After writing part 1 & 2 earlier, it’s time to sit down and write this 9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3. In between finishing the rather long to-do list…. Anyhow, we start this overview in southern Italy, go to Croatia and travel onwards to Slovenia. Enjoy the pictures!!

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3

As noted in the previous post(s), a 62 day road trip is a bit much to pack into one post. I split the story into 14-16 day segments, to be followed by two posts about trip finances and Airbnb experiences.

Below is a short summary of day 32-46. We start in southern Italy (Amalfi Coast), drive to Bari (at the Adriatic sea), jump on a boat and sail to Croatia!

Day 32 – Drive to Central Italy

Today we drive off from Amalfi and towards central Italy to stay the night. It’s a very rainy day and actually perfect if you just have to make some kilometers. Still managed to shoot some okay pictures of the Amalfi coastline and the rural side of Italy.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Amalfi Coast

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Amalfi Coast

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Central Italy

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Central Italy

Also, some Airbnb madness today. Check out the amount of cutlery we found in a unit for 4 people. This tweet was also viewed more than 67.000 times!? #Airbnb does miracles 🙂

https://twitter.com/CheesyFinance/status/999537639048040448

Day 33 – Drive to Bari and Board a Boat

The drive from central Italy towards Bari brings you along lovely rolling hills and endless olive groves. It was a beautiful day today once again, as the rain had disappeared completely. In Bari we had time to visit the beach before we had to board our (old) boat to Croatia. It was a smooth cruise over to the other side of the Adriatic sea.

We also ended up meeting tons of fun folks today, from Americans living in Italy to retired folks travelling Europe in their RV’s. Great stories all around.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Bari

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Bari

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Boat

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Boat

Day 34 – Landing in Dubrovnik

We had an amazingly beautiful arrival by sea into the city of Dubrovnik. Unfortunately it did take some time to get through customs and into the actual city. We had found a place close to the old city and settled right in. Once we got some monopoly money (Croatian Kuna’s), we walked toward the old city and enjoyed the views.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Hello Croatia!

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Hello Croatia!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Dubrovnik

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Dubrovnik

Day 35 – Dubrovnik City Wall Tour

Each day about 2.000-3.000 people arrive by cruise ships into this relatively small city. In total it gets swamped every day by about 10.000+ visitors during peak season. In order to do the city wall tour without being in a human traffic jam or getting issues with heat exhaustion, we started early in the day. It was fantastic! The views are amazing but don’t come cheap at €20,50 pp. (150 Kuna).

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Dubrovnik from north wall

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Dubrovnik from north wall

Later that day we left the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik behind and drove towards the small town of Trpanj. Here a ferry goes to the mainland again. In this way we avoided tourists, the Serbian border crossings (2) and were able to enjoy the spectacular country side. This peninsula drive is highly recommended, you can also find the second longest stone wall here after the great wall of China!

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Great Wall of ….. Croatia?

Day 36 – Driving towards Krka National Park

In the morning we enjoyed the beach, after which we packed up and drove onto a boat again to sail to the mainland. Next, it was just driving inland towards the Krka national park area and position ourselves for the next day. A travel day indeed.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Getting ready set sail

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Getting ready to set sail to the mainland

Day 37 – Krka National Park

The Krka national park is amazing, water and waterfalls everywhere! Take note that you cannot drive into parts of this part, but can walk or take the bus. There is also a limit of 8.000 visitors each day, then the close it off to limit the impact. So get here early in the peak seasons!

Prices also vary depending on when (winter, spring/fall, summer) you get here. In the summer you pay about €28,- pp (200 Kuna) to get in. We got in for almost half that amount (110 kuna) You can also drive to the other sites in the park, which are more peaceful and quiet. These also come with even more spectacular waterfalls and views.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Krka National Park

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Krka National Park

Day 38 – Zaton and Zadar

When driving away from Krka National Park we set course to see Zadar and its sea organ/lights. But before we could get there we drove along the coastline and enjoyed some time in Zaton (small picturesque town with best lunch spot ever) for lunch.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: perfect spot for lunch!

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: perfect spot for lunch!

In the afternoon we had time to hit the beach again, this time at Biograd. Later that day we arrived in Zadar. After dinner we went to see the old town, listened to the sea organ and watched the light display. Unfortunately, it was partially broken L, but still fun to see.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Sunset at Zadar, listening to sea organ

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Sunset at Zadar, listening to sea organ

Day 39 – Driving towards Plitvička Jezera National Park

From Zadar we drive back land inwards towards Plitvička Jezera National Park. Along the way we enjoyed lakes, mountains and very pretty scenery. There are some great opportunities to do river activities (canoeing, etc.), but we were unprepared for this. Next time perhaps?

