February Half Term – Mini Break/Ruby’s first trip out!

Thursday

Ruby the Campervan is parked up on the very quiet Woodstock Farm, near to Downham Market, Norfolk. For our first ever overnight stay in Ruby we decided to stay local, so we could spend plenty of time on site playing with our new toy!


After 6.5 years of motor homing, we’ve just decided to downsize/sell our car and motorhome and replace with something we can use day to day but still get out on the road for adventures! We were really excited about our first trip out in Ruby, if not a little apprehensive- we’ve sold our car already and ploughed all our excess savings into Ruby the VWT5. We know we LOVE being out and about, but going from motorhome to camper van means we’ve lost an awful lot of space! Can we make it work?!


On arrival, Keith got everything out of the boot area and repacked it neatly, whilst I reorganised the internal storage. An hour later and we were both beaming. First impressions were good- we’ve got everything that we had in Bluebell on board and still have loads of spare room!


A nice feature of Woodstock Farm was that it has it’s own private woodland and the owners have made a nice circular walk. We decided to have a leg stretch and enjoyed seeing groups of snowdrops dotted here and there.


Back on site and we got the kettle on, before taking nice hot showers in the small shower block. Dinnertime soon arrived and I decided to throw myself into the deep end by cooking a SimplyCook meal- Korean Lamb Chops, with Jasmine rice- which was absolutely delicious. We had been spoilt in Bluebell as she had a 4 ring hob with grill and oven. Ruby only has 2 rings, but I felt excited about the prospect of hunting out new recipes. SimplyCook is a fantastic option for camper van cooking- most meals are only cooked using one or two rings on the hob. Fab! You can try your own box of SimplyCook here.


One of the most popular comments re our decision about getting Ruby has been about lack of Pop Up. I wondered how I would find cooking whilst sitting down, but actually I rather enjoyed it! Being a much smaller space, we needed to rely on good old fashioned team work to produce the meal- I sat one side and Keith sat the other side- he was my commis chef, passing things from his side of the van on request. I quite liked that we were working together as a team- meal times in Bluebell often were my job (I don’t really mean “job”- I enjoy cooking but because there was plenty of space, I often banished K out of the way!)

Dinner enjoyed and I went off to wash up at the kitchen sink block- this was new to me, we’d always used the sink in BB but having no hot water in Ruby meant I really needed to get used to using on site facilitates more now! Again, I didn’t mind it- not having to worry about how much water we have left in our tank / is the waste tank nearly full was quite enjoyable. (I realise I may feel different about this in the middle of a rain storm/ on a overly busy/untidy site!)

Bed time next and we were quite excited to set out Ruby’s bed and the porta potty. The bed area setup was very very quick and easy- before we knew it we were snuggled up and nodding off!


Friday

Morning dawned and we both were happy to report that we had slept well. The lack of pop top meant that our morning cup of tea ritual needed to be not in bed as we couldn’t sit up, but within 2 mins we had packed up the bed area and the kettle was on- normal service was resumed.

After a breakfast of venison sausages we drove 5 miles down the road to Denver, not USA, but on the outskirts of Downham Market, Norfolk. We enjoyed a 5 mile walk that took us from Denver past the old windmill (sadly in a state of disrepair-I think/hope it is being done up), Denver Sluice, along the River Ouse, before making our way through Downham Market and back to Ruby in Denver.


Once back on site I got the slow cooker plugged in on high for our evening meal of Pulled Pork, Homemade “campfire chips” and colslaw.


 We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon, I did some knitting, Keith listened to some music and at dusk we took a little walk along the nearby lane to see if we could spot the Barn Owl- we did, but he was far too quick for my camera! Beautiful.


Saturday

We had another good sleep last night, we switched sides and it seemed to work better. The weather was fairly good so we decided to turn Ruby’s wheels towards the seaside rather than heading straight home. Keith picked a nice walk from our AA walk box that was based around The Burnham’s and I had been going on for ages abut how I would love to by some North Norfolk Mussels and cook them overlooking the sea, so we diced that would be lunch today. Colin the CoPilot (satnav app) was set for Burnham Market and an hour later we pulled in to the beautiful but very busy picturesque village. We managed to get a kilo of fresh local mussels from Gurney’s Fish Shop, wow what a find this place is, if you like your local food you HAVE to visit!


Into the ice box the mussels went and we carried on to the harbour parking at Burnham Overy Staithe, where we parked up beside the water and began our 4 mile walk. By now the sun was out, and I was as happy as a pig in you know what! I think the cal lot the mussels meant our pace was through the roof, and we arrived back at Ruby in just over an hour and a quarter! Not bad for us as we’ve been a bit lacking on the old walking front recently.


Yay! It was FINALLY time to cook my Mussels- writing this back now, and I’m thinking that I sound a bit of a looser, but hey ho. For the last few years I’ve had this crazy bucket list item of buying fresh mussels and cooking them overlooking the sea and now was my chance. I was so excited! I took my time to de-beard the mussels and scrape the barnacles off before steaming them in my mussels pan I got for christmas along with an onion and some cider and double cream. Let’s just say the anticipation of the big event (haha) was totally worth it, it was just one of those perfect moments. I would say poor Keith, but he got to enjoy the meal too!

All too soon and it was time to head back home, but not before a cheeky little stop at another of my favourite places in England, Walsingham Abby, to see the GLORIOUS display of perfect snowdrops. 

 What an absolute corker of a day, and trip actually. We drove home with big smiles on our faces, Ruby survived her first live in test, and we were feeling happy with our purchase. Hurrah. Hard to think that only 3 weeks ago we were devastated at the parting of ways with Bluebell.

Until Next time, and something tells me that next will be very soon(!),

Lx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twixmas 2016: Northumberland, Part 3

An hour after leaving Kielder Dam we were back in civilisation again- phone signals had pinged back, and we were turning off the A6079 at Chollerford onto the beautiful B6318, the road that skirts Hadrian’s Wall. The weather was still incredible, a heavy frost on the moors left the ground sparkling, yet the sky was this fabulous shade of winter Blue. The ultimate winters day. A few miles along we passed signs for the Temple of Mithras, so we pulled in for a quick look.

Temple of Mithras, Carrawburgh

It was a fascinating insight into the early Roman Pagan religions, and seeing the Roman inscriptions was really amazing.

We carried along the B6318 occasionally catching glimpses of Hadrian’s Wall, before turning off at The Milecastle, following signposts for half a mile for our campsite, Herding Hill Farm. This was a last minute booking, the temperatures had plummeted and we decided it was important for us to have electric hook up. Nearby Hadrian’s Wall Campsite were full so we emailed Herding Hill and they responded very quickly to tell us we were most welcome. The campsite has to be one of the best we’ve stayed on. Yes, it comes at a price tag, we paid £58 for two nights- one of the highest we’ve paid for a UK campsite- however, it was absolutely fabulous. The pitches were large, and we had the campsite to ourselves actually! The amenities block, well, they won “Loo of the year” last year, and I can see why. It was clean and luxurious- Radio 2 was playing through the speakers all the time, the showers were HUGE with endless piping hot water, there was a SAUNA!!, two cubicles with baths in in the ladies, a drying room, hand sanitiser next to the Elsan Point- wow I can go on. Location wise, second to none, we were about a mile’s walk to a fab section of wall at Cawfield’s including a Milecastle. We were a mile from Haltwhistle, and had miles of footpaths from our door. A bit of a splash out for us, but just what we needed to thaw out our cold bones!

