TheTravelbus - By Bus Through Western Europe
This is how it started. Make something out of nothing, something extraordinary, original, thrilling and crazy at the same time. Going back to the past, I remembered the good old bus my brother had. It made a great impression on me. Despite its age, it was a car that stood out in the parking lot, all thanks to its climate. Busik VW T3 is a car that evokes a lot of positive emotions in people and it was the same with me. As soon as I got behind the wheel of the iconic bus, I felt an atmosphere that I had not felt while sitting in any other car. At that time, I was already thinking about buying such a bus with a view to traveling into the unknown. This is it! - I thought and without hesitation I decided to fulfill my old dream. Without delay, I turned my thoughts into action and started my travelbus adventure: I set up a profile on facebook "TheTravelbus" and started looking for an ideal base for an expedition bus. The project was developing incredibly fast and, to my surprise, it had many fans who maybe did not fully believe in its implementation, but were very much cheering for it, for which I would like to thank you very much!
From zero to hero . Managed to! Target locked! I found a copy that is both in very good technical and visual condition, for an affordable price. At the moment when we were returning the T3 bought in Krapkowice to Rybnik, looking in the mirror and seeing the "bulik" led by my brother, I had a smile on my face. The very next day we wanted to start renovating the bus, but the weather was playing tricks. Even snow appeared. We started the renovation as soon as it cleared up. Actually, we worked on the bus every day, until the very start of the first trip. However, the bus required not only a lot of work, but also a financial contribution. The effort paid off. The end result exceeded our wildest expectations! Friends, as soon as they saw the travelbus, were speechless. Everyone took their phones out of their pockets to take pictures and show them to friends and family later. Even then I knew that I had managed to create something original. Busik was ready to go!
Traveling around Europe by travelbus The first trip carried out by the TheTravelbus project was full of amazing experiences. There were many ideas for it: from reasonable routes with little mileage to completely crazy routes of over 10,000KM in just over three weeks. What route did we take? Crazy! It would seem that even unattainable. Why? The project itself was quite a challenge. As soon as we managed to create a beautiful bus, it's time to jump to a higher level and show that nothing is impossible. A unanimous choice fell on a route of approximately 10,000KM, and the goal was the capital of Portugal itself. The initial route looked something like this:
Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, San Marino, France, Monaco, Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, again Spain and France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland.
And we set off! We left as planned, but a bit "wild". We fought on the bus until the last minute. We had to pack our luggage and install advertising banners. Small adjustments to the engine were also necessary. Start from Rybnik. We drove all 80 km / h through the Czech Republic to Austria. The first destination was Vienna.
Being already in the capital of Austria, and also in the largest city of this beautiful country, we were delighted. It was a huge city, very picturesque, clean and tidy. In Vienna, we tasted great beer "beer devil of vienna". It was very tasty, but also very strong! As we have found out, it is beer poured straight from the vat with 50 vodka and 50 whiskey, which explains its distinctive taste.
Delighted by the charms of Vienna, we moved on. The goal was Slovenia, which unfortunately we did not conquer due to its too mountainous terrain. On the way to Slovenia, we experienced many beautiful, picturesque views. Unfortunately, we also had an unpleasant adventure: in the evening, when we stopped for a short break, we could not start the bus anymore. We decided to stay overnight and deal with this problem in the morning.
It turned out that it was most likely the fault of the starter and, firing "on pride", we moved on, unfortunately until the belt broke from the alternator and we had no recharging. We were forced to stop for a few hours to repair damaged components. Luckily, the starter turned out to be working, and only its cord was broken. After fixing the rest of the bugs, we moved on.
On the border between Austria and Slovenia, we met a nice Frenchman from Belgium. Or vice versa: a Belgian coming from France? Anyway, this nice man spoke English so we decided to help him get to Slovenia. Unfortunately, the bus had great difficulties with driving up steep mountains. It was already very dark and we were all tired. We decided that everyone would get off and take a walk, and the driver would bring the bus to the top. It also turned out to be impossible, the bus simply did not have the strength to drive up. We kindly said goodbye to our new friend and sent him away with passing Slovaks, and we simply curled our tail and turned back. We took a less mountainous route, leading straight to the beautiful Italian town of Tarvisio. There we spent the night on the roof of the travelbus, drinking delicious Polish liqueur and Italian wine. Everything was accompanied by beautiful views and a wonderful starry sky with falling stars. As it turned out later, we probably came across a "meteor shower".
