2 Days in Marblehead and Salem, MA

Day 7

Wednesday arrived and it was time to wave goodbye to North Conway. It was fun place to base ourselves and it gets very busy during the ski season here. One of it’s other attractions is the shopping village on the outskirts of town, and we decided that seeing as it was pouring with rain still, we would indulge in a hour or so of mooching round the Outlet stores.

An hour later and I was dragging us out before we had to remortgage the house! Keith and I brought a couple of pairs of Levi jeans – K got the bargain of the century – £9 for a pair of Levis I think he paid! Mum and Al got a couple of Levi T Shirts. We then popped across to Tommy Hilfiger and I saw a leather jacket that I fell in love with, and at £65 rather than £150 was a bargain so I had to have that despite worrying about my luggage allowance! Mum found herself a pair of Vans.

We hit the road and carried on towards Massachusetts. Our next location was another Air B n B – this time more of a BnB basis where we had the top floor two bedrooms and the owner lived downstairs and provided breakfast. Before we could check in we had lunch in The Sail Loft in Marblehead which was a great find. We grabbed lunch and by then the rain was beginning to stop, hallelujah, so we enjoyed a little wander around the extraordinarily pretty streets of old Marblehead. The houses were wooden and oozed character, and they all had charming Fall decorations lining their steps and porches. There were some cute little stores and a seafood restaurant on the seafront that caught our eye so we made a reservation for dinner and headed towards our accommodation.

After a quick freshen up we decided to get our glad rags on – I was feeling a bit better so we poshed up and went for a corker of a seafood dinner at The Landing. On our way (I was DES!) we stopped for a drink at a historical tavern where we had a nice chat with some friendly locals, before making our way to the restaurant. Despite it’s prime location right on the seafront the prices were very reasonably priced, and we therefore ended up with a lobster dinner each. It was my first time (and Mum’s) – I have a phobia of shellfish with their antennas on (there must be a better word for that??) so much so that my girlfriends call us The Prawnettes because of it! So for me to have a lobster was a huge event – and my god it was flipping gorgeous.

Day 8

Today was non driving day as Marblehead is just on the outskirts of Salem and therefore a short UBER ride away. We started our days exploration of historic Salem by a tour of the Witches Museum which was very interesting and well presented. We all really enjoyed our visit.

After this we went to the oldest Witch House in Salem, which was fascinating and we event got to see John Proctor’s fork.

The rain was beating down again (boo) so we headed for lunch at the historical Lyceum Hall, which is where Alexander Bell made his first long distance phone call! It is now a seafood place and so we enjoyed a lovely seafood dinner. The clam chowder was gorgeous. Mum and Alec decided to take the trolley tour that afternoon, so Keith and I visited the house of the Seven Gables on our own – wow, that was so interesting. We even got to go and stand up in the gable and see some floorboards that were over 300 years old.

WE also managed to see Alison’s house from Hocus Pocus which was really cool as it’s such a great movie!

I’d read abut a gin distillery in Salem so naturally we had to visit. The walk was a little way out but eventually we found it hidden away, it had a speakeasy bar that is open certain hours, so we got to try some of the spirits in rather delicious cocktails.

There were some locals in there who couldn’t believe we had found the place – I get the impression that its off the beaten track for tourists – so glad we found it though. The gin had a very heavy green cardamom taste, but I loved it so brought a bottle to bring home. Visit Deacon Giles Distillery

We had dinner at the Howling Wolf, which despite being absolutely packed, gave us a very tasty meal at a ridiculously cheap price, before heading back to our air b and b to pack our cases up good and proper as we were heading to the airport for an internal flight tomorrow.

Until Next Time

Lx

New England in the Fall; A 2 day road trip through New Hampshire

Day 5

Monday dawned a typical Autumnal day and we were up and dressed fairly early. The car was loaded up (no mean feat seeing as we had a steep flight of stairs to navigate and HUMUNGOUS bags) As the shopkeeper open the country store, we settled our bill and hit the highway, stopping for some lovely Autumnal pictures along the way.

Our destination for today’s activity was the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the world’s first Mountain Climbing Railway. We were very lucky – the weather was PERFECT, not a cloud in the sky! We arrived early in case we got caught in traffic, so had a little shop in the gift shop and a picnic lunch whilst we waiting for our 1pm train to descend from the top.

Soon it was our turn to board, as we were lucky to be in the first of 3 carriages so we got a great view.

The Railway track was astoundingly steep in places, and the ascent took around 45 mins. You could get up and wander to the front to look out of the front window and the back window also had amazing views as we got higher.

We had just over an hour on the top of Mount Washington to explore the summit, which was about all we needed- it can reach up to 100mph winds up there, and even though the views were amazing it was flipping cold!

The return journey was in places terrifying, it was so steep! And just the brakesman at the front of each individual carriage operating the brakes. Absolutely marvellous engineering, we just loved our visit. Video highlights here.

It was about 45 mins drive to North Conway, a ski resort within the White Mountains, which would be our next base for 2 nights. We had hired another air b n b, this time we had an entire wooden house to ourselves, complete with hot tub! Happy days.

We were soon in there with a beer, before getting our glad rags on and heading for dinner. By the way, in New Hampshire they don’t measure out spirits – I ended up with a pint, yes a pint! of gin! Whooooah!

Day 6 – My Birthday!