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Mountain views during drive

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Mountain views during drive

Day 40 – Plitvička Jezera National Park

We went to entrance 2 at the Plitvička Jezera National Park, which is slightly quieter and you can park your car under the trees. Which is great when it’s hot and sunny outside. It’s also a shorter walk to get into the park itself and you somewhat go against the flow, which can be convenient as there are shorter wait times for boats early in the day.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Boat ride to hiking trail

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Boat ride to hiking trail

Take your time in this park, it’s big and you have to do a lot of hiking. Weather is also tricky as there are frequent thunderstorms in this area in summer. Be prepared for all kinds of weather.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: View form above on various lakes

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: View form above on various lakes

Day 41 – Driving towards Rijeka

Today was a day of driving again. We had to get toward the Rijeka area to allow for a couple more days to relax and enjoy the seaside. Before driving onwards to Slovenia.

The drive from the mountainous area to the coast is rather spectacular when you get closer to Senj. The views are amazing from the last ridge before you drive towards the sea.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: View on Senj in distance

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: View on Senj in distance

Day 42 – Opatija Visit

Sometimes referred to as the local “Riviera”, Opatija is a little coastal town with nice local gardens, seaside and boulevard. We had a great day here, enjoying the great weather and views.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Opatija

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Opatija

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Kvarner Hotel in Opatija

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Kvarner Hotel in Opatija

Day 43 – Travel to Slovenia and Skocjan Caves

It was time today to leave Croatia, which is really an amazing country to visit, and go to Slovenia. The first impressions were not great, as the border crossing too ages due to road work. But once that was behind us, it became clear that this country is a gem too! Fantastic scenery, amazing caves and nice villages.

We visited the Škocjan caves in the afternoon, but where not allowed to take pictures from the inside. But believe me, when you could fit the Cathedral of Milan in this underground gorge system, it’s mind-blowing! The old trail system they used for tourists (until the 1930’s) must have been some serious undertaking, you really needed some balls for that one.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Exit of Skocjan Caves

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Exit of Skocjan Caves

Day 44 – Castle in the Cliff & Ljubljana

When we drove off in the morning we first visited the Predjama Castle. But looking at the number of castles we already visited and the entrances fees, we chickened out! Made the picture and moved on to the capital Ljubljana next. Which is a great city to visit. Pretty laid back, nice castle on the hill too, and dragons!

If you can, take a bike to go through the city, it’s perfect for that too.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Predjama Castle

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Predjama Castle

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Ljubljana Dragons

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Ljubljana Dragons

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Ljubljana city view from it castle

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Ljubljana city view from its castle

Day 45 – Waterfall Visit

At the end of day 44 we drove towards the Bohinj area to stay the night. Today we were able to visit the Slap Savica waterfall. Albeit weather was not great, we did not get drenched. Beside the waterfall, we also enjoyed some time at lake Bohinjsko jezero. Oh, and some homemade pancakes in the afternoon.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Savica Falls

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Savica Falls

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Bohinj Lake

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Bohinj Lake

Day 46 – Enjoying Lake Bled & Travel to Austria

Before it was time to travel onwards to Austria, we spent the morning at Lake Bled. With near perfect weather it was amazing! A very pretty lake and beautiful surround mountains. The pictures speak for themselves I think?!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Lake Bled

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Lake Bled

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Lake Bled Mountain Views

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Lake Bled Mountain Views

In the afternoon we drove towards eastern Austria. But more on that in the next 9 week road trip report!

 

How’s your summer season going so far? Seen and done some great things too?

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Should you buy a holiday home? This is a question that we reviewed several times during and after our epic road trip. Albeit we quickly came to the conclusion that you shouldn’t. In most cases at least, let me explain.

Should you buy a holiday home?

Now that we had our final vacation outside the main peak vacation seasons, we need to get creative. Miss CF will turn 5 not to long from now and will have to go to school mandatorily. Only in exceptional circumstances can you get leave for your child outside the fixed school vacation periods. The fine if you take your kids out of school and get caught: up to €100/day! Not a good idea.

So what if you buy a holiday home? Would this give you a cheaper place to stay during the peak holiday seasons? What are the pro’s and con’s? Time to find out.

Should you buy a holiday home?

Should you buy a holiday home?

