Counting Down the Days

Finalmente – ce ne andiamo! At least in a little while…


Nach einem schneereichen Winter voller Skitage schmeißt Hector nun den Turbo an für die Reise gen Süden. Die Vorfreude auf italienische Delikatessen ist groß: die einen träumen vom Vino, die anderen vom Diesel. Wenn etwas so teuer ist wie Diesel in Italien muss es schließlich besonders gut sein.

Uncounted hours of fun in the snow finally come to an end, giving space for springtime with Hector. While I dream of food and wine, Hector is looking forward to precious gasolio in Italy: Something as expensive as Italian diesel must be extraordinary good, right?


Die Roadmap für die ersten Tage liegt bereit und enthält lauter „will-ich-hin“-Zwischenstopps. Einen Park voll mit steinernen Monstern in der Nähe von Rom, antike Tempelreste in Paestum, Traumstrände irgendwo in Kalabrien und dann natürlich Sizilien selbst. Die Fahrt dahin wird erfüllt von Wein, Weib und Gesang. Vor allem Gesang. Wer bergab unterwegs ist und im Rückspiegel einen 3m hohen Superbus mit feinstem Indie-Pop + schrägem Gesang auf sich zukommen sieht (und hört), der zieht am besten gleich auf die rechte Spur rüber.

The roadmap for the first days is prepared, offering attractive stop-overs with a bit of culture (parco bomarzo, Paestum), nature and beaches. Our way to Sicilia will be full of good vibes and good music. Quite some good music: every year I add 3-5 new compilation CDs, all perfect to sing along and aloud. Wherever between Munich and Palermo you hear the sound of a huge silver rolling stone coming close, you better clear the road.



2018 Goes 2019


View from our Room: Early Morning in Kag Beni, Himalaya

„You Did It!“ steht auf einer Karte, die meine Schwester mir zu Weihnachten geschenkt hat. Sie hat sie seit Ende März bereit liegen, gleich nachdem ich die Passüberquerung im Himalaya geschafft habe. Und damit, einfach so, ein Sehnsuchtsziel aus den 90er Jahren erfüllen konnte.

„You Did It!“ says a postcard from my sister. She kept it since March, right after I had passed the Thorong La / Annapurna Himal, and handed it over at Christmas. What a smart move to trigger the retrospect on ancient longings and their fulfilment.


Not the Alps, but Annapurna Himal: Emerald Lake between Pisang and Manang

Ich denke nicht: „Warum habe ich das nicht schon viel früher getan?“ Sondern: „Wow, alles, was ich schon immer tun wollte, kann ich durchführen!“ Genau diese Grundeinstellung werde ich auch in 2019 brauchen, vor allem beruflich – aber das ist eine andere Geschichte.

Instead of „Why haven’t I done this much earlier?” I rather think: „Wow, whatever I aim to do, whatever I long for, I am able to achieve it!” This is the spirit I will need in 2019, above all for new business developments – but that is another story…


Die Geschichte des Reisens und des Werdens erreichte in 2018 sagenhafte 5.416m einerseits (Nepal) und 0,83m andererseits (Wellenhöhe / Atlantik). Auf die Übelkeit und die Kopfschmerzen jenseits der 5.200 Höhenmeter hätte ich gut verzichten können. Womöglich lässt sich der Aufenthalt auf dem Thorong-La Pass besser genießen, wenn man nicht erschöpft an einer Mauer lehnt und vom baldigen Abstieg träumt. Und was das Surfen angeht: auch das ist mehr Fun ohne das Gift eines Petermännchens im Fuß.

In 2018, I reached incredible 5,416 m height (Himalaya) and 0.83m waves (Atlantic Ocean/France). I could have done easily without the nausea that stuck me above 5,200m. And I am positive that surfing is more fun without the venom of a greater weever…


Do I look Exhausted? Just Showing-off, Really – It’s a Piece of Cake (after a couple of years)

Am Ende aber bleibt die Zufriedenheit: jedes Verlassen meiner Komfortzone erweitert meine Möglichkeiten, meine Kraft, mein Durchhalten. Und mein Glück, das ganz persönliche.

