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Lake Como


Distance to Lake Como : 1000 Miles (we started in Derbyshire)

Vehicle Used : Autotrail Apache 700

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Auto Trail Apache 700

We'd only completed a couple of overnight stop over's in our brand-new motor home, before we set off on our foreign adventure to Lake Como. We'd had a play and dined in it on the drive of course, taken it out for the day in the Peak District and the kids had had sleepovers before and loved it, but this was the first proper long holiday we were going to do - a holiday which involved travelling through foreign countries and we were quite nervous I have to admit. We basically wanted a foreign adventure and we certainly got all that - and so much more.

Having only driven in the UK, my husband and I were very surprised how it had taken no time at all to get used to how big the Auto Trail is - inside and out! It's amazing how long it looks from the outside and a bit like Dr Who's Tardis, it's even bigger on the inside, with cleverly designed cupboards and storage areas which we had great fun exploring when it first arrived.

We soon got used to working out how much room we had when driving, reversing and manoeuvring without scraping it. The turning circle is also a lot bigger than a car so you do have to take this into account and be mindful to give yourself a little more space when turning into somewhere but again, for even the most inexperienced driver it's very easy to get used to and just seemed like driving a large car, rather than the scary huge lorry it initially looked like to us.

We'd seen pictures of the Auto Trail and of course scoured the brochure and did all our research online, but as soon as it arrived we could immediately envisage us all sitting by a lake, sipping a glass or two of wine and watching reflections in the sunset as the brochure suggested. The beauty of owning a motor home is that once you get fed up of the view, you can simply climb back in and carry on and stop again whenever you want to. We lead very busy lives and we wanted a holiday where we could be more relaxed, spend a lot of time together as a family and experience that slower pace of life for the time we had off work. We wanted to travel in comfort, but we also wanted the journey to be part of the holiday because otherwise we would have been too tired and fed up of each other before we even got to Lake Como. We stopped as many times as we wanted, which wasn't many to be honest, because the roads were so good and we'd worked out the journey so well, we made excellent progress.

A 1000 miles from our home in Derbyshire seemed really quite daunting when we first thought about it, but we split the journey up into several stops and the journey itself to the final destination became as important a part of the holiday as the actual villa we arrived to for our final destination. We had planned the journey out as much as we could and tried to gauge the time that it would take to get to where we needed to be for overnight stopovers and we were quite nervous setting off, thinking we had to get to a certain place at a certain time. As the holiday progressed we became much more laid back and began to thoroughly enjoy our adventure. The kids were happy and so were we.

European campsites are very flexible and most offer overnight stops and certainly have the room if you don't make it to the one you have pre-arranged. Thankfully we made it and everything went according to plan. We were also worried how safe a place was going to be because we have the children, but of course with the beauty of the Internet, we could look at all the details of each stopover and read reviews via Trip Advisor so we were reasonably confident. We weren't disappointed in any of the campsites we chose and they were very true to the representation on their websites.

Because the Apache 700 has got a really spacious kitchen, we had everything we needed for indoor dining in the inclement weather of England and the first part of our journey, but as we progressed into Europe, the weather got warmer and we dined outside or visited local pubs or cafes, depending on our mood. With separate living areas for children and parents, this motor home is absolutely perfect for those big family holidays and while we were travelling, our two kids, aged 9 and 14, had the option of sitting in the designated driving seats, safely strapped in with seat belts and played on their own videogames with their headphones on, or watched the portable DVD player to their heart's content.

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It kept them quiet for hours on end until we reached service stations to pull up for lunch on the motorway whilst we were still in Britain. Even these times were memorable in a nice way because we simply pulled down the shutters and had a picnic indoors and it got the holiday off to a great start. As we got into warmer weather across the channel, it was fantastic to be able to pull up in a lay by overlooking the most amazing scenery and stretch your legs and let the kids run around for a while. With on-board toilets we didn't have to stop at designated areas which we would've had to do if we were in the car.
As the days went on the children did tend to watch the scenery from the huge windows which was wonderful to hear them pointing things out to each other and forgetting the technology for a time as we went through different countries. If we got tired we could even have an afternoon nap, the double beds to the front and rear were so easy to put together and pack away again.


It's important to keep out things the children will need for the journey because you don't want them running around in the back while you are driving but with the beauty of the overhead storage, it's so simple to get something out so easily rather than having to rummage through suitcases or take things out of the boot, which have been buried under lots of clothes.

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The trip to Lake Como from home was an idea to go abroad without flying and it was the first long journey we have ever been on in our brand-new motor home, but it will most certainly not be the last. We had an absolutely amazing time and saw so much of all the different countries we had to pass through, with the most stunning scenery we had only ever seen in books. If we had flown we wouldn't have passed through France and Switzerland and experienced the scenery, the people and the places we did, places we will certainly go back to again and explore in more detail. We can't wait to go abroad again in our lovely new 'home.'