Follow our journey and see what’s the latest place we call ‘home’. Scroll all the way down to catch up on our story from the start!
Last spotted in :
LE BUGUE, FRANCE
We’re staying with family for a little bit, enjoying some of the luxuries of a ‘real’ home and making travel plans for the upcoming months.
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CASCADES DE MUREL, FRANCE
Wow. This place is a gem! We’re not easily impressed after Norway’s display of wild waterfalls, but the falls of Murel have a fairytale like beauty to them. Embedded in lush green forest, now coloring in all tones of red and yellow, a series of waterfalls cascades down rocky outcrops.
This is another site to add to our list of favorites!
PONT DE SENOUEIX, FRANCE
The Limousin surprises us with a stunning sunset in an environment that can best be described as ‘dunes meet forest meets moor’. An interesting combo that makes for a romantical hike through golden-lit fields under dark clouds. And when those dark clouds unleash their rainfall upon us, it’s time to get cozy&cracking and make another batch of our delicious home made hazelnut spread!
Exiting the Morvan and on our way to the Limousin, we make a short stop at Nassigny. We eat. We sleep. Oh, and we spot a wild hog and some very big mussels!
We came for the view, but accidentally stumble upon the excavation site of this ancient Celtic city. I rest my case; the best travel plans are… eh… unplanned! It really is amazing to explore this huge archeological site. We get many insights into the ongoing process of the excavations and can vividly imagine what life must have been like, all those years ago in the time of Asterix and Obelix.
LAC DES SETTONS, FRANCE
Hello and goodbye to autumn. It’s winter! Covered in 20 centimeters of snow, we escape falling tree branches and take a walk through a winter wonderland. The tree population takes a hard hit form this early display of wintery weather. Destruction is visible all over the place and we’re glad we moved Brutus out of the forest while we still could!
A beautiful ancient bridge makes for one of the best views of France we’ve had so far. After one last bright sunny day, wandering along the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, autumn officially catches up with us. We light a fire at the bank of the Cure to keep warm, and explore the forest in skisocks and thermal underwear.
Read more about our time in the Morvan (traveling from Piere-Perthuis to the Celtic city of Bibracte) here.
Is october a weird month to use the cold beach showers, even if you didn’t go swimming? Nope.
We’re parked at the ‘Great Lakes’ but this one seems to have dried up a little over summer. It’s still great, though, and the morning fog makes for a mysterious sight filled with white herons and cranes and ducks and all sorts of birds. Magical!
BILLY LE GRAND, FRANCE
We stop at Big Bill(y) mainly to spend the night since we don’t feel like driving any farther for the day. But we find a walnut tree and an abandoned house to explore, so we stay. Well, for a day anyway! The French countryside offers us sunshine, sugarcanes and ridiculously large flocks of starlings that magically disappear as soon as we get the camera and chase them by bike. Oh, and there is a pretty awesome underground canal, too.
Our last stop in the French Ardennes! (Un)fortunately Brutus is not able to make it up the VERY steep and narrow streets to the place where we intended to park, which leads us to stay at the parking lot near the ruins of Chateau Regnault. (Something with a cheating knight and four guys on a magical flying horse…?). The sun is still shining, so needless to say we spend our time out in the forest, spotting mushrooms and enjoying the variety of beautifully colored leaves. Oh, and we turn part of our hazelnut stash into this pretty-easy-but-oh-so-delicious homemade Nutella!
In Revin, we have beers at the riverbank, take Chlo on a hike to our favorite cave (more chestnuts are roasted…) and spot our first piece of land that we could seriously consider to build our eco home on. We also decide not to travel south along France’s coastline, as originally intended, but instead hit some more national parks on our way down.
With autumn turning into an Indian summer we spend our days outside, soaking up the sun and making sure Brutus is parked somewhere sunny, too, in order to make the most of our solar panels. We explore the forest by bike, venture into spider-filled caves and explore an abandoned mineshaft that seems to continue forever into a network of corridors that we wouldn’t dare to get lost in. Roasting chestnuts and cracking walnuts have now become a daily activity. Even our home baked cookies and banana bread receive a nutty twist!
