Last adventure of the year, road trip to Europe

Off to The Netherlands!!
So after three days of cleaning, scrubbing, fixing, shopping, visiting garages, visits from the RAC and generally panicking my campervan is ready to go. She’s called ruffy, two reasons quite frankly she looks pretty ruff in a charming VW way and the number plate is RUF. My dog and I are off to Europe for a few weeks of adventure. First stop harwich, well the ferry to holland is a 9am depart and no one wants to be on the A12 in rush hour. It’s my first ever camp site alone. Been caravaning and camping with ex’s but never been the one in charge!
It was an uncomfortable first night mind. I’m too tall for the rock and roll bed so couldn’t stretch out and it was just one of those bloody nights when you can not get to sleep. Typical. Zac was snoring away happily on the floor!
Anyhow other than that and a 2 am toilet visit! All grand and up at 6am so I could walk Zac before the ferry, although their walking area was about a 10 min loop if you walked very slowly so we did that three times!! Ferry crossing just 15 mins away and in we went no pet passport required just a green car tag saying I had a pet and in we went. All exciting.
I’d booked Zac into kennels as it is a 7 hour crossing and I just thought it was a bit too long in the camper and you can’t visit it. But when I saw the kennels I panicked! No idea what I thought they’d be like but they were kennels like the vets, white, metal bars at the front and a knackered duvet to put in with some water. Oh dear. So in Zac went, and off I went. Decided I should of left him with a bone to chew so popped back to the car to get one. On my return to the kennels I could hear him howling the place down. Oh dear, heart strings breaking!! I took him for a walk to the walking zone. It was about 5m square. Not the best but at least fresh air for him! Second attempt in the kennels, bone to eat and off I went!
I have a cabin, just as well as I need to bloody sleep after the lack of it last night. And there’s a tv channel that you can watch your pet in the kennels. Zac is on tv!! Bless Zac he has settled a bit, phew! I get a few hours kip, check on Zac when awake and just chill. I then do a last check on the tv before heading to shops and he’s bloody escaped!! Shit! Rush down, and find him the other side of the door. Oh dear. Another walking spell for half hour but he just won’t go to the toilet! Ah well I take him back and lock the door properly this time! Lunch on the boat and no idea why I didn’t check the prices but had salmon and chips and it cost £13 what a bloody rip off!! Back to pack up room, get Zac and back in the camper. Have had to buy headlight deflectors and GB sticker as it seems my tidy lodger has thrown my ones away. He likes to pick up random envelopes to write notes on then they get thrown away. My stickers etc were in a nice envelope stacked away by the computer ready for my trip! Obviously something you’d use for a scrap piece of paper! Oh well £16 later! I stand like a complete idiot trying to ht the sticky path off the GB sticker then read it and it’s not sticky it’s magnetic. Blonde moment! Will stick the lights on later as the instructions are long! Choice of 151 headlights!
So I’m here in holland. ‘Must drive on the right!!’ Through customs no checks just straight through. ‘Must drive on the right!!!’
Luckily I have a fab sat nav, clear instructions and so off we head to camp site number one. Thinking I should of read the Dutch Highway Code, no idea of their rules! Apart from a few herons flying in my way, and missing a turn off I couldn’t even see it was an easy ride to the site. Get parked up, go for a dog walk bless my little pooch, put tent up and we’re set. Pissing down with rain but that’s nothing new! Nice site. Toilets near me, showers, washing up area, cows in the fields. Lovely. At 10pm and the final dog walk before bed I see what I think is a lovely sun set. Bit late? But bright lights shining through the clouds. Pretty. I’ve moved all the crap from the boot now so I have lots of room to sleep. Zac squished in his little zone. Night night!
Bloody need a wee again. It’s 4 am!!! Aaahhh. Lucky the toilets are so near. Zac joins me! And those bright lights are still shining in the sky. Is it a northern lights like phenomenon? Odd!!
