Posts Tagged With: free

Bergen and Hardangerfjord

After finally having caught the ferry, road 7 to Bergen leads us along the Hardangerfjord, with 180km Norway’s second longest fjord which is not only popular for its sheer beauty but also for the many fruit trees along the shores. We drive past many pretty villages before eventually arriving in Bergen.

Hardangerfjord

We spend the night at a car park near the port as parking is free from 8pm. In the morning we desperately look for a free car park around town but it seems that you have to pay everywhere. Suddenly we come across a car park in a street called Klosteret 6-17, very close to the centre. We can’t seem to find any signs nor a parking meter so just freely park up. We hear someone say that the car park may be for residents only but shouldn’t there be a sign then? We give this one a try anyway as there are also other cars, including one other mobile home, parked up with foreign number plates. (So far we have been standing here for 2 days and haven’t received a parking ticket – touch wood)

When leaving to explore the city, we realise how much our waste water pipe is actually leaking. Since we are parked on an angle, water is running down over the car park and into a gutter. Logan tries to fix it but instead a much larger volume of water bursts out before he can attach it back on. Oops, I guess we need to buy some sealant.

Parking in Bergen

In Bergen our first destination is the Floibanen (www.Floibanen.com) which takes us up a hill from which we get to see all of Bergen city including the surrounding fjords. The price one way up per person is 40NOK (4,50EUR or $6,50).


We choose to walk back down, a good decision as we come across a real troll forest!

Troll Forest Bergen

Back down in the city, we walk along the hanseatic Brygge which is part of the UNESCO world heritage sites. We are sitting down for lunch and a drink at one of the beer garden-type restaurants outside and enjoy the sunny summer weather overlooking the port.

Nearby are the Bergenhus Fortress, the Mariakirke (church), shops, fish markets and also tourist market stalls. Eventually we get to the city centre and to the lake Lille Lungegardsvannet and this beautiful flower pavilion. Some students seem to have their graduation today and we keep seeing themed groups of young people running around in the streets, cheering and dancing everywhere.

Bergen

 

 

I also finally register my Telenor SIM card, only to find out afterwards that Telenor has changed prices and I’m strongly being recommended not to use internet with this sim card, as it is too expensive. What a waste of money, don’t buy Telenor! I stick with my German Vodafone sim and the 2EUR for 25MB packages per day for the rest of our trip.

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Gfrill, a German hill-top village in Italy

Having done a lot of sightseeing, Logan and I want to return to the mountains and do some hiking in the picturesque Dolomite Mountains.

  

Once we drove past the Garda lake (lago di Garda) I look up camping sites in the Dolomites in my Bordatlas.  The only free one nearby is in Gfrill. Well it is free when you have dinner in the restaurant of the “Fichtenhof” and since we feel like a good South-Tyrolean meal, we are glad to have an excuse. I have never heard of Gfrill before and upon arrival I realise why! Only about 40 people live here and it is quite hidden up high on a hill. The drive is rather exciting with our Campervan, but it is do-able.

  

The owner of the Fichtenhof tells us where we can park for the night and supplies us with electricity from the wooden shed. Since the temperature still drops down to zero degrees at night, I’m relieved we are able to heat!

The restaurant is furnished in typical Austrian style and everyone speaks German, even though we are still in Italy. German seems to be the main language here and after some research we find out, that the borders had been moved years ago after the war. Even the town and street names are in German, I’m feeling quite at home here!

     

Our meals are just delicious and while feasting we are enjoying a stunning view down the valley from the restaurant window.

I just finished my meal as suddenly I hear my name: Frau Koennecke!? I’m thinking, there’s gotta be someone else here named Koennecke, how would she know my name?? She is looking at me and says: “Telefon! Ihre Mama ist am Telefon!” …My mum is on the phone? I had just sent them a message letting them know we had safely arrived in Gfrill. How would they know that we’re sitting in the Fichtenhof?? I guess I just have smart parents.

After a nice chat to my mum, Logan and I are about to leave the restaurant to return to our Globetrotter van when one of the friendly staff is starting to talk to us, questioning especially Logan about Australia. Then the owner comes back with some photos of himself in Australia a few years ago. Very nice and welcoming people here in Gfrill!
Finally we are off to our van and after a game of chess we are falling asleep in a warm and cosy campervan.