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Bluebell the Motorhome parked on her “Super Pitch” at Herding Hill Farm

After a quick bowl of soup, we threw on our walking boots and in a style similar to the Roman Army, marched down to Hadrian’s Wall at Cawfields just in time to catch the last winter rays of the day.

img_9602Hadrian’s Wall at Cawfields

img_9611Sunset at Hadrian’s Wall

img_9615Looking down over the Milecastle

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Drone Pic
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Drone Pic

That evening we were treated to a fabulous night sky, so I took full advantage of the empty campsite, doing some serious star/moon gazing using my new telescope. We were treated to a fantastic view of the crescent moon, viewing the craters and even the sea of tranquility. We also were able to view Venus and Mars alongside the moon. Wonderful stuff!

Tuesday arrived and sadly the weather was a bit dull and overcast, so we took full advantage of a lie in, even indulging in Breakfast in Bed! We decided to take short walk down to Haltwhistle to get some supplies, so using a map the campsite provided us with, we took a short but picturesque path over some fields and down a steep gorge into Halthwhistle. There wasn’t an awful lot to see in the “Centre of Britain”, and all the pubs were sadly closed, despite the sun being well over the yardarm. We treated ourselves to a sausage roll from the butchers, which ended up being worth the walk alone- quite simply the best we’ve ever had! and a bargain at 90p each!!!

Supplies purchased, we took the return path to Cawfields which was a beautiful riverside path next to Haltwhistle Burn, with steep gorge surrounding us. On reaching the Milecastle Inn, we decided to stop for a quick pint, it’s always nice to sample the local ale on our trips. Sadly, despite the pub being EMPTY, stone floors in the bar area and us saying we would like food, we were denied access with Jazz, so had to settle for a pint whilst sat outside in the FREEZING COLD! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those annoying “my dog has to come everywhere with me” people, however a pub that is situated half a mile off a major walking route, not allowing dogs….. to me seems like there are just turning away business- especially when there is no one in there!!

Wednesday dawned and we awoke to another corker of a day weather wise. Sadly it was time to head south, we had work commitments at home on Thursday evening. We had a look at the map trying to decide where to have our final night of the tour before settling upon the city of Durham. Campsite located and booked, we made an early start, waving a reluctant goodbye to our slice of heaven on Hadrian’s Wall.

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We made a stop at Steel Rigg car park on Hadrian’s Wall, about 5 miles down from the campsite. We took a fairly strenuous 1 mile walk right beside the wall, which was rather hilly and caused us to be out of breath for most of the walk, our destination was Sycamore Gap, a lone sycamore tree in a dip that has become one of the most photographed spot in Northumbria. It also features in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The walk was stunning, we saw more stretches of fantastically preserved wall, and Sycamore Gap itself was stunning, it really was worth the walk. As we had had an early start, we were treated to the whole place to ourselves. I made use of playing with my drone, but sadly my SLR decided to pack up, so all photos are iPhone from now on!

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The walk was invigorating to say the least and our return to Bluebell was much quicker.

We carried on towards Housesteads Roman Fort and made use of our National Trust Membership. Again, we really enjoyed our visit- amazing to see the underfloor heating systems still in place 2000 years later! I may or may not of sent my Drone up for a sneaky picture. I’l let you decide… 😉

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After a quick lunch in the van, we hit the road to Durham. An hour later and we were pulling onto our Caravan Club CL right next to the river in Durham. The site was at Durham Amateur Rowing Club, and cost £12.50 per night, with electric. It was only a five minute walk along the river to the City centre, and we managed to get into the centre just before sunset. We had a quick look round the cathedral, which was beautiful, before making our way to some dog friendly pubs, thanks to our Dog Friendly Pub app!

Durham Amateur Rowing Club CL £12.50 pn

Durham Cathedral 

The Court Inn, Durham, my favourite pub, it had 120 gins to try- and was Dog friendly. My fave was the Durham Cask Aged Gin, devine!! 

Our whistlestop tour of Durham was the perfect end to our week in Northumberland. We had a brilliant time, and can’t believe that we have taken this long to visit!

In total we travelled just short of 800 miles, spending around £300 including fuel and site fees. Would we go again? Absolutely.

Until Next Time

Lx

Twixmas 2016: Northumberland, Part 2

New Years Eve Continued 

We retraced our steps back towards Otterburn for a quick stop at the site of the Battle of Otterburn, where there was a picnic area and info board, along with a large stone from the battle.

Battle of Otterburn site
 The wind was absolutely savage so we didn’t stop for too long! We made our way back down the A68 and then made our way towards Kielder, a beautiful journey despite not being via the private forest drive (toll) as that is closed for winter. Our destination was Brit Stop number , a village pub right in the heart of Kielder Forest and Water park. We were intending on eating at the pub but with it being New Years Eve food service wasn’t offered all day, the menu looked good though! We opted for several drinks instead whilst getting to know the friendly barman (see below!)  and then a cosy night in the van accompanied by a fillet steak and bottle of Pape! Yum. 

Friendly barman, Charlie 🐾
Last supper of 2016 in our home on wheels


Sunday, New Year’s Day

New Years Day dawned bright yet chilly. A perfect day for a bike ride, so we dismantled the wheels and set off for a few miles on the Lakeside Way path, a wide, hard surface track that is 27 miles long around the circuit of the reservoir. We didn’t realise that Kielder Water is in fact the largest reservoir in Western Europe! We didn’t fancy over-exerting ourselves, we’d had a lazy morning already, so just went on a short circular which took us under the impressive Kielder Viaduct, then over it, and alongside the lake for a little way before turning round and returning via Kielder Castle. In actual fact it was only about 4 miles! 

Kielder Viaduct
The cycle path over the Viaduct
An old railway line over the Viaduct has been transformed into a decent cycle path which goes right around the water.

 I had a good play with my drone camera around the viaduct taking some amazing shots, and we also did some Geocaching too. 
Kielder Viaduct from the sky- taken on my Parrott Bebop Drone with full HD camera

It was a lovely day and the light was simply breathtaking, until the heavens opened as the sun set for the first time in 2017. Being New Years Day, food service in our Brit Stop was again disrupted, but they were happy for us to stay put for the evening and we returned the favour by enjoying a few pints of the local ale, which was very nice! 

Who says camping and caravanning means Beans on toast and Frey Bento pies..!

We had a New Year’s feast of Moules Marinade followed by chicken casserole for dinner in the van, and just as we finished eating we noticed a break in the pitter patter on our roof; the rain/sleet had stopped and a quick check through the sky light and bingo, the stars were out. Our main reason for visiting this area was the draw of the night time skies. Northumbria is a Dark Skies area, and Kielder actually has an observatory with telescope. Sadly the events at the observatory were all sold out for our trip however I’d been itching to get my new telescope out for play. Here was my chance. My highlight was viewing Vega- the star in which the film Contact receives extra terrestrial signals from.. cue some singing of that wonderful John Williams theme! 
We wandered up 100 yards or so to Kielder Castle and set up. The sky was phenomenal. We saw the Milky Way with our naked eye, and thousands of stars. Absultely breathtaking. Until a snowflake landed on my face. Then another. “Keith, did you just feel that” by the time he answered “Yes” we found ourselves in the middle of a snow storm! Northumbria, your weather is mental. 