Today was a non driving day as it was my birthday! Sadly the weather god’s hadn’t taken a note of this special day and it absolutely hammered down ALL Day. However, it wasn’t the end of the world as we had booked onto The North Conway Scenic Railwroad for a return journey through the very pretty Crawford Notch. After a pancake breakfast, we crossed the road to the train station ready for out 11am departure.

Our accommodation on the train was up in the dome – a raised area with glass roof which I’m sure in better weather would have been spectacular.

Sadly in the rain, it was a bit dismal and we were all a bit rough (ahem) We had waitress service throughout the journey and despite me thinking there would be no alcohol on board, there was, and so we enjoyed a relaxing train journey and a couple of cocktails. Not a bad way to spend my birthday.

The train turned around at Crawford station, and we headed back to North Conway.

Although we enjoyed the train ride, I don’t think it was anywhere near as spectacular as some of the others we’ve done in the past. If we had to choose one we would definitely recommend the Cog Railway over the Scenic Railway. Video highlights here

Unfortunately I was full of a head cold and therefore didn’t fancy venturing too far out for my birthday meal. However there was nice place a couple of doors down from our accommodation and so we enjoyed a meal and a couple of cocktails there before a relatively early night. Not before trying the most delicious bourbon I’ve tasted. Jim Bean MAPLE bourbon. 🥃 am-aaa-zing

< strong>Highlights of New Hampshire<<<<<<<<
hington Cog Railway

The road through Crawford Notch

Jim BeamMaple Bourbon

New England in the Fall; a 2 day Roadtrip through Vermont

Day 3

Keith and I got an Uber from our Boston city apartment to the airport, leaving Mum and Alec to finish their packing and have a quick clean up of our Air BnB. We weren’t abandoning them, we just felt the process of hiring our Rental car would be quicker and easier as a twosome rather than a four – and it also saved us having to lug all our luggage back to the airport.

We hired our Medium sized SUV from Dollarcar and for 6 days with unlimited mileage it came in at around £200. The pick up process was quick and easy and we were left to our own devices to go and pick the vehicle we wanted.

We chose a lovely white Kia Sorento and half an hour later I was making my American driving debut. Initially it was terrifying given that the airport is slap bang in the middle of the city. And the driving in Boston reminded me of the driving in Delhi! OMG. But I soon got used to it- basically no rules, expect the unexpected, and Keefy was a fab co pilot. Talking of Co Pilots – Colin the Co Pilot (my iPhone Map system) worked a treat – I had downloaded the whole of America offline for £19.99 and it was brilliant.

We picked up Mum and Alec from the apartment along with all the luggage – which JUST fit in the back – wow we sure don’t travel lightly! We drove past Harvard University before picking up the Highway, where it didn’t take too long at all before we started seeing some phenomenal Autumnal colours on the roadside trees.

Around 3 hours later we were rolling into Wilmington, which is where we were picking up the Scenic Highway 100. Just before Wilmington there was the most beautiful scenic lay-by, which turned out to be one of my favourite views in Vermont.

We stopped for lunch at the Village Roost in Wilmington, before heading North on the Scenic Highway 100, which offered fabulous views as the road wound up and around various ski resorts. The villages were fairly small and remote really, and the houses just so charming – all wooden with picture perfect porches. You could just imagine kicking off your shoes, jumping in one of the comfy chairs and watching the world go by.

Not too far into our journey on the Scenic Highway, we stopped off at the Vermont Country Store in Weston. This is one of the oldest Country Stores in America and dates from the 1940s. It is huge – and here is a tip – don’t go in hungry (or do if you fancy a free lunch- so many samples available!) Wow, what a place – thank goodness we were flying in and out of America and therefore had to consider weight limits, otherwise my credit card would have had a right battering! It was filled with local meats, cheeses, chutneys, jams, maple based products, local alcoholic beverages, clothes, games, old fashioned sweets, kitchenware – oh the list goes on. We brought some maple syrup and some hot Apple Cider (none alcoholic) and made our escape. Certainly worth a visit though – what a lovely shop!

We carried on to our next Air BnB, which was near to Woodstock, with plenty of picture stops on route.

The apartment was a charming loft conversion above a country store. Another chance to buy tons of local produce!

The owner met us and was very friendly – she said they operated an honesty system, basically leaving the shop open for us overnight and if we fancied midnight munchies we could just go down and help ourselves – make a note of what we had and settle up when we leave. She would also prepare us a breakfast basket each morning and leave it at the bottom of our stairs! How cute!

Once we had got over the fact that we all had to share a room (ahem) we got our glad rags on and went for a meal. Unfortunately the downside was that there was nowhere within walking distance, however I didn’t mind driving.

Day 4

Sunday dawned cooler than what we’d been used to on the previous days but it was still clear. We were up relatively early and on the roady 9am. Today’s destination was the Northern part of Vermont. We had fun driving over the historical covered bridge opposite our accommodation – these are a common sight in Vermont and are really pretty.

We carried on just down the road to Quechee Gorge, which is billed as New England’s answer to the Grand Canyon. It’s a steep gorge with a tree lined river running at the bottom and you get a good view from both the bridge at the top and on the river level at the bottom, after a mile or so hike.

Back to the car and our next location was somewhere which I was very excited about – The Ben and Jerry’s Factory!

