Today is the first day of my trip by caravan to Europe.
My dream is to make it to Corfu via the ferry from Bari on Italy’s East Coast.
This took shape during the last year of my job when I printed out the map of Europe with the route to Corfu overland, highlighted it, and pinned it on the partition above my desk.
It crystallised in the last days of June when I realised I still had a burning desire to see Corfu again and my challenge was to make it overland. The original idea was to do it in a campervan, but my funds did not reach to that expense. When I bought a BMW with a towbar my attention shifted to a caravan. My first caravan was a disaster, dry rot, broken everything and I abandoned it with a dealer on my way to Dublin.
By this time, I had experienced some of the angst of towing a 1,500 kg van. But anyone who knows me is familiar with my determination once an idea takes root in my head. I took to watching every video available to learn how to drive with a load behind you. I had a lesson from one caravan expert in the middle area of Ireland who clearly became worried when he realised I would be venturing out alone without the benefit of the male of the species to watch over me.
Since then, Newbridge caravans have spoilt me with a beautiful vehicle and given me hints and direction all along the way. This time, I splashed out on a 2000 Herald Claremont, four berth, luxury in comparison with the last one.
Why Corfu? The island’s lush greenery, brought to life for me as a child in My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, the sandy beaches and deserted coves, the olive trees and the azure sea.
I have learned that women do not tow caravans. We will see how that goes.
I want to set the scene for my forthcoming trip with today’s blog. I am not taking any pictures of the ferry pulling out from Rosslare. As we are in the middle of a heatwave the likes of which I have never experienced, you can take it the sea is still and sparkling and the sun is sinking and sort of hazy as it is the 2030 sailing. One of the remarkable things about driving through Ireland today was the smell of smoke in the air. Spontaneous fires are breaking out due to the 14 days with no rain.
But most of all with today’s blog, I want to remember someone never made it to Italy. We visited the Cliffs of Moher together and I have posted his profile here taken at that location. He departed this life on the 4th June this year and it is his departure that crystallised my decision to do this trip. We never know when or where we will be taken, but taken we will be.