Monday 2nd Jan

We had another quiet yet cold night’s sleep, the temperature dipped to -3c, but we were toasty inside. We both woke early, a little apprehensive that the snow shower we found ourselves in the middle of, may have settled, causing us problems getting out of Kielder. We needn’t have worried, although there was an awful lot of ice on the ground, the road out of the forest park was clear. The weather again was gorgeous, a perfect winters day.

Our Brit Stop pitch in Kielder

About 12 miles away from Kielder, we passed a large car park and viewing area for Kielder Dam. We pulled in for a leg stretch, and slip slided our way across the footpath across the dam. I also managed to get some more good drone shots despite poor Jazz’s protests, he’s not a fan of the flying camera!
Kielder Dam

Aerial shot of Kielder Dam- taken from my Parrott Bebop drone with HD camera

 The light was beautiful. After a cuppa and the last of my gingerbread house (Annie, it really is yummy!!) we hit the road once more- our destination was Hadrian’s Wall. 

Until next time 
Lx  

Twixmas 2016: Northumberland, Part 1 

Hello and Happy New Year!

After a quiet autumn for motorhoming yet manic Autumn for life and work- we are back out on the road! 🚍 hurrah!

I have a small confession to make actually, this is our second trip of the festive fortnight- for the first time ever we spent Christmas in Bluebell the motorhome, just the two of us and Jazz of course. We had a lovely relaxing time, but having had a particularly stressful and tiring term, I declared a digital detox over Christmas and switched off the Internet/phones/camera- so no Christmas blog I’m afraid! 

Twixmas 2016: Northumberland, Part 1 

Thursday 29th Dec 

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up at Border Forest Caravan Park, Northumbria. Situated right on the edge of Kielder Forest, but located just off the A68, the site is ideally located for convenience after a long drive North, yet benefits from miles upon miles of walking routes right from Bluebell’s door. We’re on a pitch overlooking a stream and therefore can hear the flow of water, beautifully relaxing. 

Pitch at Border Forest Park

We arrived mid afternoon after a decent run up the A1 including a quick comfort stop at The Angel of the North. Having passed the large sculpture many times it was quite something standing directly underneath, the sheer size was quite overwhelming!

Angel of the North

It didn’t take long to set up, most things were already in from Christmas so we managed a quick leg stretch along The Pennine Way which runs directly behind the site. Just as the sun was setting – which was felt really early- being an area of official dark skies, there is no light pollution here at all- it was pitch black by 4:30pm, we (I think!) spotted a tawny owl hunting for its dinner! 

We settled down with a couple of drinks and a book, before I prepared our own dinner- using the remains of the Turkey, a lovely turkey risotto. 

Keith had a shower on site and declared it to be “the best shower he’s ever had, he didn’t want to get out”- anyone who knows Keith personally will realise this is rather high praise! 
Santa bought me a telescope for Christmas which I was hoping to put into good use but sadly increasing winds and cloudy skies meant I was unable to do that tonight! Fingers crossed for the next few days! 🔭
Friday 30th December 

It didn’t seem to get light til nearly 9am today so we had quite a lie in, which was lush! It was quite blustery in the night though but other than that everso quiet. Perfect. 

After a frittata for breakfast, we made a pack lunch and prepared dinner for later; a small joint of ham stuffed with cloves went into the slow cooker along with a can of cider. Keith was consulting his memory map (ordnance survey) and had lined us up a nice circular walk along some of the Pennie Way, up to Hindhope Lin (Waterfall) and through the forest to The Three Kings Standing Stones before coming back to the van.

Hindhope Lin, Kielder Forest
3 Kings standing stones and view back to the Campsite

 It was a lovely 5 mile walk, and we enjoyed our lunch up at the standing stones. We were back by 1:30 so had a nap and read our books for the remainder of the afternoon. Teatime came and we served the ham with cauliflower cheese and new potatoes. Wow, it was delicious! Sadly last night’s cloud hadn’t lifted all day so my hopes of using the telescope were dashed! 😢 however it sounds like the rest of England is covered in fog so can’t complain! 

New Years Eve

We woke fairly early after another really quiet night, despite being just off the A68 there is zero traffic noise from our pitch near the stream. Today we were saying farewell to Border Forest Park, and moving further into Kielder Forest towards a Brit stop pub for the next two evenings. Before we could do this though, we had to find diesel! We made a big error on Thursday in not filling up with diesel in Newcastle cos we didn’t need any, and it nearly bit us on the bum because we didn’t see another fuel station at all! 15 miles before arriving at our site the dreaded light came on, and on arrival, the friendly campsite owner said the best bet was Jedburgh, 16 miles down the very hilly A68! Needless to say it was a rather tense 16 miles, with a fair bit of bottom clenching and even more coasting, but somehow we made it to the welcome Shell garage at Jedburgh!  After a brief stop in Bonny Scotland and all our will power not to continue into our beloved Scotland for the remainder of our trip,  we made a quick stop at Carter Bar to drop off a Geocaching traceable that we picked up at Grafham water, Cambs, and we were back in England, ready to enjoy NYE. 

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An Autumnal visit to Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire

The nights are drawing in and the leaves are turning golden brown. There is the faint smell of smoke lingering in the air and it feels acceptable to draw the curtains, get the Jim jams on and watch strictly back to back. Autumn is here and al out rolled into winter! I feel like I’ve blinked and lost 8 weeks- since returning from our epic Europe adventure, poor Bluebell the motorhome has been having a big rest in storage, whilst we have seemed to be non stop! I couldn’t believe it, 8 weeks since our last adventure in a motorhome, it was most certainly time to go and get Bluebell and hit the road for a few days to catch the last few days of this gorgeous autumn we are having.

Half term began for us at 7pm on Thursday, when we headed north in the car to Newark, where we dropped Jazz off for a weekend with my mum, then caught an early train up to Edinburgh- Keith had treated me to a weekend of non driving, and even so,asked out for first class- not that we will bother with that again, virgin east coast were diabolical and provided a disappointing start to my birthday weekend. We arrived in Edinburgh and had 3 great, booze fuelled nights staying with Simon, Keith’s cousin, in Leith. I set myself a target of trying every gin available in Scotland, and think I probably smashed it! A highlight was our visit to the Royal Britannia Yacht. Well worth a visit if you haven’t been, we loved it.


Monday, and my birthday, came and it was back on the train south to Newark to pick up Jazz and enjoy a birthday meal at Damon’s, famous for its ribs, in Lincoln with Mum and Alec. After a quick lunch with Dad on Tuesday it was back to Norfolk for a meal with friends Annie and Ash, before picking up Bluebell first thing Wednesday. We sure know how to cram things in!

Our destination was only an hour down the road, to Grafham Water, a reservoir near to Cambridge. We had booked onto the Caravan Club club site at Grafham- unusual for us, but given its close proximity to the water and not much other option we went for it, and actually we really enjoyed our stay. At £21.50 a night we thought it was good value for hard standing pitches serviced pitches. The site wasn’t as large as others we’d stayed on and the wardens not too overbearing. Phew. We also were hopeful that we would see Ollie the Owl whilst there, but sadly that wasn’t to be.

After a quick lunch and nap, we wandered the half a mile into the village over fields, visiting the community shop and also stopping at a house on Church Road who sold fresh trout, line caught from Grafham water. We got a massive fillet for £3!