It was definitely an indulgence for me this stop, I adore Ben and Jerry’s! As you got out of the car, the air carried the smell of ice cream. Yum. We signed up for the next tour, which was 30 mins long and although nothing too special, it was really cool to be there and you got to see briefly where the magic happens!

Next stop was Stowe, home to the Von Trapp Family Lodge – the place which they escaped to from Austria. It’s in a really pretty area and is a ski resort from end of November. The scenery was gorgeous, although the town was more spread out than we imagined which made it hard to explore on foot.

We had a fabulous meal at Piecasso, which specialise in pizza – of course Keith HAD to have the large (just for himself!) ! Oink! It made a good picture though lol and tasted gorgeous.

Alec was nominated to try the local beer “Heady Toppy” – I’d read about it, apparently its voted the best beer in the world. Well, at 8% it must be one of the strongest! Keith really enjoyed the Von Trapp beer. Mum had a Stowe Cider which she loved. I had wait for it……. a tap water as I was in charge of Kelly the Kia.

We started heading back towards our digs along the Scenic Route 100, but this time North to South. We managed a stop at a local distillery to pick up some Bourbon with Maple and some small batch gin. Both of which are gorgeous! We also stopped at the Cider Mill where we had some fresh apple juice, hot cider and I tried the cider donuts, which were good.

We opted for a chill that night as we had been non stop since arriving. It was nice to catch our breaths for an evening – the boys fell asleep by 9 and Mum and I caught up on Strictly.

Vermont Highlights

  • Wilmington
  • Quechee Gorge
  • Ben and Jerrys Factory
  • Vermont Country Store
  • Stowe- esp Piecassimo Pizza and Von Trapp Beer/Stowe Cider

48 hours in Boston, MA

Day 1

We had arrived late (well 8pm – but 1am English time) so after arriving at our Air B n’ B around 9pm we hit the sacks, and therefore woke up very early on Day 1.

Not wanting to waste a second, we showered and were out by 7am having breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, which was near enough next door to our 2 bed flat.

Our Air BnB was located on the outskirts of Charlestown, about 10 mins cab from the airport and about 10 mins taxi to the centre of Downtown Boston. We like the idea of AirBnB as because we are used to motor homing, we really just needed a base, with a shower, bed and coffee making facilities.

Day 1 started with us exploring the Freedom Trail – which is a 2.5 marked trail through the centre of Boston taking in the most famous and historical sites the city has to offer. Before we booked Boston, I had no idea about what a historical city it was.

boston-nps-map

Our plan was to take in half of the freedom trail on day one and half on day two. We began at the Visitor centre on Boston Common so took a Tube from our accommodation to Park Street Station.

We walked through the common admiring the golden leaves and soon found ourselves at the State House.

We followed it though the city centre stopping at the old Burial Ground and the Old State House which is where the Declaration of Independence was read (pictures above).

We popped into Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market – two of the oldest markets in Boston – Faneuil Hall was great to shop for souvenirs and Quincy was a food lovers heaver. Crammed full of food stalls from every cuisine you can imagine, but a recurring theme was seafood of course due to our seaside lication, and lobster and clam chowder featured heavily – as it’s a popular dish here in New England.

Mouth’s set to drooling we popped to the waterside grabbing a beer each at Boston Harbor Cruises ‘The Landing’ – harbor-side bar, before making our way to Quincy Market to pick up a picnic lunch.

I opted for the Lobster Ravioli and boy was it good – Keith went for a Lobster roll, Mum a mac n cheese pie and Alec, a Hot Dog.

After lunch we went back on ourselves back through Boston Common and up Beacon Hill – we stopped for a quick beer in the famous Cheers Bar – slightly disappointing inside, but a must anyway, before exploring the trendy and insanely pretty Beacon Hill district.

All the houses around here had gorgeous fall decorations on their doorsteps and Acorn Street was worth a stop for a picture with its charming cobbled hill.

We went for another wander around Boston Common before requesting an Uber to take us back to our apartment for a freshen up and change for dinner. That was a mistake – traffic in Boston is horrible most of the time. Avoid taxis during peak hours – we called ours at 4pm and it took us over an hour to get 3.5 miles. If we hadn’t have been so tired we could have walked – but the T rail is very good and cheap so if I were there again that’s what I’d do.

Day 1 was our lobster meal night. After many recommendations from Twitter etc, we had pre booked a table at Legal Seafoods in Seaport region. Alec had never had Lobster and it was his dream to eat it in Boston, one of the reasons behind our trip. We had a cocktail on the roof terrace before we made our way to our table by the window – Keith and Alec had the full lobster experience, whilst Mum and I had other lobster alternatives. The meal was fantastic, as was the service and I would wholly recommend this place to try Lobster, our server held Keith and Alec’s had throughout the “cracking the lobster” procedure and actually the meal was very good value -each lobster was under £30 each!

Day 2

Darned Jet lag – we were awake early again, so got up and dressed and went for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts once more. Today was part 2 of the Freedom trail, along with a look around the Naval yard, USS Constitution, the Italian North End and we even squeezed in a boat trip too!

We took our T line train to Haymarket station where we picked up the Freedom trail and followed it all the way around the very charming North End – the “Little Italy” section of town. It’s a lovely place to browse around, perusing menus for later on, taking pictures of the many buildings decorated in lead, and smelling the wonderful aromas of coffee and other Italian delights. The buildings are charming and it was lovely looking around.