However, what remains in the long run is a great contentment. As soon as I leave my comfort zone, I am rewarded with strength, satisfaction and fortune. Happyness in my own, personal version…


So Inviting: Hector’s New Couch

Es gibt faule Momente in denen man vergisst, wie wohltuend es ist in Aktion zu treten, loszufahren, die Welt zu entdecken. Und es gibt kalte Wintertage. Und den TÜV. Und damit ich dann nicht vergesse, worum es eigentlich geht, habe ich Hector und mich herausgeputzt für neue Abenteuer.

When laziness takes over, it is hard to get into action and discover the world. Hector seems to be even more sensitive to freezing temperatures, then comes garage times with regular maintenance and technical inspection. I see the danger to lose focus on upcoming trips and new adventures, hence I have worked on the look of Hector and myself. Now both are even more tempting for future travels around the world.


The Improved Version of Me contains a Compass, Planets around the Sun and the Core of it all

Kaum geht 2018 mit all seinen Highlights zu Ende, schon stehen neue Reisen vor der Tür. Ich bin ein wenig verstimmt darüber, dass höhere Mächte meine Planung erschüttern – und überhaupt ist ein Vulkanausbruch ein bisschen übertrieben, selbst für meine Verhältnisse. Ich beschließe, dass der Ätna sich bald wieder beruhigt und außerdem will ich sowieso viel lieber auf den Stromboli! Spannend wird vor allem die Frage, wo wir in der absoluten Vorsaison (Mai) übernachten werden. Da Hector die meiste Zeit der Reise gleich zwei reizende Damen an Bord hat, wird uns das Glück bestimmt hold sein!

With less than a handful of days left in 2018, new voyages lead to first preparations and ideas. Even though I am not amused that higher forces are well blasting my plans, an event like the eruption of a volcano seems exaggerated, even for me. I conclude that the Aetna will calm down soon and anyway, my plan is to walk up to the Stromboli rather than the Aetna. Most exciting will be the question of where and how, knowing that low season in May leads to closed camp sites. With Hector and 2 ladies on board, I am more than optimistic that we will get by in the very best way!


P.S.: So wie Hector und ich jetzt aussehen, brauchen wir dringend einen Strand und ein Surfbrett!

P.S.: Right after I got my tattoo and Hector his new couch + seats, it became a common dictum: The way we look, we should instantly head off and go for a beach and a surf board!

Inner Beauty – Wahre Schönheit kommt von innen


The new, fantastic, most comfortable and beautiful inner Hector!

Hector has just reached his grown-up age. With 85.000 km and 13 years old, he is like a young man, keen to see the world and full of power (130 PS). And, like many young men, his taste for fashion comes with room for improvement.


Hector’s Look when we met

With some positive financial coincidence, 2018 becomes the “Depeche Mode” year in the very best and literal sense. Imagine Hector running down the roads with something more decent than the baby-blue-grey-stripe design that was fancy way back in the 80ies.


The Couch before the Make-Over

The scope comprises the look as well as the core of my couch: I never use the “Dinette” as a 2-banks-1-table-combination. Deep down in my heart, I am a veritable couch-potato and consequently, I spread all available cushions over the surface of benches and table, all for my lounge sofa. Not only that there is always at least one cushion missing for full couch comfort, they are all worn out and bring your buttocks in touch with the wooden subfont of the banks.


Work in Progress

First step is writing an e-mail to 2 different companies. The responses have been clear and “G+S Polstermacher” wins nearly unchallenged. The second step is even better: go on a trip and test your current equipment thoroughly. Thus, during the France holidays, I figured out how I see my couch-bed-perfect furniture in the future and challenged it with Linda.



Now it is late October and the famous city of Enkenbach-Alsenborn welcomes Hector and me. Already during first coffee, I find an apple-green tissue that would juice up Hector’s interior. Ha, and I feared that I might not find fitting colours easily!

Minutes later, I learn that the drape tissues I have in hand are not meant for seats and sofas, so I start all over again. Perhaps something red? Or something borrowed, something blue??



We start with the forms and at least this part is easy: stronger cushions all over. A rounder shape in the back rest of the couch. Two sizes for the inner couch part, offering a slightly bigger piece for the bed function. In total, I need 2 more pieces than Adria had offered at Hector’s birth 13 years ago. The guys here immediately see what I need, and later that same morning, I am invited to test the new couch on the raw cushions.