Sleep in nicely. Quite a nice camp site, kids and adults playing games from bat and ball to pétanque. I have croissants ordered for brekkie, although a tad hard! Zac and I head out of site to walk along the river. Very nice and quiet. So relaxing. Not seen an English person since leaving the ferry. All Dutch or Belgium at his site. So no friends to chat to, although lots say Morgan and other words I have no idea what they mean!! Off to The Hague to see my friend I met on our travels in Oz, almost a year ago now. She lives in sheveningen which isn’t far from me about 40 mins. I have stuck my headlight deflectors on, no idea if correct but they are on. Not driving in the dark anyway and it’s now bloody boiling hot so no rain in sight!
I’m so nervous driving I’m shaking. I’m on motorways, taking various junctions. If I didn’t have this sat nav I would of crashed or ended up somewhere miles away! Luckily no issues, well I did have to stop on the hard shoulder as my electricity flap was loose, and apart from crapping my pants the whole way, I get there and meet my friend. Akward moment when she goes for the third greeting kiss (Dutch thing) and I’m not expecting it!! Bashed noses. Oops! Then I use her toilet and pull what I think is a chain and it’s a bloody ornament and breaks in my hand! Shit!! She says she never liked it anyway so either she’s very polite or I did her a favour! Great day out. Walked to the seafront. It’s like a holiday resort, big sun beds, huge beach, very hot!! Not what you think of as Dutch. We sit in a shady area in a nice restaurant and chat for a few hours! She enlightens me as to the ‘northern lights’ phenomenon I saw, it’s the green houses! What a plonker!! We’d be good friends if in the same country. She’s internet dated, rents her house out, wants kids but not sure now as 40!
So a great day out all round and one tired Zac. Back to the campsite for dinner and I decide I must go for a run and keep my fitness up, so although it wasn’t far I did 20 minutes and Zac was fine on his own, phew!!
Story of the night I got chased by cows, they freak me out when they chase you! Albeit on the other side of a river but they didn’t like Zac and just followed us along it increasing in numbers, as looked like they may cross it! In hindsight of course they can’t otherwise they’d be in our campsite!! Doh!!
Have done some research into next campsite and the one I was stoping at is just like a layby and you can use the shop toilets at a cost! Erm no! I find another one that says it’s near the windmills so I e mail them and am heading there tomorrow. Would definitely recommend this campsite to couples or families. Very nice. Lots for kids, and adults head out on bikes for the day. Hoever bouwlust if you are ever near maasland holland!
I had to pee in the night again, I’m like a 70 year old woman!! Pack up after breakfast. I tried Dutch told today, they are just rolls! Never mind! On we head, bloody 25 degrees already at 11am! Sat nav says an hour. Didn’t think it was that far but still. I pass the sign for the windmills a good 20km from my campsite, that can’t be good. Should of headed off and done the windmills en route but hoped my campsite wasn’t that at and we could come back. Nope bloody miles away. Nice views en route though, kids being pulled in inflatables by boats on the rivers, windmills, loads of cyclists. Some wanker gets me all in a fluster driving. I’m in a tunnel, put my lights on, he’s flashing me, am I in the ring lane? No ‘stay on the right!’ He swerves past me, in front of me and shakes his fist at me. No idea what I did wrong? Maybe the lights went on too late? Got me all in a tis! Wanker.
I later realise after I nearly hit a car that they must have the same weird rule here that the side streets on the right have right of way when they join a road. I carried on and then saw the car behind me let the driver I hadn’t out! Oops!! He didn’t shout at me though, probably just though idiot English driver!! The Dutch flags are bein flown at Half mast, assuming it’s due to the plane being shot down. Very sad and nice to see such patriotism.
Just before arriving at the camp site I hear a crash and the bloody box of dog food has fallen down and gone everywhere! Could of been worse, at least it’s dry food!!
Campsite website very misleading it’s not near the windmills at all so won’t be seeing them today, and when I get parked up not a chance I’m getting the van back out to visit anywhere. I’m in a lovely secluded area with chickens, horses and fields surrounding me so a day of chilling by the stream today instead! Lovely and quiet and even baby chicks come up to my door looking for food. How sweet.
I’ve been in civilisation too long, I expect toilet roll in the toilets! Not here!!
Far to hot for Zac, he is struggling so we just sit in the van all windows open, curtains trying to shade him and watch a DVD until it cools down. Nice Dutch couple next to us, try to speak to me but no idea what the mans saying. Something about kilometres?? I say I’ve come from maasland. He wanders off!