The Boundary Conditions

As with everything we evaluate on this blog, we define the boundary limits first. In this case, we go for one (French) example with the following assumptions:

  • Suitable for a group of 3-4 people (family)
  • Budget for a holiday home is €100.000-150.000 (yes, that’s a lot of money)
  • Paid in cash!
  • Return on investment is 6% on above noted amounts when invested
  • Time to travel each year 3 weeks (21 days)
  • Property tax (1.2%) for the selected property
  • 8% transfer taxes (rough estimate)
  • Maintenance cost 2,5% of property value (all inclusive, including reservations)
  • Property price inflation: 2% per year

The Property

After watchin “Escape to the continent” the last few weeks on Netflix, I decided to look for a cheap but special property. This is what I found:

http://www.frenchestateagents.com/french-property-for-sale/view/89503TNW24/lakes-for-sale-in-abjat-sur-bandiat-dordogne-aquitaine-france

It’s a 41 cottage/fishing hut, unconnected to the grid, in the Dordogne in France. It comes with 3.3Ha (!) of land and it’s on lake (you have 3 lakes actually). Oh, and it has a 5.000m² (0.5Ha) Christmas tree forest How cool is that?

The price for all this? Just €114.450!

Oh, for future references (in case the property get’s sold), you can download the spec sheet here: French property with lake

Operating Expenses

Ok, let’s see how much this property is costing you on a yearly basis. Based on the assumption above, you’d get the following:

  • Total purchase price (incl. transfer taxes): €126.606 = lost opportunity costs = €7.416
  • Maintenance costs: €3.090
  • Utilities (gas use only, estimate): €150
  • Garbage/waste removal (estimate): €30
  • Property taxes: €1.483
  • Insurance (rough estimate): €300
  • Property value adjustment: -€2.472

Based on the above this vacation home would “cost” you €9.997 per year. Cash-flow wise it would only be about €3.000 per year (assuming 35% of the maintenance costs is actually spend every year). Based on the 21 days per year of vacation time, that would mean €474/day and €142/day in cash-flow costs. That’s a lot of money!

Obviously if you can stay longer (i.e. during FIRE), the costs per night would go down rather quickly. It’s actually not an expensive place to enjoy your retired life. Other things you could consider is to rent it out when you are not there. But you likely need a local someone to help you (cleaning, check-in/out, maintenance, etc.).

Extra Holiday Home Income

Ok, so you decide the balance the property expenses with some rental income. Based on an Airbnb search (see also next section) a property like this should fetch about €60 per night. Let’s say that you can rent this out about 30% of the year (this place not for everyone and in winter it might not be interesting). This would bring in about €6.570.

Let’s assume that this is paid by 30 different guests (average stay of about 3-4 days/group) and each check-in/out and cleaning would be €30. You would also have more garbage removal, say €150. And more maintenance due to wear and tear, say €500/year. Total expenses would be about €1.550.

Net profit on the rental would be about €5.020.

In this scenario the place is “only” costing you about €4.977 per year and is actually making your cash-flow positive! By a surprising €2.020 per year.

New expenses for your holiday of 21 days: 237/night. Ouch…..still expensive.

Vacation costs

If you go on holiday in the summer season for 3 weeks, in a similar area and sized property, you are looking at about €40-75 per night (based on Airbnb search). Let’s take €60 here for argument sake (including booking fees). The costs for the holiday (travel to site, food and attractions not included) for 21 days would only be €1.260! Seems like a no brainer to me.

Discussion

Obviously having your own place is not financially interesting if you don’t rent it out. Heck, even when you rent it out it’s still not financially interesting (albeit cash-flow positive perhaps). For personal use a couple weeks per year, you are better off renting a place for that time. Looking at the lost opportunity costs of €7.416, that’s one heck of a holiday! We actually spent less during our 9 week road trip (post to follow on that too)!

There are some good things about having your own spot. You can make sure its outfitted to your liking, have your own personal stuff there and you can avoid other tourists. It certainly seems to be a quiet place. You are also free to come and go as you like, but at a high cost for sure!

The down side, besides the money, is that you always need to go to the same location. And in this case, the location is about a 1.000km from the Netherlands. You can’t really “hop” over for the weekend, you actually do have to plan your trips.

We made many more calculations like this and made the same conclusion over and over again. So we will not buy a holiday home now of in the future.

 

How about you? Is a holiday property something for you? 

 

 

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We are back in the Netherlands! “Normal” life has resumed, albeit I don’t have a job anymore at this stage. You would assume that I now have tons of time on my hand, and you are probably right! However, the to-do list is longer than ever, go figure 🙂 On top of that to-do list is also writing down all the fun things we did on the road trip. Today I hope you enjoy this “9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2” as much as I did writing it.

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2

As noted in the previous post, a 62 day road trip is a bit much to pack into one post. I planned to split the post into 15-16 day segments, followed by two posts about trip finances and Airbnb experiences. Below is a short summary of day 16-31. We start in southern France and moved to southern Italy during this time.