Form Follows Function: Highly Comfortable

In the end, all forms and colours are defined and I head off. My van looks a bit naked and I am positive that there is something strange with the front part of my Ducato, but that is no wonder given that I left the passenger seat behind.


Meanwhile I wonder why the upper half of the door does not need insulation…

Now I can think it all over and over until I the Grande Finale which is set up for the third working day of the make-over project. I wonder why I did not choose patterns for the cushions? They are supposed to camouflage any spot or stain, but no, I went for solid-coloured tissues instead. Will the quantity of the perforated Alcantara tissue suffice for all pieces? Will the couch be too dark / too monochrome / too straight? Why not go for a funny 70ies style van and ignore other aesthetics??

All in all, it takes 3,5 Polstermacher employees and almost 3 days. In the afternoon of the third day, Hector presents his updated inner qualities in the most decent way: Dark anthracite meets light grey, perforated Alcantara meets Microfibre and luxury cushions meet the couch’s multiple functions.

I am more than happy: now Hector’s look meets my style and I hardly can wait for our next trip!


What a Contrast compared to the old Look


P.S.: About costs? Pretty fair: The entire makeover with all new cushions + both front seats + bed-enlargement (upstairs) + 2 covers on the door and in the back of the couch = 2.090,- €. Spread over upcoming years and trips full of happiness, it is well balanced 😊


Lovely Holidays in France – Facts & Information


France: Beautiful Country

4.181 km. 2.381 €. Uncounted grains of sand in my hair. That is what happens when you are more a traveller than a resident camper. And Hector? Hector has been great, as always. Full of options, reliable as a rock while flexible as a yoga star. And always offering plenty of space to me and to Linda and to the wet suit and the skateboard and the barbeque and the outdoor cooker and the bike and the outdoor furniture. If I ever find a man with such a wide range of possibilities, I might fall for him.


France holidays are always chilled: Living is easy with good food and wine, so much wine, ah! While Hectors consumption reaches 11 litres per 100 km, I never manage to drink as much as they offer in all those beautiful vineyards, bars and restaurants.


Hector en route

I tested quite some overnight possibilities. The first night has been at the Camping Rhodes, Étang du Stock. Simple and solid for 18,33 € (1 Hector, 1 person), less idyllic than it appears on their website and with friendly people and mosquitoes. The latter wait until sunset and are easily fought back with a bit of no-bite.


One of the rare Rain Showers, here: View on the Étang du Stock

At Saumur, I enjoyed wonderful wine and endless vineyards at the Domaine de la Cune. Despite the friendly vintners I only bought 6 bottles of their tasteful products. Note to myself: Think of the wine I want to enjoy during the upcoming months and make up a certain volume. Then double it! Hector offers space beyond the wine shelf, why should I go home with less than 3.5 tons?


Happy Hector at Domaine de la Cune

The camping Les Terrasses du Périgord is nice, but boring. I paid 27,- € and went on the next day, moving closer to the medieval centre of Sarlat. There always is a certain run on the rare places of the Aire de Camping Cars at Sarlat, but the 7,- € are worth the 10 minutes walk to the city.


Camper Parking at Sarlat

At Saint-Émilion, I was lucky to catch a spot at noon. If you fail, come back in the evening: by then, all ignoring regular cars will be gone and less than a handful of campers remain – all for free and only 300m away from this wonderful little town. I will always come back whenever possible, probably in 2020 or 2021…


To the Left: St. Émilion downtown. To the Right: Free Camper Parking.

The Camping Maubuisson is not my first choice, but I was too lazy to look for alternatives. The pool, the showers, the spots, the people – whichever detail I turned to, it made me light-hearted and happy that this place was not more than an overnight-stay between beach and airport.


2 Days before the Canvas Blind lost 1 Leg…(here: at Camping Les Sablères)

Camping Municipale Les Sablères, Vieux Boucau : No pool, no stress. I like the mix of surfers, pensioners and relaxed families. If you prefer high prices, choose any other campsite.


Around Lac de Biscarosse

The Lac de Biscarosse and further lakes around are worth a stop-over. At least that’s what I heard and probably more true when combined with better weather.


