13 December 2020 23:13
28 December 2020 22:09
In April 2019 we met a team of RoadStars journalists on the island of Krk to produce a video recapping our first “4-Xtremes” tour, which was just about to come to an end. Now, just over a year and a half later, we're back on the Croatian island. We’ve pitched camp at a place we know from last time. It’s pleasant being here on the mild Adriatic coast, even though it’s pouring with rain. But this detour wasn’t at all what we'd originally planned.
But here’s the story as it unfolded! When we sent our last report, we were just about to put our Axor through its test with the Swiss traffic authorities. That can be told in a few words: the test went smoothly. Half an hour later our expedition model was officially fit for the road again. The next test is due in two years.
You might find it annoying having to interrupt a world trip for a half-hour official inspection. But we didn’t! After all, that brief visit to Switzerland gave us the chance of paying Mike’s mother a surprise visit for her 60th birthday. And of course there were lots of other meetings with friends and family. But hugs were out – the keyword was social distancing. Still, we were able to enjoy the time with our loved ones.
Also, Mike had planned to convert the water filter system for the caravan body. We’d studied the subject thoroughly and we’d chosen a five-stage filter system. When we leave Europe, we almost always take water from rivers or lakes, and we never know if it’s safe to use. The equipment can filter out pesticides, hormones and oil, so it’s a good investment.
But fitting it took longer than we’d expected. Instead of the ten days we’d planned, we stayed in Switzerland for just under two weeks. But work like that is best done where you can borrow machinery from friends and you know where to buy the components. In short: it’s a “home advantage”. The main thing is that everything works before the departure!
We set off on a Friday: off for part two of our “World Tour”! It should take us – roughly – via Turkey, Iran and the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa. From there we intend to carry on south, right to the Cape of Good Hope. We say “intend” deliberately. In times like these, no one can guarantee us that it will work out like that. That’s why our plan only goes as far as Turkey.
Our first stop was Venice. A city where in a normal year you can’t get away from all the visitors from all over the world. But 2020 isn’t a normal year. So we were able to park our Axor right in the centre on a mobile home park and explore the city.
We went for a walk before sunset and another one early the next morning. It was wonderful having all those alleys and canals virtually to ourselves and to be able to experience all the details that make Venice so unique. At the same time, of course we noticed all the closed-up shops and restaurants, which was sad to see.
Venice was the place where we had to decide where we wanted to go next. Or rather: where we were able to go next. Really, the plan was this: explore Italy and then from the heel of the boot take a ferry to Greece. But then we found out that the Greek authorities had imposed stricter entry restrictions again: to be allowed into the country, you needed a good reason (“essential travel”). The risk of being turned away was too great. Admittedly, there are worse things than being stranded in the south of Italy. But it would have messed up our further plans.
So we decided to travel via the Balkans. Because we would have to leave the European Union at times, we might have encountered problems on re-entering the EU. But at that point the decisive factor was that Slovenia, Italy’s neighbour, allowed a transit of up to twelve hours. Plus: if the immigration restrictions in the EU country of Greece should continue for longer, we could also get to Turkey via Serbia and Bulgaria.
Regarding the journey: the drive here to the Croatian island of Krk felt strange. We were almost alone on a tourist route which is normally full. Who knows: maybe we’ll experience that again on our journey. We’ll keep you posted!
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, Alexander Tempel
Video: Alexander Tempel