Dinner of soup and a roll as not that hungry. I left the butter out of he fridge as no room, it’s so hot in the van it’s turned to oil. Lucky that didn’t spill everywhere! My fridge nut be working over time as milk is still ok considering this heat!
Enjoy the countryside and just chill all day. I have bloody made the same shampoo mistake I made in Peru. Brought two a pops and no conditioner, poo bags!! And seemingly you need I pay for hot water and I have no change so cold shower ‘a la Nepal’ for me!!
Off to Gouda tomorrow as it’s cheese market day, then back to windmills the day after. I’m in no rush! And having googled this area, there is sod all for me to do, apart from enjoy the views! Enjoying Holland thus far!

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Namaste Kathmandu, reminiscing, krypton factor toilet moves and greeting my fat dog!!

So I’m completely alone in Kathmandu for the first time. No roomy to chat to or meet with! I wander around for my last afternoon, off shopping to get the last few items. I buy a blue and purple yak rug for my campervan, I get a cd of the monks chanting to music that will remind me of Nepal and then stop for lunch on a roof top restaurant just so I can watch the hustle and bustle below. Now as I have said it’s not my favourite place due to the noise etc but it is unique, and it has been great to experience it. Even the wiring of tv and electricity cables is a mele of madness, hanging in hug bundles, no seemingly order to them but all works well enough! I enjoy my last afternoon and head back to the hotel to pack and chill for the evening.
Wake up at 6am nothing new there! Try and dose then bloody realise I haven’t checked in on line!!! Damn it. Go to website and no window seats for long plane ride left, do get extra leg room though so bonus. Wide awake now so go down for brekkie. Try the hotel special. Not that impressive to be honest! Sausages cut like cheese string advert, fried potatoes a bit raw, nice eggs though! Realise this morning after just five weeks that milk tea is actually a cup or pot of hot milk with a tea bag in. I’d thought it was so weak due to milk going in first. What a plonker!! Lucky I don’t mind milky tea. Nothing beats the chai tea from the orphanage though. There’s a stray cat wandering around so I feed it the delightful sausage, happy catty! Feeling a bit lethargic and end up sleeping for two hours. Body must be shutting down after hectic five weeks. So decide no monkey temple which is what I had planned to do today, but one last stroll through the noisy, dusty, narrow streets of kathmandus thamel region. I will find my way there and back today without a rickshaw!
Buy a couple of tops, trying to be more girlie. Well I do need to find a bloody man!! Now I know the ex hubby has a new girlie I’m kind of jealous I haven’t. Not that when I saw the picture of them as a couple it bothered me, in fact surprisingly quite pleased and intrigued!
Whilst wandering the narrow streets I pass some men playing a game on the steps of a shop, chalked markings and some pebbles. The simple life, love it.
So after wandering the streets, in the non prostitute way, a few wrong turns it’s time to head back to hotel. I only bloody manage it! After 4 days of walking getting lost I now know my way around, stupidly proud of myself!! Did get begged for money from a local boy mind, he’s chatting to me saying hello, I ask why aren’t you at school he tells me it’s Mother’s Day here. Well after a bit more chitter chatter he then gets onto his task of saying he needs money, he can’t eat. To be honest didn’t look dirty enough to be that hard up but I gave him my bottle of water and 5 rupees which is nothing but better than nothing! Little scally.
Sit in the courtyard chilling, eating my last meal and it had to be momos just because, and finish another book, the one roomy started on the trek and got bored!! Eat, pray, love. I’ve seen the movie so knew what to expect, is a slow read though. I sit and reminisce the last five and a half weeks, what an awesome time I have had. And although I am ready to go home I would not change the travelling for all the money in the world, an absolutely amazing time that I will never forget. So after the memories it’s time to pack.
I managed to get a late check out, they call it half a day but it’s actually a whole 3 1/2 hours for the brain price of half a day! Still worth it though to relax in the room.
Hotels website very misleading. Says complimentary airport transfers but when I asked for my free taxi ride to the airport they say it means pick up, they never drop off. I do argue and say I’ve stayed here twice and neither time did I get a hotel pick up, but it doesn’t work so lucky I’d saved enough cash for emergencies!