Before too long though it was time to head back to Long Wharf for our 10.30am Historical Harbour Cruise. What we didn’t realise when we booked it, was that today was the day the USS Constitution was making it’s first sailing in over 2 years because of restoration works that have taken place. Also – when it’s not being restored, it only sails once a year – so we were beyond thrilled to learn that not only was it sailing but it had just left it’s shipyard and was about to sail RIGHT PAST US! Wow! It truly was the most wonderful sight.

The Harbour Cruise worked as a hop on, hop off, which was perfect as we got to hop off at the Navy Yard, where the USS Constitution usually is based – despite it not being there we could still look around the USS Cassin Young, and also pick up the ending of the Freedom Trail, which led us through the absolutely stunning area of Charlestown and up to Bunker Hill Monument.

We climbed the 492 steps up Bunker Hill Monument and we rewarded with views of the USS Constitution making it’s way back to the yard.

We opted to go for a sandwich lunch at one of the oldest taverns in Boston, which handily was right by the Bunker Hill monument, The Warren Tavern. It served delicious food – mum and I loved our clam chowder, whilst the boys had humungous burgers. The local Downeast Pumpkin cider was one of the best ciders I’ve tasted.

After lunch we walked back to the Navy Yard where we were in time to see the USS Constitution back in dock – what a majestic ship she is. Our Harbour Cruise picked us up at 2pm and we made our way back to Long Wharf.

From here we walked the mile down to the Boston Tea Party Museum and got booked onto the next tour. Whilst this wasn’t my cup of tea (scuse the pun!) – Keith loved it. It was a proper all out American presentation of the history of the Tea Party Massaceur and was very interactive – i.e. the actors all gave us a role to play. There were a couple of moments inside the museum which were pretty impressive (technology based and I won’t spoil it) and also you got to see one of the original tea crates which was  pretty cool.

We made our way back to the apartment for a quick change before heading back into downtown for a couple of local beers in two more historical taverns – The Green Dragon and The Bell in Hand, before wandering into the North End for a delicious Italian meal at  Quattro.

Itinerary Details

Day 1

AM: Freedom Trail  from Visitor Centre Boston Common to Visitor Centre Fencuil Hall.

Lunch: Beer at The Landing (Boston Harbor Cruises) and Lunch at Quincy Market

PM: Beacon Hill District especially taking in Cheers Bar, Acorn Street and Chestnut Street.

Evening: Pre dinner cocktail on the roof terrace then seafood dinner at Legal Harbourside (Floor 1) 

Day 2

AM: 9.00am  Pick up Freedom Trail at Haymarket Station then do the North End Section up to Copps Hill Burying Ground.

10:30 Pre booked Harbour Cruise   $22.99 pp (Hop on Hop Off)

11:00 Disembark Harbour Cruise at Navy Yard, look around then continue up to Bunker Hill on the rear end of the Freedom Trail.

Lunch: Warren Taven – one of the oldest tavern’s in Boston

2pm: Take the Harbor Cruise back to Long Wharf and walk to the Boston Tea Party museum 

Evening: Couple of beers at Green Dragon Tavern and The Bell In Hand – both historical taverns then an Italian meal in the North End – we went to Quattro and it was delicious.

ACCOMODATION

Air B n B – 2 Bed apartment by Sullivan Square transport hub. Total for 3 nights for 4 people – £ 411

Next Up: (Coming Soon)

2 Day Roadtrip in Vermont

2 Day Roadtrip in New Hampshire

24 Hours in Salem, MA

24 Hours at Niagra Falls

Go West for Summer – Part 6

Wednesday

Wednesday dawned a beautiful morning and we were up and away before 10 heading up the coast to New Quay for our dolphin trip.

New Quay is such a pretty little Harbour town- there is a large reasonably priced car park at the top and you can walk down the fairly steep but very pretty Main Street towards the sea.

There were several “tat” shops for us to poke our head in and we eyes up a couple of dolphin souvenirs to buy later – if we saw the dolphins!

We had a walk along the Harbour and popped into the ticket booth for SeaMor Dolphin Spotting Trips to pick up our ore booked and paid for tickets. They are very dog friendly and have Jazz a treat along with lots of fuss! Pre booking is absolutely essential as despite there being departures every 1.5hrs- it was booked up for the day.

It was soon time to board our little boat- SeaMor only take 12 passengers and we were greeted by the very friendly owner Brett who made sure all was well before boarding. SeaMor have a marine biologist leading the boat trip so information was really interesting and knowledgable. It also wasn’t pre recorded so it felt very personal.

First stop was the lobster pots- where there was a huge lobster waiting! They showed us the lobster up close and told us some interesting facts. Keefy even was allowed to hold it – not for me though they terrify me!

We carried on our if the Harbour and it wasn’t long at all before we got our first sightings of dolphins. How exciting to see them in the wild!

They weren’t the easiest to photograph- in fact the excitement of watching where they would pop up next was similar to being on our Indian Tiger safari earlier this year! What I absolutely loved was the excitement from the guides – they were so passionate about the whole trip- and it wasn’t just the dolphins we saw, we saw seabirds diving for fish. We also got to the listen to the dolphins in the water as they put sonar equipment into the water and we could hear them clicking.

Jazz was great on the boat (its so nice we could take him) he got loads of fuss and attention and was as good as gold!

After an hour and a half it was time to turn back. We’d seen loads of dolphins and some were very close to the boat. We thought the tour was fantastic value for money at £16 pp.

