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 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

Go West for Summer 17- Part 1

WEDNESDAY
Ruby the Campervan is parked on Court Farm Campsite, Twigworth, Gloucester- a lovely landscaped C&CC Certified site with shower, hook up and loo- best of all it's only £15 pn.

We set off from Newark around 10:00 and had a smooth journey to Court Farm, apart from the weather which was just grim. Happily though as we rolled onto the campsite at 12:30 the rain dried up, leaving us to set up in the dry and even contemplate lunch OUTSIDE! Happy faces all round! Lunch was leftovers from a curry we'd had on Monday and whilst I prepared it, Keefy dismounted the bikes off the rack.

By 2pm we were on our bikes towards Gloucester. We picked this site due to its close proximity to the historical city of Gloucester- it's a very easy 20 minute cycle into the city centre, you basically turn right onto the main road (with pavement the whole way) and keep going straight. If you don't fancy cycling there's also bus stop right outside the gates.


First stop in Gloucester was the cathedral- which was gorgeous. We took it in turns to go inside for a look as we have Jazz with us- inside is just breathtaking. The main feature were the corridors with the most spectacular cloisters we've ever seen. They are also the oldest surfing cloisters – so no wonder the cathedral is used regularly for film and TV locations. You may even recognise these corridors as they were used as Hogwarts in Harry Potter.

Another highlight inside was being able to see Edward II's tomb.

Before leaving I'd noticed on the Gloucester city website that is an online self led historical walking tour so I led Keefy on it from the Cathedral. It took in lots of interesting historical sites and buildings, including a couple of watering holes too. Perfect for an afternoons exploring.

The absolute standout was the hidden gem that there is no way we would have seen without this tour; the 16th C medieval timbered 4 storey townhouse which was complete with tiny alley way. It's surrounded by McDonalds and KFC! And from the main the high street the only sign of it is the tiny top window sticking out. I think we may have been lucky that the gate was open to the alley so we were able to nip down, where you could see the actual side of the building complete with 16c timber. It was amazing – but sadly photos just won't do it justice.

Anyone visiting Gloucester – I would highly recommend following this tour! It's available here: and throughout the city there is free wifi so you can use that to follow the tour.

There is also a fun piggie trail on at the moment so we enjoyed spotting the pigs as we made our way around the city. My favourite was Harry Potter Pig!

We stopped for a drink at the historical Fountains Inn which had a pretty courtyard and is on the the oldest site of brewing in Gloucester.
We also popped into have a look at The New Inn, which had a fantastic galleried courtyard – one of the best, if not THE best in the country. Sadly the pub has been taken over by a chain and had sky sports blasting out so we decided not to have a drink here.

Just before retrieving our bikes, we popped to look at the Quayside which was lovely.

Sun was shining so we got the chairs out and enjoyed a drink outside before heading in for homemade spag Bol- a perfect day

THURSDAY

Thursday dawned sunny and excitement was anticipating, we were heading to Bristol to attend the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. I'd wanted to go to this for years, in fact we booked camping for a a couple of years ago and then our plans had to change. We waved goodbye to Court Farm and slipped onto the M5, after a quick National Trust stop at a medieval barn, which is still being used as a tithe barn. Amazing to think something built in the 15th Century is still being used for its original intention

An hour later and we arrived
at Cotham Park RFC, which had allowed campers to book a pitch on their field. We booked in May- you need to book early as it's a very popular event and location, the campsite is only 20 mins off road walk to the site of the Fiesta. It is up hill on the way back though!

After a delicious lunch of steak and Stilton wraps, we went down to the site of the fiesta for a look around. There were lots of stalls (mainly food or advertising stands)

We decided as there wasn't much entertainment on during the day on Thursday, that we would go back up to Ruby, make a picnic and head back down for the 6pm Mass Accent of special shapes. Picnic made, off we walked, this time with picnic and chairs. Unfortunately however the mass assent was cancelled due to the wind.
We sat for 3 hours waiting for the night glow, and felt pretty unimpressed the updates and also the lack of entertainment. This, along with a ridiculous queue for the loos, which ended in someone saying "join that queue over there, people are peeing in the bushes it's much quicker(?!)" meant that our moods were quite low by the time the night glow began at 9pm! Happily though, the nightglow was fantastic, it was where lots of balloons were tethered and lit up in a choreographied programme to music. Something I've never seen before, it really was great.
The fireworks that followed were equally good, so we hiked up the hill with thousands others afterwards feeling happy.

FRIDAY
Friday dawned quite a bit earlier than I am used to on holiday, my alarm sounded at 5am. Yes, you read that right! The reason was the mass assent scheduled to take place at 6am. Keith decided he was too tired and couldn't bear the thought of the walk down in case the balloons didn't go up- completely understood, and was almost tempted to not go myself, however I knew I'd be so grumpy if I missed it. So I left Keefy and Jazz in bed, and joined twenty or so others from our site in the walk down. You can imagine my relief when we got the green smoke, signalling weather conditions were good to fly. My relief turned into absolute joy and wonder as the first of the 104 balloons floated up, up and away. I've never seen such a beautiful graceful site- certainly not at that hour anyway lol!