Day 16 – Trip to Cannes

We arrived in Cannes the day before the whole movie thing was about to start. It was kind of cool to see all the movie related stands, stages and displays. We walked around the boulevard before travelling to the Monaco area later that day.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Cannes

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Cannes

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Cannes Film Festival

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Cannes Film Festival

When driving through Monaco, the GPS had a rough time and we sort of got lost. The fun thing though is that we ended up driving on parts of the F1 grand prix circuit! Made my day 🙂

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monaco Street Circuit

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monaco Street Circuit

Day 17 – Trip to Beach & Monaco Run

Monaco is obviously an expensive place, so we arranged accommodation just outside of Monaco. Fortunately not that far away. We used this day to give Miss CF some time to play at the beach, while Mrs CF could do some work. Yes, unfortunately she actually needed to work a few days during our trip (part of the time-off deal).

Once Mrs CF was done work and Miss CF fell asleep, I got the opportunity to hike around and decided to speed walk to Monaco for a preview for the next day.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monaco

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monaco

Day 18 – Trip to Monaco

We took public transport to get to Monaco to limit the parking costs & troubles. We decided to just hike around town to see all the famous sites like the Casino and the harbour. Fortunately for us, the preparations for the historical grand prix where underway, so we could do some car spotting and walk on the actual F1 grand prix circuit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monaco Harbour

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monaco Harbour

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Historical Grand Prix Cars

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Historical Grand Prix Cars

Day 19 – Trip to Menton & Travel to Italy

We closed our time in France by visiting a small amusement park in Menton. Once Miss CF has spent all here coins, we drove onwards to Italy. We arranged an accommodation about halfway to the town of Pisa. it was still pretty near the coast, so we did another boulevard walk (and ice-cream) that afternoon.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Beautiful welcome to Italy

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Beautiful welcome to Italy

Day 20 – Travel to Pisa

While in France we avoided all toll road, we quickly discovered that’s not a good idea in Italy. The toll roads are in pretty good shape, but the highways and secondary roads are mostly rubbish! For the sake of our kidneys and our car, we stuck to toll roads as much as possible. I though Belgium was bad, but Italy actually has far worse roads.

Today we drove to the town of Pisa (yes, the one with the tower). As we were scheduled to arrive late, we would not have time to visit the city (+ the little one was tired). So we decided to just park at the Port of Pisa and enjoy the scenery and the peace & quiet.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Port of Pisa

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Port of Pisa

Day 21 – Trip to Pisa

We started the day relatively early and took the bus to downtown. As we started our day outside the main centre, it was still pretty quiet. Once we got into the city centre we were surprised how laidback it was. However, once we turned the street to where the leaning tower and cathedral stand, we noticed how incredibly touristic the place actually is! Wow, it’s busy in this place.

Once we returned to the city center later that day, we noticed that the whole town was swamped with tourists. So, if you want to do your sightseeing in relative quiet (and limit your time in waiting lines), start way before 10:00! Cheesy top tip here 😉

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Pisa

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Pisa

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: River through Pisa

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: River through Pisa

Day 22 – Travel to Monte Argentario & Aquarium

After leaving the town of Pisa, we decided to look for more tranquility along the coast line. We found this at the peninsula of Monte Argentario. This “island” is connected to the main land via three “legs”, which have loads of campsites.

We first visited the town of Porto Santo Stefano, which has a small aquarium and ferry service to local islands. It’s quite a nice coastal town with nice blue waters and some beach access and restaurants.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Porto Santo Stefano

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Porto Santo Stefano

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Porto Santo Stefano Aquarium

Day 23 – Trip around Monte Argentario

On the second day at the peninsula of Monte Argentario we drove around. We also did a bit of hiking to get to the waterfront (most roads are up the slopes of the peninsula). It’s a very nice area and definitely worth a visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monte Argentario Coastline

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monte Argentario Coastline

Day 24 – Travel towards Rome

As you probably noticed, we like to visit cities, but don’t like to stay there for very long. Too busy and noisy for our liking. Driving (and parking) in major cities is not much fun either. Especially not in Italy! So when we were planning our trip to Rome, we decided to find accommodation outside the city and use public transport to get downtown.

Today we drove away from Monte Argentario and took it easy. The drive got us to a town just outside Rome. Oh, and the roads got even worse! Never seen so many potholes in my life.

We also did have some time to relax at an outlet centre outside Rome (something with playground areas…….)

