the music, games, and riddles which we were taught by our hosts.

(Mostly) relaxing in Casablanca

After Morocco, we were heading to Namibia for three weeks of overlanding, so we knew that we needed to get healthy and catch up on online tasks. We looked at apartments in Casablanca but they were relatively expensive if they had 2 bedrooms, a good kitchen, and a lot of natural light. Because we planned to stay home as much as possible we instead booked a spacious apartment in a nearby beach town – deserted because it was February. We had only one adventure during our stay: on our first morning, we went out on the glassed-in balcony for breakfast in our pajamas – leaving cell phones inside the apartment and shutting the sliding glass door behind us. Unfortunately, the sliding door locked shut! There was no way to climb down from our high balcony so we started shouting at passers-by on the road for help! Once we got someone’s attention, we asked if he spoke English. He said no, so we asked about Spanish (some people in the north of Morocco do speak Spanish). Since we can’t speak Arabic, we asked if he spoke French, and like most people in Morocco he did. Quickly we thought back to our French lessons during lockdown in France – luckily, we’d had one on our parts of the house. We remembered door – porte! We didn’t remember how to say “locked” – but we did remember how to say “closed” (because everything in France is always closed – at lunch times, for holidays, and for reasons we didn’t understand). So, we yelled “notre porte est fermee!” and luckily the man said he would get help. He notified the gate keeper for the community where we were staying and we repeated our plea for help in French! The gate keeper laughed and came back with the gardeners and an extremely long ladder which they set up near an open part of the balcony. They gestured for us to all climb down but to reach the ladder we had to climb over a section of roof with Spanish tiles. We were worried that the tiles wouldn’t hold Gary and that the height was too dangerous for Amelia so Janice climbed down, barefoot and in pajamas. Our front door was locked and deadbolted from the inside so we explained, in broken French and sign language, that we needed to have the ladder set up on the other side of the house – where we had noticed that a door to the other balcony didn’t latch properly. After a climb back up the ladder and scramble over more Spanish tiles she was inside – and Gary and Amelia were released. We relaxed for our last couple of days and then left Morocco for Namibia.

Final thoughts on Morocco (and travel in general)

In talking to other travelers, we have realized that so much about travel is dependent on changeable individual factors such as weather, where we were coming from and going to, and being sick. If we returned, we would travel at a warmer time of year to enjoy the small guest houses in better weather, look for opportunities to immerse deeper in the culture, and visit peaceful towns off the tourist track. 


Will we come back? We’re not sure. But we’re grateful for the incredible experiences we had in Morocco.


We arrived in Egypt in December 2022 to attend the Luxor Worldschool Hub : a self-directed learning centre led by Louise, a worldschooling mother of two, and her husband Abdel, who is from Luxor.

After landing in Cairo, we made our way to the Tahrir Square GoBus station to catch a night bus to Luxor. At this station, ticket sales and the waiting area were in a dilapidated building with flickering lights, separated from the parking lot where buses departed by a busy road. When it was time for our bus, we gathered all our luggage and went to the edge of the road but we could not see how we could cross through the honking, weaving stream of cars. Finally, an elderly lady gestured to us, stepped into the road, and shepherded us across – confidently shielding us from the oncoming traffic.

Our bus was clean and had large comfortable seats (we booked an ‘elite’ bus and the journey was still very reasonably priced). However, we found it almost impossible to sleep on the overnight trip due to multiple stops at security checkpoints and a light and chime when the bathroom was occupied. When we returned to Cairo, we decided to travel during the day to avoid losing a night of sleep. Also on our return trip, we arrived at Cairo GoBus Main Station rather than the Tahrir square station: Main Station was modern, well-lit, and clean and the parking lot was directly next the waiting area. We are not sure if it has a ticket office, but GoBus tickets can be purchased online in advance.

Luxor Hub

After our overnight bus journey to the hub, we were very happy to arrive on the West Bank of Luxor where we had booked an apartment which had been vetted by Louise and Abdel. The apartment owner greeted us with glasses of mint tea and showed us our new home: a beautiful two-bedroom apartment with a pool, private balconies off each bedroom, and a shared rooftop terrace with stunning views of the Nile, the Valley of Queens, the sunrise, and the sunset. Louise messaged to make sure we had arrived and were happy with our apartment: we told her we couldn’t believe we got to live there.

As we were settling in, a family who were staying downstairs and who had attended the previous hub knocked on the door to welcome us. As they were leaving in a few days, they gave us a load of left-over groceries and well as advice, including directions to their favourite juice and falafel spot and a WhatsApp number for “beer man” who would deliver to the door (alcohol sales are legal but complicated).

Soon it was time for hub to start: Amelia was thrilled to go off each morning with the other children in a little private mini-bus and as soon as we visited the hub, we felt comfortable with her being there on her own. The space was beautiful, peaceful, gated, and well-supervised. The kids did many activities at the hub and on the surrounding family farm. We loved hearing about the “juice bike” – a kid-powered blender for making fresh juice and smoothies) and the “banana slide” – a slide in the field made with a pile of banana leaves. They also had opportunities to experience cultural activities on fieldtrips.

Before we arrived, we wondered how we would fill our extra time while Amelia was at the hub but we always had something fun to do – participating in some of the hub activities such as a picnic on a deserted island and a family sports day, going with other parents for coffee or fresh juice, walks along the Nile, running errands such as buying beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables, relaxing in our apartment, arranging day trips like a visit to the amazing temple of Dendera, and participating in local community activities like Luxor POW popup walks.


The afternoons and evenings after hub were filled with playdates and sleepovers and dinners with other parents on the banks of the Nile while the kids played along the river. Louise and Abdel were endlessly helpful with arranging activities – we did a beautiful hot air balloon ride as the sun rose over Valley of Queens, horseback riding through the countryside on healthy well-treated horses, a visit to ACE animal sanctuary, a pottery class, a sunset felucca trip, and group visits to temples, with scavenger hunts for kids.

