It took us a year to find Bertha. We visited many motorhome dealers, perused private ads, scoured the internet and sold our house to give ourselves the fund for our ‘van of dreams’. We found her, not too far from home, at a dealership in Sussex. She is a Swift Sundance 600s with a full rear bathroom giving us the living accommodation we need for long months spent travelling on the road.
At a shade over 6 metres long she’s not a large size compared to gigantic twin axle vans we see more commonly now. She is however high at 2.8 metres and whilst her over cab bed means we have a permanent lounge down below, on windy nights it can feel like trying to sleep whilst swaying in a gusting galleon.
Bertha had done 30,000 miles when we bought her and over five years of travelling has done a further 30,000 with us. She has taken us on Grand Tours, criss-crossing Europe to visit major cities and remote rural villages, journeying along the famed routes and less obvious ones and voyaging on ferries of all sizes and sea worthiness.
Despite the steering rack failing in the Swiss Alps and a wheel detaching itself in Tuscany, we believe her to be an intrepid spirit, always ready for a challenge.
Whether crossing the High Tatras or a gang plank onto a Montenegrin ferry (in reverse) she is big-hearted, homely and cosy on the coldest of days and safe and warm every night. She has caused us to embrace new experiences and cultures, challenge our own perceptions and meet new friends. Bertha has truly changed our lives.