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Outlet Centre near Rome

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Outlet Centre near Rome

Day 25 – Rome in a Day

The trains in Italy are extremely cheap, surprisingly comfortable and even travelled on time! We were pleasantly surprised to be honest. The train ride got us to Roma Termini from which we arranged the hop-on-hop-off bus (the cheaper green line) and started out on our first tour around town. We actually ended up doing two loops.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Old Stuff

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Old Stuff

Rome really is too big to see in one day, but the tourist busses work really well. Be very careful when going out to restaurants (or get a cab, etc.), as you get screwed everywhere in this town. Don’t expect too much friendliness either. It’s also not the cleanest place I’ve ever been. Albeit very pretty and full of history, Rome was not our favorite place to visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Colosseum

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Colosseum

Vienna on the other hand, which is a kind modern and clean version of Rome, is so much more fun to visit (more on that in a later post)

Day 26 – Trip to Lake Albano

After the busy day in Rome, we picked Lake Albano to chill for a few hours. We had to drive to Naples that day, and this lake was definitely worth the small detour. We rented a paddle boat and had fun with the little one on the local beaches.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Lake Albano

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Lake Albano

Day 27 – Trip to Naples

Cheesy top tip, don’t drive into Naples during rush hour. Probably one of the scariest rides we’ve ever done in our lifetime. Still surprised that the car (and us) came out in one peace! We have driven a lot and certainly are not scared to drive, but this was a bit too exciting for our liking. Italians don’t do road rules.

You probably are familiar with the problems in Naples (garbage issues, mafia, poverty, etc.). Some are still very clearly visible in the city. The Archeological museum on the other hand was really nice. Also the old inner city very pretty to walk through. Not as “nice” as Rome, it was still worth the visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Roof at the Archeological Museum

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Roof at the Archeological Museum

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Gesù Nuovo Square

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Gesù Nuovo Square

Day 28 – Trip to Pompeii

Who thinks of Naples also thinks of the volcano Vesuvius and Pompeii. We would have loved to hike up the volcano, but with the little one that was not going to happen. So we visited the next best thing related to that volcano: Pompeii.

Fortunately, we had visited the archeological museum in Naples first. Otherwise Pompeii might have been slightly disappointing as most art work and statues are located in the museum. Pompeii was a very interesting visit, but it does start to look alike once you walk around there for a few hours. Glad we visited though! One less item on the bucket-list 🙂

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Pompeii

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Pompeii

After leaving Pompeii, we moved on toward the Sorrento area for some relaxation again.

Day 29 – Trip around Sorrento

It was time again to for Miss CF to play and relax. So we spent some time on the beach at Sorrento and enjoyed the surrounding areas (including some fresh made lemonade). Sorrento and surrounding area is famous for its Limoncello (we bought some too). The place is packed with lemon orchards, which look very pretty when you walk through them.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Sorrento

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Sorrento

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: View of Vesuvius

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: View of Vesuvius

Day 30 – Travel to Amalfi

The next area to explore was on the other side of the peninsula. Today was our trip to the Amalfi coast. Unfortunately, It didn’t go as smooth as we hoped though. We arrived around mid-day in the Positano area, which is stunning but there were NO parking spots anywhere. People already parked alongside the road more than a km before the town. With our big Prius wagon we were simply out of luck 🙁

The roads are super small, has concrete barriers/rock cliffs and there are tons of busses and trucks that drive around. Needless to say that it was not a very comfortable ride. It actually was a near 2 hour traffic jam to get from Positano to Amalfi. We had virtually no opportunities to park, turn around or look around.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: "Positano" Coast line

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: San Pietro Coast Line

To continue the nightmare, our accommodation didn’t plot correctly on the GPS, we overshot by a good half hour! Needless to say we all were pretty grumpy by the end of the day. But we had gotten to the Amalfi area! We did make a plan to make the next day go smoother.

Cheesy top tip for the Positano/Amalfi area, don’t drive but take a bus/boat! Alternatively, go really early so you can park (and get a small rental car while you are at it). Or, if you have a lot of money to spend, arranged a place with private parking.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: "Amalfi" Coast line

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Not quite “Amalfi” Coast line

Day 31 – Hike to Amalfi

We parked our car up the hill in Pontone (still had to pay €1.5/hour, cash only!) and walked down into Amalfi. It was such a better way to get around Amalfi and actual have time to enjoy the area and the coast line. The hike up and down were really good too, stunning views. It’s such a pretty coastline. Really worth the visit!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Amalfi

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Amalfi

Ok, time to wrap it up for today. Planning to do another recap next week.

 

How about you, did  you visit any of these places? Similar experiences, or totally different? Let us know!

 

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We are in Austria and are having a bit of a break day. After having pretty good weather for the last month and a bit, we are now suffering from clouds and rain. In short, it’s a great time to look back at what we have done so far. Here is the 9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1 with a recap of the first 15 days of our epic road trip.

