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Our trip to Greece and back in our 110 CSW 300TDi


Peaklander
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Last year we did a first road trip in our 1996 110 CSW 300 TDi - having done loads by car. This time we wanted the chance to drive off road (just a little) and not worry about getting stuck.

This is how we looked on our way through Austria - the first night where we didn't put up the tent and slept in the back and here's a few of our sleeping platform too

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The route:

Ferry Hull to Rotterdam, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, France and ferry from Calais. In all 6,160 miles and about eight weeks.

I will add to the post over the coming days with a few pics - hopefully is will help anyone contemplating going to that area. Most travellers either go to Greece by ferry from Italy or drive round the back from Hungary to Bulgaria. We went into Serbia and although we only spent a night there, it was a lovely experience and I can recommend it.

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These show the basics of the sleeping platform construction. The height was determined by the size of the "Really Useful Boxes" that we used underneath. There's not much room above the platform - it is just for sleeping. Access is through the back door.

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Every window had a bubble wrap sunscreen and they were fixed with velcro. These are without doubt essential. Some days the temperature was 35C.

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This is a wildcamp high up in Greece. We didn't use the shelter - no one around to see us get stripped off for bed!

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As it was early in the season we wanted to get south as quickly. The weather was horrible in Austria but cheered up in Hungary. We drove through most of Serbia in a day taking a direct route through Belgrade and south to Vranje.

We camped here at Marko's campsite (in the back of the Landy again) which he had been signposting for at least 150 kms (not kidding). This is the view towards Kosovo.

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Got fleeced at the Macedonia border for a green card - don't let anyone tell you that green cards don't exist - it's the only name they know. We had to buy the 3rd party insurance at the border as we couldn't get cover from the UK for Macedonia. It cost around £60 for a transit of only about four hours.

This is the main road south through Macedonia to the Greek border.

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In Greece we followed the coast south to near Mount Olympus and found a spot on the beach. That was it for a few days!

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The first wildcamp shown above was a site high in the mountains - we just turned off the road and followed a track.

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Greece is mostly mountains - they are stupendous and everywhere is dramatic. Here we are driving a gorge in search of a monastery perched high above it. (got my wife to hang back whilst I drove on a bit :hysterical: ).

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This is a spectacular view from the tent door at a campsite very close to Delphi (big Roman remains) near the south of the mainland. The view is down to the Gulf of Corinth and you can see the north coast of the Peloponnese in the distance.

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This is why we like our Landy... post-105237-0-85478900-1461847580_thumb.jpg ...lunch at the beach.

Before we left the UK I had renewed the brake discs, calipers and pads as well as the springs and pins that locate the pads. However the pads started to rattle and as the roads got bumpier this rattling started to drive me nuts. Eventually, near Epidavros (another must-see Roman location - amphitheatre) I was given the use of a workshop and a hardstanding at a metals company.

Here I cut some shims from aluminium to fill the gap between pistons and pads. (When I got home I bought some pads with proper anti squeak shims.)

It was hot work post-105237-0-95050200-1461848672_thumb.jpg

The little company made feeding troughs, hurdles and gates but was suffering from the effects of "The Crisis". Even so he refused any sort of payment, giving us a tour of his Scania truck collection before we left.

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We crossed to the Peloponnese at the Corinth canal and then headed down the east side, our target was the middle finger of the three fingers at the southern end. This is the Mani peninsular a barren and mountainous region that has suffered more than its fair share of war and turmoil.

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One of the off road days was a wander up into the Taygetos mountains from Stoupa (a fantastic beach resort). I think the top is about 2,500m and the roads that go up there were not in good condition.

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The rock in the middle was almost a blocker but not quite and we managed to squeeze past. Going down the other side was pretty loose and it was just as well it was dry. This is looking back up (and it doesn't even look steep on the pic).

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We saw one other vehicle during that day! The village at the bottom was typically Greek.

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This is a view of the Taygetos from Stoupa and also a typical Mani village

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Stoupa is one of those places that you like so much, you want to keep it all to yourself - but you can't help telling people to go there.

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Excellent, keep posting! We're hoping to visit some of those places in t'ambulance.

My 1st stab at a LR bed was very similar to yours - back of the 109, using UniStrut liberated from work :ph34r: although I can recommend Rexroth-style aluminium extrusion, much stronger & lighter. The bubble-wrap window blinds are exactly what we've done for the ambulance too, seem to work very nicely.

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Yes I do and will post as soon as time allows. It was a great trip. Where did you live?

I lived in Shkoder. Well, just outside in a commune called Dobrac. I have family in Hercegnovi in Montenegro. If you went through to Dubrovnik, passed Cavtat, you probably drove through there.

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Shkoder - you mean at the lake? If so then yes we went there. I do have pics - I'll keep posting.

We drove through to Durmitor in Montenegro and later we went into Croatia from Bosnia (Sarajevo / Mostar) so we were further north.

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The Mani peninsular is a fantastic place and was our "aim for" point as we have had several holidays in Stoupa and done a little bit of scooting about in a hire car a couple of times, just for the day.

This time we could wander at will and used Stoupa as a base for lots of trips.

The southernmost point in mainland Europe is the far end of the Mani. This is the view just before you "drop off".

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The little resort at left at the far end is really just a handful of beach tavernas and a couple of B&Bs. It was great to drive down and along the "front". A few other people were there and it's a good tarmac road all the way down - just a bit narrow and very exposed. No time for any steering failures. There are great views on both sides of the peninsular.

The main town towards the southern end is Areopoli and here I went in search of copper slip in the quest to stop brake squeak. I found a garage with a guy who was of Greek origin but lived in South Africa as a child. So we could converse in English and a five minute stop became a half hour one.

It was at Stoupa that we succumbed to the dreaded mozzie - they were particularly vicious. The local supermarket stocked fly screen material off a roll and for a couple of Euros we had enough to "do" the second row windows (right next to our heads as we sleep). The duct tape always comes in handy!

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Although campsites are very convenient, there's nothing like the solitude of some high hills, a warm evening and a fantastic view.

This is another wildcamp in Greece. High above a village, we looked at an inviting roadside track and turned onto it. After a few hundred metres there was a bend with what looked like a push-through the bushes. It was very tight and I had to retract the wing mirrors but we reversed in and up - to be rewarded with an open and level place to park and a view to die for.

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The pic was taken with a little "gorilla" tripod that can be folded around anything; here it's on a bush - and yes, we are experts at running back to the camera with it on self-time. Over the years it's been a bit of fun - trying to get into place before the camera clicks. We've been walking past, climbing on rocks, riding past on bikes - it's all a bit silly really...

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Looking at what you have built in the back and then where you've taken the car, I dread whatever the "replacement Defender" will turn out to be compared to what you've got. Good Land Rover usage there!

Anyway, thanks for sharing. I'm amazed you can find these sorts of campsites in Europe.

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Thanks! Europe is a big place and there are lots of "hidden" bits. However the solitude doesn't compare with Australia. I have driven and camped in far north Queensland and quite recently up the west coast but only as far as Exmouth. Still got to get up to your area and The Kimberley - it's on my list but I have to convince Mrs Peaklander.

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Yes, but the food over there is better! I think there's an obscure law in WA which says that every restaurant meal must be served with half-cooked chips.

If you are planning on heading up this way, start watching the weather now. The Dry seasons in the last few years aren't as cool as they should be, which has made the camping season shorter and shorter. It's sort of an inverse situation to a British summer!

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