Our Escape to Colditz

Keith is a huge history enthusiast and has expressed a desire to visit Colditz Castle for as long as I’ve known him. In fact, we almost made it there in Bluebell the Motorhome in 2016, however decided to stay in Austria and revisit another time when we were a little more prepared. The opportunity finally arose this year as I decided to book tickets for Keith’s Christmas present – the man who has every gadget under the sun – and it went down brilliantly! Due to work commitments, I decided that rather than drive, we would grab a quick weekend return flight from Stansted to Berlin, however I’ve included motorhome/campervan stopovers too on this blog.

We stayed overnight prior to flying at the Holiday Inn Express Stansted, which was convenient as it offers onsite parking and evening meals – we wouldn’t arrive until gone 8pm following work so would need dinner. Free breakfast was also offered, and was actually very pleasant despite it being 5am! A shuttle bus took us to the departures terminal in just 7 minutes at a cost of £3pp.

10.30am local time on Friday saw us touchdown at Berlin Schönefeld airport and by 11am we had picked up our wheels for the weekend – a VW Golf hired from Sixt.com. They did manage to sneak some added extras on which meant we ended up spending over €100 extra to the hire charge which was a bit of an irritating beginning.

Although we had flown to Berlin, due to the regularity of flights available to ensure we got the most time possible from our limited time away, our destination was 2 hours south – Leipzig. It is possible to fly direct to Leipzig however they only fly twice a week from Stansted and it didn’t work timing wise for us.

Leipzig is a very exciting place to visit as a musician, and I can’t help but feel that it’s massively overlooked on the tourist trail. Leipzig was home to J.S.Bach, who worked at Thomaskirche as the Kapellmeister for many years.

His family, many of whom were also musicians, also were based in Leipzig, and although their family home no longer exists because of WW2 Damage, the cathedral does and their neighbours and friends house is now The Bach Museum and Archives.

Inside the church you can see Bach’s grave along with many very rare and historical musical instruments from the Baroque Period.

We were lucky enough to hear the organist perform some Bach’s Organ Pieces which was incredibly moving and really very exciting.


Our visit to the Bach Museum also didn’t disappoint, we got to see some very rare, handwritten by Bach manuscript, which was ridiculously neat and just completely awesome to see. (No pics allowed)

We did some of the Music Trail although time was not on our side – you could easily enjoy 2 days + here. Other famous musicians who are linked to Leipzig are Felix Mendelssohn’s who died here- his house is now a museum which we’d have liked to have visited but we ran out of time, and Richard Wagner.

During the walking tour we enjoyed looking at some of the beautiful buildings which have survived the war including the opera house.

We also stumbled across a traditional winter fayre, which was a great chance to warm up with some Gluwein.

We had three delicious meals in Leipzig – lunch at Ratskeller, a really atmospheric beerhouse which serves local Saxon Fayre, a bratwurst at the winter fayre, and finally our evening meal at the historic and atmospheric Auerbachs Keller and tried loads of absolutely delicious local beer and even a Leipzig gin!

Our home for the night was the Mercure Hotel which as just down the road from Mendelssohn’s house and had an underground carpark for us to leave the car whilst we explored on foot.

On Saturday we were up fairly early and checked out at 9am. Keith was very excited as today was our trip to Colditz Castle. His reaction as we caught our first sight of the beautiful looking castle was priceless.

I’d booked us the extended tour (€18 pp payable in cash on arrival) and we were surprised to learn that we were the only one booked on the tour – so it was to be a private tour – an unexpected perk of being out of season. Our guide Steffi, began leading us around the vast corridors, cellars, and grounds, giving us brilliant commentary throughout.

Colditz Castle is a striking Renaissance Castle, sat perched on a large rocky outcrop, high above the River Mulde and became best known during WW2 – it was used as a High Security Prisoner of War camp for allied officers who had repeatedly tried to escape from other POW camps. Despite being considered as a high security camp, it had the highest number of successful escape attempts and only one assassination, and that was, according to Steffi, an accident. Prisoners here were treated with respect and a little more dignity than elsewhere and had huge libraries to peruse, a fully functional theatre in which they used to put on full scale productions and also the dorms were less crammed in and some officers even had their own rooms which were bigger than you may expect.

