Hi again Sandra,
the Scheghen (check spelling) agreement is a policy that allows non-europeans only limited time in participating countries, its something like 90 days total, thats the crux of it, my facts may not be entirely correct, but its something along those lines.
|i think i read you are British, so i assume you will be travelling on a British passport, if so you dont have to concern yourself with this, im sure Google can be alot more helpful/specific than i am.
Same in Zambia just never heard of the word.
A frequent poster on an other forum composed this very informative thread about the Schengen agreement: http://tinyurl.com/ox8qfad
I too admit I have no first hand experience on motor homes/camper vans etc. But re the socialising topic, working in hospitality/tourism industry and been a frequent traveler my self, I come to the conclusion that how/if you'll interact with other people lies 90% on your own attitude, personality and motivation and only 10% on the way you travel, where you stay etc.
I have nothing against hostels, I use them my self every now and then. but I find the whole "You have to stay in hostels in order to meet people" hype kind of over-rated. -and I am offen accused with sarcastic comments for this opinion on the forums.
Only last week I met here in Delphi, Greece a lovely old lady from UK who could barely walk due to arthritis, traveling on her own on her camper van for more than 2 months. She was staying in a camping outside Delphi but drove into town every now and then for some grossery purchases and having a coffe or two on the local cafeterias, getting to know almost all local people working in all kind of buisiness, greeting everyone and often seen sharing a tavern table or chatting with the odd visitor.. Although it was obviously hard to her to cover even small distances on foot, she slowly visited many local souvenir shops with aim of her cane. She was a very outgoing person and had many stories to tell, and when I met her, we got to chat for more than 30 minutes. I later found out from a worker in said camping that she had originaly booked a place for 3 nights but stayed 15 days as she befriended both a young German couple and they were often seen hunging around together by the pool or camping's restaurant. Local camping staff were very caring about this lady and would often pop up by her van to check if she needed anything and allow some time every now and then to have tea and chats with her. When she left my friends from the camping mentioned that her and the German couple decided to follow similar route for a while and were heading to a camping in Peloponnese.
On the contrary, I kept seen an old man appearing in Delphi every now and then during the whole Febriary and early March, greeting no one, only popping up to local bakery and local grossery store buying a loaf of bread and a couple of vegetables or fruits every few days, exchanging no second glance to anyone. I was having a coffe with a person working on camping and while this man walked passed, my friend said he was staying with them but he was no social at all. I noticed he recognised my friend but did not even say hello, just russed away. You understand that making new aquaintances have nothing to do with place itsself in that occasion...
I think it worths to check what kind of rules apply on each area you plan to visit eg is "wild" camping allowd? Then check what kind of facilities are available (for example communal showers, maybe some rooms to let, on site restaurants etc) and what demographic a destination attracts on a given period of time. For example I believe a place attracting more independant travelers when you plan to visit, is a better option that a package tourism destination and a hen party popular area will more likely attract people interested to drink till they drop that socialising... That said, priority for me would be what kind of sites/activities are available in a place, as you can meet people everywhere (yes, even on those hen party/package tourism destinations).
Whatever you decide to do, Have fun!
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Jun-2013, at 02:57 by mariha2912 ]
Thank you so much for going to the trouble of forwarding this information, although I have a lot of ends to tie up, I cant wait to get started.
One of the reasons that I have decided to travel rather than stay where I am or return to England is the old lady factor! I do not enjoy my own age group (70) and always gravitate to younger people. Ask my lot if they play Backgammon and they say "no dear only bridge" nothing against bridge, just the attitude. I think my mind is about the 36 range and a recent medical told me i am too fit for my own good?
I also have no problem meeting people having been in the industry, problem is I will end up cooking for the entire camp I intend to spend the rest of my healthy life traveling, coming home to Africa when the mood takes me. If my family and friends want to join me for a holiday, great, providing they don't get too attached to my new life.
...a good way to travel europe and meet people is to join helpex.net...check it out online, lots of hosts looking for helpers all over the world...good luck...nan...ps...i play backgammon!...
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jun-2013, at 12:49 by nantic ]
I've got friends who have done this - no one ever regretted it. There are plenty of retirees touring Europe in camper vans these days, and if you want to meet other age groups, well there's always the locals...
I have had some really good advice and can't wait to get started. I will not be able to go until I have sold up here, meanwhile I will occupy myself with taking a H.G.V. license in case I graduate to something big. Looking forward to my retirement and it will not be like waiting to die