02 August 2021 20:34 Edited
04 August 2021 08:44
11 August 2021 17:41
We spent a long time in Italy by our standards – it ended up being two months. The reasons were a week’s “holiday” with friends and also a tough problem that had to be solved.
But one thing at a time. When we drove northwards from Florence, the thermometer rose above 30 degrees. Looking for a cool place to stop for the night turned out to be a desperate search. What a joy it was when we managed to find a shady spot in one of the little villages, where we didn’t have to park on tarmac!
We were even more delighted to spend a week near Lake Garda with friends. After such a long time there were many stories to tell. We took time off from our time off, so to speak – in real company and almost entirely offline – and we have very pleasant memories of that. For the first time in almost three years we didn’t sleep in our Axor but in a 1.8 metre wide bed that felt huge. We had to walk more than two steps to make our coffee. We noticed just how much we have become used to living in a tight space.
After the week’s “holiday” we made for the mountains to escape the heat. Aimée in particular doesn’t like high temperatures. However, two days later our idyll came to an abrupt end. When we woke up in the morning we discovered water welling out of the gaps in our floor!
Mike quickly found the problem: a welded seam in our hot-water boiler was leaking. With heavy hearts we drove back down mountain in search of someone who could weld stainless steel. Now that doesn’t sound like a difficult task. But we only speak broken Italian and the person on the other end of the phone hardly spoke any English. A number of attempts followed before we were finally able to find a company that could help us.
After the boiler was mended, we rewarded ourselves for the effort by visiting the nearby Villa Manin, where we were allowed to set up camp on the car park. The group of buildings in the style of a country villa breathes centuries of European history.
This is where the last Doge, the head of state of the Republic of Venice, resided before Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Republic of Venice in 1797 and then spent two months there himself until the signing of the Treaty of Campoformio.
But that’s another story. Today, the villa with its shaded walkways is surrounded by a delightful, 18-hectare park with botanic rarities from all over the world. Here, in the shelter of the cool greenery, we could breathe again and go through the next stages of the journey.
The next stop on our journey was to be Romania, but the route there was not immediately clear. The borders with Hungary had been closed for a long time. However, shortly before crossing into Slovenia we learned that tourists were welcome there again.
Before we stepped on Slovenian ground, we had two points on our agenda: the fortress town of Palmanova and a Covid rapid test for the border crossing. Palmanova with its 5,000 inhabitants is small but with fascinating architecture. Planned in 1593 as a defence stronghold of the region of Friaul, it is shaped as a nine-pointed star with a nonagon in the centre.
Slovenia is a small country and we wanted to carry on to Hungary soon before the entry conditions were changed again. So we limited ourselves to taking a detour to see Ljubljana. The small old town on the winding River Ljubljnica is quite charming. But we couldn’t believe our eyes: the restaurants and cafés were packed and there were so many people! No sign of a pandemic here.
The following day, the drive to the border with Hungary turned out to be far tougher than we had expected. We finally crossed it at 4 p.m., doing 80 km/h on the motorway. We had done our Covid test for nothing – we weren’t asked for it.
In any case, Hungary seemed to be a very easy-going country at first glance: there weren’t as many prohibition signs, and we were able to move more freely. For the first night we camped on the edge of a national park. In the evening the ranger looked in on us. He wanted to know if we were planning to stay the night and he wished us a friendly “thumbs up”.
The next day we discovered a disused quarry shortly before Lake Balaton, and we set up camp there. We enjoyed the space and the peace and quiet there. Mike was able to check the Axor and the camper body over, and I sorted through photos and cleaned the photographic equipment. What’s to come next? No idea – but we’re ready for the next adventures!
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 the current parts from the “4-Xtremes – The World Tour” series here.
You can find the route of the trip before the crossing to South America here.