During the tour we got to see the famous gap in which Pat Reid managed to escape from – he later went on to develop the famous boardgame “Escape from Colditz”;

The French tunnel which ran 44m in length right underneath the chapel

The end of the British tunnel

the attic room where the famous glider was built in secret and found when the Americans liberated the castle

and much more. We saw the theatre, complete with secret trap door under the stage,

the officers rooms, the British Dorms, and heard story after story of escape efforts – some successful and some not. Despite the nature of the history here it was hard not to feel inspired here, the sheer determination of those who were held here almost lives on in the walls, its just truly fascinating – even for someone who isn’t such a history buff as her husband!

Our tour was supposed to last 2 hours, but Steffi, encouraged by our enthusiasm and interest I think, showed us some extra places and we actually ended up being there for over 3 hours!

There is a Campsite within walking distance if you go in your campervan/motorhome and also a Stellplatz (overnight parking area) in the next town – although Colditz is very small and I’m not sure I’d fancy driving our old motorhome up to the castle.

Our final stop of the trip was 1.5 hours down the road on the border of Czech Republic, at Bastei. This addition to our itinerary was last minute after reading about it in the Lonely Planet Germany Book and my goodness are we pleased we discovered it.

Bastei is a large area of rock formations which tower 194m high above the River Elbe. There is a fabulous bridge nestled amongst the rocks and lots of viewing platforms dotted around – some of which aren’t for the faint hearted, especially when they are covered in ice and snow as they were for our visit!

I managed to put my big girl pants on and conquered them all, despite a few deep controlling breathes and jelly legs as you can just about see from this pic!

We managed an hour of exploring the paths before we lost the sunlight

and enjoyed a bratwurst sausage and beer (alcohol free for me being Des, but it was fab!!) at the kiosk just as they shut, before returning to our car and discovering a car parking ticket -whoops!

Our journey back to Berlin Schönefeld Airport took just under 2 hours, where we stayed in an airport hotel (which was grim but served its purpose) ready for our extremely early 06.30 flight back home. We had a lovely traditional meal of Schnitzel at the local Gasthaus – which we needed to drive to as there was nowhere within walking distance of the hotel and no restaurant at the hotel. Check out the size of those Schnitzel’s!

We had a brilliant time – and can’t believe we were actually only in Germany for a day and a half. We covered 582km/361m and found German roads brilliant. A note to myself, next time the car hire kiosk asks me if I would prefer automatic or manual – get automatic! I kept going for an invisible gear stick!

Until Next Time (which won’t be long as this time next week we will be in the Lake District for half term in Ruby- woo)



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








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


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 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 


Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, Part 5; The Romantic Road, Germany

Day 9- Thursday

Location: Würzburg DE. Aire on River Main. No services €3/24hrs  GPS n49.797080, e9.923020
Miles Driven: Bacharach- Würzburg  125 miles 
Weather: mainly wet- dry in afternoon
Bluebell the motorhome is parked right beside the river Maine, 500m walk from the small historical city of Wurzburg, at the northern end of the Romantic Road. 

The weather gods are determined to follow us despite our best efforts at covering some miles today to try and find the sunshine. We woke up to rain, so had a lazier morning enjoying the free wifi at the aire at Bacharach. Spotting a break in the rain we had a quick leg stretch along the Rhine to find a geocache, before servicing Bluebell and hitting the road. We got stuck on today’s journey in roadworks after roadworks. Therefore our journey of 2 hours became a journey of 3 hours, however we were happy to arrive at our aire in Würzburg in time to bag the last spot overlooking the river. We are parked up next to a large Concorde motorhome and beside that is an interesting looking converted fire engine. 

After a quick steak and stilton wrap, we had a wander into the city centre along the river. Thankfully the rain had stopped and so we picked up a copy of a town walk from the tourist info. It led us past some really old baroque style buildings with amazing facias and also a UNESCO world heritage palace- said to be the most important palace in Europe. It’s obviously based on the Palace of Versailles. 

We enjoyed the walk but had worked up a thirst, obviously! We found our way back to the market square and got a seat in a bar right in front of our favourite building we had seen, now home to the Tourist Info. What a beautiful building. 

I tried a local Riesling – the area is surrounded by vineyards, and Keith tried two locally brewed lagers. On our return to Bluebell we passed a Pandora shop, and Keith very sweetly treated me to a lovely charm for my bracelet with a windmill on like Kinderdilk- a present cos I’ve done all the driving so far-  I’m not a great passenger and quite enjoy driving abroad so it’s not an issue but it was a nice gesture off Keith ❤️

Just as we crossed the river again to reach Bluebell the motorhome we had our final drink-  we had noticed on our way in loads of people stood on the bridge with wine glasses drinking. It had made us chuckle until we realised it was a local wine seller/shop in a shack on the bridge. As it wasn’t raining we decided to have “one for the road”- Keith tried the Red and I had the Rose- both were delicious. The German wine we’ve tried isn’t as heavy as French wine but very fruity and refreshing.  It was a really lovely atmosphere looking out over the river to the castle and vineyards, everyone chatting away.  

