We made it here in one piece! I've been a bit slow in blogging about it, I'm sorry, as we had internet issues again when we got here... the Yard is much smaller than the ADM and they do have internet, but the cables wouldn't reach us for a hard-wired connection so we've been playing around getting wireless and buying new equipment. And of course as soon as I got online, work stuff took over...
But hey, it's all done now!
We managed to leave Amsterdam at around 4pm (weather hindering packing up - it's hard to put stuff away carefully when you essentially live outside and it's chucking it down with rain)(and add in the baby factor too ;) yet we managed to cross the German border that same evening and spent the night in Aachen at a great motorhome site (thanks Verena!) Having come from a site where our bus was one of the poshest our poor Barp looked rather tatty amongst wagon's that would require a small mortgage to own....
Still, it was a comfortable night, and we started the next day with sunshine. From there we headed towards Trier as planned, passing through Belgium and Luxemborg yet the weather worsened and so did the traffic, so by the time we got there it was dark and everything shut, so figured we'd drive on and cover some more miles before stopping for the night. We managed to get close to the Swiss border and camped out in a service station.
Aran was finding the journey difficult - even with frequent stops to let the little fella move around and play (and eat!) he just wasn't very happy. We ate the 2nd night in a truckers restaurant, and he was feeling rather insecure.. we'd put, say, his water beaker or toys on the table and he'd grab them all back into his buggy and huddle them... which worried us. So we had 2 choices - take the journey even slower or just go for it. We decided to go for it, as so far all the stops we'd made hadn't eased him at all, and it wasn't looking like a slower journey would help him so we felt it best to get the journey out of the way as quickly as possible. At least this way we'd reach base and he'd get settled sooner.
Switzerland wasn't a long or difficult drive, yet we nearly got lost in the Alps due to a diversion for heavy vehicles which wasn't much fun, as they had 2 ft of snow there... still we soldiered on, found the motorway again and managed to reach Italy that same night. Myself and Aran were asleep in the bus (not difficult to do in our wagon, and very safe too) when we reached the Yard at around 2am.
And at 2am in central Italy it was warmer than it had been at any time during our stay in Holland! To be honest, it feels like winter has been and gone... we had autumn in Holland, passed through winter in Switzerland to found ourselves in a climate that has warmer days in November than most of the British summer! We're still not needing much heating, even at night, yet we know we have the cold days here to come. Still, the sunlight has been doing my serotonin levels the power of good and I actually feel human again. The constant rain and damp in Amsterdam was really getting me down.
The Yard is based in Santarcangelo di Romagna, in the Rimini province, and is home to the Mutoids. Tom's a Mutoid himself, and I've blogged about some of his work before here. Sheila has a plot here so we've parked up there, and are getting ourselves settled for the winter.
The Yard is home to mainly artists, most of whom work with scrap metal building sculptures of various sizes, many of which can be seen around the site. This is a more permanent base for most people who live here, and there's a fair bit of creativity going on (which should have a positive influence on me... have already been getting ideas for some fab sculptural Hats... and not just freeform ones, ones that I can write patterns for too ;) I'm pretty happy to here, and I'm sure it shows... feel much more at 'home'.
Aran had a few restless nights after arriving but has now settled down nicely, and we're pretty sure we did the right thing by making the journey a quick one. There's a nother baby here, Elisa, who is 4 months older than Aran, and the the pair have already been hanging out and swiping each others' toys!
So, here we are and again, thank you for all your suggestions for places to visit along the route. It's a shame we didn't manage most of them but they won't be wasted, as come spring we'll be heading off for more adventures and we'd like to spend more time exploring Germany.
I did sulk a fair bit about not stopping and finding yarn along the way, especially as I didn't get the chance in Holland, but only days after getting here I scored in the local town :D It's all nice, quality Italian yarn, and would you believe, mostly from the bargain bin... this lot cost me 13 Euros. You ought to have seen the glowing cheeks and huge grin as I walked out of the shop...
A photo of yarn seems a nice way to end a long blog post, so off I go.... there's lots of design work to be done. Busy? Stupidly.....