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1

Considering we did a whole lot of sightseeing during our road trip, it’s way too much to dump into one post. I’ve decided to split this post into 5 posts.The first 4 will contain the day-to-day recap of the trip (about ~15 days each). The final one will deal with the finances. I perhaps will make one about Airbnb too, about being both as a host as well as a user. Learned quite a few interesting things over the last weeks.

Anyhow, below is the recap of the first 15 days of the road trip. Enjoy!

Day 1 – Trip to Maastricht

It’s Sunday April 22 and we are ready to go! We tried to limit the amount of stuff we wanted to bring, but wanted to be ready for most situations one can encounter during Airbnb stays. You really never know what you are going to get :-). So we brought extra towels, bed linen, some useful items such as a sponge, kitchen cloths, matches/light, dish washing soap, etc. Smart thing that we did!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: The Start!

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: The Start!

Day 1 we started late and had a long drive. We ended the first day with dinner at friends in Maastricht. Pretty relaxed and nice day to start the road trip!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Pretty end of the day.

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Pretty end of the day.

Day 2 – Trip to Fairy Tale Forest (Valkenburg)

Since we are travelling with our 4,5 year old, we had to incorporate some entertainment for her too. That is why we started with “sprookjesbos”  (Fairy Tale Forest) in Valkenburg. We were a bit too enthusiastic and got there before the gates even opened! So we had cart place to ourselves 🙂

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Sprookjesbos Valkenburg

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Sprookjesbos Valkenburg

Day 3 – Trip to Luxembourg

Having been to Belgium already many times before (see here and here for a few). We decided to drive straight through to Luxembourg to make some distance. However, we did visit La Roche de Ardenne during they day and visited it’s castle ruins.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Church in La Roche en Ardenne

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Church in La Roche en Ardenne

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Castle ruins in La Roche en Ardenne

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Castle ruins in La Roche en Ardenne

Day 4 – Trip to Luxembourg City

On day 4 we drive from northern Luxembourg, via Luxembourg City to Northern France. During the day we visited another castle ruin (this time in Esch-sur-Sûre) and Luxembourg City itself. Due to the bad (rainy) weather (and a tired kid) the amount of things we could see and do in Luxembourg City were limited. It was still a fun and interesting visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Castle Ruins Esch-Sur-Sure

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Castle Ruins Esch-Sur-Sure

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Luxembourg City

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Luxembourg City

Day 5 – Trip to Chateau des Ducs de Lorraine

During our first day in northern France we visited yet another castle ruins (the little one liked them, so we just keep going!). This time we visited Chateau des Ducs de Lorraine, this is located in the small town of Sierck-les-Bains. The town is not very special, but the ruins are well maintained and take about an 1-1,5 hours to visit.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Chateau des Ducs de Lorraine

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Chateau des Ducs de Lorraine

Day 6 – Travel to Gérardmer (Parc Vosges)

On day 6 we drove quite a bit. On one of our first stops we visited Pont-à-Mousson and had a quick look at (the outside of) Abbaye des Prémontrés. Next we drove onward and explored a waterfall called “Grande cascade de Tendon”. This is located at the small town of Le Creux on the D11 road towards Gérardmer. We finished the day with stay at the lake. The Vosges parc was known to us only by name, as many people visit this area and spoke highly about it. They were right!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Le Grand Cascade

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Le Grand Cascade de Tendon

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Lake Gérardmer

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Lake Gérardmer

Day 7 – City Visit to Luxeuil-les-Bains

During our travels this day we visited the city of Luxeuil-les-Bains, a lovely place to stroll around for a couple of hours and get an ice-cream!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Luxeuil-les-Bains

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Luxeuil-les-Bains

Day 8 – City Visit in Besançon

More city visits, this time in Besançon on our way to the Jura Mountains and Lake Geneva. There was a flea market in the city streets that day and we found some new records for the jukebox. We also got a puzzle for Miss CF to use during the trip. It still fitted in the small suitcase we got for her to put all her toys in.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Besançon

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Besançon

Day 9 – Jura Mountains and Lake Geneva

The highlight of day 9 was a small mountain lake (Lac de Lamoura) and a mountain pass (Col de la Faucille) with a gorgeous view of Lake Geneva.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Lac de Lamoura

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Lac de Lamoura

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Col de la Faucille

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Col de la Faucille

We actually ended up reaching the southern shores of Lake Geneva later that day.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Lake Geneva

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Lake Geneva

Day 10 – Évian-les-Bains & Switzerland

This day we took a drive towards Switzerland and walked across the border (just for the fun of it) at Saint-Gingolph. For cars on the main road there is a border patrol check, for pedestrians it looks like this:

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: French - Swiss border crossing

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: French – Swiss border crossing

During the day we also visited the source of the Evian water in Évian-les-Bains. The company still has an office here too.