I end up sharing a cab with German man so it is cheaper at least! Half way there though he realises he left his laptop back at hotel. In no rush so we head back. I quite like the traffic madness. There are no traffic lights just police men with their white gloves at major junctions. And I’m sure there’s more bikes than cars on the roads? Just a mele of noise.
German man starts to talk more on second effort at airport. He hates Kathmandu, too aggressive and dirty. He told me that money is smuggled out of the capital to Las Vegas, Europe, anywhere they can. Smuggled on flights cargo holds and then the rich people head out and spend it on casinos or lavish trips, instead of helping their home city and pumping cash back into the country! Interesting to hear. He learnt this from a friend in the mountains he’s stayed with for three weeks.
When we arrive at airport he pays most of the fare seeing as we did it twice! A man with a trolley tries to help German man but he shoos him away after some effort and wheels the trolley himself! He has to stay outside to smoke so I say farewell and head inside. It’s fairly small and simple enough check in, although in front of me is a family who clearly have too much luggage, so they no have to unpack, pack, move items around and it takes forever so I change lines. Then there’s a woman who has no print out of her boarding or booking so they have to search by name and that takes forever so I move again! Finally a quick queue. Small and simple airport. One shop, I get a coke and snack (should of stocked up in Kathmandu really, much cheaper!) was going to sit on internet but no wifi working so just read, chill, and wait. Nearly find myself using a squat toilet for one last time but fortunately if you checked the cubicles there was actually a choice of western too, how novel! Flights half hour late but otherwise all fine. I have the biggest grin on my face, so looking forward to going home. Have had an epic time but am tired and in need of some home comforts!!
Have a window seat on first flight, small plane, get dinner, watch the rest of the movie the Queen, the Mary poppins movie and then it’s time to change planes. Now the check in for plane two was bloody ridiculous! Had to queue three times (if you bothered to queue rather than wait that is) for probably half hour before finally being let on the plane. One staff member checking tickets for 400 people, stupid!! Have a lovely leg room seat, just harder to sleep without window to lean against. Get about three hours sleep, watch another movie, chat to Aussies next to me which was nice, they are touring the UK. So I land at Heathrow, hooray. Baggage claim all good, there is a tube strike today so it will be a slow journey across London. I’ve picked a route I think will work though. I get a cuppa and then wait for limited Heathrow express. Lots of people trying to get across the capital, fortunately one kiwi girl has brought her tube map so we can all check our routes. It’s easy to start with, get to terminal four then get on jubilee line but when I have to get off at hammersmith it becomes hard. I wait 15 mins for a tube and then it’s packed when it arrives. I can’t squeeze on with my huge suitcase! Not waiting another 20 minutes to not get on the train again, getting a bit annoyed now!! So I ask train man for help and he says circle line is working so try that. I head over to the other station and lo and behold I get on within ten minutes, straight around to Liverpool street, doesn’t go to tower hill which I wanted but I can at least get home. I need the toilet and at Liverpool street you have to pay. It’s ok, luxury comes at a cost! Not easy as a single traveller as I have my suitcase and backpack to squeeze into a cubicle. It’s like a krypton factor task! So I head for the train, it’s a more expensive route from Liverpool street but my parents will pick me up at station near them. That was less stressy than I’d thought and quicker!
As I arrive at the platform I see my mum in the car park and as I get off the train I see my dad and dog! Yay, however my dog is sooooo fat, can’t believe it, he’s just got a square body. So pleased to see him and parents though. Neither say I look skinny or tanned, blow rude! I’m sure I am both??
So back in sunny England. After some food, a cuppa and a chat I head home to a clean house thanks to the lodger, my cats pleased to see me and some home comforts. I still can’t believe how fat my dog bloody well is, I’m embarrassed! So straight out for a long walk this afternoon, get him moving again. Everyone I meet on the walk is in shock at the state of him!! Chilled out evening, get washing on, watch crap tv which I haven’t missed to be honest. One day off tomorrow then work hopefully Friday to start earning some money again, home sweet home though!

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