IMG_2264[1]IMG_4506[1]IMG_3331[1]IMG_2016[1]Monday marked the last day of our first motorhoming trip to Europe. Having travelled for 313 days and through 12 countries across the water. Our trip started in France via the tunnel. Being motorhome virgins we were quick to find a campsite using our ASCI discount card. The first day or two getting to  grips with driving on the other side of the road, the langauge and the food. The last bit was pretty easy, the foods great. The roads in France consist of toll and non toll roads and we avoided the tolls as much as we could. This led us to some beautiful villages and lots of roundabouts. France also has a lot of narrow roads through villages with large trucks heading straight at you. We travelled along the coast, not only discovering amazing places. But that you can do laundry in supermarket car parks such as SUPER U and Carrefour. Aires are cheap and plentiful, designed for motorhomes only. They offer a cheap alternative to campsites, usually providing all the services you need. Water, dumping and electric. We then travelled through to northern spain continuing the quest for the sunshine. The north is less busy than the south and the non toll roads here are very good. Mercado & Dia their local supermarket chains are very cheap, as is fuel. The cheapest we found in Europe. We found our way into Portugal for December and the rugged west coast. The weather held out for us and we had christmas in the beautiful town of Obidos, after leaving a fab aire that we had stayed on for 8 days right on the beach. The best charcoal chicken down the road. We found that some of the best places in Portugal were in the west less populated and more cultural. We hit the Algarve after a little mishap that saw us try to fix the top side of our motorhome. Fiberglassed and repainted for the bargain price of €180, for over 8 hours work. The Algarve and its 180, 000 motorhomes, was not for us, way to busy and after living with hardly anyone around, a bit overwhelming. We were out of there in a couple of days. Portugal has one of the most complex and unfriendly user toll systems for its roads. Four systems in one, nothing is clear online and even the portuguese don’t know how it works. Some are electronic, some are cash. So avoiding tolls would be the best if you miss the sign up as you enter the country. Recycling and rubbish. They have communal waste bins and so much recycling its such a great system and the streets are clean, because of it. The rubbish is collected daily in some parts, so no overflow of bags to be picked up. Our first encounter here with the dreaded caterpillars, which are dangerous to dogs and some humans. Does keep you on your toes, looking out for them. Back into southern spain, the heat and weather fantastic, we meandered along the coast and enjoyed the seafood and scenery. We got repairs to our fridge and new taps in Jerez at a fab aire/ camping shop. Again so cheap compared to the UK. By this stage we were getting our costs down quite a bit as accommodation is cheap as is food, and fuel. The dogs wearing their Scalibor collars a lot, we bought new ones cheaper here. Southern France and we found stops on vineyards and olive groves. We were using an app called campercontact and then heard of Park4night, which has a tractor symbol. Which is a farm/vineyard. This allows you to stay usually with no purchase for free or a small fee. By this stage I was buying wine or olive oil/ tapanedes. Delicious local produce and honestly a great buy for a free stop. A lot are french passion stops but you dont have to have the book or sticker, you just tell them you saw it on the app. Into Italy we only just made it in via the coastal road after trying to enter via the Alps. We had been stuck for 3 days in Sospel with snow blocking the Col de Tende pass. 42 hairpin bends to the coastal road was a little scary on the descent. We didn’t realise that its compulsory to have snow tyres between the 15 Oct- 15 April and lucky for us we crossed on the 16th. Totally unaware that this was law. Phew. We also bought Advocate spot on treatment for the dogs here over the counter in pharmacies, no prescription and cheaper than the UK. Italy and on the beautiful med coast, we travelled up to the north and the lakes. Absolutely stunning, but you have to be aware of all the environmental zones. Another new for us to add to the planning. Coffee is definitely done best in Italy and so cheap at less that €1 a cup. We did Venice with our two dogs, taking them on the bus. They have to be muzzled but we got there at 8am and avoided the crowds to get the best pictures. From here we passed into Slovenia, buying a vignette road pass as we entered. We are 