We even celebrated a wonderful Christmas with families who stayed after the end of hub. After Christmas, there was still so much that we wanted to do in Luxor that we decided to extend our stay – as well as spend a second month in Egypt taking advantage of activities that we arranged locally, like a four-day sail along the Nile. We can’t recommend the Luxor Hub more highly.

Nile Cruise

We knew we wanted to do a Nile Cruise while we were in Egypt but we preferred a dahabiya sailboat to a cruise ship. While we were in Luxor, we met a fixer who said he could arrange for us to have a last-minute unsold cabin on a dahabiya. After many discussions over delicious spiced coffee, negotiations, changed plans, changed prices, periods of no-contact, and doubts about handing over cash for a deposit to someone who we knew only as “Ahmed River” (he said his last name was complicated and he couldn’t write in Arabic or English) we were booked to leave the next day for Aswan, where our trip would begin!

Aswan was beautiful and very different from Luxor – the Nile was fringed with high rock formations and lots of greenery and dotted with feluccas. We stayed on Elephantine Island, where our host arranged amazing meals for us in at a neighbour’s home and took us on a boat trip along the Nile and to visit a small temple by moonlight. We also visited Abu Simbel as a very long day trip from Aswan; we tried to time our visit to Abu Simbel for a time of day when there would be fewer visitors but the site was very still very crowded. For us, Abu Simbel didn’t have a magical feeling (maybe because of the crowds) but it was interesting to see how the temples had been relocated to save them from flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

After a short stay in Aswan, we started our cruise. We were thrilled when we boarded a beautiful sailboat for 24 guests and were shown to a gorgeous suite with a private balcony overlooking the Nile.

We had promised not to tell other guests what we paid for our cabin and we weren’t sure who on the boat knew about our arrangement for the left-over cabin. It turned out the boat was a charter for two separate groups, each of whom had their own guide, so we had to constantly and discreetly ask questions to keep track of what was happening and how long we could stay ashore before returning to the boat. The boat crew didn’t know the schedule – they said it was up to the guides – and the bilingual French guide wouldn’t tell us (he disapproved of people travelling in Egypt without a guide and would give us return times hours earlier than the times he planned to come back with his group) – so we attached ourselves to a friendly Spanish speaking guide/group and even celebrated New Years Eve with them. When sites were not walkable from the boat, we had to arrange our own transportation but we had lots of practice and a good idea of costs from Luxor and were happy to make our own arrangements for tuktuks at a couple of the sites and a motorboat transfer once we got back to Luxor.

While onboard, we loved the peaceful sound of the Nile flowing alongside the boat, watching life on the river bank go by, and visiting places that were too shallow for the larger ships, such as the ancient quarry at Gebel el-Silsika. Our boat had the site to ourselves and our family had a brilliant impromptu tour from a guard who spoke English and who had worked there for 17 years. We could see prehistoric rock art, quarries where blocks and pillars of stone had been cut by hand from the cliffs, graffiti, shrines and temples, and holes in the cliffs where mooring lines from boats were tied. These boats would take the cut stone down the Nile to temples such as Karnak.

White Desert

After finishing our Nile cruise and spending a few more days in our Luxor apartment, we returned to Cairo and followed our new hub friend Claire’s advice to visit the White Desert . It was simply stunning: geology that changed every 30 minutes, wild roaming camels, an unexpected camel ride, sandboarding, a Roman mummy, and Amelia’s first-time camping! We could not believe the spectacular views and the way the moonlight lit the desert like day. We had pictured deserts as empty and flat, but here there were incredible stone formations set amongst dunes; we camped at the top of a valley which rolled away from us into the distance with no other people in sight. A hill towered above us and on our first night we saw a small fennec fox climb up silhouetted against the moon.

We recommend at least a 3-day/2-night desert tour because it included camping in the Agabat area. We didn’t like the “New White Desert” as much – this is the famous White Desert which is visited on day tours and two-day tours – as we found that it had flies (attracted by lots of camping) and that it felt much less remote. One day, perhaps the deserts of Egypt will open further and longer trips will be possible: the first night of our tour in the Agabat was a once in a lifetime experience.

Fayoum and Egypt’s ancient shallow sea

After the White Desert, we spent a couple of days in Cairo before leaving on our next expedition, to Fayoum. We found a small guesthouse in Tunis Village, a town which is famous for its pottery, and the owner arranged for a taxi to transport us from Cairo. On the way, we stopped at a security checkpoint, which is normal in Egypt. Taxis require permissions to transport tourists by road. However, these permissions are expensive and, in our experience (with regular taxis, not luxury cars), the drivers almost never got them – our trip to Aswan was the only exception. As we were driving along well-travelled roads, along with many other cars, we never felt this affected our safety so we didn’t insist. Instead, money changed hands (between the taxi driver and the police – we were never involved), the cars ducked into the desert to dodge checkpoints (we just noticed the weird routes), or in our friends experience they were once asked to duck their heads. In Fayoum, however, a police car with four officers followed us all the way from the checkpoint to our hotel for “protection.” The next day, we woke up early to go to the desert but were told that the police would accompany us again so we had to wait for them. They escorted us to the edge of the Wadi Al-Hitan park and then departed.

In the park, the whale bones were visible in the desert protected by rings of rope. We were almost the only ones there and enjoyed walking around the site and thinking about whales previously inhabiting the desert when this area of Egypt was covered by shallow seas. When we finished visiting the site and the small museum, our police escort had not returned so we went back to the hotel unescorted.

When we checked out, our hotel owner apologetically said that the police had ask him to give them 100 Egyptian pounds (about $3 USD at the time) as a tip for our two days of “protection” and he wondered if we could pay him back. We said we had not wanted the police along but he said that he felt he couldn’t refuse so we gave him the money. We felt he was being honest as when we left a small tip in the room for the cleaner, he immediately called us in to say that we had left money behind.