Day 11 – Swimming and Lac de Bourget

After our visit to Lake Geneva we continued our travels in the direction of the south coast of France (Cote d’azur). But since the little one showed signs of being tired, we stopped for a swim and did a short lake visit in the afternoon at lake de Bourget.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Lac du Bourget

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Lac du Bourget

Day 12 – Serres & Gorges de la Méouge

More traveling southward. We did not expect much this day, as we had not seen any special places based on our route. Boy were we wrong! First we drove into the town of Serres and got this awesome view. Added an ice-cream to make it perfect.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Serres

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Serres

Next we found the Gorges de la Méouge, a small car park along the road and short trail got us to a few falls and a nice area to enjoy nature.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Gorges de la Méouge

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Gorges de la Méouge

Day 13 – Gorges du Verdon

The “Grand Canyon” of Europe is call the Gorges du Verdon, and it’s awesome! It certainly is not as big as the actual grand canyon, but it is really pretty with the blue water and the big lake. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Good hiking in the area too.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Gorge Du Verdon from above

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Gorge Du Verdon from above

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Gorge Du Verdon from below

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Gorge Du Verdon from below

Day 14 – St. Tropez

I always wanted to to go St. Tropez, the name alone is cool. Albeit we did not spend much time in the village (tired kid and not enough cash for parking!), we did go to the beach at the outskirts and visited the citadel in the center of town.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: St. Tropez

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: St. Tropez

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: The Citadel of St. Tropez

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: The Citadel of St. Tropez

Day 15 – Beach day in Sainte-Maxime

Even during a slow travel road trip, you need a break day on occasion. That’s what we did in Sainte-Maxime. It was good, albeit still pretty cold water at this time of year!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Break day at the beach in Sainte-Maxime

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Break day at the beach in Sainte-Maxime

 

That’s it for now. It’s just waiting for the next rainy day, or until we are home, before I can make the rest.

In the mean time, enjoy your own travels and/or travel planning!

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Where I’m normally trying to be a “regular” blogger (in terms of timing of posts),  the coming months posting will “less structured”! If you are new, you might have missed this and this. If you are a regular reader you will understand 🙂

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Now that I’m happily unemployed and we have started with our 9 week road trip, the blogging side of things is going to be a mess in the coming months. There will be no Cheesy Index updates, no Savings Rates, no dividend updates & no Real Estate Reports for the next little while. I’ve got my priorities sorted and they will be with our travels an my family, and not behind a screen. I know, what a concept!

That being said, I will have to catch up during the summer with all the financial stuff and will owe you some updates. So no worries!

We can't come to the blog right now, please leave a comment.

We can’t come to the blog right now, please leave a comment.

Travels

Travels are fun and the experiences are important to remember. So we will try to chronical our travels. I know that a fair amount of you are interested in the road trip, both visually and financially. If we therefore have a “slow” moment I will try to dump some text and photos on this blog.

I might even do a couple of pictures on twitter: https://twitter.com/CheesyFinance. However, since we don’t have data plans on our cellphones, we need to find a Wi-Fi spot first (yes, we are cheap little buggers! Sorry, meant to say frugal). The finances will have to wait until we return.

For now, have yourself a great day,  work week, retirement, etc. Hope to have some pretty pictures and fun stores to share with you in the coming time. I’m out!

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As some of you might recall, we will be going on a 9 week road trip through Europe. Why? Because it’s very difficult to do this again once our little one goes to school mandatorily (as of age 5). But mostly because it’s great fun. Like most of you probably agree, some of the fun is in the preparation of the trip. The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary presented here is a rough indication of where we would like to go. We will remain flexible during the trip and will switch directions based on weather, preferences, limitations or other life events that will happen.

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary

The current plan is to leave mid April and return late June. We will thus have a total of up to about 63 days to play with. That is quite a bit of time! Now, travel insurance wise (at least for the one we are considering) you are allowed to do continuous travel for 60 days. In short, if we do stretch to the max we should not do any weird things in the last few days 🙂

Miss CF is a typical kid, so she’s generally not very good at sitting still (sounds familiar?). We therefore want to limit our daily travels to about 2-3 hours of driving per day maximum. In reality we will have days we drive more and days we drive less (or not at all). Assuming an average speed of 50 km/h that gives us about 100-ish km per day on average. That would be about 6.000-6.500 km in total.

