We shout it a lot to ourselves as we travel (as if attempting to justify and condone our extreme good fortune): “This is where we live!” which is, in essence, anywhere we choose to pull on the hand-brake for more than a traffic-light’s pause.
And as such, we’re now sitting in the Knumptywagen, seemingly in the eye of a tremendous Croatian storm, which continues to roll around us – firing off bolts of magnesium-bright flares into the sky – yet not one drop of rain has yet fallen – although our in-van Deezer music selection has been underpinned – if not actually overwhelmed – by thumping, rumbling, thunderous, sky-delivered bass-notes for the past two hours.
We’re also experiencing a certain valedictory sense of fulfilment since we’ve found our Journey’s End. Otok Krk is one of the more accessible islands making up an archipelago (had to get it in somewhere) nestled in the gulf of the Adriatic between the hanging triangle which is Istria and Croatia’s ‘mainland’. A chance encounter led us here, since we had no ultimate destination in mind, but a visit to a promising-looking but then disappointingly tired, end-of-season, litter-strewn campsite on the eastern shore of Istria resulted in the recommendation, so here we are.
Here? Oh, go on then. This blog can hardly boast sufficient followers for our revealed ‘secret’ location to go viral and – as previously mentioned – this is probably the best place to record such detail, as we can then refer back when we need to, without the need to wade laboriously through pages of handwritten journal notes (oh yes, we do those too!) when we need to remind ourselves for any subsequent visit. So, Skrila Sunny Camping by Camping Adriatic out of Valamar can be found here:
45°1’7.77”N : 14°34’0.43”E
There you go. Those are the needlessly complex traditional co-ordinates for where we currently live.
Or, if you’ve caught up with a brilliantly simple, entertaining and ultimately very clever, potentially life-saving App, then we can be found instead at whistling.testing.undertones. The free What3Words app which generated that specific location-identifier is based on imposing a 3m x 3m gridded framework across the entire planet’s surface (I think I read that equates to 57 trillion x 3m squares) and then allocates a unique three-word identifier (from a vocabulary of only 40,000 words) to each square – thereby providing a means by which anyone with the app can locate anyone who’s published their three-word location – anywhere in the world. Just thinking about the possible applications gives you a headache but perhaps THAT instead deserves to go viral.
So, a ‘chain’ campsite but a superb beachside location; fresh; new; well-designed and laid out; thriving; virtually full; spotlessly clean; staffed by multilingual, motivated, helpful, friendly, enthusiastic staff; a beach bar; restaurant; supermarket; greengrocery stall; bi-weekly fresh-fish van visit; a superb pitch with a view of the ocean (plus electricity hook-up and even our own personal water-tap – important features for us Knumptyers) – and all with only three weeks to go before the end of their season – tell me, what’s not to like?
And a walk of – ooh, what? 150 metres to the beach and a crystal clear, cobalt, placid sea. The beach – from a distance and in the brochure photographs – looks like bleached sand, but as you set foot on it, you realise it’s pebbled. Not in the chunky way of cobble-type, ankle-turning, lilo-puncturing pebbles but tiny, white stones – a bit like raw haricot and pinto beans mixed with fossilised Sugar Puffs, topped by a liberal sprinkling of real pebbles, just to allay any sense that the entire beach might be edible.
We shall stay here for many days. Well, at least until Wednesday (it’s now Saturday), since we then need to head for the UK again, for appointments with excited children who’ve been promised an overnight in the Knumpyvan; to celebrate both 30th and 90th birthdays in two separate locations with family and – oh yes – Calamitous, Dick-Headed-Cameron-Induced Brexit, allegedly in about 6 week’s time. See – you just can’t stay away from home too long.
But, so far, we’ve NEVER stayed anywhere for more than three days – barely enough time to deploy the awning, never mind two never-used underslung scissor-jack-like thingies at the rear of the vehicle, which, we understand, are called ‘steadies’ – designed to stop us rocking on our suspension while we live in the van – and which are probably so rusted from non-use, we’d never get them retracted even if we did decide to deploy. (You really needed to know all that, didn’t you?)
So, we’ve now survived the apocalyptic thunderstorm – which did indeed decide to visit its not-inconsiderable wrath upon us – in the form of hailstones as depicted. (How can they have even fallen from the sky when the ambient temperature remains in the low-20s?) The thunder and lightning are now no longer very-very-frightening-me, although heavy rain continues to thrash noisily against the van roof and is forecast to continue all night – so I guess it’s bedtime.
Earplugs in. Night night.