After returning to Cairo, we took a bus to our next destination, Alexandria, where we planned to stop for a few days on our way to Siwa – a remote oasis near the Libyan border. In Alexandria, we had a comfortable apartment with a nice view, Amelia enjoyed a rhythmic gymnastics class, and we visited the famous library, but to us the city felt less “alive” than Cairo so we were happy to continue our travels after a short stay.

Our taxi driver cheerfully lashed our mountain of luggage to the roof of his small taxi but could not understand us or make out our destination (the bus station) in Google Maps, even though we switched the maps app to Arabic. He asked a man in florist shop who immediately came out, translated everything, gave directions, and checked our bus tickets and confirmed our terminal. He went back into the shop and returned with rose for Amelia. We offered him a tip which he absolutely refused, saying he hoped we had a good visit to his city.


Our next stop was the remote oasis of Siwa, where we met up with our friends Chris and Hayley and had an incredible experience visiting Camilla and Daniel’s family. Camilla has lived in Siwa for 16 years is raising her children there. She invites Worldschooling families with similarly aged kids to visit for a month or more, so that the kids can form significant friendships.


Amelia joined Camilla’s children and other visiting kids for activities and workshops that Camilla arranged in the afternoons. We were blown away by the richness and diversity of the experiences that Camilla arranged. Some of our favourites included weaving palm frond baskets with the guard at an ancient temple, learning about chemistry and making amazing natural soap with a nuclear scientist who fled Libya and started a small business in Siwa, cooking jam and salad dressing in an artisanal factory, stargazing in the desert with an amateur astronomer who moved to Siwa from Cairo, and doing pottery and art at a studio within the ancient mud brink fortress of Shali.

In Siwa, because the locations and transport varied each day and we were staying in different places we (parents) decided to accompany the kids to the activities. This was a different experience than what we had in Luxor but we couldn’t think of anything we would rather be doing in Siwa. We were always welcomed by the people running the workshops and usually offered tea (black, green, or with herbs like mint or lemongrass) made on bonfire or small burner.

In addition to the workshops, Camilla arranged or recommended many family activities, including a desert tour, hiking up mountains to watch the sunset, visiting ancient tombs and temples, picking olives at her beautiful property, swimming in salt lakes and freshwater springs, and soaking under the stars and eucalyptus trees in hot springs which are seldom visited by tourists. When we left Siwa, we suddenly felt like tourists – missing the local knowledge and connections that Camilla provided.


Siwa was spectacular and felt like a magical oasis from the hassle that we sometimes experienced in other parts of Egypt: we were always offered fair prices with no negotiation and everyone we met was welcoming, helpful, and generous. It was also rawer that Luxor: butcher shops lined the road in the centre of town and there was sometimes blood in the street. We got the impression that most tourists stay outside of the centre of town but we enjoyed some aspects of our location – close to a gorgeous garden restaurant, Ola, a falafel place, and a juice spot.

Port Said

After almost two months, it was nearly time to leave Egypt. We wanted to see the Suez Canal on our way back to Cairo so we stopped in Port Said. We enjoyed several recommendations that had been giving to us such as sampling famous salsabila ice cream and taking a ferry across the canal while being mobbed by sea gulls, but this wasn’t a can’t-miss stop for us. In fact, on the day we left we stayed in our hotel until it was time to go to the bus station: enjoying the comfortable beds, inexpensive room service, and the fact that it had a “real” bath/shower – many bathrooms in Egypt do not have a shower cubicle or curtain so the floor (and sometimes the rest of the bathroom) gets wet when showering.



For our final stop in Egypt, we returned to Cairo. By then, we liked Cairo – noisy, crazy, people cycling with enormous racks of bread balanced on their heads. Everyone was busy going about their business so there was no hassle for us. We enjoyed visiting the pyramids in Giza, Sakkara, and Dahshur, especially going inside. While we visited the pyramids at the end of our trip, a guided tour of the pyramids and museums in Cairo would be a good stop when arriving in Egypt: guides in Cairo were experienced and fluent in English so they did a good job of overviewing ancient Egyptian history (though we came across a couple of guides who presented only unconventional theories, such as that the pyramids were built by a pre-Pharaonic people whose civilization was destroyed by a solar flare – ask about this before booking a tour).

We also recommend buying books on Egyptian history (especially kids’ books, which give a good overview even for adults) and watching the excellent National Geographic documentary series “Lost Treasures of Egypt” (we watched it before we arrived on Disney Plus, which was blocked from within Egypt).

For our last dinner in Cairo, we met up with Chris and Hayley’s family: our kids counted it as the sixth time since we met them in southern Albania the spring of 2022 (we met again in northern Albania, Luxor, Aswan, Siwa, and Cairo). We enjoyed wandering the city together, including cafes, an art gallery, lots of ice cream, and a visit to the famous Abou Terek restaurant for Koshary, which is a pasta, rice, vermicelli, and lentil dish with a tomato sauce. It may not sound appealing, but comes with separate toppings, including vinegar and chili to make the perfect bright, spicy sauce, and a toping of crunchy onions and chickpeas – we all loved it, including the kids. Abou Terek had seven full floors of people eating only pita chips, Koshary and its accompanying desert: rice pudding. Each floor had crystal chandeliers, fish tanks, or ponds with floating balls and rubber ducks. The meal cost about $9 for the seven of us.

On our last day, we visited Mall of Egypt where we watched the new Mummies animated movie in English in a cinema all by ourselves and Amelia tried out the ski slopes.

In addition to meeting up with old friends, we made great new friendships at the hub – the kids and parents are continuing to stay connected online and (sneak peak of future travels) we have already met again with two families, first in Namibia, then in Colombia, and finally in Baltimore and New York. For us, our experience in Egypt was Worldschooling at its best.

Ireland and the United Kingdom

We spent the summer and autumn of 2022 traversing Ireland and United Kingdom.  This wasn’t our usual “let’s explore this country” motorhome trip. Instead, we wanted to meet up with family and friends, some of whom we had not seen in 40 years!