Once back on land we had a fish and chip lunch – despite having a packed lunch we couldn’t resist the smell! So sat on the Harbour wall and enjoyed a small cod and chips each.

We brought some dolphin souvenirs (such tourists!) and headed back to Ruby.

We headed to Llangranog Beach as there was overnight parking in the beach car park. Only thing is the beach car park isn’t huge and to get their you go down a tiny road (so don’t even attempt it with anything too big) – we got down ok but Llangranog was PACKED! Somehow after only 5 mins of waiting as inconspicuously as possible we got parked. It’s £9 to park from 4pm-10:30am which is very reasonable.

The beach area is lovely – a proper cove with caves etc. Surfing seemed to be a popular activity. It’s dog friendly on half of it and we enjoyed a couple of hours on our sun loungers watching the sun go down.

We were surprised at how many people were still on the beach at 7pm- the car park was showing no signs of emptying out! So we had a cider in the local before starting to cook as it was so busy still! I’m really glad we did as as we came out of the pub here was the most beautiful sunset.

I grabbed us a couple of gin and tonics and we enjoyed a very special sun set with about 50 others- that was obviously why the beach was still so busy.

A Hymer had joined us (gawd knows how they got down there!) so we Cooke da simply supper of salmon and tagliatelle before enjoying a scotch on the beach and having an early night. What a lovely day

Thursday

We slept like logs (something to do with the booze I reckon) and I narrowly had avoided a hangover. We needed to get some air in the front tyre so had a fairly early start so we could find a garage. Today I was excited as we were going to a campsite I’d booked ages ago- we had a got a private hot tub to enjoy!

Tyre sorted, we made our way to a National Trust property down the road. Llanerchaeron is a Georgian Villa and had some lovely grounds to wander. The villa itself was interesting to see and it had the most fabulous walled garden. Certainly worth a trip if you’re passing. y

It was time to move onto our campsite – down the road, Bergeod Farm Camping and Caravan Park- a brand newly opened campsite with lakeside view and private hot tub. I was just in the mood to spend the afternoon chilling in and out of the hot tub. The sun was shining it was lovely.

Apart from- it wasn’t, it was truly awful! We had a suspicion on arrival. We were led through a building site. However- The welcome couldn’t have been warmer- Chris, the owner came out and enveloped me into a huge hug! Never had a welcome like that before but she was friendly and it was nice.

We were shown to our £40pn executive pitch. We were underwhelmed but neither of us dared to admit it. Keith especially as he knew how much I’d been looking forward to it. The road to the campsite was very bumpy and pot holes all over- fine but not what we were expecting for a new campsite. The pitch was very uneven – to the point we needed chocks. Fine- but not as advertised. The hot tub wasn’t working. Not fine- I was not happy at all and was told it would only be refunded if we couldn’t get in by 11pm. It was 1:30pm and check in was from midday. Disappointed!

The water supply was held together with something like Gaffa. Surprising considering it’s a brand new site.

The electrics hadn’t been professionally fitted – wires showing at the base.

There was a poo stained towel left on our pitch- I took it down to reception and didn’t get any form of apology at all.

The hot tub shed was held up by loose planks of wood.

There was a hose running down through our pitch!

The view wasn’t anything like the pics on their Facebook page. It was grotty and man made and hadn’t been landscaped with piles of earth everywhere and loose shingle with breeze blocks dotted around the “paths” and road.

The facilities were in porta cabins and not a brand new toilet block as I’d read online the night before (this has since been updated on their website)

The chemical loo point was disgusting – more similar to something you’d expect on a £10 pn site- NOT £40.

There were NO washing up facilities at all on site. Nothing – not even an outside sink with cold water. Not acceptable on a £40 a night site.

This tipped me over the edge- I’d had enough so I told Keith to pack up whilst I went to explain we weren’t staying. I managed to get a refund but they would not listen to my feedback and were not interested at all. Since leaving we’ve noticed on their Facebook page the owner calling anyone who leaves negative feedback “haters” and “evil” and has had discussions about blocking and removing negative feedback. Professional eh?

From their advertising we were expecting a brand new sparkly campsite. In reality it’s not finished- there is no reason why they shouldn’t be open – however they cannot and should not be charging full premium prices for camping there during this time. Pitches without hot tubs are £25pn. That’s more than any other site we have stayed during this holiday alone- and every single one had a washing up area.

I was fuming- it’s taken me 2 days to calm down!

Sadly our decision to leave was followed by our decision to drive home 2 days early. We had a problem with our leisure battery so needed hook up really but I was in such a bad mood I knew I’d be grumpy whatever we did so may as well just drove home.

In actual fact they did us a favour as we had a great journey home and missed the terrible traffic problems that Aug bank hol provides!

On the way we pulled off the M4 to stop off at Caerwent Roman City remains. It would have been the main roman settlement for the west of England. The Roman Walls remains were the biggest we had seen.

We carried on and we’re home for 11pm. What a shame to have finished our holiday like this. Despite our last night- it was a great tour and we really enjoyed Pembrokeshire. We’d eaten some lovey Welsh cheese and ice creams – and drank some delicious Welsh Ale and cider.

We did the whole trip on 2 Tanks of fuel which is astounding!