We made it back to Bluebell as the heavens open, and had chicken Balti for tea. Tomorrow we will be travelling south on the Romantic Straße- hopefully with better weather! 
Day 10- Friday

Location: Rothenburg del Tough DE. Aire on edge of historical walled town. Water and drainage  €10/24hrs GPS n49.797080, e9.923020

Miles Driven: Würzburg – Rothenburg miles – some along the Romantic Road

Weather: dry  (hurrah!) and sunny this afternoon 

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on the edge of the town walls in the medieval town of Rothenburg, perhaps a third of the way down The Romantic Road. We’ve got a few Italian and Dutch vans for company, still no Brits- where are you all! 
Today we had every intention of following the romantic road to Rothenburg. We spent time last night investigating how to get onto it as despite there being lots of info about the scenic tourist route, finding the starting location was tricky- or more accurately a guessing game as none of the literature included that part! We got up and on the road for 08:20 – unnaturally early for us, filled with fuel (€1.08pl) and followed the road out of town, hoping for the best. We were relieved to see a sign and by 08:40 were trundling along the Romantic Road.
 The scenic route took us past miles of farmland with occasionally pretty fields of sunflowers, one of my favourites. Occasionally we passed through a pretty little village, but we both commented how incredibly quiet it was! Villages looked shut down for the summer, there were no other vehicles on the road, it was almost like being here in the winter! Despite this, the route was slow going, and we’d been going for an hour before we reached our first main town. Not far after this, the road ahead was closed due to roadworks and we were diverted off to a different road. We followed this, desperately hoping to see a diversion sign, but sadly no such luck- we must have missed it (although I think it was more likely not there!) after a quick discussion about what to next the mutual agreement was to put the coordinates of our aire into Colin our copilot and just get to Rothenburg, it looked like the highlight in our book, so we would sacrifice the romantic road in order to a)not get lost trying to refind it and b) not arrive too late and miss a space in the aire. 
We were soon arriving at Rothenburg, surprised to see how empty the aire was. After a quick cuppa we wandered into to town, and from the minute we passed under the first town archway we were smitten. The only real way I can describe the town is imagine you are walking on your own pantomime set. The arcitecture is wonderfully old, wooden, colourful and lopsided, the streets are cobbled (would have preferred to be pedestrians only but hey ho) the market place is grand, there are grape vines everywhere, colourful window boxes, wine shops, chocolate shops, cafes, bars etc. It was beautiful and we had the most glorious of afternoons exploring every nook and cranny. 

We picked up a town walk map from the tourist info and just followed our noses, stopping for a lunch on the market square- I had snitzel and Keith had bratwurst and saucrasen. Yummy. 

I tried the local “snowball”pastry, a local sweet treat which was nice, and we bought some local cured sausage for later in the van. 

We had a perfect day and at last the weather began to behave. 
Around 6pm we made our way back to Bluebell for a chill out, it’s tiring all this exploring. We had chilli con carne for tea and now thoughts are turning to tomorrow. Do we carry on south on the romantic road, taking the much slower prettier route, or do we hit the motorway and find some mountains and scenery- in our hearts we wonder if we will find another German town that will be as nice as this, and are we feeling towned out? An advantage to holidaying in a motorhome in Europe, we can decide on the day what we fancy and point the wheels in whichever direction our heart fancies..!

Until next time 

More pictures of the romantic road when we have a better wifi connection, until then you’re stuck with my iPhone pics! 

Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, Part 4; The Rhine Gorge, Germany 

Day 7- Tuesday 

Location: Koblenz DE. Free aire 2km out of main old town (cycle path down the Mosel River) no services GPS n50.365690, e7.573830

Miles Driven: Arnem – Koblenz 166 miles 

Weather: mainly wet

Bluebell the motorhome is in Germany! We are parked up almost on the River Mosel, with around 50 other vans, mainly Dutch and German, but a couple of British vans too, in a free aire on the outskirts of the city.

We had a surprisingly quiet nights sleep last night in Arnhem, I was convinced we would have boy racers making noise last night but thankfully all was quiet. We woke to heavy rain, and with the day’s forecast looking bleak we decided to have an early start, get all our services done at the nearby shell garage, do a quick food shop at nearby Lidl and and head to the outskirts of Arnhem to the Airbourne Museum, situated in the British headquarters building. I’m really glad we did, we discovered a more picturesque area, and it was good to see the building that the British used to command from. 

