I’M NOT MOANING but hot weather touring is not something I’m used to. As soon as I step near a caravan, the heavens open, the temperature drops and I’m dusting off the duffle coat for my summer break. So the first week of our touring adventure to Croatia have taken some getting used to. The weather has been fabulous.
Volvo and Sprite onto Croatian soil without problems, despite the heat
Seven days after leaving home, Mrs Donnelly and I rolled into Croatia but in that time, we’d had nothing but increasingly excellent weather. In fact, as we crossed the border into Croatia, the roadside thermometer indicated it was around 31C – around 86F. That’s too warm for comfortably driving about, particularly as our Swedish chariot was optioned without air-con, so we were glad to leave the Istrian coast road and pull onto our site, just north of Porec.
Camping Lanterna has won dozens of awards from German and Dutch magazines for the quality of the site and on initial inspection, it’s hard not to be impressed. It has a small market on site, a pool, a half-mile of sea-front pitches, a supermarket, toilets that are cleaned twice a day, a couple of restaurants and over 800 pitches. It’s on a different scale to most in the UK or indeed in much of Europe.
Oh no. This pitch will never do. Do you have anything a bit more rubbish?
Once we wheeled the van onto our sea-front pitch, we set up the chairs and began enjoying the view. Thing was, despite the shade, it was a bit warm to sit outside. So we to sit in the van with the windows open. Huge mistake. The Sprite had turned into a sauna after being tugged down the coast in direct sunlight all day, and there was no cooling it down.
Problems on pitch
Old vans like the Sprite had pretty poor insulation. That doesn’t just mean they get a bit nippy during a cold snap. When the sun shines, these old vans heat up astonishingly quickly. With no reflective blinds or flyscreens, the options for keeping the heat at bay were limited to say the least.
We struggled to get comfortable over the next couple of hours before deciding the best option was probably showers and a trip into Porec for dinner. Both Porec and dinner were fabulous but on returning to the Sprite, it was obvious the last hours daylight had warmed the van up still furhter. It was stiflingly hot inside. As luck would have it though, it was cool enough in the dark to sit outside the van with a bottle of beer. Incidentally, this was a bit on the tepid side too. The fridge works well enough, but capacity is limited and beer was not on Mrs. Donnelly’s guest list.
The night was characterised by the van being extraordinarily humid and as a result, I was awake before the alarm and felt like I’d just climbed out of the bath. I had a shower, but a pre-breakfast trip to the shop revealed one of the worst features of touring in southern Europe – UHT milk. Nothing spoils your Coco Pops like a measure of Ultra-Horrible Tasting milk.
The other thing that had become apparent was that the van floor appeared to be moving. A close look revealed the floor at the back of the van was covered in ants. A look at the pitch showed the little beggars were using the rear-steadies of the Sprite as a sort of tradesman’s entrance and were making themselves quite at home.
A liberal sprinkling of ant powder soon had the little beggars on the run
Back to the shop and they had an incredible array of anti-bug paraphernalia at their disposal. I dosed the van in ant-powder and even sprinkled some around the legs of the van in the hope they may take some back to the nest and tell their friends that the guy with the Sprite not only has ant-powder, but drinks UHT so will have no foodstuffs worth stealing anyway.
Some like it hot…
So the combination of extreme warmth, ants, UHT and the distance to get to Croatia all seem to point at the fact that maybe it’s more effort than it is worth.
Not a bit of it.
If this is all you have to complain about, things could be worse…
Moaning that the weather is too hot is a bit like saying the beer is too cheap or the food is too nice. I can’t imagine the caravanner who’d prefer the regular UK rain rations to a struggle to cope with consistent hot, dry weather. And to struggle with all of this while your van is pitched ten yards from the turquoise waters of the Adriatic is the sort of problem most caravanners would love the chance to solve.
Which is precisely why I’m not moaning.