In the morning, delighted with the fact that we have only a few kilometers left to the famous Venice, we quickly prepared to set off on a further conquest of Europe! On the way, we stopped in a few interesting places, such as the beautiful, atmospheric town of Marano Lagunare. We got to Venice. Excited, we left the bus in the first parking lot (we found out later that it was not the cheapest parking lot) and set out to enjoy the beauty of the "water" town.
We were so delighted that we didn't know what to see first and which way to go to see this amazing city. We experienced many new adventures in Venice. We have never seen anything so beautiful in our lives. It was a city located on the water, where cars, motorbikes or bicycles do not move around every day. There, you simply wander along the narrow streets between old climatic buildings, or, as in Venice, you go by boats, motorboats, water trams or the famous gondolas. The city is full of incredibly many tourists fascinated by this place, stalls and restaurants with very friendly service. During the day it is full of life, and interestingly, it is completely silent at night. You walk the same streets, where during the day it is quite a challenge not to lose yourself in the crowds of tourists. A silence so deep that after a while it hums in the ears. It was a great experience for us. Venice stuck in our memory so deeply that for the rest of the trip we returned to our memories of this beautiful city. We spent almost 16 hours in it, about 8 hours during the day and 8 hours at night.
We were also tempted to sail around the town in the evening in a gondola, which was a bull's eye. Beautiful views in the silence and the moonlight, ahh how romantic ...;) There were also taste stimuli, we tried delicious Italian pizza and slightly chilled wine, which we liked so much that we decided to buy a second bottle. Venice made a great impression on us and you could write and write about it, but as you know, you have to experience everything yourself to see its beauty.
It was already very late so we decided to continue our tour. Before we left Venice, as already mentioned, we were surprised by the cost of parking. Unfortunately it was our fault as we misunderstood the description on the parking gate. It would be better if I did not give the exact amount for this "pleasure". In fact, we were so fascinated by this beautiful city that only after some time we were hurt by the parking fee. One thing is certain: the Polish lady was right in saying "read with understanding" and praise her for this wisdom. It is a pity that in our case theory did not go hand in hand with practice. But let's leave this parking meter alone, because he's probably already checking tickets. The next destination was the famous historic city of Verona. We especially remember the Colosseum and the medieval balcony of Romeo and Juliet, which became famous thanks to the art of William Shakespeare.
From Verona we rushed at a dizzying speed of 70 km / h towards Rimini, which had a night atmosphere. Here, in the evenings, crowds of people go out to the streets of the city in search of clubs and venues to spend the night happily. Young people play until dawn, and the elderly in the streets play cards, chess or simply spend the evening in good company. Our team spent the evening on the beach with the hum of the Adriatic Sea, sipping local drinks and recalling the course of the expedition. The next day in Rimini we decided to take advantage of the beautiful sun and sunbathed until the evening, after which we set off to conquer another country - San Marino.
From the very beginning, we were very positively surprised, because we stopped at a free car park near the center. But it's nothing! There was free Wi-Fi in all of San Marino. We were able to add photos from the trip to Facebook without any problems. In the morning we set off to explore the picturesque San Marino, where we met, to our surprise, many Poles who are permanently in this beautiful country.
Sightseeing and photos taken, we could move towards Pisa. The route ran through narrow, winding mountain streets, through beautiful towns with mountain views. Despite the late hour, we encountered many interesting attractions, such as a festival or an amazing fireworks display. It will certainly remain in our memories for a very long time.
Unfortunately, we will also remember the slip-up in Pisa itself, where we got a ticket of 80 € due to the invisible marking, which was imposed on us by the unforgiving police. The town itself is very nice. We took a great photo with a bus in the background of the leaning tower, it cost us a lot, but it is unique for us. After receiving the ticket, we didn't feel like exploring the town any longer, so we set off.
