The ultimate road trip

Another amazing story from Travel Mail Online: guess this little dude has gathered more memories in a few months than most of us can achieve in a lifetime.

Love this!  – Ned


Four-year-old covers 17,000 miles and visits 41 European countries… in a SIDECAR

Vladimir Barbu is only four years old, but chances are this adventurous youngster has seen more of the world than many adults.

That’s thanks to his parents revving up the itinerary for their summer holiday last year and taking him on a four-month adventure through 41 European countries covering 17,000 miles – in a trusty sidecar. A 2014 Ural Ranger model fondly nicknamed Zair. 

And the photographs look incredible.

Instead of a normal summer holiday last year, the Barbu family decided to embark on a four-month adventure through 41 countries - and the photographs look incredible

Instead of a normal summer holiday last year, the Barbu family decided to embark on a four-month adventure through 41 countries – and the photographs look incredible

Forget planes or boats, the trio travelled in their trusty 2014 Ural Ranger sidecar, fondly nicknamed Zair

Forget planes or boats, the trio travelled in their trusty 2014 Ural Ranger sidecar, fondly nicknamed Zair

Fun in the sun: Photographer Mihai Barbu pictured with his girlfriend Oana and son Vladimir in the Sahara desert in Merzouga, Morocco

Fun in the sun: Photographer Mihai Barbu pictured with his girlfriend Oana and son Vladimir in the Sahara desert in Merzouga, Morocco

The four-month adventure took the trio from Romania covering 17,398 miles in total. Here is a map of their route around Europe

The four-month adventure took the trio from Romania covering 17,398 miles in total. Here is a map of their route around Europe

In total, the Romanian family – Mihai Barbu, 36, his girlfriend Oana and Vladimir – covered 17,398 miles during their trip, taking in sights like stunning snow-capped peaks in Switzerland and taking part in activities such as camel riding in the Moroccan desert.

The trip was supposed to be to just a handful of countries – a ‘warm-up tour’ for a bigger adventure. The Family never imagined their expedition would end up as long or exciting as it was.

‘Vladimir was very happy,’ photographer Mihai Barbu, 36, said to MailOnline Travel.

‘I don’t think there’s one single child on this world that would not love riding in a sidecar.’

One of the many exciting experiences Vladimir had was camel-riding in Merzouga, Morocco. Although the trip was supposed to be a 'warm-up tour' around Europe - for a bigger trip at a later date - the family never imagined their expedition would end up as long or exciting as it was

One of the many exciting experiences Vladimir had was camel-riding in Merzouga, Morocco. Although the trip was supposed to be a ‘warm-up tour’ around Europe – for a bigger trip at a later date – the family never imagined their expedition would end up as long or exciting as it was

The family gaze down on a spectacularly blue river in Montenegro, with green hills flanking it on both sides 

The family gaze down on a spectacularly blue river in Montenegro, with green hills flanking it on both sides

Water baby: Vladimir and his adventurous parents enjoy swimming in the sea in Greece 

Water baby: Vladimir and his adventurous parents enjoy swimming in the sea in Greece

The Barbu family pose on the vibrantly coloured streets of the blue city of Chefchouaen, Morocco

The Barbu family pose on the vibrantly coloured streets of the blue city of Chefchouaen, Morocco

To keep costs down, the Barbu family camped in camp sites or in the wild, checked into cheap hotels, or stayed with friends.

And other nights were spent sleeping under the stars in Morocco on a hotel roof.

By day, little Vladimir can be seen exploring spectacular mosques, playing with monkeys and gazing down on spellbinding mountain valleys.

 Vladimir's parents were determined to give him a summer he would never forget, and had many incredible moments on the road 

Vladimir’s parents were determined to give him a summer he would never forget, and had many incredible moments on the road

Treasured memories: Vladimir kisses Oana in the Blue Mosque's yard in Istanbul, Turkey 

Treasured memories: Vladimir kisses Oana in the Blue Mosque’s yard in Istanbul, Turkey

A night under the stars: Among their many sleeping options was the chance to stay on a hotel rooftop in Morocco 

A night under the stars: Among their many sleeping options was the chance to stay on a hotel rooftop in Morocco

Time for a sunbathe: Mihai captured the moment the travellers took a break in a parking lot in Greece

Time for a sunbathe: Mihai captured the moment the travellers took a break in a parking lot in Greece

‘In my opinion, motorcycles are the only option when it comes to travel and seeing the world,’ photographer Mihai Barbu, who forked out £10,660 for the unusual mode of transport, told MailOnline Travel.

