This is how you go on a haphazardly road trip through Europe!
June, 13 2018
We are Michèle (26) and Sanne (21). Since November 2017, we have been travelling and discovering Europe in our blue Volkswagen T4, called ‘Stitch’. Our journey is about discovering the places that we visit, ourselves and the camping lifestyle. We are slowly getting to know the different sides of ‘van life’, and we’re happy to share them with you.
We made our biggest mistake before we even set off. We had booked a campsite for seven nights, but gave little consideration to the fact that the start date might be moved. The Volkswagen camper had a few problems, so we had to postpone the trip by a couple of weeks. By that point, the campsite that we had booked was already closed and even though we had taken out insurance, we didn’t get our deposit back. Luckily though, we found another great campsite for our stay in Paris through the ACSI Campsite Guide, and got a discount by using our CampingCard ACSI. We hadn’t even left, but we had already learned that outside of the high season, we could visit campsites without making any prior arrangements.
Heading down south
Our first week was great, even though the city trips and learning to cook in the camper were harder than we’d imagined, and it was getting colder and colder. So after Paris, we quickly headed south in search of some late autumn sunshine. We found another campsite en route using the ACSI Campinggids. It was nice to have a shower in the evenings and to charge our phones up on the site, but we didn’t feel like we had a lot of freedom. So, we set about locating the nicest camping pitches that we could use for free,
which at first was a bit of a tense experience, but we soon got into the swing of it. Being in the middle of nowhere and enjoying the sunset, what a great alternative to camping! This not only helped us to keep to our budget, but also proved less stressful. Many campsites close around November, so we had some difficulty finding one that would take us. This way, we also learned how much we should appreciate a shower, electricity and access to a toilet. We promised ourselves that we’d only use a campsite every two to three days, thereby giving us a healthy balance between camping on campsites and wild camping.
The freedom of wild camping
On arrival in Andalusia, we stayed a few nights in Tarifa, the most southerly point of mainland Europe. We stayed on a beach with no facilities at all. Our neighbours were a Dutch couple who we recognised from Instagram. One evening, they told us that they had never stayed on a campsite and had already been on the beach in Tarifa for around three weeks, which sounded great to us! Even though we only looked for a campsite every so often, we always managed to find a spot that had a toilet nearby. Tarifa was the first place that we had to head off into the bushes! Neither of us thought that it would come to that, but that’s the ‘van life’ that we had read about and that others have been enjoying for years.
Campsites in Tarifa
Would you like to read more about the adventures of Michèle and Sanne? Then go to The Adventures of MiSa. If you are going to Spain with a campervan, then you will need to know these rules about camping here.