Swiss National Park >>> [Liechtenstein >>> Germany >>> Luxembourg >>> Belgium >>> France] >>> (UK) Sevenoaks [Housesit with Rolo, Oscar, and Tiger]
10/22 – Hiked the Swiss National Park and Drove through Liechtenstein!
10/23 – Rhine Falls and a long day of driving through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, and France!
10/24 – Crossed the English Channel, Explored Dover and the Dover Castle, Drive to Sevenoaks and return the Campervan
10/25 through 10/28 – Housesitting Days playing with the animals and doing research for upcoming travels
Hiked the Swiss National Park and Drove through Liechtenstein!
+ In the morning, we awoke to temperatures still below freezing but our spirits were immediately lifted when we saw the gorgeous area we were parked in. We had stopped at the very top of the pass right among the Glaciers and snowy peaks and we had 2 frozen lakes on either side of us. So beautiful!
+ Once we packed away the bed and put on our warmest clothing, we drove down the mountain to the Swiss National Park office. After talking with the Park Ranger, she recommended a 3 hour hike for us in the park that would give us great views. So after driving along the roads and stopping whenever the beautiful views were too good to pass up (that’s half the fun!), we parked and ate a quick lunch of sandwiches. Then we set off on our hike up into the forest! We were hiking the dynamic Swiss Mountains! It was very beautiful and when we reached the top of our circular hike, above the tree line, we stopped and admired the view while enjoying a nice cold beer! Shortly afterwards on our walk down we spotted a Chamois (antelope-like animal). It was about 100 yards away from us and every time we would whistle or make noises it would stop and stare at us! Only a few more yards down the trail on the other side of the mountain we saw a whole bunch more Chamois! This made the hike worth it and we felt content with all the Swiss Wildlife we’d seen over the past few days.
+ Once we left the park, we drove back over the snowy pass and then in a northwestern direction out of Switzerland and into Liechtenstein! This tiny country would have been very hard to reach without a car but we could add another country to our total now!
+ We continued the drive north until we were hungry and then we stopped at a rest stop to use our camp stove. We heated up some canned ravioli and while it certainly wasn’t our most glamorous meal, it was warm and filling!
+ While eating, we people watched and made up stories about what the sketchy people were doing here at the rest stop. It was entertaining!
+ We only had a short drive after that towards Rhine falls and then we stopped and camped at a rest stop for the night.
Rhine Falls and a long day of driving through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, and France!
+ Rhine Falls was the first thing on our agenda for today and we were there in about 30 minutes after waking up. The falls were big, wide, and powerful and we chose to view them from the area on the South side of the Rhine river. This castle provided multiple view points ranging from up above to right down at the river with the water rushing right underneath you! We had the option to pay for a boat trip out to the middle of the river, but we felt content with our experience and plethora of selfies.
+ Shortly after leaving the falls we crossed into Germany and after passing through the city of Freiberg, we drove on the famous Autobahn! Corey was bummed though because it was way more crowded than he’d hoped and didn’t offer long stretches where you could drive as fast as you wanted. He did get up to 110mph though!
+ After driving through Germany for a little while, we crossed into France for a couple hundred miles and then into the country of Luxembourg! This was our 31st country we visited on this trip! We stopped in Luxembourg City to explore the city and eat some dinner. Since today was our long driving day, it was nice to break up the 9 hour drive with this visit. We ended up eating at a fast food type restaurant called Quick but the food was pretty tasty and again, the restaurant checked off some important boxes for us such as free wifi and outlets to charge our devices. When you travel for an extended period of time in a van, these things are very important!
+ We knew we had to keep moving so we got ourselves back to the van just before the downpouring of cold rain started and we drove for a few hours through Belgium until we reached the coast and went south into France again. Then we parked for the night at a rest stop just 20 minutes outside of Calais where we’d head to the port the next day.
Crossed the English Channel, Explored Dover and the Dover Castle, Drive to Sevenoaks and return the Campervan!
+ We had to wake up really early today to ensure we made it to the port and onto the ferry in time. We were crossing the English channel back into the UK! We had crossed the channel a few months earlier when we traveled from Paris to London on a bus, but that was through the tunnel on a vehicle transport train. Now we were actually on top of the water and the best part was we had great views of the White Cliffs of Dover as we approached England! We had wanted to see those and now we didn’t have to pay for a cruise or embark on a long hike to do so.