Until next time

Lx

Go West for Summer – Part 4

Saturday
Saturday dawned with sunny spells so we wasted no time and made a packed lunch before setting off from the campsite with our best foot forward. The Camping and Caravan Club site was ideally located to visit the Blue Lagoon – only a mile walk to the beach at Abereiddy, behind which was a large man made lagoon – originally a quarry which was blasted out to make a deep sea pool. I'd seen it on Pinterest and was desperate for a dip in- not like most people who were diving in, far too much of a wuss for that- but I did manage my dip. If coasteering is your thing then this is the place to try it. Not for me though..!


Once I'd dried out we carried on up the coast path towards Porthgain. We really enjoyed the walk- there was lovely scenery and lots of disued quarry buildings to look at en route. We did a spot of geocaching and found a great beach only accessible by foot (and 100 steps!) so we let Jazz off for a run around- his second this trip lucky thing!
Porthgain was a pretty little village with a nice little Harbour and a couple of pubs and a shop selling Pembrokeshire Promise ice cream- our absolute favourite so we treated ourselves to our third of the trip before making our way back to the campsite. In total we'd walked 6 miles!

We'd been lucky with the weather it had stayed dry but was windy as anything! Overnight we had the tail end of hurricane gert and had winds of over 40 mph again! Id was disappointed I couldn't use drone despite carrying it on my back the whole walk! Lol

We enjoyed the sun from our pitch but it was too blustery to cook outside so we moved in side for Lyd's Seafood restaurant – tonight I was cooking a brew course seafood meal. Mussels to start, tuna steak and local samphire for main and salted caramel cheesecake for our. It was yummy! I've never tried samphire and I adored it!!

We had an evening reading and listening to music- there is no phone signal at all- wierd as 0.5 miles around the circumference of the site there is 4g and full signal. Makes you wonder if they block the phone signal to encourage you to buy their overpriced internet – which we desired but resisted. £10 for 3GB no thanks. The warden as much as said it's rubbish!

Sunday
The warden told us the weather was going to be dry until 2pm so we opted for a quick breakfast and were on our bikes for 10am. We were cycling the 5 miles to St Davids as the bus timetable was surprisingly rubbish – considering we were in a tourist area at peak time that is and compared to the route between Pembroke and Tenby. The warden told us it was flat. Erm. Well let's just say we don't think he's ever cycled it…

St Davids was sadly a huge disappointment. Our relationship didn't start well in that there was absolute nowhere to park our bikes. At the Tourist info there was only room for two bikes- and yes, they were taken already. We ended up having to chain up to a light post something that we were not at all happy to do so therefore our trip was cut short – annoying as I was suppose to be getting lunch brought for me! ☹️ instead Keith ran into the butchers and picked a pasty up each and we carried on to the beach area at white sands.

We stopped briefly at the cathedral but weren't allowed in despite it not being advertised as closed (no signs up or anything) Keith got aggressively shouted at by a church warden for opening the door during a service – sorry how's he and the ten others supposed to know this – all that was outside was a sign saying please be as quiet as possible. The man was aggressively rude and so unfortunately they didn't get their donation from us and we were unable to light a candle for our loved ones we've lost, as we like to do at every new cathedral we visit.

We did however have a very enjoyable walk around St Davids head despite the weather having now turned for the worse- we got soaked, the rain was coming sideways and the wind howling!

We then had a lovely 6 mile bike ride "on flat as a pancake roads" whilst being soaked to our skin! You can perhaps imagine both our moods on return to Ruby!
Luckily the campsite had brilliant showers- I was in before Keith had even finished putting the bikes back on the bike rack!

Dinner was a slow cooked turkey casserole with rice which did a good job warming and cheering us up.

Sorry St Davids- I know lots of people who visit regularly and love the place – but for us, based on this visit, I'm afraid we felt it was highly underwhelming here -there was a lack of character, the locals weren't at all friendly, a lack of bike facilities- and although St Davids Head was nice enough we didn't think it was anything special.

Go West for Summer – Part 3

Thursday

It was another wet and wild night last night- we even had some thunder and lightening! Again we had winds ofup to 40mph- needless to say Jazz was on our bed again! Ruby is coping so well with the wild weather – we are toasty inside despite having no heating. The bikes are ok on the back still and it’s doesn’t feel as wobbly as when we were in Bluebell the motorhome – I suppose we are lower.

Despite the weather overnight today dawned a beautiful morning. We went to the farmhouse for some fresh eggs – and they couldn’t have been fresher, the farmer had just picked them out of the nest- they were still warm. They made the wonderful egg and bacon rolls – I’ve never seen such a large yolk.

We walked down to the bus stop at the end of the field and caught the number 349 to Tenby. It was a 20 minute journey and cost £5.50 pp return. Not bad value at all- especially when you can use your ticket for unlimited travel throughout the day.


We walked through the town down to the Harbour and stopped at The National Trust 15th Century Tudor Merchants House. Worth a visit if you’re a member but if not again we thought the £5.75 entry charge a little steep as there wasn’t much to see at all.

Tenby Harbour is absolutely STUNNING. There are loads of cute pastel coloured houses that line the street and the Harbour is full of boats. The beach beyond the Harbour has lovely sand and the bag is full of banana boat rides and pleasure trips. There are tiny little lanes leading away from the Harbour- it was just gorgeous. It knocks socks off places like Southwold. We saw a sign for lifeboat rides and decided this sounded fun – even better than dogs were allowed obviously! So we booked on for 1:45- a bargain at £5 for 20 mins we thought. We spent the time before the ride mooching and shopping- all the shops were dog friendly – there was such a lovely atmosphere here.
1:30 arrived and so we made our way down to the Harbour to board our Lifeboat.