We love to explore, but there’s just something soothing about familiar places. That home-away-from-home feeling when you know where to find the best spots and the prettiest sights. France offers us just that. We’ve visited the Champagne-Ardennes many times over the past years, always exploring new sites but never overlooking places where we’ve already experienced sunny times. Fumay, Haybes and Revin somehow became our go-to spots for this region; small typical French towns hidden away between the green hills meandering la Meuse. It looks like tourism died a slow death here many years ago, leaving a bunch of empty houses and pristine nature.
After some decent grocery shopping (OMG we’re finally traveling through a country with affordable food again! And baguettes. And cheese. CHEESE!), we park Brutus up on the mountain for the week. Hunting season has started, but that doesn’t keep us from wandering through bright colored forest and roasting chestnuts on a fire. Hello autumn!
So here we are, after spending a good month with both our families – moving from house to house but ultimately feeling more homeless than in all those weeks on the road. However much we loved seeing family and friends (and collecting an insane amount of chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and beech nuts!), we’re relieved to be on our way again. To make a fresh new start with just the four of us now.
As if to symbolize this new beginning, we find the cutest little orange three in a glass jar sitting on a park bench, with a note from Els attached to it saying this indeed is a LUCKY orange tree. We are trying our best to keep this little guy alive, moving it around the RV to guarantee plenty of sunshine (and so we hope plenty of luck?).
Our time in Sweden ended abruptly with a two day drive straight to our home country in order to see Bas’ sick grandfather one last time, who unfortunately passed away mere hours before we arrived. We spent our time in the presence of family and were glad to be ‘home’ to be able to give and receive support and say our last goodbyes.
Exactly 3 weeks after our first visit to the vet we had to the hardest thing yet;…let go of our dearest friend and soulmate Puma. So much more than just a cat – she will be missed deeply and in every aspect of our lives. But the memories are strong and loving, which means in a way she will always be there, wherever we go from here 😊. There’s no shame in saying she was family and has been a true example to us all.
All stories are worth telling but not all of them are as fun to write up. So, on that note, here’s the story of how we left Norway in a hurry and traveled directly to Munkfors, Sweden (and later on to the Netherlands).
We refer to our travels up to this point as “when all was still good”. Two happy campers and three adventurous cats; a happy hobo family enjoying life and each other.
The day we noticed something was wrong with our oldest and wisest, things went downhill faster than a steep slope mountain bike ride. She started bleeding, we hoped for the best but feared for the worst. The vet gave her another year or so.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. We’ve always known, though. Those all-knowing green eyes and songlike purr have always been irreplaceable. Treasuring any and all time we’d got left with her, we spent our days parked near the Stor-En lake playing outside, running through the woods and exploring little creeks together. Chlo joined in on the fun and even Phoebs dared to go on an adventure once (which ended in total disaster, but hey, at least she tried!).
These were days overshadowed by dark clouds, but with a golden lining. We gazed at the milky way, built fires, hiked out to a tiny cabin in the woods… All with an overflowing love for that furry black creature that would be leaving us way to soon.
The trail from Kinsarvik through Husedalen valley promises to be one of Norway’s most beautiful hikes. So (while we feel all the places in Norway are “the most beautiful” – there’s just no competing here!), we cannot miss out. Even though we anticipate hordes of tourists being lured in by a hike called ‘four beautiful waterfalls’, described with words as breathtaking and amazing scenery, we decide to suck it up and get in line.
Okay, we might be exaggerating just a little here 😉 It really wasn’t that bad at all but we just like our nature desolate and wild! After leaving the path and following a barely noticeable trail through the woods we got much closer to our idea of a perfect hike. And we have to admit; the waterfalls are absolutely breathtaking.
Ok, so we’ve hiked up to Fossasetevatnet two times now. One time during our first time in Norway in 2016, and a second time a couple of days ago, together with Koen & Eline (the fellow-RV-traveling-family members). However, we still have an urge to climb higher and explore a bit more. After all, we have declared this little piece of nature our favorite place on earth, so who wouldn’t want to go back when still in the area?! It’s hard to describe the feeling that makes this place so special to us. Maybe it’s the views over an emerald colored fjord, or the twin waterfalls that roar down the mountains directly opposite of each other. It could be the isolated mountain village situated at a serene lake in between waterfalls, only reachable by foot or tiny cablecar. Or perhaps it’s just the combination of rugged wild nature and calming views that does it for us.
