Bringing the vanlife fantasy to life


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Is there anything more appealing to a person of nomadic sensibilities than a set of wheels, an open road and no fixed plans?

Intrinsically associated with the hippie movement, the original VW camper van is a countercultural icon in its own right, 메리트카지노주소 conjuring images of surfers at sunset or traveling cross-country to Woodstock.

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Mark Mann

In 2018, the VW California has grown beyond its roots but remains a powerful symbol of escapism and spontaneous adventure. Search “vanlife” on Instagram and rising to the top are snaps of sunny days by glassy lakes, of feet poking out of duvets against a backdrop of mountain peaks, of sheepskin rugs and retrofitted pine interiors. But do these glossy images capture the reality?

To find out whether vanlife lives up to the hype, we took a 2018 VW camper on an epic two-week, 2,600-mile road trip across Europe, heading first to Slovenia via Austria, before dipping down into Croatia’s Istrian peninsula, popping up into the Italian Dolomites and 우리카지노 meandering home to the UK via Bavaria and Germany’s Moselle Valley. The journey was a steep learning curve, an unforgettable adventure, a never-ending quest to find that perfect Instagrammable light.

Planning an adventure

The camper we drove was the Volkswagen California Ocean — a compact van with almost everything we’d need for a two-week journey. Inside were a hidden bedroom that folded into the rise-up roof, tons of storage space, a kitchen with a gas cooktop, a sink and a fridge, camping furniture tucked into the doors, sat-nav, power points to keep our phones and cameras charged and, of course, a cracking sound system.

We added some touches to the van: our own fluffy blankets and pillows, some cutlery and plastic crockery and an iPad Pro for all our Netflix needs. But what we learned was a 2018 California doesn’t need much in the way of finessing to make it livable for two weeks.

As our wish list of places to see was long, it was important to properly plan a route that would let us tick off all the locations we wanted in the limited time we had of just two weeks. Google Maps was invaluable in showing accurate distances, and driving times, between each location.

We spent multiple evenings ahead of the trip huddled over iPads, guidebooks and a variety of travel blogs looking for inspiration for beautiful places to stop, while websites like provided examples of great shots captured in each spot we had in mind. Eventually, we had a rough route planned that snaked its way across the continent, 메리트카지노 linking together all the different locations we wanted to see.

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Travelling 2,600 miles across Europe in a VW camper


Teething problems (London to Austria)

The first leg of driving was a big one: an 800-mile, 15-hour stint from London, boarding the Eurotunnel car train under the English Channel to France, then into Germany and finally to Austria. Getting a huge chunk of miles out of the way at once gave us more time to spend later cruising around the areas we were most keen to see.

Driving the van was a breeze. While it’s bigger than the cars we normally drive, it still felt relatively compact on the road. Our elevated driving position also made it easy to see traffic around us, and the automatic gearbox meant we could activate cruise control on the continent’s motorways and chew through the miles without much effort.


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