Yes we did fall in love again! This time a real home on wheels has stolen our hearts. A week before we had to leave for Greece, we bought a new campervan and named her Herby. Yes a 'male' name but I think despite that, she is a lady. A pretty compact lady with all you need inside. Even a big kitchen and two solar panels!
Driving south for the third time
After buying Herby, we send her off to the garage for maintenance and some other fixes (like a new clutch). The guys in the garage worked their tails off to get her ready in time. With a couple of days delay, we stashed all the cupboards and bathroom full with our things and we set off to Greece. For the third time driving south; but this time with Herby.
Herby has a 2.5 liter diesel engine, just like our previous van. But she is a bit bigger, 900 kilos more heavy to be exact and that you could tell while driving. She is somewhat slower and especially when you want to drive uphill... Just have to take your time. Our first nights on a camping were perfect. In Germany it was still a bit cold in the evening but inside it was cozy and spacious. The bed is above the drivers cabine and although it is a bit tight with two persons, we got used to it and slept great.
After Germany we stayed a night in Austria.
After Austria, we crossed Slovenia, which is really small. Before we knew it, we crossed the borders to Croatia. Our plan was to visit Plitvice Lake but due to the time we ended up staying a night on a camping nearby Zagreb. Sorry but that wasn't the best. Small spots for €35 per night but we had a nice sunset.
If we wanted to see the lakes the following day, that would mean we would drive 150km south to the lake and then back up the same road, pass by Zagreb again to reach Serbia. Because we already discoverd that the north of Croatia is not interesting at all, we decided not to visit the lakes. The following day we left for Serbia directly.
Breaking down with our new campervan
Unfortunately Herby appeared to be not the most reliable when it comes to starting her. We have spend some time standing still and trying to get her running. Halfway our trip, we managed to find the trick. Start in neutral with handbreaks on. Push the gas pedal and keep it on for around a minute. When she is completely warm, you can drive away. If you do it too quickly, sorry but she will refuse.
In Serbia, an owner of a camping was apparently also a garage owner. He saw us struggling in the morning and came over to take a look. According to him, it was the fuel pump that wasn't good anymore and we need to let that be fixed in Greece. Bummer... But at least we found out what the problem.
After crossing the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia; we were ready for Greece. We wanted to cross FYROM (Macedonia) within one day to end up at a beach camping nearby mount Olympus. Before reaching the borders, we made a short break at a gas station. In the middle of nowhere in the south of Serbia, Herby decided not to start at all. No power nothing... It was 35 degrees celsius and really not a place you like to break down. Luckily after around 20 minutes, she decided it was time to go and suddenly she started. Yeah! We could smile and breath again. We just had to make sure to keep the engine going until we would reach the camping in Greece.
Reaching Greece late at night
We had to wait over an hour at the borders with FYROM. It was hot and boring but I was really happy to see that the heat didn't affect Herby at all. After crossing FYROM and entering Greece, we suddenly realised it was already 9:30pm. Greece is UTC +2, something we had forgotten I guess due to the long and hot drive. We still had 150km left to reach the camping and now we had to beat closing time of the camping and the restaurants. Hungry and tired we just crossed our fingers and started driving south. Of course we also forgot to withdraw cash and we quickly found out that the toll roads in Greece aren't accepting cards... They end up writing you a kind of invoice for you to pay the toll later. But well, I guess you understand this took a lot of extra time.
After finding an ATM so we could at least buy food somewhere (hopefully), we reached the camping. The lady was still there and smiling to us. She told us that all the restaurants where open and there was a beach party going on if we liked...