The route ran through the winding mountain streets again, but that added to the charm of the trip! It was unfortunate that the alternator belt broke once again. A small thing if there is a second spare, but unfortunately a time-consuming replacement. By the way, we decided to patch the exhaust, which was a bit farting, and for that we needed some sheet metal. I knew from experience that the best beer can, which unfortunately we did not have, would be the best. Artur Ch. decided to hitchhike to the nearest store. There was no problem with that, because the Italians are so wonderful and friendly people that the first car they come across stopped to give Artur a lift. In addition, the store was about 5-10 km away, and our bus was on the top of the mountain. Artur reached the store, bought two "Fax" beers, which are famous for their large and thick cans, and without any problem returned to us with the "parts". On the way, a nice Italian woman told him the whole history of the city in her native language. Although Arthur did not know this beautiful language, the Italian continued the story anyway. He only understood "Pole" and "John Paul II". In addition, Artur, saying goodbye to the nice Italian, received from her a whole bag of plums, for which he thanked warmly and immediately told us what he had the pleasure to experience. We went to work, changed the belt, patched the exhaust after emptying the cans, and the girls did their meal in the meantime. We fired up our colorful, willing to continue driving bus and went looking for new challenges and adventures.
We crossed the border of France, where we felt a slightly different atmosphere at the very beginning. The Italians were very nice and positive towards people, but the French probably showed it a bit more, because they reacted to our bus with great enthusiasm. At every step, people waved at us, staring at the slowly, but very lightly moving bus, even flowing through the streets of the towns. We headed towards the principality of Monaco. As soon as we entered its borders, we felt the atmosphere of wealth and splendor. However, despite the fact that we did not fit there a bit, it turned out that it was us who made a great sensation in Monte Carlo! Cars like Ferrari, Bugatti, Porsche were standing next to our colorful vehicle, and passersby were taking photos with the Travelbus!
After visiting Monaco quite quickly, we headed towards Saint Tropez and the Cote d'Azur, passing through Beautiful Nice. A positive adventure awaited us in Nice, surprisingly, with the police! After a small ricochet, while driving the bus, I turned to the wrong lane, on which suddenly a "rubber guard" separating the lanes appeared. The police, leaving the intersection and noticing my embarrassment and the whole team, behaved wonderfully. She stopped the traffic at the intersection and led us upstream so that we could get on the right road. Afterwards, the officers smiled nicely and waved, wishing you a nice trip. The behavior of the police in Nice was so nice and wonderful that we still tell it to our friends who are incredulous! After a little shopping and a short drink with the views of Nice, we fired the bulls and rushed to Saint Tropez, which, like the Italian Rimini, is teeming with night life. Near St. Tropez we set up a small camp and made a mega feast tasting French wines. In the morning we visited the town, min. the famous gendarmerie post known from the films from Louis de Funes. Wonderful views, and the whole team wanted to warm "butts" in the sand of the azure coast! And so we did. We met nice Portuguese who led us to the parking lot near the beautiful beach of the Côte d'Azur. We saw views like from romantic movies, just a fairy tale!
With great regret we had to pick up the warm sand, but well .. our time was limited, and we were still behind the time that we lost admiring the charms of Italy. Together, the whole team decided to catch up on time so as to have more time to visit the next points of our trip. Speeding no longer 70 km / h, and gusting 90 km / h, we reached Spanish Barcelona, where we spent the longest time only on the beach near the airport, which was like ointment for wounds. The tiredness of traveling from one destination to another took its toll. We recharged the batteries and set off to conquer the center, but discouraged by the lack of parking spaces, we did not stay too long. The whole of Barcelona has a lot of parking lots, but either underground or multi-storey, where despite the appropriate height of the bus + luggage, including luggage on the roof, they did not want to let us in. After a time of senseless circulation, the police stopped us. Our mistake, that's right ... Through the heat, despite the evening hours, we traveled with the sliding doors open, which was noticed by the local police. The gentlemen were very nice and interested in a colorful bus. They just decided to lecture us and asked us to travel with our doors closed. We asked for help with finding a parking lot, but unfortunately it turned out that we could not park there as well. You could say that we visited Barcelona only by touring it by bus. But she made a good impression on us anyway and we will definitely come back to her, staying there a bit longer.
We greet this beautiful and how powerful city and we move on to our next goal. A long journey ahead of us, all the way to Malaga. Malaga itself is a very colorful and beautiful place. In our case, we even managed to hit the Malaga festival "Ferie de Malaga" and it was a bull's eye! We were very lucky to be here at this time. Crowds of local people on the streets of the city, dancing, singing and having fun. Something indescribable.
