Chris 'n' Steffie

Gaming, adventuring, DIY


Europe 2016

Europe trip – day 8 – day trip to Zurich

We were looking for some free things to do in our area, we heard that he botanical gardens were a must see, so that’s where we went. The grounds were really well kept, the Lilly pads impressed us as we had never seen them that huge before. And dragonflies, dragonflies everywhere!

We checked out the old town, it runs parallel to one of the most expensive shopping streets in Europe. The weather was outstanding, but the strangest thing was people were just jumping in and swimming in the river that runs through the centre – imagine doing that in the Thames!

Europe trip – day 7 – Interlaken to Zurich

Time to leave Interlaken. Today we head to a campsite near Zurich. We knew that we wanted to spend some time in the capital, but also wanted to visit Alpamare, more on that later.

Rather than having really long drives on holiday, we found a campsite that was no more than a half hour drive from everything that we wanted to visit. This worked really well for us (as our caravan battery was shot, it was charging to time for our devices), as it gave us the peace and quiet at our caravan that we wanted to relax in, but everything we wanted to do was only a short distance away.

Europe trip – day 6 – Swiss national day

We decided to hang around our campsite for an extra day so that we could enjoy Swiss national day.

We started off in Riggenberg, a small village that the campsite was located in. There was a small village fayre there with all kinds of different things. Luckily for us, the busses were still running, which saved us a walk uphill!

After we were done there, we headed into Interlaken. There was a full day of activities, as well as the usual paragliders landing in the centre. The parades through the town were fun, although nothing compares to the fireworks – not only was it one of the best fireworks shows we have ever seen, having them in the valley of the mountains made the noise phenomenal!

Europe trip – day 4 – trip to Oeschinensee

We took a trip to the lake at Oeschinensee, this year we took a ride on the toboggan run too!

The weather was amazing, and we were outstanded yet again by how clear the water was:

Europe trip – day 3

We made it from our stopover in France to our next stop in Switzerland – a small campsite called Talacker near Interlaken:

Out of battery

So, as we said earlier the caravan battery is shot. We keep a solar trickle charger in the Kia, just in case we are parked up for a long time, we threw this on the roof to try and get a little charge in the caravan’s leisure battery:

It was easy enough to do, just poke your head through the skylight and you are good to go. It’s only a small panel, about 2.4w! That’s barely 0.2 amps, on a good day that means only 1.6 amps back into the ruined battery, the pumps alone are 1-3 amps. Towing the caravan from site to site helps, but it only gives us enough back in the battery for another half a day (short distances between sites). So, we needed some way of moving electricity:

We hooked up the jumpstart box from the Kia to the battery, the box is in a permanent state of “jumping” the caravan battery (although the caravan battery is so bad, I suspect we are running just from the jumpstart box). It has a tiny 17aH battery in it.
So, currently we are taking that out of the caravan and charging it up in the car whenever we go on a day trip, and then putting it back in then caravan upon return. We are still running at a deficit, but it enough to get us by for now!

To further save our electricity usage, we are switching to just the external water tank, as then we aren’t wasting electricity by bringing it on board when parked on a site. Obviously, we will need to run on the internal tank exclusively when we are back on the road.

Europe trip – day 2

On day 2, we drove from our previous stop on the north coast of France to our next overnight stop. It was somewhere near Metz and Nancy. This service station wasnt quite as nice the previous, but it was fine a a night’s sleep. 

We originally parked up next to a refrigerated lorry that was going to be running all night, luckily another space opened up so we mad was dash for that! 

Europe trip 2016

We started our trip to Europe. We left home at 23:00, for the 2:40 Dover to Calais ferry – a first for us as we usually take the Dover to Dunkirk route. This was the first time making the crossing with the caravan, so far it was easy. 

When we docked, we set off to a rest stop an hour away to put our heads down and sleep. It was a service station in The Somme. It’s defiantly not like the service stations we have in the UK, there were dedicated places for motorhomes and caravans well away from the other traffic – it was actually nicer than some of the sites we have stayed on before, not to mention it was free! It even had waste water dumps, fresh water and electric hook up.

After doing a similar trip last year, having some sleep mid journey is defiantly the better way to do it!

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