'European Odyssey' by Ralph Lavelle

Hi, my name is Ralph ('Rafe') Lavelle, and this book is the story of an eighteen-month-long trip to Europe I did in 2015 with my wife Tina and two boys, Alexander and Eoin. We live in Brisbane, Australia, and that year we decided to take a longer break than the usual six weeks or so we normally did every couple of years in order to show our kids the world, or at least the corner of it called Europe.

To meet some of the people who lived in the countries we were travelling through we tried couchsurfing and doing work exchanges for the first time. As a result of that we ended up camping with a Polish family in Pomerania, grouting an old mill house in Provence, and having a miserable time working in a B&B in Piedmont. But we got to visit Templar castles in Portugal, Moorish labyrinths in Spain, and managed to sell a house in Connemara, on the west coast of Ireland.

So, from the whole season we spent on a Greek island, during which Grexit nearly happened, to the school year we spent in Ireland, during which Brexit definitely did (well, the referendum passed, anyway), the kids had to go to school, Tina had to learn to play the concertina, and I had to find a job to pay for it all, and we all had to see as much of this fine continent as we could before packing up and heading home.

Read more travel stories at Koukla House, our travel blog