We did several circuits of the site around dusk looking for Ollie, and even had a play on my drone, which was interesting as it highlighted how close we were to the water!


Next morning after a great sleep, I chucked some meat and veg into the slow cooker and Keith got the bikes ready. We were off on our bike ride around Grafham water by 10:30, promising to ourselves we would take it easy with lots of picture stops and even some geocaching.


The ride itself was great, a real mix of terrains, not too steep, but through woodland, waterside, across fields and even through a village, all off road.


If you’re into Geocaching, it’s a cacher’s paradise, I’ve never seen so many caches in one area. We managed 8- and didn’t even scrape the surface – as you can see! We were very lucky with the autumnal light, and we had a lovely day.

That night we tried to find Ollie the owl again,despite hearing him several times, didn’t catch a glimpse. Next time, and there definitely will be a next time.

On route home the next day we decided to have a stop at Wimpole National Trust site, where we were treated to another phenomenal dismay of Autumn leaves.


Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, part 10- Homeward Bound

Day 26- Saturday

Location – Trier Campsite, €25 pn with electric

Miles driven – 300

Weather- showery but sunny and warm in late afternoon

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on the banks of the Moselle River on the outskirts of Trier. It’s not the nicest campsite we’ve been on, but it is serving a purpose. 


We were up early and drove 4 hours to Trier and its 110 space aire, arriving at 1.00. Annoyingly, the aire car park was completely taken over by the ADAC world championship rally, and there were rally cars, stewards all over the place and a big cross through the Motorhome sign. Not quite knowing what to do for the best, I pulled over and promptly got whistled at by a steward- turns out I had stopped in a pit stop!! 😂 Bluebell’s been officially everywhere now! Lol

On the exit road there was a sign for a campsite so we pulled in and luckily they had space, Keith wanted to see the Roman remains here and I could tell he was disappointed the aire was shut. They probably could have included a note in the Camperstop Book as I’m sure it would have been known about.

After a quick lunch we walked along the banks of the Mosel River to the old town. We saw the Roman bridge, the lower columns were 2000 years old!


We crossed the Roman bridge and went into town, the outskirts of town are awful, seedy and filthy, I was crossing everything that the historic centre would be nicer. Once we got into the Market Square, we relaxed, it was very pretty indeed and had a lovely character- high wooden building etc, lovely.


A short walk from the Market Square and we reached the most impressive of the sights in Trier, the Porto Nigra, which is the worlds largest preserved a Roman City Gate. What an amazing sight. Keith went inside whilst I had a cheeky wine, payment for dog sitting!


We then did a walking trail which included other Roman remains, including the amphitheatre, Roman baths and Basilica. My favourite was the amphitheatre, it was surrounded by banks of vineyards and was a bargain to go in, only €4 each. You could go underneath the arena and right around the top of it. It was very easy to reinact Russell Crowe’s Gladiator!


Roman sights visited, we headed back to the market square for some beverages, Keith was happy he found somewhere selling Kristellweissen (spelling!) I settled on the local wine. We moved onto a pop up wine stall also in the market square, I tried the local fizz which was delicious, and Keith had a pino noir white. 


We then had a meal, only our second meal out of the trip- opting for a local restaurant also on the market square, we both had pork schnitzel and frites, which was delicious.
Day 27– Sunday

Location – Oye Plage- municipal aire, free GPS: n50.977090, e2.039650
Miles driven – 280 Weather– showery but sunny and warm in late afternoon

Bluebell the motorhome is almost back where she began 3.5 weeks ago! We left Trier bright and early and did a full service fill/empty before checking out of our campsite. 


We were on the road for 9am, and as a result we were filling up with ridiculously cheap fuel an hour later in Luxembourg- €0.92 per litre! After squeezing as much as possible in we were back on the road and soon in Belgium. Our toll free route took us through Belgium, round Brussels and back up to Calais. It was an easy journey and we were pulling into Gravelines aire at 2pm. Sadly the fair was in town opposite the aire, and we didn’t fancy a noisy night, especially at €7 for the night, no services, so we carried on to where we spent our first night on Oye Plage beach aire. You can imagine our shock when we arrived and there was a great big height barrier blocking the carpark- considering we had stayed there literally 3.5 weeks ago! Oh well, we trundled down the road to the municipal aire in the village and found a space alongside another Brit, shortly followed by several others!

We had a good chill, watching a couple of movies, and had an early night after prawn egg fried rice for tea.

Day 28- Monday Location – Home- Norfolk, UK Miles Driven 150 Weather – Sunny

Bluebell the motorhome is sat having a well earned rest having carted us and our mad dog around 2900 miles Europe for the last 28 days, with barely a problem -other than the tyre incident in Brugges and lack of power on hills!

We started this morning having had a lovely quiet night at Oye Plage, and having bit of a lay in. Once up, we decided to give ourselves a head start on packing up, stripping the sheets and loading up the washing bags- 2 huge Ikea bags full of dirty washing- oh joy!


After a thorough clean at the service point on site we head 30 minutes away towards Wissant, we were heading to one final WW2 site of our tour- the would have been launch site of the awful V3 guns set to bombard London with over 1600 bombs per day – Fortress de Mimoyecques (GPS n50.517 e1.4530)
It was only €5.50 to go in, and you got to explore right through the under ground tunnels, 600m of them. It was so eery in there, but so fascinating. Thank goodness for the French resistance who along with the RAF aerial surveillance noticed the site being built and therefore bombed it heavily so it never got completed.


After a very enjoyable visit (feels not quite the right word but I’m sure you understand!) we headed to Cite Europe, right next to the Eurotunnel Departure, for a chill, shop, and to give Bluebell a thorough clean – one less job to do when we get back. I had a good hour exploring the French supermarket- I’ve really missed the choice, sorry Germany but your supermarkets weren’t (in my opinion) as good as the French, before whipping us up an early tea. Keith got on with some bits of maintenance- we’d lost a few screws here and there. At 6pm we moved round to begin check in- a longer than normal process, not entirely sure why as the actual passport check was minimal, again! 8pm and we were on the train and by 11pm we were home and ready for bed!


We have had a brilliant tour- seen some absolutely amazing sights, eaten and drank some cracking food and drink. Our general opinion of Germany is we loved what we saw, but not sure we would rush back. We found some parts of it hard work- all outweighed in the end by the good stuff obviously, but we came back feeling satisfied but ready for home!

Thoughts now turn to our next adventure- lined up for October Half Term, and my birthday! We are thinking about visiting South Wales- but as ever, who knows till nearer the time!

 Until Next time

Lx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, Part 9;  Austria into the Black Forest, Germany

Day 21 – Monday

Location- Aire Traunsee, Ebensee, A.  €12 pn with services available extra GPS: n47.809070 e13.789990

Miles driven– 40 miles towards Prague, then 130 miles to a Lake in Austria!

