4-Xtremes – Part 36: Andrea and Mike stay steadfast

Serie: 4-Xtremes – The World Tour

From crocodiles to autumn storms.

Neither the Croatian Adriatic nor Northern Italy were scheduled in on the “World Tour” in November 2021. But the Kammermanns find all the exciting spots at the destinations added on the spur of the moment. And use the detour as an opportunity to give their Axor a little upgrade.

Autumn sun: the recent detour wasn’t planned, but we certainly saw Italy at its most attractive.


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!


Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.
Upgrade for the Axor: a metal engineer the Kammermanns had met on an earlier stage gave their truck a modified rear luggage rack – including a rack for bicycles.

To the hiking trail in the Unimog.

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.


Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.
Waterfalls and castle ruins, an abandoned landscape and the Adriatic – impressions from Croatia.

Detour to see the metal engineer.

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.


Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.
Art with chalk that had been blessed, a crocodile adorning a church – and excursions through the autumnal forest: curious and picturesque experiences for the Kammermanns in northern Italy.

Through Northern Italy at a snail’s pace.

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.


4-Xtremes – The World Tour.

A one-of-a-kind journey.

For eleven months, Andrea and Mike Kammermann were on the “4‑Xtremes” tour with their Axor. Now they are on an even greater adventure. The pair from Switzerland will be on the road for three years and the RoadStars community will again be joining them on the trip! Always be up-to-date and don’t miss any of the breathtaking destinations that our adventurous couple are heading for.

You can find all the parts from the “4-Xtremes – The World Tour” series here.


Photos: 4-Xtremes

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