The ride was so much fun and it was really interest riding on an actual lifeboat (now out of service).
All that see air and we worked up quite a thirst! So we found a pub with a sign claiming to have the “most sunniest beer garden in Tenby” – I found a seat whilst Keefy got the beers in- a Tenby beer for him aptly named after a Tenby lifeboat and brewed in the brewery on site, and a Welsh dragon cider for me.

We then went for a delicious fish and chip lunch before another pint at the Lifeboat, which had a really cool bar made out of an old Lifeboat (see pic above), although it didn’t serve any local beers. Before we caught the bus home we stopped at the fishmongers for some locally caught cod and samphire before looking around once more soaking in the atmosphere – it’s a fabulous place to visit and a real highlight of our trip so far. Also EVERY where was dog friendly even the shops! The rest of Thursday night we just chilled and enjoyed a cheese board for supper whilst watching Cracker.

riday
Friday arrived and it was time to pick up the van and move onwards. We had enjoyed our stay at Middle Hill Farm and would recommend it to anyone visiting this area- especially to those who don’t want to drive to explore as the bus route was really good from very close to the site.

After leaving the site we made a stop at Pembroke to see the castle. Pembroke Castle was birthplace to Henry VII and although we didn’t go in we enjoyed a terrific walk around the outskirts which gave great views of the impressive outside .


We drove on to nearby Nayland and followed signs for the Marina. The reason for our visit was Brunel, who lived here for a time and extended his GWR to have a terminus here- aiming to build an ocean terminal for onward travel to New York. Nowadays you can cycle some of this GWR line as part of the Brunel Line which we did and was fab. We did only 5 miles each way but the full line is 9 each way. On the way to Johnson it felt hard- on the way back we realised why- we barely peddled! Brunel was such a genious, building these tracks at an exact angle to not feel steep so the steam trains could manage the incline.

After our cycle we heading onwards to our next stop for 3 nights, the St Davids Camping and Caravanning Club Site.
On arrival it hammered down so we had a quick set up before an early dinner of Pembrokeshire Chowder with the fish we got from Tenby yesterday. Oh wow- don’t like to blow my own trumpet but it was delicious. Recipe here!
(Looks gross- was delicious!)

The rain cleared up after dinner and so we enjoyed a dram outside watching the sun set over the sea from our pitch. Lovely

Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Aug 5th 2017

Ever since Keith and I got together 7 years ago- one (along with many others!) mutual bucket list adventure we wanted to achieve was attending The Royal Military Tattoo in Edinburgh. 10 years ago I spent an entire summer up in Edinburgh playing in a Fringe Show, and Keith's dousing has lived up here for years and years, yet still we've never been able to make it happen. 7 years ago we made a pact that we would and this year is the year it finally was able to happen!

We dropped Jazz with my mum and Alec and boarded our Virgin East coast train on Friday morning. Unsurprisingly, as not only was the Tattoo starting on Friday but so was the Fringe Festival, the train was packed and quite uncomfortable so we settled ourselves in and watched some catch up on the iPads, and actually before we knew it we were rolling into Edinburgh Waverley Station.

Simon couldn't meet us until after work so we had an hour or so to kill- naturally we headed for the pub, one of our favourites the Ensign Ewitt for the first of many gins, beers and drams!

Our very good friend Mark is a sound engineer for the Tattoo and was busy at the castle in his super duper recording van prepping to record that nights show – his job is to record it, edit it and have the official CD on the shelf for Monday's performance. He contacted us and said although he couldn't get away we were welcome to pop up and see his office for the weekend which was exciting, and as always, lovely to see him for ten mins.

It was 4pm and time to meet Simon so we bid Mark a farewell and headed to the Malt Shovel on Cockburn St. The Royal Mile is always a fun place to be at this time of year- lots of people doing publicity for their shows and a really happy, exciting if not slightly nutty vibe all the way!

Once we'd met Simon, Friday night followed in a big catch up, naturally involving a few bars and refreshments! Simon once again showed us some really cool places in Leith and we enjoyed our dinner of Shetland Mussels and beef and Haggis burgers at Nobles.

Saturday dawned brighter than the BBC had indicated, despite a few foggy heads in the O'Gorman/Williams clan! 🤣
Nothing a good sausage and haggis roll, super charged espresso, a pork and Haggis scotch egg and a Bloody Mary, or in Keith's case a Bloody Scotsman (replaced vodka with whiskey!!) can't sort out!

After a lazy morning we took the bus from Leith up to Princes Street where I deposited the boys in John Lewis Gadget section whilst I went off for a shop for an hour. Big mistake- Keith, inspired by Simon's "Smart Flat" has brought a Amazon Echo Dot and subsequently has spent every available minute researching what we can link up to it in our house!
Boys and their toys eh?!

Edinburgh is always such a special place for me, I had a little moment as I dragged myself away from the shops- look at the view from Princes Street- lovely architecture, Arthur's seat- and check out the blue sky!

We opted for lunch at Wagamama's, a treat for me as usually when we go I'm driving- so today I could indulge in my other favourite alcoholic drink, SAKE! KANPAI!