We ran out of time after reaching the second lake along the trail up to the glacier. Hugged in by steep cliffs with a white waterfall continuously refreshing the turquoise waters and nearly untouched by the hand of men, this place felt like a true piece of paradise.
There are three more lakes up the trail, so there’s still more to explore next time around! We will be back for sure.
Passing Sundal, where we camped during a very cold and wet honeymoon two years ago, we drive alongside the Hardangerfjord to Rosendal. Admittedly, going here may have been influenced by the name of our Dutch hometown Roosendaal, but it’s also just a lovely drive along the fjord passing some pretty cool waterfalls. The accumulated rain pouring down from the Folgefonna glacier and highlands above left us in awe when we drove back after a couple rainy days, with waterfalls literally around each and every bend in the road. Not to mention the brute power of the Furebergfossen that quadrupled in size over our three day stay!
With all this rain our fear of causing a forest fire has drastically declined so after a good day of hiking it’s finally campfire time again! Wet wood makes for an extra challenge though….
Making the last stretch to the Hardanger area takes us through approximately 60km of tunnels. Short tunnels, long tunnels (25km in length holds the record!), tunnels with roundabouts, tunnels without lighting… we’ve seen it all.
As we arrive at the place where we spent our honeymoon 2 years ago, the weather mirrors the state it was in that time around; grey, cold and wet. As much as we like Norway covered in fog and with dark windy fjords, some sunshine would sure be welcomed again by now!
Spending time near fjords and not so much near rivers and lakes also means running out of fresh water a lot sooner. But by building an ingenious system of tubes and sticks we were able to collect plenty of rainwater from a mossy slope to do our laundry in. Thank you nature!
We also FINALLY finished ridding Brutus of his original stickering here (this is a long and dreadful story that we’ll probably tell some other time), so we had a pretty productive time!
We’re well on our way to Odda now, where we will have some fellow-RV-traveling-family-time again. So we’re on the road a little more and parked a little less, but still get to travel through the most beautiful landscapes following Norway’s fjords and go to sleep with an amazing view over sea and mountains each night.
Spending two rainy days here, followed by a drive to the Grovabreen glacier where we hiked for 4,5 hours to reach the icecap and took a little over 2,5 hours to get all the way back down. At roughly 1100m above sea level this isn’t by far the highest we’ve climbed but we did get some of the most spectacular views! With the trail basically just disappearing halfway the mountain this one definitely made it to our list of most wild hikes.
Traveling south to revisit Sundal – where we celebrated our honeymoon 2 years ago but really never saw any sun – we’re making a stop in Innvik. The cutest little town perched up on a mountain slope overlooking the (very originally named) Innvikfjord. Temperatures are rising again so we’re taking it easy, especially after we’ve been sent up and down a steep hill following a bike route leading to absolutely nowhere. Why, Norway, why?! On the bright side, we made a very cute furry friend along the way.
Spending a couple lazy days in and around the RV led to a sudden baking urge, so Brutus has been filled with smells of pizzabread, red berry pie and fluffy pancakes. Omnomnom.
Also, we had another chance to bathe in sparkling clear glacier water overlooking a gorgeous waterfall!
We’re out of cat food so it’s shopping time! Walking through the doors of a shopping centre for the first time in 7 weeks felt… strange. Making the best of our shopping trip we explored some hiking options and the next day we set out to climb the Vaudehornet. We discovered a paradise-like stream cascading down the mountain with smooth worn out pools, filled with crystal clear water. Who could ever resist stripping down and plunging in in such a wonderful environment?! Needless to say, we never did reach that mountain top but we had an awesome wild and free time.
We finally made it to the coast and parked Brutus at a quiet place along the road with the most amazing view over the Hjorund fjord. We spent a good 5 days here eating fresh caught minnow and mackerel, hiking into the mountains to collect all sorts of berries and herbs and showering under a rushing a waterfall. One of our favorite places so far!