+ We gained an hour crossing back into the UK which was nice and we used the extra time to drive through Dover and then park and explore the Dover Castle. The castle was located at the top of a big hill and was filled with families there for the Halloween festivities. All the children were dressed up in costumes and seemed oblivious to the fact they were walking through such a historic landmark that had been the site of so many bloody and memorable events over the years!
+ After a short visit we made our way back to the car on foot and drove west through the English countryside to a mall that had one of Liz’s favorite restaurants from home: Five Guys! She’d been craving it for a while and we knew this was our only chance to visit before returning the campervan. It was Deeeelicious!
+ After the mall we drove to Sevenoaks to the Housesit we would be doing for the next 5 days. We did a previous housesit in Sevenoaks at the beginning of the month so we were mildy familiar with the area. This house was very nice and large with 3 stories, 5 bedrooms, a big backyard, and a super nice modern kitchen. We would be watching over two cute cats named Oscar and Tiger (brothers) and an extremely energetic and sweet spaniel named Rolo!
+ After unloading all of our bags and stuff out of the campervan, we played with Rolo and took him for a walk. Then we drove to the grocery store and got supplies for the next 5 days. We decided we would just eat all of our meals at the house that way we’d save money and time from walking into town.
+ Once we dropped all the stuff off at the house, Liz stayed behind to put everything away and get our stuff situated while Corey went to return the car to the Spaceships rental office in west London. This involved driving for an hour, dropping the vehicle, then taking the trains and tubes back to Sevenoaks which took another 2 hours. Finally a half hour walk later and he made it back to the house. Thankfully, Liz had dinner prepared and we both sat down to relax and eat together.
+ Although we were exhausted from the past 9 days in the campervan (and 9 days exploring Italy before that) it was a fun time and we had been to so many cool places! Now we were going to enjoy being in one place for a while but knew the next few days would be filled with tons of work catching up on items on the to-do list and planning out our upcoming adventures.
+ For this night though, it was time to relax. Liz took a nice long shower while Corey watched the season premier of The Walking Dead and had some of the leftover Swiss Beers we’d brought with us and then we both laid down in the extremely cushy bed in the guest room!
10/25 – 10/28
Housesitting Days playing with the animals and doing work and research
+ During these housesitting days, we spent the majority of each day researching and planning. We had so many things we needed to plan out and general “trip/life maintenance” things to tackle! (i.e. new travel insurance, follow up with Spaceships about a refund, nothing fun!) And each one seemed to take longer than we’d expected. On top of all that stuff, we were behind on the blog about 10 days and still hadn’t posted any pictures of our travels since Peru! It was no wonder travel bloggers stay at each place for multiple weeks before moving on! Otherwise it’s impossible to travel and explore yet still stay up to date with all the backend work!
+ We had lots of fun hanging out with Tiger, Oscar, and Rolo! Each day they were more and more friendly and playful towards us and we really enjoyed their company! Rolo truly did have more energy than any dog we’d ever watched before, but not in a bad way. Even after throwing around the ball and chasing him around the backyard for half an hour, he’d be running around the house trying to play some more. So we’d take him on a walk (more like he took us as he pulled us along with his leash the whole time) and when we returned he would still be bouncing around excitedly! Still, he was very cute and fun to be around and he lifted our spirits. A good balance from all the mundane work.
+ As we’d experienced with other housesits, these stays made us crave home-cooked meals more than we ever had in the states and each day we would cook different meals for lunch and dinner and just enjoy lounging around the spacious house on their comfy furniture.
+ In the evenings after dinner we would usually try to watch a movie or something fun on the tablet to ensure the entire day wasn’t just work and then we’d eagerly climb into that heavenly cloud of a bed they had here and fall asleep.
+ On the last day, the Clarke family arrived home around 7pm and we finally met them for the first time. All of their children were really friendly and we enjoyed talking with Adrian and Jackie about our travels and their past backpacking experiences too. That night we applied for some housesits in Australia over Christmas and New Years. The holidays would be here before we knew it and we wanted to make sure we had a nice “temporary home” secured to ward off the impending home sickness.