Originally, we had planned a neat anti-clockwise tour around Ireland but this quickly changed to a convoluted figure of eight to make sure we got to see as many people as possible.  Likewise, grape harvests and school holidays meant our track around the United Kingdom looked like a drunk attempt at a “La Linea” cartoon cartoon!

We did spend a week as tourists in London (we left the motorhome in storage) to attend the a Worldschool Popup Hub.  We got to see and experience the sites of London while meeting new friends.  If there is ever a Popup Hub near you, we recommend you attend!

November 2022 saw us say goodbye to Blue Fern, our motorhome.  And yes, Gary shed a tear or two when he parked the motorhome for the last time.  In just over two years we had travelled 48,000km (close to 30,000 miles) and visited 22 countries.  Originally, we had planned to ship our “home on wheels” around the world but plans change. We decided it was best to sell her before continuing our travels.  The convenience of having our home right behind the driver’s seat is missed!

We don’t have many tips and tricks but here are a few that stand out:

  • Cellphone reception in rural Ireland is poor. We often parked in a Tesco’s parking lot for Amelia’s online classes before driving to a more picturesque overnight stop.
  • Petrol stations in parts of Scotland are few and far between. We did not see one petrol station on our 200km drive to Balmoral!
  • Wild camping in England is generally not allowed.  We paid for a CAMC membership and stayed in both campsites and their Certified Locations.
  • Homeschoolers can get discounts to attractions in England. We received discounted entry in the Eden Project and Legoland Windsor (Legoland required that we book ahead).

Picking grapes

All in all, we drove over 5,000km (3,000 miles), stopped at many museums and historical sites, and visited Janice’s distant family in Tipperary, her childhood friend in Belfast, and her graduate school friends in Cornwall, Gary’s aunt in Loch Ness and school friends in East Sussex and Devon, our motorhome friends (that we met in Croatia) in Somerset, and our Cayman friends in Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Dorset, North Berick (Scotland), and Tamar Valley (Devon). We helped pick apples and grapes and make cider and wine at Tamar Valley Vineyard.  The weather wasn’t always cooperative (ranging from a lucky two-week streak of clear blue skies and warm seas in Ireland to fierce winds and freezing rain in the Isle of Skye) but this did not stop us from having a wonderful time in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Austria, Switzerland, and Germany

Our race from the Balkans to back to France continued with relatively quick travel through Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.


In Austria, we drove over Gloßglockner Pass – enjoying views of the glacier as well as spotting marmots. Next, we visited Salzburg, including bicycling to various South of Music filming locations. These locations were amazingly similar to the film after nearly 60 years, though mostly smaller than expected! Then we visited the town of Leogang, where friends from Cayman own a ski apartment. We visited the sites they recommended in their town, including the Asitzbahn Talstation cable car to the mountain top, which has a large playground, walking trails, lakes, an alpine slide, cafes, and free-ranging horses. After leaving Leogang, we stopped at an Inn and motorhome parking where we had some delicious Austrian food – and we finished our quick tour with a drive through specular western Austria, including the B200 road toward Switzerland.


In Switzerland, we had been invited to stay with Lukas who we met while traveling in Norway. We had parked at a tourist office to use their free Wi-Fi and we started chatting with Lukas when he arrived in his van to do the same! When he left, Lukas stopped by the motorhome to offer us a beer from his hometown of Unterseen (often confused with Interlaken which is on the other side of Aare River) and to invite us to stay if we ever passed through the area. We were very happy to take him up on his offer one year later and we had a great time visiting Lukas and his friends and family and seeing attractions in the area such as Lauterbrunnen, the  Trümmelbach Falls, and Pfingstegg which Amelia had learned about from a video by the 5 World Explorers.


Finally, we entered Germany. Our first stop was Freiburg, where we enjoyed walking the old streets, floating homemade boats down the tiny freshwater canals that run throughout the city, having a drink at a beer garden with great views, and stumbling upon a fun wine festival. We then headed to Freudenstadt to meet up with Cayman friends Rob, Rachael, and family in the Black Forest – an area where friends had recommended many attractions.

We stayed at an Airbnb down the road from a small farm (Herrenwies Hof) where we were able to park our motorhome outside, but the farm also offers motorhome parking. This was a good location near the start of many trails through the forest which led to a little forest cafe (Waldcafe Teuchelwald) and a delicious restaurant (Berghütte Lauterbad). We also visited the town pool Panorama-Bad Freudenstadt, Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald tree-top walk and slide and the adventure park next to it, an older slide park Riesenrutschbahn Poppeltal – Seewald Freizeit Park, and the town of Baden. Initially, we were underwhelmed by the scenic roads (we did not find the Black Forest High Road to be as dramatic as roads through Norway and other countries) but we were quickly won over by the beauty of the forest paths and the abundant attractions in the area, including many activities for families (one that we didn’t visit but looked fun: BarfussPark Hallwangen.

After Germany, we were truly out of time so we drove as quickly as possible to France and flew to New York and Rhode Island where we had wonderful visits with family and friends and celebrated Jonathan and Jess’ wedding. We then returned to Les Eyzies – the first time we had been to the area in August. It felt like coming home – relaxing in the house, swimming in the river, going to a gourmet night market (Marché Gourmand) where food was served at communal tables, and visiting friends Claire and family. We had a wonderful time at our neighbour’s wedding and this felt like the completion of our European time which started in the French lockdown almost two years before. Finally, on our way out of France, we stopped off to meet friends Kat and Mark – who we met on one of our previous motorhome trips in France – and then we boarded an overnight ferry for the next leg of our journey: Ireland and the UK.

The Balkans

After fantastic visits to Greece and Albania we began heading relatively quickly through the Balkans toward France, where we would attend our neighbours’ wedding in Les Eyzies and fly to a family wedding in the US.

Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Because we spent extra time in Albania meeting up with new worldschooling friends, we had just two days in Montenegro, including an overnight stop in Kotor. To us, the atmosphere in the old walled city was too touristy even after the cruise ship passengers and bus tours left in the evening but we enjoyed the views as we drove around the fjord. We had planned to take a route from Montenegro directly into Croatia, but while browsing Google Maps for attractions on the way we spotted the photos of the old city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and decided to make a quick diversion.


In fact, we didn’t end up liking the touristy atmosphere in Mostar but we enjoyed visiting a new country that we didn’t have many preconceived ideas about. We stayed in a small campsite by a river which was good value (€15 per night for our motorhome with no extra charge for children, €0.75 for a glass of wine at the cafe) and very friendly – Gary watched a football game while chatting to the owners and we enjoyed meeting other campers. While we had hoped to explore the country more, the weather forecast showed several days of heavy rain so instead we decided to head to Croatia where we had made contact with another motorhoming family. We spent several days parked next to Toni and Martin while our kids had a fantastic time playing in the two motorhomes.


After a few days, it was time to leave to see our friends John & Kellie who were also in Croatia – we had connected online and through video calls after buying our motorhome from the same dealer but this would be our first in-person meet-up. The kids were inseparable so we convinced Toni and family to come along to our new campsite! We all had a great time parked up together – playing, cooking, drinking ice coffee, paddleboarding, and sharing many meals and conversations. We also took the opportunity to try a peka (food roasted under a bell on an open fire) and visit a dentist in Split which was very easy and inexpensive. In Split, we enjoyed meeting up with another Worldschooling family for the day and walking around the Palace.


Finally, we planned visits to Plitvice lakes and to Slapovi Zrmanja waterfall, which had been recommended to us by a family we met in the campsite in Bosnia. After getting a lot of advice on Plitvice from John and Kelly and Toni and Martin, we decided to visit in the late afternoon. Reduced-priced tickets are offered for entry after 4 pm and because we only planned to spend a half day in the park this was a better option for us than paying full price to enter at 7 am. Before the park closed, we managed to walk a loop of the Lower Lakes, which cannot be missed due to panoramic high altitude views across the lakes as you set off down the trail, and to also have a magical few minutes at the Upper Lakes, where at the end of the day we were the only people in sight (we did route B on the diagram except we walked a short segment of the upper lakes from P2. This includes an electric boat ride across the lake and a “panoramic train” which is actually just a bus on a non-scenic road.

We found Croatia to be expensive as a motorhoming country: wild camping is banned, most campsites seem to be pricy commercial operations rather than small family-run sites, and we paid quite a bit more for restaurant meals than we did in Greece and Albania (this may be partly because we love all the interesting mezze in Greece so we often ordered many appetizers when eating out which is less expensive than a main course). To cut camping costs in Croatia we used an ASCI card for an off-season discount.


After sadly saying goodbye to our friends, we continued our fast track back to France – speeding through Slovenia where we visited Škocjan Caves – a massive underground cavern that made us feel like characters in Lord of the Rings – and the clear blue Soča River. Then we crossed out of the Balkans into Austria.


Once we finished our amazing visit to Greece in April and May (read our blog here), we decided to take a land route to France via Albania.

Taking it easy

After more than 5,500 km of driving and 6 weeks of wild camping, we were all tired, Janice had a sinus infection, and the motorhome was flashing an oil change light. We were a bit unsure of entering Albania but decided to go ahead. For our first night, we picked a campsite just across the border where we hoped we could have long hot showers and plan the rest of our route – perhaps we would drive quickly through Albania!? We had seen some pretty pictures but had also heard horror stories about the rough roads and driving and we weren’t sure how much we would enjoy Albania in a 7.4m motorhome.


After a border crossing and an easy drive, we arrived at Camping Gjirokastër . It is a small family-run campsite which cost €12pn for the three of us. We were immediately welcomed into the restaurant garden by the friendly owner and offered free glasses of chilled white wine, along with a plate of cheese and olives. We relaxed in the shady garden for the rest of the day, eating fresh fruit sprinkled with cinnamon offered to us by the restaurant and catching up on some work and homeschooling. In the evening, Amelia played with the owner’s daughters and the children of other campers. After a delicious dinner (huge mezze platters with enough leftovers for lunch), we decided to stay another day.

The next morning, the owner helped us arrange an oil change for the motorhome. We had the oil, so the local mechanic billed us just €5 for labour! The labour for our last oil change in Norway cost €150 so we were happy to pay this and give a tip. We also picked up an Albanian SIM card because our roaming data did not cover Albania. Some Albanian SIMs have good roaming in the Western Balkans so if you also going to Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina it is worth checking the roaming policy when you purchase. While our campsite did not have a pool, there was a pool at a restaurant/bar within walking distance – unfortunately, it was closed when we visited but it looked nice.

Gjirokastër Castle

We also paid a brief visit to the town of Gjirokastër. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was filled with souvenir shops and tour groups. However, when we arrived at the castle around 9 am no tour groups had arrived yet so we had it almost to ourselves. We walked down a dim passageway lined with cannons and then began to explore various rooms, including a pitch-black prison cell (amazingly creepy). We also explored the top of the castle which had beautiful views of the town.

The coast

After a couple of days, Janice’s sinus infection had cleared up and we were all feeling refreshed. We had arranged to meet with another traveling family that we connected with on the Worldschooling Facebook group; Hayley and family were staying in Sarandë but invited us to meet them on the beach at Ksamil (touristy but very pretty). We passed many sheep and goats in the road as we headed to our next campsite, Ksamil Caravan Camping. It had a gorgeous shaded communal area where campers gathered to cook, eat, and chat and the owner greeted us with tall cups of frothy iced coffee and a cold chocolate for Amelia. Albania is one of the only countries where we link to our Park4Night sites – they were all really special and welcoming! Amelia had a wonderful time playing with a baby in the campsite and then meeting with our new worldschooling friends. She and Hayley’s daughter were immediately inseparable, so we decided to meet again the next day in Sarandë, where we parked in a hotel’s parking lot for a small fee. Tourist season had not yet started so the waterfront promenade was not busy, and we enjoyed a dip in the hotel pool to cool off when we got home.