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Country side town, Colmurano

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The white blinds are glowing from the sun shining against them. I open the one on my side and see blue skies and tall green grass. I’m feeling lazy today, no actually I feel like I would just love to enjoy the day, the view, the sun! We are having breakfast and grab the bikes to cruise up into town, as we need a few supplies. I realise that even though we drove through town twice yesterday, I can’t remember anything at all. Did we see any shops?
We are simply stunned by the views from the top of the village and stop for a few photos and some video footage at the stone wall that is built around the town centre. Four small alley ways lead around the stone built houses and there is a tall clock tower at the highest point of the town. Logan discovers a small shop in one of the stone houses, the door is open and we gather that it must be a fruit and vegetable shop. Four bananas, two apples, tomato sauce with olives and tuna and even a scrubbing brush for the dishes land in our bag.
A few meters down the street we go past a hardware store and Logan wants to go and buy a plunger as he blocked up our delicate kitchen drain (it actually is a hose) with two noodles. He thought pushing the pasta in will make them go through and now we can’t do the dishes anymore. 6Euros. Thinking about our tight budget I convince Logan to try differently at first. I’m hoping that a bit of the toilet chemicals we got will help dissolve the pasta.
We keep on looking for another grocery store but can’t seem to find one… “Wait! Logan, this is a shop too!” Italians haven’t really got it with advertising I guess. I only realised “house number 48” was a shop because a man just walked out the door and I saw food when riding by. Funny. We also grab some spaghetti and a packet of cookies, which I empty only 10 minutes later. Oops.
While I sit down and read my book “Inside of a dog” by Alexandra Horowitz, Logan goes for a 70min run. In the afternoon I boil up some water to “shower” ourselves and then to wash our (95% Logan’s) dirty clothes. Yupp, I’m feeling quite neo-hippie or whatever you’d like to call this lifestyle.

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Free camping and free electricity!

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Day 9 (by Francy)

I wake up freezing and frustrated! My head is cold and my nose feels like a piece of ice. We had 2 degrees last night and weren’t able to heat. I just want to leave this place, turn on the car heating and drive as far south as possible.
Indeed we are packing up rather quickly and start driving south along the beach.

We still avoid the “autostrada”, or highway, as we enjoy driving through smaller and bigger towns. Unfortunately the region “Le Marche” doesn’t quite fulfil our expectations. As we drive through beach towns such as Rimini, Pesaro, Fano and Senigallia, we are not impressed at all. Much of Le Marche’s coast is lined with rather depressing high-rise hotels and apartment buildings, partly old and dirty. The beach is wide but has a rather brownish colour and especially in Rimini is made unsightly by hundreds of, what seem to be, change rooms! Yes, on the beach! Because of these hundreds of colourful box-shaped change rooms, you can hardly even see the beach from the esplanade. The train line also runs along the beach in pretty much all of Le Marche, giving it an industrial kind of look. The buildings being run down, the unattractive beach and the industrial suburbs make us change our mind and we decide to head inland towards the mountains.

I give it another try and seek out a free campsite supposedly with electricity, toilets, water and grey water disposal drains. The road inland leads us through the kind of Italy we hoped for: green hills, fields, pretty farm houses and small medieval hill towns with clock towers, fortresses and massive stone walls. In the distance we see the 20 snow-capped peaks in the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini. The change of scenery works like magic on us.

After an hour and many wrong turns, we reach the small and pretty town of Culmorano. The campsite is supposed to be near the sporting fields at the outskirts of the town. We drive through town slowly and at the end we find the sporting fields and a small car park. No electricity, no toilets, no water. I’m disappointed and scared I’ll have to freeze again tonight. Not even a waste water drain?! ‘This is strange’, I think, when Logan says: “There were some kind of sporting fields in the beginning of town too.” My hopes are raised and I beg for it to be the place described in my Board Atlas.
Driving past a basketball field and a playground, we suddenly see a sign “Campervans this way”. Secretly hidden we find a small car park surrounded by bush, trees and high grass. An amazing view over the rolling hills and another small town lies in front of us. After an intense search around the toilet house, we find an electricity socket and after connecting the lead, we are super excited about the green switch at the fridge and a warm blow out of the heater. Free electricity?!? Really??? I thought we’d need to pay at least 50cents a night but it actually is free! A look at the toilets keeps the excitement limited but since this will obviously be our home for a few nights, I grab the cleaning liquid and start scrubbing down one of the toilets. After the dirty part is done, I’m feeling pretty good about our new “home”. How lucky are we tonight, to stay in such a beautiful and solitary spot for free and we can even heat our van! We spend the evening with researching the area in Lonely Planet’s Italy guidebook and find quite a few things to do, such as Europe’s largest cave and hiking around Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini where there are even supposed to be wolfs, bears and wild cats!

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