This summer, we’re all about celebrating the little wins - whether it’s getting through airport security with no dramas, enjoying time with family and friends at a summer get together, or simply putting your feet up after a hard day of managing bickering kids in the school holidays! But we know it’s not all plain sailing, and sometimes the best memories are made when it’s not all going to plan - pitching a tent in the rain, underwhelming day trips and forgetting the picnic… We’re by your side for all the special times, whether you’re celebrating or commiserating!
Over the summer, we followed van_life_family_ as they travelled Europe in their VW T5. The family of four (and well travelled pooch, Luna!) are led by mum and dad, Amy and Dan. They live for travel - taking each day as it comes and letting their hearts guide them around the continent. We couldn’t see the family off on their travels without sending them a box of handpicked tipples from our store - choosing products from the regions they are visiting, to give them a true ‘local’ experience on each of their stops and help them to commemorate the special moments along the way.
Starting out in Switzerland, the family embarked on their adventure with their two daughters, stopping off at some breathtaking locations along the way.
Surrounded by stunning scenery, the family arrived at their first campsite after a long journey through the UK and France. After recovering, they explored the region via train and cable car, falling in love with the many sleepy alpine villages. After an epic storm, the family decided to ‘break the budget’ for a once in a lifetime experience…
Whilst in Switzerland, Amy and Dan enjoyed a truly Swiss tipple - Cherry Brandy. We sent them with a bottle of Ableforth’s to enjoy as the girls were bedding down for the night - and needless to say, it went down very well!
After Switzerland the family moved onto Italy, to spend some time by the lakes and enjoy a bit of relaxation time before exploring the nearby towns and then heading on to tour the Dolomites.
‘We experienced moments of pure joy and absolute despair. There were mammoth mountain passes, nearly losing our van wheel, scorching hot days, the girls bickering in the heat, days exploring by boat, emerald green lakes, eating all the pasta, epic storms, wandering cobbled streets, admiring the stunning architecture, days hiding in the shade, moments of drinking all the red wine, moments feeling absolutely lost in a wonderful world of happiness and being at one with nature.’
In Italy, Amy and Dan enjoyed many an Aperol Spritz, coining it their ‘Italian Sunset in a glass’, finding that many of the locals were starting their day with an Aperol in hand! They also tried a few glasses of Tanqueray Sevilla Orange Gin and some `Torre del Falasco` Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso whilst they were there, to really soak in the Italian culture!
The next leg on the trip saw the family travel north into Austria - where we saw them drive some of the most incredible roads! After meeting up with some fellow #vanlifers, they headed up into the mountains to enjoy more picturesque scenery.
By day, the family explored some of the most quaint little villages we’ve ever seen! (seriously though, the flowers!) and by night, they cosied up in the cooler weather, enjoying a bottle of Weingut Weszeli, Riesling Loiserberg. Much lighter, fruitier and less sweet than a typical Riesling, it was the perfect tipple to see out busy days of wandering!
After a turn in the weather, and some chillier days, the family looked to move on in search of some much needed sunshine.
Driving along the world famous ‘Romantic Road’ the first stop in Germany was Neuschweinstein Castle - a real fairy tale adventure, Neuschweinstein was actually the inspiration for the Disney castle!
They followed the road north to take in some culture at the Rothenburg ob der Tauber - a mediaeval walled city renowned for its architecture. Think half-timbered buildings, cobbled streets, beautiful independent shops and market stalls and plenty of Schneeballs!
“It was pretty amazing to learn that there are over 1,500 different beers in Germany and it is the second largest consumer of beer in Europe. Bitburger Pilsner was undoubtedly our favourite and we thoroughly enjoyed our @threshersonline 5 litre keg!”
To see them through the German leg of their journey, we sent Amy and Dan a mini keg of Bitburger Pilsner (what’s a trip to Germany without a few beers?!) and for a more refined evening while the kids were tucked up in bed, a bottle of the Weingut Eymann, Gonnheimer Spatburgunder - very similar in taste to a Pinot Noir, but much lighter and fresher (in fact - unpopular opinion- we advise to serve this one lightly chilled!).
It’s fair to say that in this one summer, van_life_family_ have made more memories than most of us will in a decade (which leaves us searching autotrader for campervans and building crazy bucket lists to satisfy our newfound need for adventure!). But one of the things we’ve loved the most about following the family this summer, is their dedication to ‘keeping it real’; sharing the true highs and lows of #vanlife and always jumping out of their comfort zone to experience the REAL (tourist free!) culture; from finding hidden gem park-ups to eating and drinking like the locals.
After following the family on the last leg of their journey through France (with a casual stop off at Disneyland of course!) - they are now back on English soil and planning their next adventure. They have also arranged a huge meet-up of #vanlife families in Wales later this month! If you’re not already, give Van_life_family_ a follow over on Instagram. Your sense of adventure will thank you!