The Update #23 – The Promised Land

by Jasper and Lonneke
26 September 2021
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Three countries this time! Czech Republic, Austria and Italy. With two special guests! We’re going to a place that Lon can draw out with her eyes closed and a place that Jasper has been dreaming about for years. Jasper has long felt that Italy is the country for him, coffee, wine, pasta, ice cream .. It is actually mainly about the Italian food and drink, but the people, the culture and everything you can see there seems to him also worth the effort. And strangely enough, Jap has never really been there. He has been to Sicily with his parents, but according to him that doesn’t count. A while back we chose between either Norway or Italy and we went for Norway. But now we have the time for a little taste in this country, because for a real visit we don’t have the time. Read on to learn more about the first part of this preview.

Cesky Raj National Park, Czech Republic

Exploring Cesky Rai National Park was on the agenda today, yesterday we already got a small taste when we stretched our legs after the long drive. It promised a whole lot for today. Although we knew roughly what it should look like, we were blown away by how beautiful it was. Today we really went to explore the park. We had found a 13 km walk on Alltrails which we pretty much followed. We started again with the part we had seen yesterday, because we wanted to do that part again. We walked here between beautiful pillars and between narrow tunnels, up and down stairs, and every time a beautiful view on the beautiful high pillars. We tried to capture what we saw there with the cameras, but because everything was so close but so high it was almost impossible to show how beautiful and cool it looked. But soon we came to a next part and we were so amazed by the surroudings that we also wandered off the trails a bit to get a better look at the rock formation. We arrived at a very nice viewpoint from where we could see a castle and had a better look on the large rock formations. Here, Jap flew with the drone which gave a way better impression of this park. In contrast with the camera, the drone succeeded very well in showing what kind of feeling you have and get in such an area. It was hard to leave this beautiful place but in the end we continued with the walk. We walked through a beautiful forest on old roads (or so it seemed), the trees were very high and in between were those beautiful rock pillars. It is very strange to think that these rocks were formed because the bottom of the sea used to be here. We both thought it was really impressive and beautiful to walk around. Further on we came to another castle where we looked around and had a nice lunch. It was quite busy in the park with mostly Czechs and many people were picking mushrooms! On the way back to Bob we walked over a somewhat higher part where there were many beautiful viewpoints over the rock formations so we could see how many there were! When we were back at Bob we decided to walk a little further towards the castle in the village close to us, we walked to another two beautiful viewpoints where we had not been before. In the end we had covered a lot of kilometers and we thought we deserved a nice cold drink. At the castle we drank 0.5 liters of apple juice and 0.5 liters of beer, can you guess how expensive this was…..hahah… 3 euros… 1.50 per drink ?. We haven’t seen it this cheap in a long time. In Norway you could easily pay 15 for the same instead of 1.50! Therefore, after the first beer, a second was quickly bought, and we chatted and watched the people around us.

Serfaus, Austria

The next stop is a very well known stop, especially for Lon. Virtually all her holiday memories as a child were made in Serfaus. But then in the winter. A few years ago, Jap also went to this place on winter sports, but now we would see it in the summer. Together with Lon’s parents! We could see them waving at us from afar on the hotel driveway. It is of course wonderful to see each other again after we have not seen each other for a few months. In the evening we went out for dinner to catch up on recent times and of course also about the adventures of my parents in Serfaus. On their first day of vacation they had taken a tough walk. Although they enjoyed it a lot, now after getting up they walked very stiffly for the first few steps due to the muscle pain. But that didn’t stop them from exploring further with us the next day. No lift up, just walking up the mountain. Fortunately, we were trained by Norway and were able to keep up with them. Once at the top we came to a beautiful lake which you couldn’t see in the winter, but we recognized the mountain hut where we had eaten before. We immediately ordered a nice cold drink and delicious Austrian specialties, bringing me back to ‘the holidays of the past’. After a nice lunch, we took a chairlift a little further up and then via a longer route, on the other side of the mountain, we walked back to the village. Along the way there were all kinds of nice rest spots, viewpoints, cows and plants to admire. And it was also very funny to look for the places where you normally ski in the winter. The weather was beautiful, my parents were with us, what more could we wish for? Well, a lovely swimming pool with sauna perhaps? That’s how we ended the day! 

The next day we drove to the town of Imst to the Rosengartenschlucht. This is a gorge with a flowing river running through it and you can walk the length of the gorge. It was very beautiful and very nice to do this with my parents and we thought we always took a lot of photos when we are in a new place, but haha ​​compared to how many photos and videos my father took in this place haha. He just thought it was a really beautiful place, and it certainly was. The cliff walls were beautifully high, the water had carved all kinds of beautiful channels in the rock and regularly fell down in a beautiful waterfall. We had parked the car at the top of the gorge, so on the way in we walked through the gorge down to the village. Once there it was lunch time. Perfect! We had a delicious meal but then had to climb back up through the gorge with our bellies round. We ended the day with a splash in the pool, the sauna, vegetarian croquettes and a game. Yes, you read that right, vegetarian croquettes! My parents know what we like and miss from the Netherlands! Apart from the croquettes, which were not really on our list, just like the delicious cheese from the cheese farmer and chocolate pepernoten .. hahah .. We had asked them for a lot of groceries to bring with them for us because ordering stuff on the road is a bit difficult. Unfortunately, we had to get all that stuff back in Bob the next morning.. It just fitted.. haha, no kidding. But sadly the fun time with my mom and dad was over… with a lump in my throat we waved them off again. And were on our way to the next stop.