Camping Les Grands Pins, Lacanau Océan

After our first week of surf lessons, Linda and me wanted to spend timeless days on the beach, rent a surf board and take adventurous pictures in our favourite bikinis with fantastic waves and bright sun. The plan was pretty good, but failed due to constant rain and led us to the luxury campsite of Lacanau Océan (31,- €/night). Although we spent relaxed hours on Hector’s couch, drinking tea and reading good books, it was not quite what we had in mind.


Camping Le St. Martin, Moliets et Maa

At Moliets et Maa, the only campsite worth a stay is Le St. Martin. Avoid July + August, all other months are fine and offer nearly reasonable prices (ca. 37,- €/night). The main disadvantage – endless walks on the endless beach towards the one and only surfspot – remains. The main spectacle is for free: Breath-taking sunsets!

Sunset_DDOn my way home, I made a stop at the public parking of Montlucon, offering places (and even electricity, if required) for camper vans. The walk of approximately 3 km towards the historic centre should be done by bike, though. Anyway, I love those simple and free parkings that offer all you need for an overnight stay: come as you are, leave early if you like, no stress, no fees. No picture, as I had simply forgotten to take one.


France Southwest 2018: 4.181 km, 473 l Gazoline, Wonderful Surf Holidays

The resumé is: three and a half weeks are merely nothing. Yet, every place and every km, every trial on the surf board and every sip of wine, it is all worth it!




Keep On Surfing

It is around 10 in the morning at Bordeaux airport and there are quite some options for another week of holidays. Once I fancied that I could take my time driving days and days through France, stopping here and there. Now it turns out that I have not counted on Hectors obstinacy and the fact that his metal coachwork reacts magnetic to waters. Before I can enter any destination into the navigation device, I am already en route heading south-west towards the Atlantic Ocean.


When Einstein detected details of Gravity – did he think of the strong pull between Hector and the Sea?

At noon it is all set: Hector offers his full indoor + outdoor capacity and upcoming surf lessons are agreed for the next three days. While Nepal had been all about walking, these weeks are all about beaching. At the office, I would be bored to death with hours full of nothing, but it is different at the coast. I forget about time, I forget about money and I forget about almost everything that exceeds imminent needs such as food or sunscreen.


The surf lessons during my last week are like the waves, full of ups and downs. The good part is that I am on top of the beginner’s level. The annoying part is that I have not reached the next level yet. Frustration takes the lead on day 3 (what else?!), when Vincent is busy helping some surfing neophytes on their boards while I am left alone with strong current and aggressive whitewash, thanks to the new moon. I look at the sea and think back: Only months ago, I have passed an altitude of 5.416m. These waves may be nasty, but they are not higher than 1,50m – absolutely hilarious!


Getting better with the right Perspective: These waves are nothing compared to the height of the Himalaya

After a last evening at my favourite restaurant of Vieux Boucau, it is time to move on. I transfer Hector to the Camping Saint Martin at Moliets et Maa and learn that an endless beach means endless walks through the sand before you reach the best surf spot. Good that I am such a sporty girl, all able to cope with the surrounding – and well supported by Hector who has settled down only 30m behind the huge sand dune that separates the campsite from the beach.


Moliets et Maa: Spectacular Show when the Atlantic swallows the Sun

With a rented board I try out the local waves on my own. It is a pity that the conditions are not inviting enough to try out the open (no real waves behind the sand bank), but at least I am queen of the whitewash. Take every wave that comes along, jump on the board, immediately turn left and follow the diagonal course of the wave’s shoulder right until the end, that’s what I practice over and over again. Meanwhile, my outfit does not match my abilities: being less under water and more on top of the board, my long-sleeve wet suit gets far too warm for sunny 30°C. Sometimes it is tough to be me…


Queen of the Whitewash

Within a blink of an eye, 3,5 weeks are over and I have to think of the way back to Munich. Even in fast-and-furious mood, Hector will probably need more than one day for the distance of 1.500km. However, it might be a bit annoying if I start early in the morning, so why not celebrate departure day with a final surf lesson?


