Flash-back : Vans en Croatie

As the video of their adventures just went online, let’s chat with two of the happy travelers, Valentin Bauer and Ben Delaboulaye, and discuss the reality of camping through Europe. Summer seems far away today, but we just had to put them on the subject to get the memories rolling! Good and bad!

 Loïc Benoït

Photos: Loïc Benoit

Ben: So we let with you, Val, Joseph Biais, Alex Richard, Bastien Duverdier, Victor Pellegrin and Bastien Marlin who was actually there in the beginning of the tour, as he was working for the new car renting company he started with his dad. Off course, we had Loïc Benoit, our photographer, team-manager, and “incidentally” van driver… And Julien Delion, our filmer for the trip. We met in Lyon to go meet up Marlin around Béziers. We camped by a river and skater the DIY he has built with his girlfriend. We spent two nights there, the water was clean, and it was handy to wash off! Little barbecues, it was cool… I even brought my guitar!
Valentin: Then, we went back to Lyon!
B: Yep, Victor had to get boards. The Blaze Supplies production hadn’t arrived yet, when we took off.
V: Victor was skating a cruiser for the first three days…

 Loïc Benoït

Val Bauer, boardlside pop over.

B: Then, off to Annecy, where we spent one night: barbecue by the lake… We went to visit Nabil Slimani, so we did a bit of street skating there. It was such an organization, just to pack all our stuff in the trunk. You better think ahead, to not have to empty it all to change underwear!
V: Then, Chamonix, where we grabbed Bastien Duverdier, who was just off the Anagram “Crazy Extreme Skate Tour”…
B: We camped by the new skatepark, waking up viewing the mountain was sick, the number of stars at night also… Then, Italy, where we had our only camping on a site night, somewhere I can’t recall…
V: Oh, yeah, we stopped to charge all the batteries.
B: It was our first night in an official camping site; showers were nice for everybody after all that van time. Then, we reached Croatian border. Two of us had stuff on them, and we stayed at customs for three hours, filling up papers.
V: [Laughter] You weren’t even sure if you had any on you!
B: In the end, as we were a Saturday, they had to go to court two days later, but only to get a fine. We were sleeping on a beach made of concrete slabs, and it was quite nice. They even had a little bar, there! From then, we went down the coast: Zadar, Sibenik, Split… It was so hot that we would all be up by 10h00, and leave our camping spot by 11h00. We would chill and go swim all day till 17h00, and skate, till about 23h00. You learn a lot about yourself and the others when you’re roughing it up. Some days, we would be all edgy from being tired and crammed together all the time. But, the only real trouble was my twisted ankle I Split, amongst the end… I didn’t skate for three months after that!

 Loïc Benoït

V: Those last days weren’t too long for you, because of that?
B: They were, plus my ankle was hurting badly, and I was on crutches. I remember one night, we were sleeping under a highway underpass, and I’d see the planes flying by, thinking that I couldn’t wait to be home to rest. But, well, I had a good crew! We drove back to Zagreb, passed by Ljubljana, in Slovenia. In the end, the van can get oppressing, actually. You drive, you drive, and you really want to skate!
V: But, if we hadn’t done those 4500 kilometers, we wouldn’t have skated all those spots!
B: Clearly! End of the day, with a limited budget, we had a blast! Thanks, Loïc!

 Loïc Benoït

Ben Delaboulaye, fs 180.

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