Flat tyre

Next, we decided to drive up the coastline and over the stunning Llogara Pass. Because of the threat of severe weather, we completed this drive faster than planned (no overnight stops) and we decided to push on to Tirana where we planned to meet another Worldschooling family. We ended up on a narrow side road which was pretty but we were glad to re-join the main highway. However, after only a few minutes we heard a noise and pulled over to discover that we had a puncture – the first time this had happened in our motorhome. We stopped to change our tyre as quickly as possible due to approaching rain, but we couldn’t get the vehicle jacked up high enough. A car stopped to tell us that there was a tyre shop just down the road and then offered Gary a ride there because our tyre was too flat to drive. The shop was closed on Sunday, so they phoned the owner and arranged for him to come to us to change our tyre. This proved difficult as we had been supplied with the wrong spare rim when we purchased the motorhome but he still charged us only €20 to switch the rim on our tyres and get us on the road again! In the meantime, more strangers stopped by to check that we were OK and even offered to buy us sodas in a nearby restaurant or help with anything else we needed!


After an hour or so of delay, we arrived on the outskirts of Tirana to meet with Rina and family. They gave us some recommendations in the city to add to the recommendations we had gathered from Hayley and family and from the Roadschool Europe Facebook group. We stayed in a city paid parking lot which was noisy but made a good base to explore Tirana. There was a Chinese restaurant just around the corner which had been recommended by Rina and the next day we visited the Bunk’Art 2 museum (interesting but too intense for young kids – we skipped some parts) and walked around the city, including Skanderbeg Square, a large playground, and a bookstore with a fantastic selection of English activity books. Hayley had recommended Dajti Adventure Park but as it was closed and as we had recently visited another adventure park, we went to Altitude Trampoline Park instead which Amelia absolutely loved.


Next, we went to the Lagoon of Patok and stayed at the Bella Vita restaurant with private cabanas for meals over the lagoon. Parking is free if you have a meal. We had seafood, vegetables, and extremely delicious cornbread which is a specialty of the region. This meal was €20 for the three of us.

The Shala River


We then headed to what became our favorite place to stay in Albania: Ledi’s Place Restaurant . There is no charge to stay if you buy a meal and it is run by a wonderful family. There is a beautiful shady garden/restaurant where you can sit all day. Amelia loved playing with their baby bunny, and they also had dogs, kittens, geese, and a free-roaming pony. They even give you a free breakfast of pancakes and coffee. We stayed two nights at Ledi’s Place while we visited the Shala River.

We found the website of a Shala River tour company and contacted the owner who said he had been in Tirana, but he would run a tour the next day for us and arrange to pick us up from Ledi’s Place in his car because the road was rough for our motorhome. He even stopped by that night to meet us and buy us a drink. Later, he sent us a WhatsApp saying that just in case he personally couldn’t collect us, he would send us a picture of the vehicle. We went to stand by the road the next morning at 7:30 a.m., and soon enough the vehicle in his picture arrived. It was quite full of other people – all very well dressed! We were surprised they were going on a river tour. Then a bunch of children climbed on and as we started to drop off the passengers at many stops, including at school, we realized that we were on the public minibus. Still, we were quite happy with this arrangement. We then arrived at the lake where the company owner said that because water levels were low, we would not be able to go all the way up the Shala River, but we would have a good view of it and could have lunch at a restaurant and swim.


However, we were disappointed when we arrived at the restaurant: although it was a peaceful family-run bed and breakfast, it was not on the famously beautiful shallow clear river that we had seen in photos. We arrived around 10 am and didn’t want to spend all day there without seeing the higher part of the river. So, we talked to the owner of the bed and breakfast and after a delicious early lunch, she arranged for a small skiff to take us upriver. We thought about asking for a discount from the original company but decided in the end that the price for transport to the bed and breakfast was reasonable so we didn’t really mind (we did point out that he should include the small boat in his tour when water levels are low as the shallower areas of the river are the most beautiful).

Albanian Alps


Next, we decided to head to the Albanian Alps, where we hoped to go hiking and meet up with a family that we met at the campsite where we stayed on our first night in Albania. We stayed at Boga Alpine Resort (there was a slightly tight turn into a gate but we made it and it saved us from driving the steep and winding road up to Theth). The campsite is pretty – already in the mountains with good views and pleasantly cool temperatures – and can arrange for transport to Theth for hiking (we didn’t find that we wanted to spend time in Theth, which is more like a collection of guest houses than a town).


The cost of round-trip transport from the campsite to Theth in a local taxi was €50, including an hour’s drive up the mountain and the driver stopping wherever requested and waiting all day) or €80 to get as close as possible to the Blue Eye of Theth in a 4WD vehicle (this makes it easier and more pleasant to hike to the Blue Eye of Theth – which, rather than being a spring like the Blue Eye near Gjirokastër, is a blue pool at the base of a waterfall). While the transport/tour was more expensive than most things we paid for in Albania, the driver was a nice man who lived next to the campsite and we were out all day (9 am-5 pm) with lots of stops. Some were suggested by our driver and Amelia had many ideas from watching a video by the Five World Explorers – a Worldschooling family that she loves following. In some cases in Albania, particularly for tours, we knew we were paying more than the “local” rate but we were happy to pay what was asked. Otherwise, a smaller vehicle could easily drive all the way to Theth – the road was paved this year and we could even have made it in our 7.4 m motorhome but with difficulty!


