As huge fans of VW Camper Vans, we hired a classic VW a couple of years ago and dreamed of owning one ourselves. Despite enjoying a brilliant September weekend at Eype near Bridport in the gorgeous blue and white van, we recognised that a new VW Camper was the only practical solution for us.
As previous caravan owners, we had camped in Cornwall with friends who owned a T5 LWB Vanworx conversion and they raved about the quality of the conversion and the fantastic customer service offered by Vanworx. Keen to research the market we headed up to BusFest at Malvern Showground and whilst there were many companies offering great products the quality of Vanworx conversions could not be beaten. Vanworx is on our doorstep and the Love Family have a great affinity to Portland!
Moving to Italy on a two year posting, we are very keen to explore the delights the country has to offer in a VW. We approached Vanworx to undertake a conversion for us. They advised us to carefully choose the right van specification to suit our needs; the base van we took delivery of was a LWB 204 DSG Kombi – van with cruise control, heated seats, air conditioning and other optional extras. After much deliberation we chose Mohave paintwork with red leather interior, an optional bike rack which has been worth its weight in gold already and Rich insisted on lowering and sidebars. We opted for the Chesil conversion for the wider bed, whilst still having a decent amount of storage.
A couple of weeks before we headed out to Italy this Summer we took delivery of our gorgeous van and are absolutely delighted with it. We headed back to Eype for a weekend for old time’s sake and to try the van out before our Love Adventure to Italy began.
With the house packed up we (Julie, Rich and Sam) headed to the Tunnel at the start of our week-long journey to Naples. The Van drives like a dream, the sitting position is very comfortable and the cruise control is a huge bonus making the journey much easier. Unfortunately, having been delayed at the Tunnel we admitted defeat and pulled into a service station just before Lyon around midnight and spent our first night there.
After a very comfortable night in the van we headed through the Alps and over the Petit Saint-Bernard pass into Italy. We drove through Genoa at rush hour which was a baptism of fire and arrived at our campsite between Pisa and Lucca at dusk.
The campsite was set into a small valley with a number of tiers. It was very functional and more importantly had a TV allowing us to watch the England World Cup match! We spent a couple days touring Pisa and Lucca and then headed down towards Naples arriving just before our furniture! Our first trip with Sam, we found there was ample space in the VW for the three of us and Sam enjoyed sleeping in the roof.
We hit the ground running and have been on a number of camping excursions. Our first trip was to Abruzzo where we stayed at a delightful campsite near Lake Barrea where deer roamed around the site, with the pitches nestled in the trees. For our second time in Abruzzo we stayed in a ‘Cool Camping’ site. We were pitched between the olive and fig trees and enjoyed stunning views across the hills.
We said goodbye to the hills and drove down the East coast of Italy visiting Vasto and Termoli, exploring the less popular but equally stunning coastline. Rich decided to join the locals on one camp site and wear his budgie smugglers and sandals! Thankfully no cameras caught him!
We have discovered wild camping and have headed up to Roccarasso, a ski resort two hours away from Naples enjoying amazing views across the glacial plateau.
Is there anything we would do differently – No! The red leather interior is fabulous, the front seats swivel giving us ample space. We chose a full sized double bed and compromised on the built-in units giving us a great nights’ sleep. There is plenty of storagespace; with room for more stuff in the boot when we travel for longer periods. The little extras such as plug sockets, heated seats and USB ports were money well spent. There is huge Van envy amongst the Brit community here in Naples and we are very proud of the new member of our family!! Thank You Vanworx – we feel very lucky.
One thing we can’t agree on – what to call her/him?
(Words and imagery by Julie, Rich and Sam Love)