Considering this will be a “slow travel” type trip (i.e. it’s about the journey not the destination), we will do the exploring along the route and at places where we spend the night. Let’s assume we need about 80% of the km to make “the journey” and 20% of the km to do local sightseeing. This is what we came up with for the journey (~5.000 km or 3.000 mi):

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary - Rough Route

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary – Rough Route (thank you Google) 

Netherlands

We will obviously start in the Netherlands and head so the south of the country. We will likely meet with some friends that live in Maastricht. Perhaps we stay a day or two before we head further south.

Belgium

We have done several holidays and meetups in Belgium already, so will likey skip through the country and head straight to Luxembourg. As we have not looked for accommodations, we might still spend the night in Belgium instead of Luxembourg, depends on what we can find on AirBnB or otherwise.

Luxembourg

It’s been a while since I have bee in Luxembourg, actually we have never been there as a couple. The county is pretty small, but has nice nature areas as well as a pretty capital. We also need to go there for Mrs. CF as she will need to meet people for business purposes too. Should only take an hour or so, gives us a good reason to explore the capital city and the country!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 1: Luxembourg City

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 1: Luxembourg City

France

Once we leave Luxembourg we will head towards Lausanne in Switzerland. To get there we will drive a couple of days through northern France. There are some nice nature areas where we might try go for a few walks and try to stay the night. We will also do the same on the way to Monaco. Southern France is really nice and can be very well enjoyed when doing slow travel. We will take a more rural route here with lots of hiking (if all goes well).

Switzerland

We have both been to Switzerland on a couple occasions for both hiking holidays and winter fun. We drove by Lake Lausanne before and really would like to return. So decide to try and make this a stop for the trip and spend some time in the area. Once we leave here we would like to head towards Monaco via a lot more of France.

Monaco

Monaco is a bucket list item from Mr. CF. Initially I wanted to combine with the Formula 1 event. Albeit the chance of that happening is rather slim, as the event is in late May and we would like to see as much as possible in a non-rushed way. Guess there is always a next time!

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 2: Monaco

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 2: Monaco

Italy

Italy is a country that for some reason we missed a lot during out travels in Europe. So it is time to catch up and spend a few weeks in this lovely country. The rough idea is to travel along the coast line to Genoa and head to Rome via Florence. Next the plan is to drive to the other side of the country, hop on a ferry and sail to Croatia.

Croatia

Several people we know have already visited Croatia, heck I even had colleagues from this country. Not one person I spoke had a bad thing to say about the place! It’s got a great coastline (snorkeling??) and nice nature parks more inland. Add in some nice cultural spots and you have a recipe for a great time.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Dubrovnik

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Dubrovnik

Slovenia

This is a completely new country for us, we really need to do some homework here. But we got triggered to visit this country after a documentary we watched by Michael Moore (“where to invade next“). If you have experiences here, please do share!

Hungary

From Slovenia we will likely drive towards Budapest for a city trip and some other local site seeing. Hungary is also a new country for us to visit with lots of things to learn and explore. From here we plan to go to Vienna (Austria) via Slovakia.

Slovakia

On our way from Budapest to Vienna, we have the opportunity to explore yet another country we know little about. The plan is to drive through Slovakia and visit Bratislava for some more cultural exposure. Not sure what to expect, but it’s bound to be good.

9 Week Road Trip Report - Part 3: Ljubljana city view from it castle

9 Week Road Trip Report – Part 3: Ljubljana city view from it castle

Austria

Vienna has been on the list to visit as well. We have been in the area, but never made the time to actually visit the city. When we go to Austria we normally go for hiking, during such active holiday we tended to avoid bigger cities. This time around we won’t do so much hiking (Miss CF is not grownup enough yet), so city trips make more sense! Once we leave Vienna we will head north to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic

Both our mom’s have visited Prague before and were quite enthusiastic about the city. So if we have enough time on the way back, the plan is to visit the Czech Republic and explore yet another country we have not been.

Germany

On the final leg of the journey we will be travelling through Germany. Depending on how much time we have left, we will spend some time exploring the central areas in Germany. As Mrs. CF’s company also has offices in Germany, we might need to do a quick stop in Frankfurt for a quick business meeting. We are very familiar with Germany and have been there several times before, so it should be smooth sailing for this part of the trip. We know we are in for a good time!

Summary

In short the idea for this trip is:

  • Visit up to 13 countries;
  • Visit up to 5 new countries;
  • Up to 6500 km of driving;
  • We are aiming to spend up to €150/day all-in = max. budget of €10.000;
  • Many, many photos; and,
  • One heck of a good time!

 

Bring on all your tips, tricks and idea folks!

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