I returned back to Ruby at 7:30 and fell back into a deep sleep. When we woke up, Keith couldn't believe it and was well miffed with himself! I explained as sweetly as I could without rubbing it in "you snooze, you loose!"

After an hour or so nap we got up- I was still happy about seeing all my balloons and Keith decided that he wanted to go down in the morning. We had a lazy morning before unloading the bikes and making the short 2 mile ride to Clifton Suspension Bridge. Brunel's design won awards and is now grade 1 listed. It's not hard to see why. It's beautiful! There are several viewpoints and a newish visitor centre which we visited (free). We also cycled over for free – but to drive over costs £1. I hadn't prepared myself for such a steep gauge that the bridge is built over- it's actually really steep!

We cycled back to Ruby for a late lunch/early dinner of chicken fajitas which were absolutely delicious, what a feast! then settled into Ruby for a duvet afternoon as the weather deteriorated and we dead all the balloon fiesta activities were cancelled.

Saturday arrived and we were up with the alarm again at 5am. Neither of us "do" mornings especially well so we had a pre agreed agreement to not talk to each other for half an hour or so! So it was a quiet and brisk walk down to the fiesta site. Neither of us would admit how worried we were the balloons may not go up. There was a mild breeze and I was desperately trying to remember how it
compared to yesterday's weather conditions to try and reassure Keith his early rise wasn't wasted! When we got the green smoke – to say the balloons would fly, it was a tremendous relief! They have a system similar to the Pope announcement smoke system to inform the public and the pilots whether they could fly. Talk about tension!

After almost 30 balloons took off, we heard an air raid siren- this was to inform pilots that having received feedback from pilots already in the air, the conditions were not great therefore no more could take off. It wasn't a huge surprise- visibility wasn't great the balloons were disappearing into clouds! Nevertheless we went back to Ruby happy- Keith had seen enough to feel like a mass assent.

We got back to Ruby and after a cuppa started to pack up. Today we were
leaving the fiesta and moving to a new site. We were driving up to the SS Great Britain first though, so were happy to have an early start.

We arrived at the car park of SS Great Britain just after 9am- a first for us on holiday that's for sure! We were surprised to read that overnight camping is allowed here- one for future reference that's for sure.

It didn't open til 10 so we treated ourselves to a pot of tea and toasted tea cake at the cafe next door before joining the queue for the ship.

Brunel s SS Great Britain was the first public ocean liner – and remarkably made the trip to New York in just 2 weeks. The visitor centre is excellent- you get to go beneath the water and see the base of the ship, and propellor in dry dock. The dock where it is now is where the ship was built, and we really enjoyed our tour on the ship, beneath the ship and around the museum.

Following our tour we drove the short distance to our next campsite, The Knights Folly camping and caravan club CS- where we received the warmest welcome we've ever had onsite! The owners were lovely and absolutely adored Ruby! The site was nicely laid out and had the cleanest loos and showers we've seen. It was a bargain at only £18pn.

The sun was shining so we set the sun loungers out, had a snooze then chilled off the remainder of the afternoon. For
dinner we had chicken stuffed with goats cheese, cooked in the slow cooker for 2 hours. It was amazing- definitely cooking that again.

We crashed out at 9pm, despite our afternoon nap our early morning caught up with us!

Sunday dawned a stunning day- and as we were right on the Avon cycle path – a disused railway path running from Bath to Bristol- in fact it was the first converted railway cycle path to be made, we decided to abandon plans to go back into Bristol and instead turn left and head the 7 miles to Bath. The cycle was absolutely gorgeous- we'd highly recommend it. It runs parallel to the Avon Valley railway for a small part (we were lucky to see a steam train depart Bitton station) then the path drops down alongside the river Avon into Bath. Gorgeous.

We've visited Bath before, but Keith asked whether I'd mind him revisiting the Roman Baths as we didn't last time we visited, we went to the spa instead (😀) and it was over 15 years since he'd been. No problem I said, deposit me in a beer garden with wifi and il Jazz sit and do my blog! 2 hours later he returned happy as Larry- apparently it was a great visit and had changed loads with projections etc since his last visit. My prize for not going was a roman rubber duck which was hilarious! Unfortunately WordPress was playing silly buggers so I'd had less success!