3.5 tonne so we didnt have to buy a GO box, new this year for Slovenian toll roads. As we didnt know what roads would be like it was a cheap buy and quick and easy to get across the country. The water here is indescribable, the colour in the rivers and streams is ice blue and green. We also hiked here, 90 % of the country virgin forests ( untouched by humans). Bears populate the forests and we didnt see any even when we went through a cave system. Crossing our first border post we entered Croatia and travelled to the island of KRK. Wild camping is illegal here so ASCI cards are very useful. No doubt about it Croatia is stunning. Not as cheap as we thought due to the accomadation, the language also a little harder to grasp. The Plitvice lakes a must if you visit. Get there early , park up your motorhome and head to the top lakes as soon as they open to avoid the crowds. Again dogs allowed on lead , so the dogs loved it, even though they aren’t supposed to swim in it. Zoey took it upon herself to jump in and cool off. Typical collie. We crossed yet another border crossing into Hungary and stayed south by Lake Balaton. 75km long it’s a great spot and loads of thermal baths and health spas. We try to avoid cities , but couldn’t miss Budapest, spending 7 days. Its worthy of at least 5 days, and this started off us using the free walking tours that are in many major cities. George needed a vet visit and surgery in Hungary and it was a bargain at €70 for the anesthetic, bandages and treatment. Hungary is very cheap for food and surprised us at how beautiful it was. Slovakia and the high Tatra mountains a highlight of our trip. Physically demanding as we are terrible at following directions, taking the hard or wrong way up. But the reward of the views, something that will forever stay in my mind. Beer and Radlers are cheap at €1 for 500 mls. Poland and we spent 5 weeks here. The history and the beautiful buildings. So much to see and do and again one of the cheapest places to stay. Laundromats the only downfall, they are so hard to come by, unless in a major city. Food and alcohol as cheap as Spain, in fact it might be cheaper. LPG available in nearly all service stations as so many cars run off it instead of diesel and petrol. The roads are brand spanking new, even though a lot are still being built it can be a slower journey due to the road works. Entry into museums, and castles is cheap and very reasonable to see all the history on show. Into Czech Republic, beer is cheaper than water. We did a lot of the tourist towns such as Prague and Cesky Krumlov, but almost loved Karlovy Vary and Telc more. Less tourists but just as much to see. Germany and boy did I wish i had learnt German by now, its a second language in Hungary & Poland. More so than english. We learnt thank you in nearly every language and to be honest, most people are more grateful and impressed you have tried to learn that one word. Germany do motorhoming to a T, stellpatz or aires are nearly every town. Motorhomes are everywhere, so no funny looks at a HYMER through small villages. They recycle plastic and glass at most supermarkets giving you a refund off your shopping. Dogs are welcome everywhere, buses, trains, restaurants, shops you name it. So dog friendly and at no extra cost. Emission zones, this is a bit of fun if you have a 20-year-old vehicle like us. To old to get a sticker so restricting you out of many a city. Good for us, as we like small towns. But not so good if you need something in a zone. The Netherlands, bikes everywhere is an understatement. Everyone must have a bike. Scooters and bike lanes everywhere. Pedestrians giving way to bikes. Public transport is expensive, compared to the rest of Europe and they charge for dogs. Well worth a visit is Gouda, for the famous cheese market on Thursdays april to august. And of course windmills and tulip fields. Belgium and the history continues, a must is the last post at the Menin gate at 8pm every night in Ypres as well as a belgium beer. France saw us get the pet passports done in Bergues €28 for both dogs with us providing the worming tablet. A great deal and so close to a free aire and the ferry. The time has flown and its hard to remember where we have been. Instagram has been good for photos as I love street art, fancy doors and doorknobs. We have met some amazing people & made some lifelong friends. We hope we have inspired others to travel to some of these places. The journey doesn’t end just yet as we are heading back over the channel in about a weeks time….. new places, new people to met  and new food to try…….. we hope that you have enjoyed the wanderlustcraddocks travels and continue to follow us and our new journey.