Weather– dry, sunny and warm!
Bluebell the motorhome is parked with a beautiful lakeside view, surrounded by steep dramatic mountains.
She’s had quite a day. We were up fairly early, with the intention of our next destination being Prague. We hit a minor problem when we discovered my copilot app didn’t have the CZ maps downloaded on, so we couldn’t input the exact coordinates for the aire and the wifi wasn’t strong enough to download them. Not to worry we thought, we would use google maps. Fine, until we realised the coordinates took us about 40 miles out of Prague. Deciding to go for it using a good old fashioned map, we pootled along for roughly 30 miles, before the worry gene in me started thinking, hang on, are we mad?! We hadn’t researched CZ, had no idea about the language, currency, the list went on. Keith was so looking forward to going to Prague, so was I but I felt we may be trying to do too much. I made a comment about us staying in Austria seeing as we had the vignette and hadn’t seen much outside Salzburg and Vienna and to my surprise Keith said “pull off at the next junction, turn around and let’s do that”. That’s the short version anyway, haha, we may have had a civilised discussion about it but, in the end, we both decided we would head to a lake in Austria and hope that we could find a space. Keith was clearly disappointed but promised not to sulk and I was crapping my pants thinking God, please let there be a space, unlike last week when we tried to get a lakeside pitch and failed. Our number one rule when out on the road is we have to be both happy, whether it be a route plan, overnight stop location, whatever. Keith clearly sensed my apprehension- I was worried we would drive all that way and not get a space, Vienna was so busy and although it worked out well for us, it could have very easily gone the other way.

Roll on an hour and a half and the road descended into a glorious valley, complete with lake, and better still, we arrived to find not one space but plenty. And we got the best pitch going. The mood instantly lifted, we got the chairs out, cracked open some drinks and here we are 7 hours later, having enjoyed a fab view all afternoon sat outside chilling.

view from the stellplatz at Ebensee- can you see the mess someone made trying to get off the litch next to us! 😱

I even got my lake swim in, boy it was cold!
We had chicken and egg fried vegetable rice for tea, over which we discussed actually, it’s better to have done this as we could fly to Prague easy enough, but views like this are made for motorhomes right? Our previous plan was to drive back via Prague, Auschwitz, Kraków, Zagan (Great Escape location), Colditz Castle, Trier, Calais. Our new route is back through Austria, with stops at Lake Constance, Black Forest, Trier and Calais. Looks like I may get my Black Forest gateaux after all!

Day 22– Tuesday

Location– Aire Traunsee, Ebensee, A. €12 pn with services available extra GPS: n47.809070 e13.789990
Miles driven– 0 👍
Weather– dry, sunny and warm! ☀️
Bluebell hasn’t moved an inch, and neither have we!

We had a lazy morning, followed by a lazy afternoon, literally venturing as far as the lake for a paddle, it’s a bit cold for swimming! I read a whole book and Keefy skimmed through every magazine on board, we snoozed and we have eaten like kings. Keith sparked the BBQ up and we had fillet steak, bratwurst curly sausages and homemade chips. Absolutely yum. There’s been lots to keep us entertained, this small resort seems to be a popular kite skiing resort (not sure of the actual name) and we’ve watched with fascination. Looks like a lot of fun! Tomorrow we move onwards, heading for Lake Constance, to see if the water is warmer there!

last night in Austria- Lake Ebensee

Day 23- Wednesday
Location– Camping Bankenhoff on Lake Titisee, Black Forest Germany GPS: n47.888290 e.8.128860 around €30pn

Miles Driven- 350 miles

Weather- dry with sunny spells

Bluebell the motorhome is hooked up on a pitch on a lovely campsite underneath a steep bank of tall Black Forest trees, on the edge of Lake Titisee in the heart of the Black Forest.

She’s having a well earned rest, she’s driven us 350 miles today, a fair chunk of the homeward bound journey.

During the night we had very heavy rainfall. This didn’t help the already mashed up ground (you can see it on the previous day panoramic picture) and we woke up a little nervous about our escape route. After some umming and aaring Keith decided he was going to be responsible for getting Bluebell off, fine by me, the wheels were in perhaps half an inch of water and mud, and there was a definite hill to get up. Fair play to him, after a couple of wheel spins and time for an audience to gather (why do people do this?!) he went for it and managed to get Bluebell to the safety of the hard standing road!

We relaxed into our journey, which was fairly smooth, in the direction of Lake Constance. We were having trouble deciding on which aire to head for, there are a few in this area, and none seemed to have on site lake access. We decided on one in Stetten, which we arrived at around 3pm. Im not sure what was wrong, but our faces just did not fit! It was a busy aire with a couple of free spaces and it was nicely laid out, overlooking some lovely orchards and behind a restaurant. From the minute we arrived, as I was parking us and Keith was guiding us in, a German (I think) lady walked past us doing a loud stage whisper to our neighbour clearing saying something about us. Whilst Keith was getting the levelling chocks out she went past again, with another loud stage whisper comment to same neighbour. Our neighbour then stormed off inside in a huff (we had left loads of space between us!). We wandered down to pay, passing perhaps 4 other sets of people sat outside their vans staring at us, no smiles despite ours to them. Luckily the place to pay wasn’t open til 5- by now we’d got a vibe that there wasn’t a lot to see so we decided to move on. Much to the delight of stage whisper lady who had found 3 others to join in with her gawping at us as we departed. They nearly ended up getting mooned at, but Keith restrained himself!

On the road again, we decided to head straight to the Black Forest. Lake Constance wasn’t grabbing us- we didn’t give it much of a go, maybe we were in the wrong bit. Keith keyed in the coordinates for an aire at Titisee, according to our Germany book it’s the most popular place to come in the Black Forest.

We didn’t hold out much hope for getting a place on the aire as it only had 8 places and we weren’t going to arrive til 6pm. As soon as we drove through the village we liked what we saw and decided even if the aire was full we’d try and get onto a campsite. Unsurprisingly the aire was full, but the campsite next door had space, and wasn’t extortionate. We’d had a problem with the fridge ignition earlier so thought the electric would be useful anyway. Actually it seems it was just cos we weren’t level! The campsite man was eager to hear our thoughts on Brexit before leaving us to pick our own pitch, so we’re on a spacious one, looking out to the trees and out with the chairs and table straight away!

our pitch in The Black Forest- camping Bakenhof

We have wifi although it is painfully slow, but the facilities here are spotless so we both have taken advantage of long hot showers tonight.
Salmon, new pots and carrots and sweet corn for tea tonight. Looking forward to a greater selection of fresh veg when we are home I must say! The Fire pit is out although I suspect we won’t have a late one after the journey today!

Day 24– Thursday

Location– Camping Bankenhoff on Lake Titisee, Black Forest Germany GPS: n47.888290 e.8.128860 around €30pn
Miles Driven– 0 👍

Weather– dry with sunny spells this morning, rain in the afternoon

Bluebell the motorhome is putting her feet up after yesterday’s long journey and gearing up for the homeward stretch. We were up early this morning and seeing that the weather predicted rain this afternoon we decided to have an early cycle into the small town of Titisee.

Today I was finally going to eat Black Forest Gateaux in the Black Forest (I realise this makes me sound sad!!) Our campsite is handily located 3km from the town and has a pretty off road cycle path lakeside to get there. We really enjoyed a wander around town, despite it being very touristy, it retains charm and character- of which is totally different to other German towns we’ve visited. We found a cafe to try a piece of Black Forest Gatauex and a cake each – the waitress knew what we wanted before we said anything! It was huge, and although very nice, and very alcoholic, it was a bit too big for me, and although I ate it all, I felt sick afterwards!! A big tick for the holiday list though!


Feeling full to the brim of cake we had a wander in the souvenir shops, there are plenty here and all selling the same things- mainly cuckoo clocks!! We of course bought a cuckoo clock for our new house! Always ones for touristy souvenirs us!