Lake Garda, Italy

The time has come, we are in Italy, the country where Jap actually had to go for a long time. He likes coffee, pasta, wine and Italian food and desserts so it really had to happen at some point. We started our journey through Italy at Lake Garda, but first we searched for a cheap SIM card to use the internet. For this we took an exit to a shopping center in a non-touristy area. Because of this, getting a SIM card was a challenge because they did not speak English anywhere and many did not want to try to communicate with us in a different way. After all the countries where English is very easy to use, it really takes some getting used to and was actually very nice and a lot of fun. Finally a country where it is not necessarily easy everywhere. In the end, with the help of a patient lady who didn’t speak a single word of English, using a lot of hand gestures, we managed to get a SIM card to use here in Italy. Then we drove on to a small town, half an hour into the mountains, but near Lake Garda. We found a beautiful camp spot that was free with a lot of other campers, but where we also had a beautiful view over the mountains and the vineyards. After we arrived we first walked into the village to stretch our legs and go exploring. We both immediately have such an Italian, Mediterranean feeling. The weather is really great and we can still walk around on our slippers and with short sleeves. We already see many small restaurants and gelaterias and we also came across a really great neighborhood store where Jap really couldn’t resist popping in. Here he only buys a nice local bottle of wine, but he would have liked to buy everything in that store, there were so many delicious things. Delicious large pieces of Italian cheese, grappa, limoncello, the most delicious wines, coffee…. He was really quite happy and he was almost euphoric as he walked through the village and I had to giggle a bit at times. After this we were able to eat outside at the camper, it was a really lovely evening and a very good start to our week in Italy. The next day we started exploring Lake Garda and its villages. We took the touristic route that ran along Lake Garda and wow it is beautiful here. We started in the north of Lake Garda and there the water is surrounded by beautiful steep mountains. Very impressive, very beautiful and fun to drive along the coast. The weather is really beautiful and soon we pass some small beaches and decide to stop for a swim and chill on the beach. The water is wonderfully refreshing and we doze off on the beach. We both really have a perfect holiday feeling and after a nice lunch with a salad, we drive on to the first village along Lake Garda that we wanted to explore. This village is very symbolically called Garda and it is a nice, cozy tourist village with beautiful streets. Here we find a great place to score an ice cream that is really tasty. Because it is not very big and we have 2 other villages on the program, we drive on to the next town Peschiera del Garda. This is a slightly bigger place and we both like it a bit less. We walk through all the small streets and eventually find a nice place to eat an appetizer. Our plan is to have an extensive long dinner, where we will eat and drink something and especially share delicious dishes in different places. We drink a nice wine here and eat a cheese fondue with truffles. Then we drive on to our last place on the list and also our place to sleep, Sirmione. This town is located on a peninsula that sticks out into Lake Garda. We park the bus and then walk towards the town, which is quite a long walk. But when we get there, Jap is really surprised with how cute this place is. Lon has been here before with her parents when she was 15, but this little place is nice enough to check out again. It is very busy but not annoyingly busy. We stroll through all the streets and in the meantime we look to see if we can find a place for dinner. We look for a restaurant that is not too aimed at tourists in the hope that we will find the best food there. After we have walked around the city from front to back, we eventually find a nice Osteria where the terrace is already full and we can only sit inside. Here we share really delicious dishes, we have pasta a la Norma, an aubergine dish and another bruschetta. It was really delicious and Jap closes the evening with a delicious Italian doppio. You can tell we love good food and especially this great Italian food. Satisfied, we stroll back to the bus where we quickly go to sleep, with the fan on because pff it’s hot….finally!

Verona, Italy

On that holiday that Lon had with her parents at Lake Garda, they have already been to Verona. But I could remember Verona as a beautiful city and it certainly was. It was a really big city and it was weekend and a sports event was organized throughout the city where children could try out ‘old-fashioned’ sports. So it was also really busy in the city. We probably build up well from quiet to increasingly busy. Because the next stop is Venice and it will probably be even busier there than in Verona. We had parked the car quite far from the center in a residential area. Talking about building up in crowds, this way we could also walk into the city in a quiet way. We soon came across a real Italian coffee place where Jap liked to drink a cup of coffee. Because it was still morning he ordered a cappuccino like a real Italian, and also because he loves it so much. We were surrounded by Italians and it was wonderful to listen to their conversations without understanding a word. After a while we strolled on and wandered through the city. I knew there had to be the balcony of Romeo and Juliet here in the city and so we wanted to take a look there. The spot was announced more than 50 meters before the spot by a very long line. We didn’t think it was worth the wait, so we just strolled on. We found a very nice street with lots of small restaurants and in our opinion chose the best one. It is almost impossible to find something that is supposedly really authentic in the center of a big city like Verona, everything has an English menu and maybe even dishes on the menu that are mainly on the menu for us as tourists. But still, I really think it’s a sport to look for an experience that is as authentic as possible for that place. Our method is do not sit at the large squares, look closely or actually listening to who is sitting on the terraces of the restaurant and see what their menu looks like. We really hit the bull’s eye with the restaurant we chose, the food was fantastic! After dinner we strolled a bit further through the city. Jap drank a nice espresso in a nice coffee bar and after that our missions were fulfilled and we took a long route back to Bob.

It was a wonderful week! For the next week there are new special guests on the program and much more Italy!

Much love from us,

Jap and Lon

Menu of the week

SundayMinestrone Soup
TuesdaySpinach Spatzle and Kaiserschmarn
WednesdayKase Spatzle
ThursdayPasta Salad
FridayItalian diner
SaturdayItalian diner

Spendings of the Week

Budget per day €54 and per week €378 and per month €1700

What/WhereCost (€)
Eating out120,47


Driven kilometers: 1631

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