Finally we went to  Shkodër and met with a third worldschooling family – Irene and Andy and their daughter. As a welcome surprise, Hayley and family were also in town! We all met for lunch at a restaurant recommended by one of the owners of Ledi’s Place, the girls bonded over the Math Tango app, and Andy taught the kids some acrobatics in a park. We also discovered that Andy’s mother wrote the brilliant math curriculum that we use with Amelia – RightStart Math. Hayley’s family had to prepare for an early start (taking a boat across Lake Komani to Valbone National Park – another route to visit mountains and clear streams of the Albanian Alps) but we had for dinner with Irene’s family and decided to meet for breakfast the next day!


We had found overnight parking in a paid lot next to an abandoned mansion but we were parked in an extremely tight space with a Rolls Royce just inches away. When it was time for us to leave, we gratefully accepted Andy’s offer to help us reverse out of the parking lot without hitting anything next to us or behind us!

We could have easily stayed longer in Albania and heard good things about hotprings, river rafting, and Lake Ohrid, because we had weddings to attend later in the summer we reluctantly left Albania and moved on to Montenegro.


Janice visited Greece in 2006 and had always wanted to return with Gary & Amelia. We expected Greece to be a highlight of our travels in Europe, it was and still surpassed our expectations. Other countries on the land route to Greece also became favourites – see our upcoming post. Also see our Practicalities of Travelling in Greece blog.

We arrived in Greece via a ferry from Italy. Our first stop was:



Lefkada is a stunning island that you can access by bridge from the mainland. It is filled with lush green mountains, stunning white cliffs, and hazy blue sea stretching into the distance. After spending a few days exploring Lefkada, we stayed the night and had a delicious meal at a small tavern.


The Peloponnese is a fantastic location for motorhome travel with a great density of interesting places to visit and camp. Our time in Peloponnese began with visiting Eva and family in a small village near Patras. We felt privileged to join in the Greek Orthodox easter celebrations, including the candle-lit procession on Holy Friday, the lighting of the eternal flame at midnight on Holy Saturday, the battle of red easter eggs in the early hours of Sunday morning, and the celebrations on Sunday afternoon. The small village where children played in the square while adults chatted in the café under an ancient plane tree was peaceful and relaxing. 

Next we explored the “fingers” of Peloponnese. Some of our highlights were:   

  • Ancient Olympia (site of the first Olympics)
  • Hiking to the castle by Voidokilia Beach
  • The Mani Peninsula, including tiny mountain towns like Kampos and Thalamus, the ghost town of Vathia, and the hike to the lighthouse for sunset. 
  • Mystras monastery and the beautiful mountains in the area. On the way, we passed briefly through Sparti (site of ancient Sparta). 
  • Elafonisos Island and nearby beaches 
  • Monemvasia (a small island town linked to the mainland by a causeway)
  • Epidaurus (ancient theatre where you can hear a coin drop from any seat!)



Within the city, we enjoyed the acropolis and its incredible museum, the small but fun Museum of Illusions – Gary took Amelia inside while Janice wandered the interesting neighbourhood nearby (filled with used bookshops), the Xplore Centre – a small but well-designed science museum and play area in a mall, and a delicious lunch. Outside the city, Amelia loved the Adventure Park and we enjoyed the Temple of Poseidon, Delphi, and the hot springs at Thermopylae.

On the way north:

At Mount Olympus, we did a nice short hike from the Monastery of Saint Dionysios to the Cave of Dionysios of Olympus. 

Next, we visited the incredible Meteora monasteries – while we had planned to stay for sunset, the temperature reached 34°C (93°F) so we quickly moved on to the mountains near Metsovo, where we experienced refreshing temperatures and even a thunderstorm and hail. 


For our final stop when we visited Greece, we explored the spectacular Vikos gorge, where we particularly enjoyed stopping at the bridge over the beautiful Voidomatis river and the towns of Papingo and Micro Papingo. 

Greece quickly became one of our favourite countries on our route. And we also appreciated that the route back from Greece introduced us to our next country: Albania.

Practicalities of Travelling in Greece

A blog that focuses on the day-to-day practicalities of travelling in Greece (see similar guides to France and Norway).

Once again on this trip we felt fortunate to find guidance and inspiration from motorhome blogs in planning our travels in Greece. In particular, we followed many recommendations from our friends Frenchy Le Van and The Chouters & Bijou.

Getting there:


When to visit: We were in Greece in April and May and found spring to be a perfect time to visit. The weather was warm enough for outdoor activities, everything we wanted to visit was open but uncrowded, we were able to wild-camp everywhere (including areas that would be far too busy in summer), and we experienced an incredible Greek Orthodox easter. We had some high temperatures from mid-May onward but found relief from the heat in high-altitude areas. We could see that summer would be extremely hot and crowded and we have been told that winter can be rainy and cold. Autumn may be another good time to visit.

How to arrive: We arrived via ferry from Italy. Anek ferry line provides “Camping on Deck” on some routes to Greece but we did not experience this as we chose the Grimaldi ferry line to Igoumenitsa. Our motorhome had to be parked next to the trucks in the cargo hold (often with inches to spare) so be prepared to manoeuvre in tight spaces; the deckhands did a good job of guiding us into and out of our parking. We sat in the lounge and brought our own food rather than eating at the restaurant. It is also possible to book a cabin – we noted that you may need to leave your cabin up to 1.5 hours before arrival in port so it wasn’t worth it on our journey. We returned from Greece via Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia which was a fantastic trip, well worth doing in its own right – see our upcoming post.


Where to go: We visited Lefkada, Peloponnese, Athens and its surroundings, Pelion, Meteora, Vikos Gorge, and Mount Olympus. We highly recommend them all but found Peloponnese to be the easiest place for motorhome travel because of its incredible concentration of interesting sites and off-season wild camping in a small area. Our map shows our route (click to make the map full-screen and then scroll to Greece).

Where we stayed:

We exclusively wild-camped in Greece (it seemed that this would be much more difficult in high season). Park4Night was very helpful in finding sites. When staying in busier locations, we were careful to “park” only – we did not get out levelling blocks, chairs, tables, or anything else that would be considered camping (while parking overnight is acceptable in many areas, camping may not be allowed). An ASCI card is an option for discounted campsite stays in the off-season – a physical book and card must be ordered and posted, though some sites may accept a digital copy of the card which can be obtained after purchase.