We experienced the worst service EVER whilst buying some local schnapps which left me reeling and frankly close to driving all the way back home! We had a couple of drinks and tried to block out the appalling service, which worked! Phew!

My wine glass made me chuckle, as if BFG isn’t 70s enough, they serve me wine in one of these! 😂

 I made the mistake of getting the cuckoo clock out of the bag in the bar, and I was met by lots of bikers singing Cuckoo to me! This went on until we left! Very funny!
We stocked up on all sorts of treats, including local meats, wine, beer, bread, butter- and as the rain arrived we cycled back to Bluebell for a long lunch followed by a longer nap!

Chicken and noodles for tea, before another early night I suspect!

Day 25- Friday

Location– Hausach, Black Forest Germany free aire no services GPS: n48.286233 e.8.165696
Miles Driven– 40

Weather– dry with sunny spells ☀️

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up alongside a German VW and two other motorhomes (and 3 caravan so!) in a free aire/stellplatz in the small town of Hausach. We’re by the local outdoor swimming pool and under a castle ruin!

We’ve had a a lovely day today despite a rocky start. Sadly some selfish you know what’s opposite us last night on the campsite decided to be entirely self centred and be stupidly loud until the week small hours. Around midnight I saw red and went over to ask them to shut up, which they ignored so I went to find a warden around 12:30 but to no avail- considering the amount of rules regarding noise there was no one around to “police it”- and as a result I woke up at 07:00 to a screaming baby next door feeling like I’d been run over by a train! Keith’s first words were “I’m ready to go home” and I was feeling the same!

A coffee and a pet talk later and we’d got a plan- it involved us getting Jazz seen by a local vet for his return to England appointment, and then a mooch up the B500 towards the worlds largest cuckoo clock. Keith knows me well- he knew that would cheer me up!

The campsite spoke to the local vet and arranged for us to visit between 10:00-11:00, we did our services, settled the bill(turned out at £27pn a bargain despite last night’s noise) and were on the road.

As Colin the copilot navigated us the 6km to the vet we were wondering where we going! It led us up a residential small street but sure enough the vet was located in her home! Keith nipped Jazz in- was out 10 mins later with his passport stamped, worm tablet and a flea and tick treatment- all for only €20! A bargain- it definitely pays to see vets a distance out of Calais.

We joined the B500 which turned out to be a beautiful route through the Black Forest and knocked the socks off the Romantic road in our opinion.

First stop off the day was the highest waterfall in Germany- on the outskirts of Trieburg- what a funny place, it was HEAVING with tourists- we wouldnt describe it as the most impressive waterfall we’ve been to, it’s 160m drop is spread over several mini waterfalls, but was a nice stop anyway- although we made the mistake of parking in the first car park which turned out to be the highest one- cue a 1km uphill walk on way back!


Next stop was the Largest Cuckoo clock in the world, also in Trieburg- handmade 50 times larger than the normal cuckoo clock and a real treat to the mechanics working “behind the scenes” – we were there in time for the 1pm cuckoo call which was a case of Blink and you’ll miss it, which made me and all the others giggle- still really great to see, perhaps just time it with a larger number hour!


A quick supply top up in Lidl before arriving at – an open air museum with lots of old traditional houses which you can go in. There was a great selection of houses to visit- including a dairy farmers,  mill houses, the governers house, wood carvers etc. It reminded us of Hida Folk Village in Japan. Some of the houses dated from the 1600s and it was a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon, although I started to get tired after a while- our bad nights sleep catching up on us.

We’d wondered whether we could make it to Trier, but Colin copilot was saying 4 hours and it had gone 4:30pm, so we consulted the camperstop bible and luckily enough found two Aires 3 miles down the road- both free and plenty of space!
Time for a chill before dinner, tonight we’ve got chicken, mozzarella and tomato pasta

Until next time

Lx

PS you can follow our journey using a real time location tracker by following this link: https://track.gs/LXADWw

Camera pics to follow!!

Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, Part 8; Vienna, Austria  

Day 18– Saturday

Location- Camping Süd, Vienna GPS:

Miles driven- none!

Weather- not raining! In fact dry, sunny and warm! Yay

Bluebell the motorhome is parked on her luxury pitch still at Camping Süd, Buenna. Vans arrived late into the night, all presumably having the same problem at the aire that we did, but we enjoyed a peaceful sleep, and a lay in and woke up feeling refreshed and happy not to be woken by rain!

A lazy morning, including a cooked breakfast, a food shop at the opposite Aldi (or Hofer as it’s known in Austria) was enjoyed before boarding the public bus from outside the campsite gate and purchasing a single ticket, for €2.20 each which took us on the bus and underground in 30 minutes all the way to the centre.

We had been given a city map at campsite reception, which helped us navigate around the beautiful old streets. The more we walked, the more we fell in love with this wonderful city. The buildings are high and old, the streets are cobbled and horse and carriages travel down them, the churches tall and grand, we feel like we’re in a hybrid of Paris and London.


The main square by St Stephens Cathedral, which is where Mozart got married and his memorial service was, is buzzing with life and we just loved the vibe here.


We visited Mozart’s Vienna house in turns as usual, I went first and Keith sat and had a beer in a nearby bar with jazz, us then swapping. There wasn’t much to see in the house, but it was great to be in the building where our favourite Mozart pieces were composed. It must have been a very luxurious apartment, it still is, strange to think he died a pauper.


We wandered through the Imperial Palace courtyard and gardens, marvelling at the architecture as we went.


Mozart’s statue in Burggarten with the treble clef flower bed was a highlight for me, having seen this picture on all sorts of advertising mags. It’s just as beautiful as I imagined and hoped.


We had decided to treat ourselves to a meal out tonight, so found a cosy pizzeria just off one of the main squares and had a couple of drinks each with a pizza for Keith and calzone for me. It was delicious and ridiculously cheap, less than £30 total!

We found the building where Mozart died, catching the last of the evening sun, before heading back on the tube and bus and having an hour sat outside star gazing.



A fabulous day, I really love it here.


Day 19– Sunday

Location– Camping Süd, Vienna GPS:
Miles driven- none!

Weather– felling hot, hot hot! ☀️

Bluebell is still enjoying her life on a luxury pitch, at £35 on we dont think its too bad value either, considering how close to the city centre we are.

Today we had an earlier start, with the intention of coming back earlier and sitting and chilling outside the van. We thought about trying a boat trip along the Danube, so headed towards the river first- we found a company running trips so queued up for a ticket each for a city cruise, but 20 mins later, the queue had t moved, minimum staff were on, we’d had chance to look at trip adviser and we weren’t feeling it so we walked away.

The area where we were was heavily graffitied and a bit manky so we headed back into the old town and enjoyed a delicious apple strudel and coffee overlooking the main square.


We wandered further, back to the Mozart statue and had a sunbathe in the gardens before noticing that dogs weren’t allowed in here. Whoops, we’d been there ages and yesterday too. We carried on to the city hall area, and found a great food and drink festival which Ian’s friends had told us about- we were luckily there was a great jazz band playing, so we got ourselves some drinks and before we knew it we d been there 3 hours!




I tried an Austrian macaroni cheese dish when I got the munchies after 4 glasses of Austrian wine, Keith tried an Austrian Boiled sausage, both were Fab.