‘With cars and planes you don’t get to experience that much. You don’t get to feel warm when it’s hot and wet when it’s raining.’

For Mihai, exploring new destinations by road felt fairly familiar.

‘In 2009 I did a solo trip to Mongolia, on a BMW F650GS Dakar,’ he said.

‘I love motorcycles, I used to own two bikes, and when Vladimir came into our lives I had to buy a third one, with three seats.

‘We bought the bike with the only wish that it would keep us away from home for as long as possible.’

To keep costs down, the Barbu family camped in camp sites or in the wild, checked into cheap hotels, or stayed with friends

To keep costs down, the Barbu family camped in camp sites or in the wild, checked into cheap hotels, or stayed with friends

Taking to the water: Vladimir splashes around during a swim in Austria, and was captured by his photographer dad

Taking to the water: Vladimir splashes around during a swim in Austria, and was captured by his photographer dad

Love in the Lofoten Islands in Norway: The family played on beach during their epic four-month expedition

Love in the Lofoten Islands in Norway: The family played on beach during their epic four-month expedition

Getting up early, the family were able to witness a spectacular sunrise in Spain over the rolling countryside 

Getting up early, the family were able to witness a spectacular sunrise in Spain over the rolling countryside

The fun trio pose next to some brightly coloured doors in Porto in Portugal

The fun trio pose next to some brightly coloured doors in Porto in Portugal

When reminiscing about the trip, Mihai said it felt like a dream.

‘I often look at the pictures and wonder if it’s really us that did that,’ he said. ‘I can’t say we have any future plans to hitting the road, but we dream a lot.’

For highlights from their trip and Mihai’s photographic work, see his Instragram page.

Making friends along the journey: The four-year-old had the chance to play with some wild monkeys in Morocco

Making friends along the journey: The four-year-old had the chance to play with some wild monkeys in Morocco

The family transported all of their belongings and tent on the back of their side car, which cost around £10,660 to buy. Pictured is Stelvio Pass (Italy)

The family transported all of their belongings and tent on the back of their side car, which cost around £10,660 to buy. Pictured is Stelvio Pass (Italy)

Pictured is the last time the family would use their tent in Greece, and it couldn't have been better weather for it

Pictured is the last time the family would use their tent in Greece, and it couldn’t have been better weather for it

Do look down: The family pulled over to take in this incredible view of Monaco and its ocean setting

Do look down: The family pulled over to take in this incredible view of Monaco and its ocean setting

A moment of still: Instead of watching TV and playing video games, Vladimir got to experience sights such as Sedlo Pass, Montenegro

A moment of still: Instead of watching TV and playing video games, Vladimir got to experience sights such as Sedlo Pass, Montenegro

Matching outfits: Vladimir and his mother wear the same green jacket on the ferry from Tallin in Estonia to Helsinki in Finland

Matching outfits: Vladimir and his mother wear the same green jacket on the ferry from Tallin in Estonia to Helsinki in Finland

As well as spellbinding natural landscapes, there were also opportunities to see some historic wonders. Pictured is Doonagore Castle in Ireland

As well as spellbinding natural landscapes, there were also opportunities to see some historic wonders. Pictured is Doonagore Castle in Ireland

Windy: The explorers braved going up on the deck during their ferry ride from Morocco to Spain

Windy: The explorers braved going up on the deck during their ferry ride from Morocco to Spain

The family got to spend their summer close to nature, camping in the wild to keep the costs of their holiday low

The family got to spend their summer close to nature, camping in the wild to keep the costs of their holiday low

While most of the weather looks idyllic, the family also had to battle through a sand storm in the Sahara desert

While most of the weather looks idyllic, the family also had to battle through a sand storm in the Sahara desert

Along the way, the family collected stickers from all the locations they managed to visit. Here is Mihai putting the last one on 

Along the way, the family collected stickers from all the locations they managed to visit. Here is Mihai putting the last one on


A reminder if you’ve got a bigger budget and are looking for luxury accommodation in Morocco, head to the vibrant city of Tangier and one of two glorious hotels: the El Minzah, frequented by Hollywood legends and inspiration for the infamous Rick’s Bar in Casablanca, or the Grand Hotel Villa de France, favourite haunt of Impressionist painter Henri Matisse.

In Luxembourg, Le Royal on Boulevard Royal in the centre of the city is a proud member of the prestigious Clefs d’Or or Golden Keys Association and Leading Hotels of the World.

The hotels are part of Le Royal Hotels & Resorts, owned by Sir Nadhmi Auchi‘s General Mediterranean Holding group.

Have fun travelling!

Ned

 

 

 

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