Fascinated by the culture of this charming place, we rushed to Gibraltar. It was the first place where we met the border crossing, where everything was carefully checked. To be honest, the border guards, both from the Spanish and the British, were very interested in our bus and they checked the documents in a very nice way and wished you good luck with your further exploration. Gibraltar itself was completely different than before and we decided to visit this place with a guide. For the price of the cable car to the top of Gibraltar, we were able to hire a very nice driver who told us exactly the history of this place and showed us every most interesting corner. We also had the opportunity to see free-living monkeys - macaques.
After Gibraltar, it's time to go to Seville, where we had a longer stop at Arthur's sister's. There, we were kindly hosted by Paulina, who also showed us around this wonderful city. Already on the first day, after a long-awaited shower at home, we were treated to a delicious Spanish dinner and, despite comfortable beds, we decided to spend the night on a large balcony on the roof of the apartment, which was another interesting experience for us. The next day, as soon as the temperature dropped, we began exploring Seville with Paulina's guidance. We saw many interesting places, we also had the opportunity to see a flamenco show - guitar, singing, clapping, tapping the rhythm with heels and dancing. A beautiful experience that will surely be remembered. Another place in Seville that we liked very much was the Plaza de Espana, surrounded by a semicircular row of buildings. In the center of the square there is a fountain, an artificial river and beautiful bridges.
Thanking Paulina for her hospitality and a tour of the most interesting corners of Seville, we went to the main destination, Portugal, the westernmost point of our trip. We started our tour from the capital, Lisbon. Already at the entrance to this city, we were impressed by crossing the huge Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge, which is a copy of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Lisbon is famous for its historic trams that allow you to get around the city. We also saw the historic Elvador de Santa Justa elevator. As well as the castle of St. George, which we found while walking by the most interesting part of Lisbon - Alfama. It is a district full of alleys and narrow streets, the multi-color of which can be noticed only when you are there and experiencing its unusual atmosphere. Enchanted with Lisbon, we set off in search of the longed-for wild beach. One was found in Ericeira. First, we landed on the beach with a large parking lot - the perfect place to stay. We decided to stay there overnight, and due to the fact that the beach was public, we decided to set off in the morning to search for a wild beach. Despite the late hour, we all went to the beach with the blanket, holding Portuguese Porto bought in Lisbon in hand. There was also a night bath and chasing on the beach. In the morning, to our surprise, the parking lot was filled to the last place. It turned out to be a surfing basin. Around the crowds of people going to the beach. As we have already decided, we move on, looking for the longed-for wild beach. We covered a few kilometers, but it was profitable: - There it is! There is a beach! someone shouted in a loud but happy voice. We looked ahead and saw a charming beach stretching along the rocky coast. It was a long-awaited moment, but it made the place even more beautiful, and the fact that we got this far was even more fun. We all jumped out of the bus like burns! The joy drawn on our faces was invisible. We spent the whole day on the beach, and in the evening we lit a fire, we made a delicious dinner full of meat and vegetables. After the feast, stories and travel memories, we lay around the fire and spent the night in the moonlight. In the morning we gathered quickly and started another day of sunbathing. As you know, everything that is beautiful ends quickly, so we looked at the calendar and decided to pack slowly, because there is not much time left and as many kilometers to cover as there are for Portugal.
In fact, Paris was the main destination on our route. We took off, time was moving inexorably, and we were worried that we would not have time to visit one of the most important cities on our route. On the way to Paris, we had the pleasure to experience many more interesting adventures and see beautiful views. We left Portugal fairly quickly, Spain was dragging on like jellies and we just wished we had enough time to stop and visit so many wonderful places along the way. After several border control checks, we entered France. There are still many kilometers to the capital, and the whole team was already losing strength and motivation. The biggest problem was the lack of time, after all, so many beautiful places rubbed our noses, and we could not even peek there, because as soon as we looked at the calendar, we put the pedal to the metal and raced on the bus, looking only at the signposts with the inscription "Paris". Already 200 km. in front of the capital, we looked for the top of the tower, and the girls even fell for a power pole. It was fun all the way, we did not lack humor even in critical situations. The team was tight and everyone helped each other. We drove to the largest agglomeration of France in the evening. Despite the fatigue of the whole team, we were so excited that we were incredulous that we had already reached Paris.