It is always good to have surfers on speed dial and within minutes it is set. The next morning, I store everything properly in Hectors various compartments, check out at Moliets et Maa and reach Vieux Boucau 20 minutes later. After successful one and a half hours in salty water and with gentle (later: a bit too gentle) waves, I get out of the wet suit and straight into the driver’s seat, taking some grains of sand with me along the way. Although I love my life and my home-town, one or two months more for travelling would be very welcome… With a heartful sigh I turn around, knowing that I will not see another sunset at the beach for months.


Goodbye France / Atlantique / Surfing…

The in-between: Water from all Sides

Great plans we had… posing on gentle waves in our best bikinis for fabulous pictures of the 2018 surfer girls. Lying endlessly on the beach. Renting a surf board and jump in the waves unattended by competent surf teachers. All those things were up for our last common days before Linda has to leave.

And then there was grey sky and pounding rain continued its big fall.


Coffee Break somewhere close to the lake de Biscarosse

Eventually, we hope for the best and go a bit North: Lacanau offers the most luxurious campsite of the Côte d’Argent and is reasonable close to the Bordeaux airport. Isn’t it common knowledge that relaxation is best when you have nothing to do? No surf lessons, no daily market groceries, no sunbathing… In the end, we have 1,5 calm days at “Les Grands Pins” where we float through the pools and come to a rest. At least we have a cosy couch and the cabin crew is always good for a well sorted tea selection or sweets from the local supermarket, so we get by pretty well.


“Les Grands Pins” in Lacanau-Océan

When Linda’s holidays are over, Hector claims the rain leftovers to be tears from his headlights and we get her to Bordeaux. Now, I have a full week yet to come with an incredible range of possibilities: Hundreds of kilometers of coast and beaches. “Villages bastides” in the hinterland. Culture and old stones in Bordeaux centre. And countless vineyards around me. Which one shall I choose…??

Wave after Wave: The Surfing Challenge

The first two surfing lessons went pretty well, both for Linda and me. After a day off (filled by cycling to Hossegor), we continue on Saturday with our third lesson and with incredible optimism. I even talk our teacher Florice into going “au large” (into the open).


This year, part of my surfing practice is learning that day 3 never works out. If five in a row or three in a row or with one day off in between, none of this matters with the general rule of “day three – no way”. If I only had known…


While the waves make me tumble with unknown athletic moves, I use the time under water for reflexion: Maybe I should become old and boring someday (like: now)?! Stop the action and just wear the wetsuit for bragging and for well-shaped features…
Instead, I have made a decision some years ago: Whatever a place offers => try it! Go for it and see where it gets you. Make life colourful and widen your horizon. In case of doubt, always go for the most challenging aim. It is all about detecting the world and about touch and feel and taste and experience.
Hence, I raise my head above the water and continue. From what I can see, the other mid-level surfers in our group struggle just like me, so probably this is just a phase to go through. Or a day to leave behind.


Days 4 and 5 are with Vincent and slightly better. Until I feel a stitch between my toes and wonder what I have stepped in… Although it hurts, I think of upcoming challenges, clench my teeth and hobble through the sand up to the surf school. I present my foot to Clément who becomes my personal saviour of the day. At least I renewed my nail polish just yesterday, so even with a swollen toe I still look like a lady.

It turns out that I have become acquainted with a greater weever (“une Grande Vive”) whose venom causes the waves of pain that now wash through my foot. Ten minutes and a basin full of warm (almost hot) water later, the wound is closed and the pain starts fading away. Time to return to my surf board!



The last of our five surf lessons is dedicated to stability: With rough water, we keep to the whitewash and practice not-falling-down-even-in-rushing-waves as well as steering the board rather than being carried away. Although my progress has not met my (ambitious) expectations, I am fine with the development. Perhaps I should use the last week of my holidays for further surfing days and see where it gets me…?!


Sporty Holidays: Cycling, Muscles and Courses Landaises


Equipment for today’s 40 km Bike Tour

Besides the surfing practice, camper girls are always up for sports. Consequently we take our bikes and go straight south to Hossegor, for all I have heard of it must be full of well-defined muscles that cling to experienced surfers. Sounds like our place to be for the day!


