The thought of exploring the world on four wheels, far away from everyday life and beyond fixed structures, gives many people the feeling of absolute freedom. Emily and Dennis from near.so.far have taken the plunge and made their dream come true. The two quit their jobs, sublet their apartment, packed their bags and hit the road. For one year, they set out on their journey in their van. At regular intervals, the two of them will report exclusively to us about their adventures and experiences. We are really looking forward to it! This way, we all go along for the ride a little bit. Get in and be there! The first destination of the two is the Balkans.
This is usEmily (24) and Dennis (28)
We quit our jobs at the end of 2021, sublet our apartment, and set out on the 1-year trip of a lifetime in our self-built, completely self-sufficient campervan in early April 2022.
How it all began
The decision was made. The dream of such a trip was buzzing in our heads for ages, but until it was so far, some time, stress and organization was necessary. After months of preparation it was then on 02.04.2022 so far and we drove, almost as planned, with one day delay at 3 degrees and snowfall (definitely different as hoped) off to our first destination Austria. We decided not to install a parking heater during the expansion. After the first really cold nights, however, we have slowly found a routine and made us with plenty of tea, a hot water bottle and a lot of cuddling the nights warm. :)
We use to find our pitches the app "park4night", so we have already made in the past super experience.
Camping / Free standing in Austria
Travel in the early season
Our first stop was Vienna and nearby Lake Neusiedl.
In Vienna, we stood outside in a small village and used the public connection to get to the center. This is exactly what we would definitely recommend, as since 01.03.2022 there are only short-term parking spaces in Vienna (2 hours as a rule). However, we were also able to determine that the public transport is super developed and also priced perfectly fine. Since we visited Vienna in April, we were lucky to have been there in a touristy very quiet time. The capital of Austria, which has already been awarded several times as the most livable city in the world, is definitely worth a visit in our opinion.
From cute little restaurants and cafes to impressive, beautiful as well as historic buildings, Vienna clearly has too much to offer for a short day trip.
However, we had to continue to Lake Neusiedl, as Dennis had a kitesurfing course there. Lake Neusiedl is a well-known spot for windsurfers, kitesurfers and water sports enthusiasts of all kinds. Especially the shallow depth of maximum 1,80 (getting shallower) are the best conditions to learn or practice one of the sports. At a water temperature of 5 degrees, we went into the water wrapped in 2 layers of wetsuit to learn the sport in a 4-day kitesurfing course, with the goal of surfing on the further journey to the coasts of Europe carried by the wind over the water. :)
Coordinates of the campsite on Lake Neusiedl: 47.8654820, 16.8359692
15 euros a night directly in front of the surf beach.
The access costs again 5 Euro. There are then also sanitary facilities and showers.
Facts about Lake Neusiedl
Transit through Slovenia
After successfully passing the kite exam, it was time to leave Austria. The next country on our journey was Slovenia. (Tip: there is only one digital vignette for Slovenia since 2022).
We headed for a small campground on the river Drava. The place is provided by the adjacent restaurant. Through a nice conversation with the camper next to us, we learned that one should pay 15 euros or pay a visit to the restaurant.
We found that very fair and spent two nights there to recover a little. The restaurant as well as the pitch are definitely recommendable. By the way, the very good infrastructure for bicycles in the cities of Slovenia should be mentioned positively.
Coordinates of the campsite directly on the Drava River, incl. water our electricity: 46.5656669, 15.6192868
The coast of Croatia
Even though Slovenia certainly has much more to offer, the call of the coast of Croatia was too loud for us, so after the two days we made our way there. After a relaxed border crossing we headed for the island of Krk. We found a very beautiful site directly by the sea. Only the beautiful and and crystal clear water, which invited us to jump in, was still very cold. Nevertheless, we dared the jump and were the first time on our trip in the Mediterranean, which will accompany us for a very long time.
Facts Camping/ Freestanding Croatia
After several days on the island of Krk, which we can definitely recommend, it was time for us to move on. We headed south always along the sea. We found a cute little campsite right on the coast. We took the opportunity to wash our clothes and to take a warm shower again. (We only have an outside shower in the camper.)
The campsite operator told us that the strong wind that raged with up to 120km / h in some places and made our lives the last few days really hard, is not at all usual for this season.
Coordinates of the campground: 44.3442250, 15.3286160
15 Euro a night for 2 persons in low season.
Despite the strong wind we had a nice night at the
campsite and the next day we went again to the small village "Nin". A small sleepy village with a lagoon and good wind conditions for kitesurfing. There we spent one night before we went on to the nearby town of Zadar.
In contrast to Nin, Zadar is a large and very lively city which in our opinion definitely worth a visit. Worth mentioning is the world-famous sea organ which is freely accessible and with its sounds produced by the sea and the winds it invites you to stay invites you to stay.
Krka National Park
The next day we headed for the nearby Krka National Park. We were very lucky with the weather and spent the morning at this magical place. Right from the start, this beautiful place casts a spell over you. It goes over created paths "floating" over the crystal clear water from one to the next waterfall.
We decided after these great impressions to spend another night on a campsite with a beautiful view. We used this opportunity to fill up all the tanks for the upcoming adventure.
15 Euro a night for 2 persons in low season
To be continued...
It goes out of the EU in the touristically still very undeveloped Bosnia and Herzegovina!