Rhodes before Brexit 2019

Our trip to Rhodes this year took us through France and into Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Greece. We drove a distance of 3311 miles through 8 countries, and covered 5961 miles including ferries, making forever memories.

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Route Map

France, Belgium, Luxembourg and France again – We crossed by ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe, arriving as the sun rose in France. We then drove through Belgium and Luxembourg, almost non-stop as we found them to be quite uninteresting with terrible roads! We then went back to France for the enjoyable drive to Kaysersberg.

Germany, Switzerland and Italy – I’ve added Germany to the list, but we drove under it in tunnels nearly all the way. Switzerland on the other hand is a place to dawdle and enjoy the magnificent views, if only we had more time but we had a ferry booked in Italy. This was our third visit to Italy and we really wanted to enjoy it, but we found the north and east of the country to be camper unfriendly with only a few exceptions. At Lake Garda and Venice, we suffered the carnivorous mosquitos, and in general, received a less than friendly welcome from the people too. We did try to drive into Venice City, but the lack of suitable parking, and being turned back by both police and army having ventured a little too far, meant that although we enjoyed the adventure, we never did get to do any sightseeing. We caught the ferry from Venice to Igoumenitsa, stopping at Ancona on the way.

Mainland Greece – we arrived on mainland Greece after the 28-hour ferry from Venice. The first stop was Meteora again as we felt we had not been able to do it justice during our previous visit, this is a staggeringly beautiful World Heritage site, with monasteries perched precariously on huge outcrops of rock. We then slowly made our way across Greece to the east coast, hugging the coast as much as possible, before arriving at Piraeus to catch our ferry to Rhodes. Piraeus is a chaotic suburb of Athens to drive through, and the loading at the port is almost gladiatorial so we are always relieved to get on the ferry unscathed.

Rhodes the ferry from Piraeus stops at several islands on the way to Rhodes, the prettiest being Kos and Symi. As usual, our ultimate destination though was Rhodes, and spending 4 weeks with Greek friends and touring the island. And as usual, we had a blast, quite literally when on the last day we experienced an earthquake measuring 5.2!

Mainland Greece, the return journey – leaving Rhodes is always difficult, made only slightly easier as the storm clouds marking the end of summer start to roll overhead. Our return journey across Greece to catch the ferry at Patras took us over the Corinth Canal and up to Acrocorinth where we were caught in the mightiest of Mediterranean storms, before the tranquil drive along the Old National Coast Road.

Italy and France, the return journey – our ferry from Patras was delayed by 14 hours which unfortunately meant that we had to put in some long days driving in Italy to catch up, and unfortunately we had to miss sightseeing at Pisa. By the time we got to the Italian Alps, the weather had well and truly broken, and we spent most of the return journey in driving rain which added a manacing touch to some of the mountain passes. Despite the weather, we thoroughly enjoyed the sights and friendliness of western Italy, and plan to go back one day to explore a little more. The sun did appear again occasionally while we were in France, and it was with sadness that our odyssey ended as we drove onto the ferry at Cherbourg with plans already forming to go for longer and go further next year.