Our motorhome is 3.2m tall so we had to watch out for balconies that stick out over the road, especially when driving through small villages.  Also be careful of the olive trees on the side of the road; there are often thick branches hidden right behind the leaves which ‘screech’ down the side of the motorhome when you move over to let another car pass.


Food: Greek food was a highlight of our trip and we ate out much more than usual – luckily prices were relatively affordable. Some of our favourites were from restaurants which allowed us to stay the night after having a meal. We also enjoyed the bakeries – savoury pastries filled with spinach or other greens or cheese made an excellent breakfast or lunch.

Groceries: We shopped at Lidl and other large supermarkets such as AB Vassilopoulos. Some of our staples were halloumi cheese, other Greek cheeses such as truffle goat cheese, hummus, beet and yogurt dip, Greek yogurt, and honey.


Water: Water is widely available at no cost; we found all of it to be drinkable.


Dumping: We were told about a few options: bring an extra cassette, pay a fee to empty at campsites, ask at petrol stations if you can dump into their toilets, or dump into public toilets on toll roads (we heard mixed advice on whether toilet chemicals are OK for septic systems). We found finding dumping options somewhat more challenging than in other countries but manageable without staying on campsites (we had a single cassette but moved most days – sometimes specifically in order to find a dumping option). Grey water emptying facilities are also not common so grey water is often emptied into drains or slowly onto the ground so it dries – but be careful not to empty where any grease or soap in the grey water could damage the environment or create a hazard.

Diesel and LPG: We found them to be available as needed.

Public bathrooms: Available on toll roads. Cafes are also inexpensive and nice to visit.


Laundry: We used laundromats from Park4Night – some were coin operated and others required that we drop off our clothes – sometimes for 24 hrs. While we found enough availability of laundromats, for convenience we recommend bringing some extra clothes or quick-dry items.

Historic sites: We visited from 6 pm-8 pm when the sites were cooler and not as busy. In April and May, we often had them to ourselves. See our upcoming itinerary post for favourites.

Internet: Our data SIM from Tiekom worked throughout Greece. It provides 300GB per month; meaning we have to worry about running out of mobile data. This MotorhomeFun thread contains all the details as well as reviews from other motorhomers.

Educational Materials: Amelia listened to the wonderful National Geographic Kids Podcast series “Greeking Out” as well as enjoying the “Wings of Olympus” series (by the author of some of her other favourite series – Heartwood Hotel and Magical Animal Adoption Agency). She also took an Outschool class on Greek mythology, calling in from the foothills of Mount Olympus, and watched videos such as this one available from TedEd.

Our favourites in Greece: Greek Orthodox easter with new friends, running on the track at ancient Olympia, singing at Epidaurus, incredible food, beautiful scenery, great wild camping, and meeting with roadschooling, worldschooling, and other families. 

Winter with family and friends

After a second Christmas in France, we decided to spend the winter with family and friends in the Cayman Islands. On the way, we stopped in Florida to visit friends.


From France, we flew into Miami and drove to Marco Island, where we had a wonderful boat trip with our friend, Karen, and her family. Next, we visited Heather and family on the beautiful Sanibel Island. Amelia loved riding their beautiful white pony, Firefly, and we all enjoyed the CROW Clinic where Heather is the head wildlife veterinarian, the Shell Museum, beaches, shells and boating, and the beautiful nature reserves and bike paths. Unfortunately we all got COVID-19 so we had to leave too soon – we spent 10 days in isolation at an Airbnb on Pine Island watching movies, drinking orange juice, and relaxing on the sunny deck. Once recovered, we went to Tampa to spend time with our friends Rachel, Rob, Mimi and Evie. The kids especially enjoyed Mote Marine Lab, a manatee viewing area which was near where we stayed, and the playground at St. Pete Pier. We then headed north and stayed in a beautiful lakeside Airbnb. Free kayaks were provided and the weather had turned chilly so we enjoyed the cosy house & fireplace. On a sunny day we kayaked the Ichetucknee River. We’ve heard the Ichetucknee can be too busy in summer but it was absolutely spectacular out of season: crystal clear water, cypress trees covered in Spanish moss, herons, ibis, and woodpeckers, hundreds of turtles and we were surrounded by manatees. Definitely a highlight of our time in Florida.

We arrived in Cayman and spent a wonderful two months with family and friends – celebrating Pop and Wendy’s wedding and revisiting many of our favourite places. Our time ended too soon, but we wanted to get back to Europe for the spring.


When we returned to France, we spent a few days in Paris where we enjoyed staying near the Bassin de la Villette: this is a walkable area within easy reach of other areas by metro. We enjoyed pastries along the canal and a day at Disneyland Paris. Amelia finally got to climb the Eiffel Tower (a first for all of us). We took a train to Les Eyzies, where we had left the motorhome, and quickly set off for Greece – driving through many miles of snow on our way to southern France. The French Riviera is absolutely stunning but difficult for motorhome travel: many parking areas and wild camp sites have reviews about vehicle break-ins, so we found it difficult to feel confident leaving the motorhome to hike. We enjoyed visiting the Falaises de Cassis observation deck (near Parc National Des Calanques) and staying at France Passion sites such as Domaine Saint Jean de l’Arbousier during our quick visit.

It was only a flying visit to Italy, but we found time to make a quick visit to Rome, Lucca, and Pisa. We were able to meet up with friends Linda and Steven (The Chouters & Bijou) while they took a break from motorhoming to walk the Via Francigena pilgrim path, Gary’s friend from South Africa, Paul, who was working in Genoa and our friends from Cayman, Doug and Laura, who are growing olives and other produce in southern Italy. But after just two weeks, it was time to take the ferry to Greece – however our motorhome garage full of delicious Italian food and wine, and with plans to return one day.