The museum was full of interesting relics from the war, specifically from the Arnhem battle and was well worth the €9 entry charge. We particularly enjoyed the Airbourne experience downstairs, which although was hard hitting, gave you an insight of what it would have been like during those 9 days where Arnhem became the frontline of the war.

In hindsight I think the ultimate “Arnhem experience” (in our opinion) would be to drive straight to the Airbourne museum on arrival to the area then on to the aire to park up, see the bridge and have a wander into the main town square. We wasted a lot of time yesterday. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?!

By 12:00 we were on the road and ready to advance in to Germany, hurrah! It was a 3 hour journey, again near enough all on motorways. We had a quick coffee break half way and rolled into Koblenz just before 4pm. The aire was packed already- we got one of the last spaces! We wasted no time as there seemed to be a break in the rain so Keith unloaded the bikes straight away and we set off on the short journey into the historic town centre. 

Koblenz is a lovely historical German town, with some beautiful old architecture. The Rhine joins the Mosel river here and there is an unusal river junction which we walked down to see. 

We really enjoyed having a wander around and soaking up the laid back atmosphere. We nipped for a drink on the main square, Keith trying a locally brewed lager which he enjoyed and I tried the local Reisling white wine. Both were delicious! 

By the time we got back to Bluebell it was nearly 8pm- time flies when you’re having fun! Tea tonight was a quick affair, Thai red prawn curry, a favourite of ours. Tomorrow the plan is to follow the Rhine river south for a few miles- I’m quite excited by this! We will see where we end up!

Day 8- Wednesday 

Location: Bacharach DE. Private aire next to campsite situated on the banks of The Rhine €9 pn + €2.50 with electric. Full services, free wifi GPS n50.056460, e.7.770400
Miles Driven:  Koblenz – Bacharach 35 miles 
Weather: mainly wet, dried up in late afternoon 
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up with a great view of the Rhine alongside around 40 other vans, no Brits.

 We are in Bacharach, a fabulous old German town, surrounded by vineyards sprawling up the steep river banks, fairytale castles dotted about on hillsides. 

It was a short wet drive today, but the weather didn’t detract how pretty this stretch of the Rhine is. We stopped at Oberwesel for our brunch stop and a walk around the medieval town walls. The weather was terrible but the market place was very picturesque, with wooden buildings and the most gorgeous vines growing above the streets with grapes hanging below. We have arrived in wine country! 

5 miles down the road and we pulled into our stop for the night at Bacharach. Again, a beautifully romantic old town, with buildings dating from the 16c.

 We soon found the Post Hoff, a magnificent wooden building with a courtyard to die for, that happened to be occupied by a local wine maker/butcher. We settled in, Keith with a litre of beer made by the owners cousin, and me with a local dry Reisling, again, very nice. We asked if he made his own sausage, oh yes, he said enthusiacally and the next thing we were tucking into his homemade Bratwurst, Mash and Saucraute. Amazing! 

The rest of the afternoon passed in a booze fuelled blur, we enjoyed beverage stops in several of the charming buildings before heading back for snitzel and chips for tea. Bacharach has certainly made a lasting impression jon us. 

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

Summer 2016 plans – Germany and Austria

We have spent this weekend researching our next big adventure – 4 weeks in Europe next Summer – we are already starting to feel excited about this, as we’ve been wanting to go to Germany for a few years. We’ve been busy saving up our Tesco Clubcard vouchers for a few months and decided today was as good as time as any to book our Eurotunnel crossing for next Summer.  We leave on Wed 27th July and return on Wednesday 24th Aug – 4 whole weeks!

The loose plan is Calais to Waterloo, Belgium to Arnhem, Netherlands so Keith can see his battlefields then onto Germany, where we hope to travel along The Romantic Road and maybe The Black Forest – I’m thinking gateaux galore! Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 12.15.12

^A loose idea of our general direction – it will be interesting to look at this nearer the time and then again once we return to see how our projected route changes!

Other sites in Germany that interest us are The Eagle’s Nest, Neuschwanstein Castle, and Bavaria. We also want to get as far as Austria – Salzburg and Halstatt are on the list!

Romantic Road

The Romantic Route ^

Now the real fun starts – re reading other peoples blogs that I have bookmarked over the past couple of years that this trip has been on the cards.

Anyone got any tips for Germany? Must see’s? Good Stellplatz? Any tips most appreciated!

Until next time