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It goes something like this… first find a likely area away from the road and houses. Under trees is good – helps hide the tents.

Once you have your spot choose the place for the tent. On grass is nice – it’s very difficult to put tent pegs into rock! If its late this is when the tents get pitched.

If still a bit early its time to make dinner. Reason being it’s easier to explain a picnic to the local bobbies than illegal camping… so out comes the cooker, kitchen and food boxes, the chairs, table and quite often the beers also.  Dinner seems to take a very long time to cook when you’ve been on the road / sightseeing / outdoors all day and, once cooked, is generally wolfed down in 5 minutes flat.

Then its wash, dry and put away the dinner things.   By this time it’s normally late and / or dark enough to put up the tents.

Then follows a generally excellent night’s sleep with the lullaby of the birds as you drop off and their dawn chorus to sing you awake. No noisy fellow campers, no cars or rv’s pulling in late, no early risers eager to get on the road at unearthly hours. And no one tramping past the tent to go to the loo.

Of course it’s not all lovely and easy. Lack of a toilet and showers is the main one as is no running water. So peeing occurs behind a bush (watch out for nettles!) No shower – baby wipes are the way forward here – and washing up is an exercise in water frugality.   Oh yeah and the mosquitoes. One campsite on the Lithuania / Latvia border was christened “Mosquito-ville” due to the sheer numbers of the blood sucking vampires, They were enormous too!

These inconveniences are small when weighed against the quiet, fresh air and the red squirrel I saw one morning.

Initially very skeptical I am now a firm convert to camping wild. Here’s a gallery of our lovliest camping sites, both paid and wild. There are more pics of the surrounding areas in individual posts.

Here’s our site in the woods near Colditz – not as spooky as it looks, the sunlight through the trees was beautiful and we saw deer and red squirrels….

Poland. Found a lovely brand new campsite next to a beautiful lake…

 

Our site in Estonia was right by the sea, yep we could hear the waves!…

These are Finland. Both in a national park. The first was next to a lovely lake and behind us was a small complex of outdoor barbeques and covered eating areas. The second was by the sea on a small inlet…

 

This one just outside Vladimir near Moscow, gorgeous views over the fields and amazing sunset…

The next 2 campsites were after Moscow and on the road to Volgograd (and what we thought was going to be our crossing into Kazakhstan) The first site was on the edge of a large river, a very popular spot judging by the numebr of tents all along. No great pics but the sunset was lovely:

The second is “the potato field” and was exactly as it sounded: someone’s field of potatoes. We didn’t camp on the potatoes, we camped on the edge!  …

And finally, the last campsite we have had so far on this trip (I say so far cos you never do know, do you?). The most beautiful, on an outcrop with amazing views over the Volga river, beautiful silver birches and wild flowers galore. Miles from the road and so peaceful. Stef and I spent some time fantasizing about buying the plot and putting a wooden house on it…

                                         

I sorely miss my tent, it was left behind along with our sleeping bags as it was too much to carry. But one day we may be back under canvas!

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