Packing Europe into our Campervan

Taking a photograph of our breakfast table for the #warcoffee community on Twitter [check out Yaroslava Antipina @strategywoman to get a feel for life in Kyiv during the war] I realised how many gorgeous and useful things we have in our campervan that are regular reminders of our happy travels around Europe. Of course, we drive a French Renault van but the European theme doesn’t stop there, we have picked up things we like and need in many different countries.

Our rustic wooden bread bowl in the photograph is used for our continental breakfasts and came from Slovakia, back when it was part of Czechoslovakia. We took a backpacking railway trip to the Tatras in 1992 and managed to squeeze this beautiful bowl into the rucksack, along with a bottle of Czech beer! It is perfect for breakfast and dinner bread.

Our honey of the day might be from Shropshire [we always pick up local honey when we are travelling] but the wooden honey spoon was bought in the idyllic Italian village of Sorano in southern Tuscany. We were visiting a friend who lived there at the time and she showed us the sights and took us into the town for a meal. Browsing around a shop packed full of wooden chopping boards and spoons I admired this honey spoon and she generously insisted on buying it for me. I am so glad I didn’t point out anything more expensive in the shop and feel sad that we have lost touch but I think of her everyday when I use the spoon.

When it comes to slicing those large crusty continental loaves we use a steak knife from a village shop in Slovenia. A bread knife isn’t something we have room for and the steak knife does the job. The glass plates with blue swirls are from one of those interesting French hypermarkets that I could browse around for hours and the jolly teacosy with the stylish red radish pattern is from Denmark. We slum it with teabags when we are camping but still use a teapot. Our camping teapot is from Blomus, a German company who make quality stuff that we grabbed as a second-hand bargain on Ebay. The handle folds down making it perfect for stowing in one of the cupboards in the campervan.

While my mug with the blue flowers is another Italian find from the beautiful Malcesine on Lake Garda and gives me pleasure everyday, Anthony’s mug is from the Serra da Estrela in Portugal. We enjoyed our time in this stunning mountainous area of Portugal so much it is lovely to have a reminder of it on a daily basis wherever we are. The tray our teapot sits on has a map of Salford that includes our former home. This was a thoughtful retirement gift from a friend so we could show people where we lived.

Our evening hot drink mugs [yes we have mugs for different drinks!] are Morecambe mugs, so we never forget where home is now! Mine has a picture of the Midland Hotel and Anthony’s has Morecambe in big colourful letters and Eric Morecambe’s iconic specs.

These are all small treasures that are both useful, hold precious memories and make me feel blessed. None of them cost us an arm and a leg but all of them are cherished.

Author: Back on the Road Again Blog

I write two blogs, one about my travels in our campervan and living well and frugally and the second about the stories behind the people commemorated in memorial benches.

7 thoughts on “Packing Europe into our Campervan”

  1. It’s so lovely to have useful souvenirs that are reminders of your travels.
    My favourite mugs at the moment are the ones we just bought in Gjirokaster in Albania. Sadly, though, my sarong that I bought in Bristol in 1994 that has accompanied me on all my travels since, on 6 continents, where it has been a skirt, wrap, nightdress, caravan/motorhome window sunshade, beach towel, shower towel, bag, dog carrier, cooling blanket and dog coat has finally died… It has a huge hole in it 😦 I might be able to rescue some of it if I cut it in half and hem it!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve found it quite difficult to find a replacement. I’ve been looking for a while, but the material isn’t always ‘all that’! My Fiji sarong from 2016 has also given up the ghost, so I am sarongless!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, we have different mugs for different drinks too – remembering Chartres, Glastonbury and the Basque country as we drink from them. Tea towels from Wales and the Outer Hebrides, coasters from Paris and a pan stand from Modbury in Devon. I’m sure there’s more – there must be! I’d forgotten the sarong from Thailand that I was given years ago. It travelled with us in our first van where it became a skirt that I could change in to for dinner. How “posh” we were in those early days of van travel! Nice memory-jogging post, full of reminiscences and good feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joyce. I am glad it isn’t just us with different mugs for different drinks! I didn’t begin to go into the t-towels but we these all have memories too. You will have more. I never wear a frock in the UK but have one I got in Greece to cover my modesty in the churches and I keep it in the ‘van for hot days in Europe.

      Liked by 1 person

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