At Hossegor


The main beach and its promenade are edged by by a line of basque-style houses. With warm light at sunset it might look splendid, but in full daylight it is too little too ratty to be much of a beauty. And very, very touristic. Not, that there would be more people than in other places (which in fact are), but the place is above all: commercial.


Homemade Food at it’s Best in Vieux Boucau: Yaya Café

In Vieux Boucau, we got used to a steady communication line with our surf school and our favourite café (reserving preferred meals for hungry surfer girls) and even with the bike rental we achieve individual agreements. In Hossegor, it is all quite anonymous. Not to mention the combination of mid-level-quality with elevated prices, at least when it comes to lunch.


Waves at Hossegor. And Surfers. Quite Some…

However, Hossegor is famous for the waves rather than food and yes, the beach and the waves look nice enough. Tempting, even. And not only for professional surfers, it also seems pretty fine for beginners and all kinds of people – a fact that is proved by the constant crowd of wet-suited figures in the ocean.


Back to Vieux Boucau, we take advantage of all that the village offers: The colourful sunsets. The daily market. The cycling paths. The endless beach. The fantastic restaurant “Côté Sable” on top of the beach (eat down the menu with all that contains fish in any way!). And, being very special and very regional, “Les Courses Landaises”.


Stars of the “Arène”

The Courses Landaises is a kind of bullfighting show but without the fighting. And without the bulls. Cows are preferred, all presented by their names and honoured by the matadors and further game players.


Presentation of Lucy – Crew / Crew – Lucy. Pleased to Meet You.

It is impressive to see how men and biests work together with the climax of men jumping towards and over the galopping cows. As the cows seem less happy then the human actors and the spectators, I will not make Course Landaise my new top No.1 hobby, though.


Course Landaise

Days fly by with wonderful sunset dinners at “Côté Sable“, lazy hours at the beaches. And, of course, with THE SURFING CHALLENGE: we will see how this will turn out in the very next post…


Vieux Boucau – Surfing Challenge

Tuesday is a big day when it is all about the arrival of the second campergirl: Linda arrives at Bordeaux and Hector is up on all four wheels to pick her up.



Now the two of us – Linda + myself – are up for the surfing challenge at Vieux Boucau. Been there, done that, and still… The urge to get more out of it, to widen my possibilities. Thus, we are back where I started surfing two years ago, now with Linda for even more fun along the way.


Will We be Some of Those Sometime?

This time, high season is still on a vivid level on the West coast. Yet, Vieux Boucau is a place far too relaxed to ever get stressful. The beach and the waves are dominating touristic life and we are here to be part of the show.


We arrive well in time in the evening, just before the night is taken over by thunderstorms and rain. Secretely, I wonder if the waves might be too aggressive for our beginners’ level… I do not know where all these worries come from, but I catch myself thinking about waves that might be too strong, sporty actions that might be too extreme and any other obstacle that might jump in my way unexpectedly.


Trying hard not to Worry too much

As it has been with the skateboard training, all it takes is getting started: Once you begin, you are into it and you stop worrying. You just do whatever you are up to. In our case: start with body surf, then lead the surf boards into the white wash and then… My body remembers more than my head and instinctively I push my board into the sea, get hip-deep in the water and lay on the board. The wave in sight, I start paddling, paddle stronger and there it is: push up, put the left foot on top, follow with the right (rear) foot and there I am, all back on the waves!


Still Standing!

Linda, having some fishes among her forefathers, gets into the whole surfing system quite quickly and we have our fun playing “surfer girls” in the Atlantic Ocean. Supported by good teachers (Alternative Surf School once more proved to be best!) and a gentle beach, we build up quite some routine right from the start.


Not bad for a Start

After our successful first lesson, we stumble over the best eating place in town and turn back to Hector with cookies in our pockets and salty water in our hair. Meanwhile, my little van plays it luxury with the outdoor carpet, the sun roof, comfortable chairs and tables and all kind of perfect equipment. Some of it have not been used for almost two years, but now with settling down for more than just one or two nights (a full week, in fact), we take advantage of all the stuff that miraculosly comes out of the deepest storage compartments.


Holidays at the Atlantic Ocean – Always so full of Clichées

Days go by with surfing, strolling on the local markets, fantastic food, sunset at the beach and all this kind of holiday action. Blessed we are to live a wonderful life!