World Wide Walkies – The Story So Far!

I took a blogging break at the end of last year to launch and market my latest book, To Hel In A Hound Cart – Journey To The Centre Of Europe. This was the fifth and last book in the Adventure Caravanning With Dogs series, which follows our journey since we gave up work in 2016, accidentally bought a caravan, then decided to rent out the house, sell most of our posessions and tour full time.

Then, on Friday 13th December 2019, when Brexit became a certainty, I uttered a sentence to my beloved which would change our lives forever.

“I’ve had enough of Britain, let’s go to Mongolia!”

While Caravan Kismet was a faithful travel companion, who gave us safe passage over the Carpathian Mountains, two cornfields, and a footpath in Romania, we felt the Gobi Desert might be a step too far.

On 13th January 2020, we purchased The Beast, a 6×4-wheel drive Volvo N10 truck unseen off the internet, and converted her into our new home.

We moved in on 1st July 2021, but due to coronavirus lockdowns across Europe, we toured the UK.

When restrictions eased, Mongolia was out of the equation due to Vladimir Putin’s ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, and unrest in The Stans and Central Asia, we set out to explore the Balkans, which is conveniently outside Schengen to facilitate our 90-day Shengen Shuffle.

I will shortly pick up on our Never Mind The Balkans tour, but in case you’ve missed what came before, here are all the posts, displayed in order:

On the Tuscan Run – Evicted Twice in Two Days!

Piedmont into Liguria was the exact opposite of the previous day’s pancake-flat jaunt across the Italian plain. The Autoroute Azzura, through the Appenine mountains and Genoa, presented us with a hair-raising few hours of tunnels and vertiginous viaducts. Impatient truckers, who objected to our top speed of 45 mph (70 kph), added an extra frisson…

Saturnia – Under The Tuscan Sun

“Mark. Are you listening?” I asked. I was admiring Peter’s wagon, particularly the epithet ‘Travel Endangers Prejudices’, which he had emblazoned on the back. Peter, Beata, and Alex had just come from Albania.

In Search of the Flying Phallus – Sovana & Pitigliano, Tuscany, Italy

What did the Etruscans ever do for us? Well, for more than half a millennium, they wore togas, brewed wine, built aqueducts and roads, founded hilltop city states and created sculpture and art. They practised human sacrifice and sometimes made prisoners fight one another in a sort of gladiatorial combat. That might sound a lot…

Mobster Moggies & The Origin of Pizza, Gaeta, Italy

Since we were approaching the Phlegraean fields – the second largest volcano in the world, which lurks just west of Naples – I was not surprised when we experienced a major eruption. What was unusual was the location of the epicentre; a truck in a campsite in Gaeta, a small seaside resort to the north.

Vesuvius: Fear, Fascination & An Eyewitness Account

The cloud was rising from a mountain … I can best describe its shape by likening it to a pine tree. It rose into the sky on a very long trunk from which spread some branches. It appeared sometimes bright, and sometimes dark and spotted with patches of dirt and ash … Broad sheets of…

Pup Pompeii – The Closest You Can Get To Time Travel

Everything aches! I couldn’t sleep because my back, hips, and feet were killing. That’s two days of sightseeing for you – Up Vesuvius and Up Pompeii! For those of you who remember Frankie Howerd and the 1970s comedy Up Pompeii, Pup Pompeii is my worst pun yet. Just think yourselves lucky that there wasn’t a…

Overlanding in Albania – Bari to Durrës

We weren’t sure what to expect in Albania. At the end of WWII, Albania became Europe’s equivalent to North Korea; a secretive, closed and isolationist country. Albania spent four decades under the iron grip of paranoid extremist ruler Enver Hoxha. As a communist state, Hoxha aligned Albania first with Russia, then with China, but broke…

Albania Overland – Bashtovë Fortress and Beautiful Berat

On our last night at Buona Vila, we shared whisky, raki, and stories. Like so many countries we’d been warned not to visit, Albania was already revealing itself as a jewel. Lido, Spartak, and Ayesha had welcomed us like family at their wonderful beachside retreat, and we were reluctant to leave, but such is the…

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Published by Jacqueline Lambert @WorldWideWalkies

AD (After Dogs) - We retired early to tour Europe in a caravan with four dogs. "To boldly go where no van has gone before" - & believe me, we have! BC (Before Canines) - we had adventures on every continent other than Antarctica!

14 thoughts on “World Wide Walkies – The Story So Far!

  1. Great to see you back from your blogging holiday and Happy New Year to you!
    Although I feel compelled to point out that I despise the words Schengen Shuffle with all my being. As if a natty little alliterative phrase could take away the pain of not being able to spend more than 90 days in “Europe”.
    Just do the Schengen Shuffle, must have been made up by one of the fools who voted for Brexit and is trying to make themselves feel better for being such an idiot.
    It will NEVER be OK that we lost the right to potter around “Europe” for as long as we wanted. History will look back on 23 June 2016 as a dark dark day for the U.K.
    There, rant over! Thank you for listening!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rant appreciated.
      I still remember the bewilderment and disbelief of waking up that morning and hearing the words ‘Britain has voted to leave the EU’ and wondering how a country could inflict upon itself such an obvious and colossal act of self-harm.
      After receiving abuse on the internet for my views, I have become quiet and sanguine about Brexit, our collapsing economy, passing of dubious laws that curtail our freedom, workers’ rights and damage the environment, inability to import and export our goods or employ staff in so many business sectors, and the Schengen Shuffle. It has had a huge impact on our life, but I feel impotent to change it. And, overheard in Wetherspoons, I read the other day about Brexiteers who simply blame the government for making such a pigs ear of the golden opportunities and magnificent freedoms that their valuable votes granted. There just doesn’t seem to be any acceptance that all along, it was a stupid idea that would damage the country irreparably, and was simply about enriching the already super rich.

      Like

  2. Just want to say that you lead the most amazing life I’ve ever seen or heard of, Jackie! What wonderful experiences you are having, and I’m looking forward to you being a guest poster on The Write Stuff in the weeks ahead. (Go ahead and catch up on stuff first. I’ve been on a blog break myself, but am gradually getting things going again. I’ll be ready when you are!)

    Stay safe and have FUN on your life of adventure! 🤗❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you, Marcia! I do feel very fortunate to be able to live this life.
      I have some great ideas for guest posts – the challenge is always finding time to write them, but I will definitely get something over to you as soon as I can.
      We’re still having a wonderful time in the snow in the Italian Alps.
      I hope you feel rested after your well-deserved break and a rather eventful year. Hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t worry about timing. I’ll be ready when YOU are, one way or the other! And thanks for the well wishes. I still don’t have loads of energy, but I’m doing SO much better, I’m not going to complain. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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