How does freedom feel? For us it smells of cypress, tastes of pizza, sounds like seagulls and is green / white / red. We are Jungpapa and Bergwelten author Clemens Dittrich, Vanlife mom Conny and wellness baby Oskar. And why, you read here.
Be free. Finally four weeks without everyday obligations. The permit for a month of parental leave is still freshly opened on the table, and your thoughts are already circling. Looking far away and looking for adventure? Or stay at home and find peace? "Why not both?" Says Conny, On the go and at home - it works! Camper is the magic word.
First stop: Trentino. Instead of standing in the crowd at the southernmost lake in Germany (keyword: Lake Garda), we opted for the more cozy hinterland. The word is even in Italian! One of the best views of the impressive Brenta group is from Lago di Molveno - a cold, clear mountain lake away from the tourist Alpine leisure parks. We parked our van on a cheap Sosta area surrounded by greenery with a view of the impressive mountains. We should encounter this view, from the roof tent window in the middle of Mother Nature several times on our road trip: Passo Tonale, Hafling, Cascate delle Marmore.
Our definition of freedom
For us, freedom also means staying close to the mountains, not following a fixed route, finding a parking space with a view, exploring the surroundings, putting your feet up and, above all, putting your cell phone away. Arrive and continue alternating. According to the motto: Everything can, nothing has to.
And what if you can't find anything on the fly? When the on-board battery turns red and the waste water tank lights up green? Even if our pride suffered from it one time or another: Campsites are generally not something reprehensible. The challenge is more about finding a place that appeals to a young audience. Our approaches to this were as follows:
1. Head for places that appeal to athletes and outdoor fanatics Latsch in South Tyrol, for example, is a perfect place for mountain bikers and surfers to feel at home in Levanto in Liguria.
2. Go to cities at the weekend and mix with the young people at the aperitivo. We recommend Lucca, Perugia, Rome and Bergamo for a giro on a Saturday evening.
3. Isola di Giglio: a real insider tip! Here, a young Austrian has revamped and rejuvenated the only campsite. No distraction, no wild parties - just decelerate and be decelerated.
But sometimes we also had to pause the trip but without decelerating: literally - namely when cooking. The good thing: To upgrade, you park the compact camper directly in front of the supermarket, stow the provisions in the countless built-in cupboards and when you get hungry, person A (Conny) starts at the pan while person B (Clemens) pulls the handbrake - and person C (Oskar) nags because his pacifier has disappeared into the seat. It has proven to be a good guide for us: for every pizza we buy - and there were quite a few - there are two cooked plates of pasta.
"On the go and at home - it works! Camper is the magic word. "
La Dolce Vita
For example, anyone who has wandered through the Cinque Terre should definitely buy fresh, regional pasta and pesto Genovese in one of the Prodotti Tipici specialty shops: three minutes of preparation time, 10 minutes of enjoyment in the mouth! The sea bream, which we fetched directly from the cutter at Monte Argentario, was also worth mentioning. Well chilled in the on-board refrigerator, she drove with us through Tuscany before being eaten at Europe's highest (and created by the Romans) waterfalls near Ternizu. And ironically, in the place that is the furthest away from the sea from all Italian places!
And sporty? It is said that men are the drivers. Not quite true, at least with us. Since Oskar prefers to sit rather than run and I can’t drag myself from my bed in the pop-up roof, Conny has quickly appointed herself Minister of Sport. In Levanto she discovered the disused railway line that can be cycled along the coast. The high-altitude hiking trail that connects the five Cinque Terre towns runs in the opposite direction. Our insight: In general, you can cut the distance you take with a baby in half. This was the case with our hike from Montepulciano to Monticchiello with a view over the Val d’Orcia as well as with the Grand Tour Rando cycle route in Umbria. The 34 km of the promo route, for example, initially sounds challenging. But with a child-friendly stop at Lago di Piediluco and photo breaks at Arrone - one of the most beautiful Borghi d’Italia - you can easily struggle along happily.
Would we do the trip again? Immediately! Just like that? Probably. We still hear the song of Ligabue, which sings: "I campi in aprile, promettono bene." Or translated freely into camper German: "Camping in April? It works well in Italy. "
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