We made our way back to the van and enjoyed a chill outside- tea tonight was pulled pork and homemade chips – we made the most of the electric so the slow cooker was on all day. Yum.
Tomorrow sees us back on road. I feel sad to be leaving Vienna, I’ve loved it here. I think Ultravox got it wrong in their song, “Vienna”- “it means nothing to me, oh Vienna” – couldn’t be further from the truth, I would come back here in a heartbeat.

Until next time

Lx

Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, Part 7; Salzburg, Austria  

Day 15– Wednesday

Location: Salzburg A. Our friend’s friend’s field behind their house! 

Miles Driven: Konigsee to Salzburg 18 miles via the Eagle’s Nest 

Weather: grey and wet boo!

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up behind our friend Ian’s family friend Bruna’s house on the outskirts of Salzburg. Ian is one of Keith’s oldest friends, who lives in Croydon so it’s a bit surreal meeting up here! 

Today began wet, again, but we decided enough was enough, we were going to visit the Eagles Nest regardless. I’d read lots of blogs about people taking their motorhomes up to the parking lot in Obersalzburg, so pointed Bluebell’s wheels in that direction and off we tootled. There is a hill for around 4Km up to the parking lot – 3 of which we managed, albeit in first gear. Bluebell decided three was plenty, and decided to get stuck, wheels spinning, steam whizzing out of the bonnet, with around 15 cars behind us! We quickly put our hazards on, motioned for the cars to pass, and then proceeded to REVERSE back about 200m to find a wider stretch of road, round a blind bend, you get the gist, where I was able to do a three point turn, thank goodness no traffic came at that time! And roll gently back down to Bertesgaden where we found a large carpark by the station and a bus with more power than us, to take us up to the parking area. I’m not sure why, it may have been the increased sweat on my brow from the encounter up the hill, or the fact that we gave him a €20 note, but the bus driver allowed us on without a ticket! Either way, we were soon in the correct place, sans motorhome ready to get tickets up a further hill (accessed only by their special buses) to the top of the Eagles nest. I was not amused to see several motorhomes up in the car park, I have no idea why they got up but not me, I felt a bit of a failure although Keith kept telling me that the ground was too wet and maybe they accessed on a different route!


The journey from the parking area to the summit was spectacular even though we had rubbish weather. At times the road was a steep drop down on each side- I’m not surprised they don’t allow traffic up there! We saw Lake Konigsee which was gorgeous from above. Once up at the Nest we had an hour or so to look around, the weather cleared up just at the right minute, and we were treated to a fabulous panoramic view. There was an eery feel up there for sure, even Jazz wouldn’t settle when we stopped for a coffee and apple strudel in the living room- now a restaurant. 



When we returned to the parking lot we realised the next bus down wasn’t for over an hour, so we called a cab which took us down for the mere sum of €15. Considering it should have been €8 each way and we got a free ride up we were happy to pay this. 

It was time to hit the road,  the short distance to Salzburg. Sadly we got stuck in the most horrendous traffic jam, it took us over 2 hours to travel 15 miles! By the time we reached Ian and Bruna we were glad of the afternoon tea she had kindly laid on for us! Bruna insisted on cooking our evening meal, a delicious Spag Bol after which Ian drove us into Salzburg for an evenings wander/beverage. 



Day 16– Thursday

Location: Salzburg A. Our friend’s friend’s field behind their house! 

Miles Driven: into Salzburg and back – 10 miles

Weather: grey and wet although cleared up in the afternoon
Today began with a wonderful cooked Bavarian breakfast, thanks Bruna, before we headed into Salzburg. Ian took his car, and we took Bluebell the motorhome as he was picking up more friends who were arriving today. We parked in the park and ride at Messe and he drove us into the centre. Our first visit of the day was to Mozart’s house in Salzburg, where we saw Mozart’s piano and violin. I can’t decried how incredibly cool this was to see, not to mention massively overwhelming for us as musicians and Mozart fans. I’m not going to lie, I had a few tears and I know Keith did too especially when he saw the original sheet music to Mass In C Minor, one of his favourites. 


After a quick lunch of Beef goulash, we went on to Mozart’s birth house, and then had a lovely wander around the streets of Salzburg. By now, the weather had cleared up- so it was really lovely taking in some of the sights.


 We returned back to Bruna’s in time for a traditional Schnitzel meal, which was scrummy, before watching some of the Salzburg scenes of the Sound of Music, ready for tomorrow! 


Day 17– Friday 

Location: Vienna A- Camping Wien Süd- €35 on fully serviced pitch

Miles Driven: Salzburg- Vienna- 200 miles
Weather: Foul!!!

I went to bed doing the sunshine dance, I think the weather gods got lost in translation though as we woke up to MORE RAIN! Either that or they couldn’t work out my expert(!) dance moves! There surely can’t be much more left in the clouds! Never mind, we had an exciting day planned, we were back into Salzburg and booked onto a 09:30 tour with Maria’s Bicycle tours and our friend Ian was our guide for the day!

 Ian is the biggest Sound of Music Fan in the world, he bagged this cool summer job of his having taken the tour himself, and pointing out extra bits of info, at the end of the tour the manager offered him a job! The tour left Mirabell gardens at 09:30 in the driving rain, with us all singing “Let’s start at the very beginning…!” and throughout the following 4 hours we visited location after location from the movie including the Abbey, the Von Trapp House, the lake, the gazebo- many of these spread out in such a distance they were only reachable via bike or car, some were even not manageable for cars. My favourite part was out of the city when Ian got his soundtrack blaring out and we all were riding along in the rain getting soaked singing at the top of our voices! 


Keith and I know what a huge fan of the film Ian is but it was so wonderful to watch Ian pass on his enthusiasm despite the rain to others who don’t know him and watch them get drawn into it all. 


The tour costs €30 each and includes bike hire. We took our own bikes so Jazz could come along too. Keith isn’t the biggest SofM fan out there but he really enjoyed it, feeling satisfied that he had seen some historical parts of the city we hadn’t seen previously. The other 15 on our tour all looked happy, if not soggy as we all were!

Once back at Bluebell we decided to crack on to Vienna and try out getting a vignette for the motorhome so we could travel on the main motorway, reducing our journey time by 3.5 hours. I was under the impression that this would be a challenge, but actually it was simple, I’m assuming cos we are under 3.5 tons. All we did was pop into the petrol station where we filled up (€0.97!) and ask for a 10 day pass. We handed over €8 and off we went. 

3.5 hours later we pulled into the main aire in the city, where there are spaces for 188 motorhomes, to be greeted with a “sorry we are full, you need to pre book!”- now this is new to us, booking space on an aire. After a grumble, and nearly some tears from me, I was shattered, he gave us a sheet with a nearby campsite address on and told us he heard they had space, 3 hours previously! Off we drove on the longest 10 minute journey known to man, and hurrah, we got onto the campsite. Reception had shut and a note was attached “find a space and it’s yours, check in tomorrow morning”. Perfect, we found a space on a luxury pitch with water, electric and grey waste disposal, so decided to blow the budget and book on for 3 nights, in order to regroup and explore Vienna. 

Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, Part 6; Bavaria 

Day 11- Saturday

Location: DE. Private aire on Mount Wank (yes really!) Garmisch-Partenkirchen Full services €15/24hrs inc a very slow wifi GPS n47,50573 e.11,10802

Miles Driven: Rothenburg – Fussen 140 miles, Fussen to Mount Wank 40 miles

Weather: dry, warm and sunny at times, hurrah!
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on the side of Mount Wank, on the edge of the Germany-Austria border. We are with 100 other vans on a super sized aire. 


