Rhodes, Greece 2022

In 2017, we went on our first European tour to Rhodes, Greece. We had to miss travelling abroad in 2020 because of COVID, but 2022 would be our fifth foreign adventure, and we both agree, probably the best yet. Still unable to risk the eastern Balkan route because of the war in Ukraine, we settled for a more leisurely drive through France, Italy, mainland Greece, and across to Rhodes, with plenty of time for sightseeing. Brexit had not proved to be the catastrophe many travellers feared and with the relaxing of COVID restrictions, there was little paperwork to sort out. I did carefully plan a route, but it was only ever intended as a rough guide to ensure that we were always where we needed to be at the right time to catch our ferries. We set off very much thinking if you don’t plan, you can’t fail. It worked like a charm, mostly………………………

    (Please click on a picture to enlarge the image and find a description, and go to the bottom of the page for a written account of our trip)

Our routes

France – We landed in Cherbourg, relaxed after a pleasant crossing from Poole, looking forward to our first stop at the peaceful Aire at La Bazoge near Le Mans. Our arrival in France coincided with the start of the heatwave that would last for our entire trip. The drive to Bourges took us through splendid French scenery and quiet rural roads, and then high into the mountains of the Massif de Chartreuse where we crossed into Italy via the Frejus Tunnel.

Italy – We think this trip was the more enjoyable because we allowed extra time to dawdle, spending less time on toll roads when we could avoid them without too much of a time penalty. That said, the toll road from France to Italy via the Frejus Tunnel is one of the more scenic ones, and took us through the formidable mountains of the Massif de Chartreuse that we would drive over on our way home. We had a few stops in mind just over the border, but with time in hand and unimpressed with the industrial north, we stumbled across a gem of a campsite at Avigliana. At first appearance, the site was run down and we nearly did not stay but we are so glad we did. This little site and the owners wowed us with their charm and we plan on making it a regular stop in future. We got equally lucky at Bagnara di Romagna, where we found an excellent sosta within short walking distance of the medieval town. Corinaldo is a favourite stop of ours before catching the ferry at Ancona, we can fill and empty tanks as needed, charge batteries, shop for provisions, and enjoy a stroll around the 14th-century walled commune.

Greece – Due to a cancellation, we docked in Igoumenitsa instead of Patras. Igoumenitsa is a busy little seafront city, only a few miles short of our first stop at Drepano Beach, a 4-kilometre-long sandy isthmus perfect for wild camping. After a swim, we sat and watched the smoke from the forest fires on Corfu spiral skywards, a salutary reminder of the fires we witnessed last year on the route south. Our revised route meant that we would first be able to visit Parga, Kalodiki, Lefkada and the sensational Rion Antirion bridge, before the mountainous trek to Nafplion, Kranidi and Corinth. The journey was one of the best yet, so much to see and do, we were pleased that we had allowed more time to explore Greece on our way home. We even enjoyed my one-time nemesis Pireaus, and while looking forward to Rhodes, we were slightly sorry to board the ferry and leave the mainland.

Rhodes – It took a little over two weeks to reach our spiritual home of Rhodes where we would spend six weeks. It felt like we had never left as we drove down familiar roads with no particular place to go. Our first stop is always Pefkos, where we spend time with old friends and relax into the slower Rhodian lifestyle. We have several favourite places that attract us back time and again, and on every visit, we find somewhere new. Most of our regular haunts have been featured in the galleries of our previous trips, in the following gallery, I have tried to illustrate the diverse and secluded places we enjoyed so much this time. It is still possible, regardless of Rhodes’s increasing popularity, to find solitude and we spent many days with only ourselves for company in remote places or kayaking out at sea. Despite this largely feral existence, we made many new friends and had wonderful times with our old ones. As ever, our special thanks go to our dearest friends the Migkos family, Paraschos and the team at Lee Beach Bar, and the crew at Flyers.

Mainland Greece – With time to spare, our return route through Greece took us along little-used rural roads and the awesome Pindos National Park. From the plateau of Karia, we drove north to Arkitsa with its stunning views across the North Euboean Gulf to Chalcis Island. Thermopylae, the site where one thousand Greek soldiers might well have defeated one and a half million Persian soldiers had it not been for the treachery of one man, did not disappoint. Neither did the monument of the Unburied Heroes of the Greek/Italian war and its moving bronze statue of a falling soldier. Although we did not stay overnight at Lamia as we had planned to, the castle and views were well worth the visit. This was our third visit to Meteora, an area of geological, historic and cultural importance. The highlight of our journey through Greece was the remote Pindos National Park and the mountain village of Metsovo which a chance recommendation had encouraged us to visit.   

Dolphins seeing us off

Italy – While we were sad to leave Greece, we were looking forward to spending time in Italy and France, We had already visited Venice on a couple of ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trips, so this time was only ever intended as a brief visit to see the main attractions again. Reports of soon-to-be-introduced entrance fees may account for why it was so busy, or that tourists want to see it before it finally sinks, but the city was just so crowded we decided to spend only a couple of hours there. Shunning the more touristy lakes of Garda and Como, we fell in love with Lake Iseo and the superb little site of Camping Covelo right on the shores. Happy that we had cut short our stay in Venice, we could spend an extra night here to enjoy our first lake-kayaking expedition and the exceptional site restaurant that served absolutely the best food. This is certainly a place we will return to and explore more. Not long after leaving Iseo, we started the awesome mountainous climb to the border with France at Mont Cenis.


France – Regretably our European trip was coming to an end as we climbed the mountain pass over Mont Cenis. This would be our first true Alpine crossing, and we had been warned of steep ascents and descents that would test our elderly camper to the limits, which it certainly did. At this altitude, it was dropping to six degrees at night which came as a shock after the forty degrees we had been enjoying. We were surrounded by snow-peaked mountains and sparkling rivers and lakes as we made our crossing before dropping down into the Cenis Valley. Just south of picturesque Chalon-sur-Saône we found a peaceful overnight stop on the bank of the river, before moving on to Bayeux, my now favourite French city. Stunning medieval architecture, friendly people, and of course, the famous tapestry, all captivated us during our brief stay. We continued our cultural tour of Normandy with a moving visit to Utah Beach, the history of which could not be more different to that of Bayeux. 

After three months, we returned to the UK. We took with us lasting memories of our best trip yet and plans forming for another adventure in the future.

 For a full explanation of the photographs above and our trip, please read the account below.

International Lampoon 2022

On a wet and dreary day at home, what better way to spend the time than reminiscing on eleven weeks of driving our motorhome down to Rhodes and back? This year’s International Lampoon started at the end of July and took us through a modest three countries because Putin’s army posed a significant threat in the Eastern European countries that we had hoped to visit en route.

France –

With an early ferry booked from Poole to Cherbourg, we decided to drive down the night before and park up overnight in the port. A few others had the same idea, and we all enjoyed a quiet night at the head of the queue until the morning when we were ushered aboard in the most civil and organised way, unlike some ferries we were to use later in the trip. Our first stop was the idyllic Aire at La Bazoge near Le Mans, where we enjoyed a tranquil walk around the fishing lakes and the first of many stunning sunsets before a good night’s sleep.

We woke to the beginning of the heatwave that was about to hit Europe, with temperatures set to soar over the next month, it was already thirty-five degrees.