Four days ago, we have come home again. Now, it's time for a résumé on the trip to Eastern Europe.
As we have stated before, the reputation of the Eastern European countries is far worse than what we experienced as reality. Actually, we found that in most countries visited, the people were more friendly and ready to help than we have it back home in Germany. The costs of living were considerably lower than in Western Europe - still the quality of the products (except probably for cheese and bread) advertized was the same standard as at home. Big supermarket chains such as Tesco, Aldi, Penny and the such are present in nearly every bigger city, so it is also no problem to stock on the products you eat and drink at home if you wish to do so (as stated before, we think it's better to buy local produce at small local shops!) ...
As tourism is not that widespread so far, Eastern Europe and especially Romania and eastern Hungary seem to be insiders' tips still, especially if you travel away from the beaten tracks and don't go to big cities or tourist hot-spots.
Travelling with children was no problem at all, on the contrary, if you travel as a family, you are welcomed even more intensively, because everybody simply loves children there!
The nature and countryside are beautiful and there are a lot of remote places to be discovered hiking, cycling or on horseback ... which we did not do so far as our youngest daughter simply is not yet enjoying that kind of travel.
The Land Rover did its job without any problems. It certainly is possible to travel the same route with a stock car of any make, but the conditions of some roads, especially in Romania, made travelling much easier (and probably even faster) with a high clearance and 4x4 engaged!
What was best?
Sóley (what we interpreted from her few words): "Being in the car."
Anouk: "The Wieliczka saltmine-dwarves."
Juliane: "Intensive time spent together with the family."
Mischa: "The wonderful people in Eastern Europe."
What would you change for the next trip?
Anouk: "Spending even more time together with the small family only."
Juliane: "Staying longer at certain places and really enjoy Slow Travel."
Mischa: "Going wild-camping and sitting around / cooking on the campfire more often."
Favorite piece of gear
Sóley (just guessed): "The hammock."
Anouk (just guessed): The "Opinel children's pen-knife."
Juliane: "The Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes" as they make packing and unpacking clothes so neat and easy. A real space and nerve-saver!"
Mischa: "The Foxwing Awning, as it provides immediate shelter from sun or rain and two of them can be combined (including side panels) to a wonderful tent-like awning comfortably suitable for eight to 12 persons."
Future Nomadic Plans
Coming back from the summer trip to eastern Europe, it is really sad to hear all the bad news. In western Africa people are dying of Ebola and, according to Medicins Sans Frontiers, an end to the epidemic within the next six months doesn't seem to be realistic. All our thoughts are with our friends' families who live in Senegal and the surrounding countries. Naturally, we have to rethink our travel ideas on the basis of this medical state of emergency and, also, the political situation in many west African and north African countries has not changed for the better!
What other possibilities are there if our (open) plan for Western Africa doesn't work? The Eastern route through Africa has become even more difficult with terror in Syria, Iraq and a really tense situation between Israel and Palestine. Also, the last ferry-link between Turkey and Egypt has been finally terminated last month. So, there are only three real possibilities left, it seems: 1) shipping the Landy to South Africa and from there discovering South Africa, Namibia, Botwana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Tansania, Kenia and Ethiopia, or 2) shipping the Landy to the USA and then travelling the Panamerican Highway down south, or 3) shipping the Landy to South America and discover that part of the world intensively. What would you suggest?? Give us your ideas!
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