Trying to be sensible (!) we decided to head back to the flat for a nap ready for the excitement of the evening to come.

We made our way back into town 6ish and had a couple of drinks, including one on the mile so we could indulge in some people watching before a delicious curry at Gurkha Restaurant- definitely recommend it there, it's our second visit!

It was now time to head to the castle, I e never seen so many people queuing to get in either! Mark had texted us to make sure we gave ourselves lots of time, he said at the 7:30 showing people were arriving once the show had started. At 9:00 when we were wandering up, we had he previous audience departing and the current audience arriving- so 18000 people and the top end of the mile is rather narrow. Still, the organisation was with military precision, what else would you expect, this is the 68th year!

We were in within 20 mins of he doors opening at 9:45- exceptional!

To show was simply SENSATIONAL. Everything that I hoped it would be and a million times more. The special effects and projectors (all 12 of them according to Mark) casting phenomenal images and patterns onto the castle backdrop, the music obviously, the choreography, THE WEATHER!- everything was just awesome. I will never forget our night there!







We walked all the way home to Leith and to took me about an hour to get to sleep- I had so much adrenaline!
Today has dawned sunny again, hurrah! So we will head back into town. Plans are to try and see the Jacobites exhibition and perhaps see some Jazz.

Then back south tomorrow to see Dad and Jenny, pick up Ruby and Jazz and get some adventures going in our campervan!

Until next time
Lx

Our annual Pilgrimage to Scotland Part 3: A quick stopover at the Lake District 

Ruby the campervan is parked up alongside  Gillside Beck- we arrived here yesterday, Friday, after a fairly longish journey from our Loch Ness Brit Stop. The reason for departing Scotland a day early is stood proudly behind us, and frankly looks scary as hell- perhaps that’s where the name Helvellyn comes from! For a couple of years now, Keith and I have talked about how we’d like to tackle Helvellyn and Striding Edge. For both of us, it’s a personal challenge. Neither of us particularly like hill walking, and I’m terrified of drops, yet I have spent hours marvelling at people’s instagram pics of Striding Edge. I just knew I had to go and give it my best foot forward. Luckily, my husband is also crazy so despite his hatred of walking up hills agreed to attempt it with me, if he weather looked ok on or way home from Scotland. 

So back in February we booked our pitch at Gillside Farm, knowing there was a hefty chance we’d cancel if weather looked bad. We’d been about internet for well over 24 hours and finally picked up 4g as passed through Fort William. Keith as driving and I checked Patterdale – well il be blowed it was only showing full sun for tomorrow. “Off we go then”, I said, feeling the colour draining from my chops! 

Gillside Farm is nestled right at the bottom of the main path from Glenriding up to Helvellyn- so on arrival we decided to check where our oath started, before prepping our rucksacks, making a packed lunch and enjoying a simply cook Murgh Kari curry for tea. The mood in the Ruby was certainly of apprehension! We watched the live election debate before calling it a night. I dreamt that we got stuck on Helvellyn! What a great dream- not! 

Saturday dawned as promised, absolutely glorious. There really is nowhere as beautiful as the Lakes in this weather! Apprehension was again strife! We moved around our daily routine almost in silence- I chucked some venison and a few bits of stray veg into the slow cooker to bubble away ready for our return. Keith packed, double packed and triple checked the rucksacks. By 09:15 we’d had our porridge and cereal bars and were ready to go. I was BRICKING it. 


The first mile is literally uphill. There is no relief from it – it is hard. Really really hard. Loads of people passed us, we were both puffing like a steam train and I was almost ready to chuck the towel in. However-the  views were stunning and that really kept us going. The views to Ullswater were sensational. 

 

After over an hour and exactly a mile- the uphillness became easier! I thought I’d suddenly become super fit but Keith declared “hurray, we are now following the contours rather than crossing them” We were rewarded with great views of Helvellyn and red tarn and actually started enjoying ourselves! 

Before we knew it we were reaching the start of Striding Edge. I gave myself one last talking to and before I know it we were across! Striding Edge if you are not familiar, is a ridge that leads to Helvellyn, England’s 3rd  highest behind Scafell and Sca. It was really, really hard- in fact a man in front of us stopped and turned round- he said he couldn’t cope with it any more- so was going to find the easier path. Keith and I (and jazz!) kept our heads down,took it very slowly and carefully and stopped regularly for photos – AND I DIDNT HAVE A PANIC ATTACK! 

I still can’t believe we walked across that ridge!!!

Getting to the other side my legs were like Jelly. Then we realised we had nasty scramble ahead to get to the summit. It wasn’t a scramble it it literally was rock climbing. Omg. 😳 However the camoradory between all the walkers was fantastic – and as we crossed the last ridge before the summit I had a tear in my eye! We’d done it! Bucket list ticked ✅




After a cheese roll or three we discovered it was as steep if not worse on the way down! Off we set, taking so much care- we even had to carry Jazz over a couple of bits as he refused and dug his claws in! Slowly we descended and 3 hours later we were back at Ruby feeling immensely proud of ourselves! 


We had a swift dram before continuing to the pub for a couple( including a Lake District Gin!!) and returning to Ruby for our venison stew.


Tomorrow we head home (sad face!) we have had a blast and couldn’t have wished for an sweet finish today. We’ve survived 10 whole days in our downsized campervan with no pop top. Ruby is working for us! Hurrah! 

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!!