Today started were up and awake at 07:00 and on the road just after 08:00. We wanted to make a start on our 2.15 hour journey, we’d decided to say “auf weidersein” to the Romantic road, and hit the motorway with the destination “mountains, scenery… Neufweinstein Castle” nr to Fussen.

 Annoyingly every other person seemed to pick today to visit as well, and our 2.15 hr journey ending up taking well over 4hrs,the last hour just to get through Fussen. My mood was questionable on arrival to the large carpark, and wasn’t improved when we were told “no room”. My midland stubborn streak protested out loud and suddenly they waved us through and we managed to be squeezed into one of two spare spaces. Make of that what you will.


Mood instantly lifted on first view of the beautiful castle, which was used in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and only soared as we did the gentle 30 minute walk to the top. It really is phenomenally beautiful. We carried on beyond the castle up to Mary’s Bridge viewpoint where there is a wobbly viewpoint bridge going over a guage in front of the castle, my worst nightmare, I’m no good at these, but not wanting to miss out on the perfect selfie spot I did some deep breathing techniques I teach my students and manned the you know what up. 


It cost us €8.50 to park for up to 6 hours but that’s it. We could have gone inside, although we weren’t bothered and it was so busy it’d delay us. The walk was pleasant and we were stunned the viewpoint bridge was free. Bravo Germany. Britain, take note. 
After a really great visit we hit the highway once more, dipping our toe in to Austria for a few miles and back into Germany for our overnight stop. It’s a bit on the pricey side here however the view is breathaking. We are just below the highest mountain range in Germany and tomorrow we intend to go up it, not on foot though, by cable car. 

Day 12- Sunday 

Location: Mount Wank for night 2- we’re in the same spot as yesterday 

Miles Driven: a big fat ZERO!

Weather: Sunny and hot ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

Bluebell the motorhome is having a chill – she’s not moved an inch! We had a revelation when we discovered that we were in the same town as the departure station for the Zugspritze cable car late last night-  this was pure fluke may I add! We got up bright and early, Keith marched off to find a bus timetable and I made some breakfast and a packed lunch. Next thing I know we were on the 08:49 bus to the station, €3.80 lighter and Jazz didn’t need to wear his muzzle, something I’d read that dogs needed to do on public transport here. 


We alighted the bus at the main station with everyone else, followed signs under the subway and found ourselves at the main terminal to ascend the mountain. Tickets were pricey at €53 pp and Jazz cost €4, however I kept telling Keith it would be worth it. And oh, was I right. We ascended the mountain on the 09:45 cog wheel train as far as Eibsee, then changed into a cable car which made a 15 minute ridiculously steep journey up to the summit of just under 3000metres. The views were out of this world. 

Having travelled across America last year, we kept saying nothing will compare- how wrong we were. We were lucky, visibility was good for us, just a few clouds lingering below us, adding to a mystical feel. 


We made use of the summit bar and took the opportunity to try some local beers and even a schnapps “for the road”. The journey up was terrifyingly brilliant. I’m not going to lie though, I could probably do with some new pants!!😂😛


We took another cable car down to the glacier and spent some time there, having a go at sledging on the free sledges and sampling another couple of beers





We even got experience a Bavarian outdoor wedding ceremony! From there we nipped back up to the summit to have one last look – the view just never got old, before descending on the tunnel train and catching the 18:12 bus back to camp. 
Words can’t describe how much we both loved today. Absolutely epic. ❤️

Day 13– Monday 

Location: Lake Königsee, unofficial aire behind the main car park. No services GPS:n 47.592230, e12.987270
Miles Driven: more than hoped- around 200! 

Weather: Sunny and hot ☀️☀️☀️☀️

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up with several other vans enjoying the hospitality of the tourist board here at Lake Konigsee. Technically campers aren’t allowed to overnight in   the main carpark, there are no motorhome between 19:00-07:00 signs however there is a portion of land with no signs and having spoke to the other campervans here they’ve had  the OK from tourist info. As long as we don’t get chairs etc out. The reason they’re being permissive apparently is that the area is packed and all the other local campsites and Aires are chocker block. Having said that I’ve read of two other blogs that have stayed here and they both stayed here with no problems. You won’t find it listed in the Camperstop book. I got the gps coordinates from our bumble blog. Thanks guys. 

So why did we drive this distance…? In the blazing heat too? Well, we set off from Garmish P a bit later today, we needed a food shop, and Keith needed some sinus tablets from the pharmacy. We didn’t get on the road til almost 12. We couldn’t decide where to head. I was craving a lake but didn’t want to travel too far. There weren’t an awful lot of choices in Camperstop book so we chose to take the scenic none motorway route to Lake Achinsee, where an aire was located lake side. 


It took 2.5 hours and was vaguely in the direction of Salzburg. Of course, by the time we arrived there was no room, it was packed and only had 10 places. There was supposed to be a rule of 24hrs max, but judging by the set ups by all there I’d say they’d been there longer. The resort itself was heaving, the was barely room to swing a cat, let alone park a motorhome, so despite the lake being beautiful we retraced our steps to a layby over looking the lake for lunch and a regroup. 


Plan B was drawn up, let’s carry on to Berchestgaden region, there were a number of Aires in the Camperstop book, including my coordinates for Lake Konigsee and we’d be close to The Eagles Nest, Hitler’s holiday home. 

3 hours later, and we’d passed 3 full Aires and arrived to “no motorhome” signs. My heart was in my mouth but thankfully we spotted the group of campers and found a spare spot to slot in to. We are parked near enough underneath the Eagle’s Nest. Having had 6 hours on the road we marched down to the lake side and promptly found a bar and Keith had a litre of the local beer, me a local white wine. 



We had chicken, homemade chips and sautéed courgette and mushrooms for tea which was delicious. The weather for tomorrow looks bad, let’s see what happens. 


^the Eagle’s nest perched high on the cliff top above us- above the tower in the trees on top of cliff^

Day 14-Tuesday 

Location: same place- Lake Königsee, unofficial aire behind the main car park. No services GPS:n 47.592230, e12.987270

Miles Driven: none! 
Weather: Rain, rain and more rain
Bluebell the motorhome is hoping she’s not taking the nick of the hospitality of the local tourist board, but we decided to stay another night here. The weather, as forecasted is grim. We decided to stay here and have a chill. There would be no view at The Eagles Nest, in fact we can’t even see it! Instead we chose to take a boat trip around the lake. It’s a very pretty area, steep gorges, lovely turquoise green water. The boat trip cost €17 each plus an extra €3.50 for Jazz. There was commentary on the boat but no English translation which was a shame and perhaps would have been nice at that price. It was a pleasant way to spend a few hours although I’m not sure if it was the weather that made us feel underwhelmed by it or the price. 

Perhaps not something we would rush to recommend. The afternoon was spent snoozing and catching up on admin. A break in the rain around 6pm provided an opportunity  for a wander to the bar before heading back for Spag Bol for tea. 
Tomorrow we head to Salzburg to meet our friend Ian, who has a summer job doing Sound of Music bike tours so we are spending a couple of days with him, including a tour obviously!

 PS you can follow our journey using a real time location tracker by following this link: https://track.gs/LXADWw
Until next time 


Lx