22 November 2021 13:52
23 November 2021 11:42
Italien ist wirklich sehr schön und abseits der Touristenrouten gibt es viel unterschiedliches zu entdecken.
Liebe Grüsse von uns 😊
Many ferries start their voyage to Barcelona from the Italian port of Genoa. By the time you read this article we will have taken one of them over to Spain. In all probability. Because there is no one-hundred-percent travel guarantee at the moment. This is something we have found time and again over the course of the 60,000 kilometres we have covered so far on our “World Tour”. We weren’t even planning to stop off in Italy recently.
You may remember: we last reported to you from Croatia – having given up hope of being able to head eastwards, as we had been planning. That was because both Russia and, further to the south, Iran, had closed their borders until recently because of Corona. Then all of a sudden we heard of other overlanders who had apparently managed to make it into the country. We immediately got researching. But even if the country were to be open to tourists all the time now: nowhere on the internet were we able to find any information on options for further travel by ferry across the Persian Gulf into the United Arab Emirates. That was just too much of a risk for us. So we decided to look towards Western Europe instead!
Despite all of this planning trouble, we have experienced and discovered a lot since we last reported. Such as the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia with their impressive waterfalls. They may not cascade as spectacularly in the autumn as they do at other times of year. But the good thing is you don’t have to share them with half as many visitors. Mercedes fans will like this: if you want to go easy on your feet here, you can be taken up to the starting points of the hiking trails on little trains that are pulled by Unimog vehicles.
Can you travel through Croatia without making a trip to the Adriatic? No! We set off for the coastal town of Novi Vinodolski and then drove our Axor up an ever narrower track – to the ruin of Ledenice castle. We met up with friends on the nearby island of Krk. We didn’t get a wink of sleep that night, as a storm of 100 kilometres per hour blew against our truck. But the next day we were rewarded with the view of a quite spectacular modern ruin: a hotel complex from the seventies spread over 25 hectares of land, being gradually taken over by graffiti artists and nature alike.
While we were in Croatia we noticed that the boiler in our accommodation container was leaking. An observation that was to result in a bit of work being carried out on the Axor. Here’s what happened. At this point in time it was already clear that we would be travelling to Italy via Slovenia. Luckily enough there is a metal engineer with a workshop on the Italian side, not far from the border. And he has mended our boiler for us once before. So that’s where we headed!
When we got there we decided not just to have a new boiler fitted. We also took the opportunity to commission a major conversion of the rear luggage rack. With the aid of a forklift the rack was removed and then altered as per our instructions – and with Mike’s help. In just under a week the rack was back in place. It now has a stowage box and a kind of workbench, plus holders for sand boards and, most importantly, for bicycles. We ordered two bikes from a dealer in Pavia, which is on the way to Genoa.
We drove the 500 kilometres to Genoa mostly at a snail’s pace on roads away from the motorway. On the way there we visited places such as Portogruaro with its distinctive leaning church bell-tower that has to be propped up. And – near Mantua – the “Santuario Beata Vergine Maria delle Grazie” church. Every year a festival is held there, where the best “Madonnari” in the world meet on the square in front of the church and draw Madonna portraits with chalks that have been blessed. We had the opportunity to admire some of these transient works of art.
The church itself is just as unique as the festival. Inside it there is a stuffed crocodile hanging from the ceiling, and on the walls there are sacred figures made of papier mâché. And a further series depicts the perils that can be averted through divine intercession. In other words: the visitors see figures that meet a cruel death.
In Pavia we took delivery of the two bikes we had ordered – and set off straightaway on several excursions in the autumn sun. Meanwhile we gave the Axor a few days off, parked up by the river Po. It was a well-deserved rest. And we still have a lot planned with our trusty truck.
An unparalleled journey.
Andrea and Mike Kammermann have been on tour in their Axor for three years. "4-Xtremes – The World Tour" is the motto of the journey that the two Swiss nationals embarked on in mid-2020 and which they share with the RoadStars community. Keep up to date and don't miss out on any of the stunning destinations visited by the adventurous pair.
You can find all the parts from the “4-Xtremes – The World Tour” series here.