Making our way to Norway’s fjords we had a brief struggle finding a place to camp. Lots of suitable campgrounds with stunning views but scattered with ‘no camping’ signs. After driving up and down the same road checking multiple alleys we found one that led to a beautiful private camp site next to a small stream. The cats loved it here, exploring the forest and chasing pinecones (yes those are perfectly chaseable).
OYSTRE SLIDRE, NORWAY
If you’ve ever been on a mountain plateau you might recognize what we can best describe as an alien environment. Being this high up in the mountains, but with no landmarks showing up for it (like a view down into the valley), it somewhat feels like moving around on an entirely different planet. Even higher mountaintops surrounding us and lakes the size of a sea only added to the fantastical feeling of driving through this place.
When on an internet diet, one needs to find alternative ways to upload blogs and what not. A great excuse to mix business with pleasure at the big yellow M! Hamar didn’t disappoint as our first Norwegian stop with a dazzling sunset and free tap water to fill up our supplies.
As always, places we are just traveling through on our way to some place else (aren’t we always?) turn out to be the greatest. Which is why we spent a couple extra days here, parked next to a shelter at the shore of another amazing lake sprinkled with tiny islands.
We felt it was high time to find a place where we could soak ourselves in solitude. And failed miserably. We are still learning how to find the best sites in Sweden’s outstretched wilderness that are still reachable with the RV! Anyhow, we were not completely alone here but we had the most amazing view over the lake and ‘summer holiday’-vibes were all over. Swimming, chilling, bonfires on the beach, showers with water heated from the sun. Life’s good.
Where we were under a serious mosquito attack and one of our cats decided to break free right through the insect screen. Also, we loaded up on crystal clear drinking water straight from the source.
New day, new place, and a proper midsummer celebration this time around!
Arriving right on time for summer solstice preparations, we were left a little confused and underwhelmed after a cloudy day of weaving wreaths and hopping around a pole. But we had a ton of fun and were rewarded with the biggest brightest rainbow over the Siljan lake and sunlight all through the night.
We divided our way up North in two by spending the night right by the steel factory and -museum of this tiny town. An evening bike ride brought us some surprisingly beautiful views, although we should have known better not to expect anything from anywhere in Sweden by now.
Or at least, Ullared was the closest thing known to Google maps in the neighborhood. This will probably be more often than not the case in this travel log from here on. Anyway, hello Sweden! Hello bonfires, hello lakes, hello endless forest. Puma and Chloe seemed to like it here too, exploring in the woods and accompanying us on short hikes.
Into Denmark we go, where we built our first campfire and had a German pineapple on the beach for a birthday breakfast before hitting the road again.
Well, what more can I say. We parked here overnight on our way to Denmark. We just now had to look up the name because neither of us bothered to remember. Sorry Kaltenkirchen, I bet you’re fun but I just really wanted to celebrate my birthday in Sweden!
A serious bedbug-scare urged us back over the border to meet with an exterminator who sent us on our way again with a can of bug spray and peace of mind. Turning lemons into lemonade, we made good use of our little overstay in the Netherlands and enjoyed some lovely summer days with family and friends.
Our first border crossing led us to Germany, where we met with our brother (in law (other side of the family this time (does it get confusing yet?))) and his wife. We chased hundreds of tiny frogs and had to rescue a Bengal cat from 6 meters up in a tree.
Back to our roots in the province of Noord-Brabant. We took a very hot bike ride to take a dive (and a shower!) in a not-so-nearby swimming pool, met our first “fulltime RVing couple” and did our first laundry. Yes. Even laundry day can be an adventure when traveling.
Our favorite free RV campsite in the Netherlands! Located right on the edge of regional parc the Veluwe we spent some sunny days doing repairs on Brutus, sipping champagne in the woods and planning our journey.
We left home base on June 1st, traveling ALL the way from Leiderdorp to Leiden where we spent a couple days with our sister (in law) and her wife. Stationed in the building’s parking lot we had their fellow residents worrying that the neighborhood was unraveling within 24 hours. We get it. We’re pretty badass-looking.
Byebye cozy apartment and everything we ever owned, hello freedom!