We managed to park the bus in the very center of the city, as it turned out for free, because the parking meter said (this time we read with understanding several times) that the entrance was free on those days. We quickly got ready and started exploring the city located on the Seine. The first was the Notre Dame Cathedral, a beautiful building, incredibly ornamented, but to our surprise not as big as we thought. We strolled the streets of Paris, enjoying their beauty and heading towards the famous Eiffel Tower. Our legs were slowly failing to obey, and who we did not ask, everyone said that we were 10 minutes away. The longer we walked, the more the 10 minutes became a mystery. Are Paris 10 minutes the Polish 30 minutes? But we got there! The "iron lady" appeared before our eyes - almost 10,000 tons of iron and concrete, 2.5 million rivets used to join 18,038 steel elements. These numbers are impressive, believe me, the mere sight of the tower makes your body hair stand up even more. A huge building, which, despite the fact that it seemed larger in the pictures, still evoked a lot of emotions in a person. We settled down on a bench in the Field of Mars and opened a bottle of wine to celebrate this moment. When our eyes enjoyed the sight of the metal structure, we took photos and slowly returned to the Travelbus. It was already 04.00 in the morning! After a long ordeal, we finally saw our colorful bus and decided to spend the night in it. Kasia and Artur Ch. they wanted to sleep on the roof and so did. After waking up, they were met by a considerable surprise. To their surprise, a double-decker roofless bus full of tourists with cameras emerged next to them. Again, we have become a real tourist attraction. To be honest, we were used to it, and even it gave us a lot of fun, after all, that's what we wanted! We were supposed to be visible, arouse positive emotions and we achieved it as much as possible. In fact, in Paris, maybe we exaggerated a bit that in the city center we stayed on the roof of a bus, but whatever. We have something to remember! Would you like to see the terrified faces of Kasia and Artur - priceless! Well, the sun appeared from behind the clouds, so slowly it was necessary to become deity and go on a further exploration of the capital. We started our day in Paris with a typical Parisian breakfast, a croissant, a baguette with jam, orange juice and coffee. Charged batteries, we can move on. Walking the streets we reached the "lovers' bridge" filled to the brim with padlocks, the motive of which has been used in many romantic comedies. Then it's time to visit the Louvre, which is located between Rue de Rivioli and the right bank of the Seine, and the gardens of Tuileries and Rue du Louvre. Of course, there were also photos supporting the Louvre Pyramid and the background of the entire facility. Strolling through the beautiful gardens, we headed towards the mighty Arc de Triomphe. This one made a great impression on us mainly with its dimensions. Turn to the Eiffel Tower, which we had the pleasure to see already at night. We didn't expect so many crowds on the Champs Elysees. Paris is an extraordinary city - the capital of fashion, culture and art. Filled to the brim with monuments and tourist attractions, impossible to see in one day. You need at least a few - several days to see all the attractions of this charming place. As you know, our time passed inexorably. The only thing left for us to do is to organize a little free time to buy souvenirs and relax on the banks of the Seine.
We moved on with great sadness, knowing that there would be no more time to visit other amazing places on our way. Now there was only the goal, we had to get to Poland on time. Some were going back to work, others had more vacation plans. On the way, we passed through Belgium, Luxemburg and entered Germany. We were forced to make a longer stop there. There was an unfortunate accident on the highway near Dresden. The Fiat Ducato delivery van driving behind us crashed into the back of our car, we bounced off the Iveco with a trailer in front of us with great force, and the bus drifted to the railings. While rubbing against them, we traveled about 20 meters more, fortunately we stopped. We all kept a cool head and, like professionals, we got through the previously broken window to the side of the highway. As the police informed us, the driver who caused the accident, driving around 120 km / h, fell asleep at the wheel and hit our bus, which slows down to 80 km / h. We were very lucky in the misfortune because we all came out of the accident alive, minor bruises and cuts healed quickly. Unfortunately, the bulik was only suitable for cassation. We only had to wait the night in Dresden, and the next day our family came to pick us up.
We loaded the car on a tow truck, got into another, unfortunately not so wonderful, bus and returned to Rybnik. Despite the unfortunate finale, we spent a nice evening remembering the whole trip, and the next day everyone went to their homes. The whole trip was amazing, even perfect. When the vision of the trip was just settling in my head, I did not think it would be so wonderful! The team was tight, we had many experiences every day that we are not able to tell in one account. The expedition was rich in extraordinary adventures, humor, experiences unattainable every day, views that you have to see with your own eyes and whose beauty even the best photos do not reflect. Now we have to wait until the next trip ;-)
“The difference between people who pursue their dreams and the rest of the world is not the wealth of their wallets. your dreams "- Wojciech Cejrowski