We nipped around the rest of the sights in Bath, stopping for the occasional refreshment stop, before returning back to Ruby for slow cooked ham. Yum

Monday
Today it was time to bid farewell to Bristol and Bath. We'd enjoyed our time here and loved all the Brunel sites in Bristol- I felt satisfied with the Balloon Fiesta- however to anyone thinking of coming for that, book camping early so you can have the while weekend here- we hadn't realised the chances of actually seeing the balloons go up were so slim because of weather conditions (I know, that's us being stupid!) You need the whole weekend as then it doesn't matter if it gets cancelled the first two days.. also book camping near to the fiesta site. Either Cotham Park RFC or Parsonage Farm (although you can't pre book that) All the motorhome clubs have rallies too but you need to ore book well in advance as it's very popular. Despite it being a free event you need to be staying local to avoid car parking charges as a) they are expensive and b) they'd sold out for Saturday and therefore people coming to Saturdays mass assent couldn't park unless they'd prebooked and it was a bit chaotic!

Would be go to the Balloon Fiesta again? Probably not- unless they announced more entertainment- particularly entertainment for when balloons can't go up! Without the balloons going up it was dull as dishwater (on Thursday) – perhaps Saturday is different. There was also a lack of balloon stalls- the stalls were literally just catering or their sponsors.

However – we (especially me!!) are thrilled to have seen the mass assent- it really was a fantastic site to see!

Until next time (from Wales)
Lx

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

Old Buckenham Air Show Review

For the last five years we've had to endure driving past signs for the Old Buckenham Airshow knowing we were unable to go because of other diary commitments or us taking our holidays too early. This year however our diary was full of local commitments so for the last 6 weeks or so we've been quietly looking forward to this event.

Old Buckenham airbase was built for the USAAF 453rd Bombardment Group during the war and was home to the legendary James Stewart for a time. It's just off the A11 in between Thetford and Norwich.

Showday soon came around and we'd spent all week planning what to take in our picnic hamper. Yes, that's right- Old Buckenham Air Show is one of the few events we've attended recently that still allows a good old fashioned picnic – despite the fact that there was a very enticing local food (and drink) village as part of the show at reasonable prices.

We bundled Jazz the pampered pooch into the van along with enough food to feed the five thousand, and set off nice and early to secure a good spot! As well as being family friendly (apparently the kids changing areas were very good this year) Dogs are also welcome and catered for with a great big Doggie Watering station.

Car parking was easy and free- all the local air cadets were doing a fabulous job guiding cars in and before we knew it we were setting our stall out in prime position (with lots of others I hasten to add- definitely worth arriving around 10am as gates open).

We left our picnic with our chairs and went for a wander around the show. First up for us was the large display of WW2 vehicles- Keith was in his element, he's a huge history buff and the vehicles were in great condition. He had to drag me past the queue for tank rides! It looked so much fun so maybe next time for that!

There was also a large collection of classic cars to look at including a couple of beautiful split screen VWs 😍. May favourite was the one painted in the colour of my favourite wine 🍷.

Further round the site was a small funfair for the kiddies, a collection of stalls selling camping bits, aviation and wartime souvenirs.

After an hour or so of mooching I couldn't wait any longer to get picnicking- this was timed well as the commentators announced the bar opened at 12:00. Keith went to get some beer whilst I set our food out. He really enjoyed all four of the local ales on offer but his favourite was the Shark.


After a lovely leisurely lunch it was almost time for the main feature and boy what an exciting program it was!

First up was some airplane aerobics and some impressive loop de loops!
This was followed by local pilots The Wildcats doing some amazing synchronised formation work.
A favourite act was next- O'Brien's Flying Circus- where Brendan attempted successfully to land his plane on a moving landing area being towed at 60mph by a car! Which was gripping! He managed a touch down despite fairly strong winds

Next up was our show highlight- star of the film "Memphis Belle" – the last flying B17 in Europe, SallyB. Absolutely sensational seeing her in the air. And when she put her smoke on for her final salute and they played We'll meet again through the speakers- well, Keith and I were blubbing like babies!

How do you follow this?! Well, with the P51 Mustang "the Shark" of course. Listen to the sound of the wind rushing through the gun placements. AMAZING

The Hurricane that was scheduled to fly was sadly unable to fly due to technical problems so instead the Messerschmitt took to the skies.

Next up and another treat- the Spitfire- this particular one is used in all the films. Again- just listen to that sound.👇isn't it fabulous.

After such an indulgence of history and beauty it was onto the lighter fun acts, including Otto the helicopter from O'Brien's flying circus doing all sorts of crazy things that you wouldn't normally see helicopters do!
There were a couple more local pilots doing light aircraft manoeuvres before the finale – a real plane shadowed by a remote controlled 41% sized model aircraft- doing a simultaneous routine. Fantastic. The flying went on for over 1.5hours and was fantastic. We absolutely LOVED the whole show (as you can probably gather by this post!)

Tickets cost £18 (advance online rate) or £20 on the door for Sunday. Saturday is a reduced rate but there were less acts flying. Would highly recommend this for next year.

Campsites close by include Old Buckenham Country Park. Or you can pre book camping at the airfield.

Keep an eye on twitter @OldBuckAirshow for details of next years show and if you want to see more pics of the day search #oldbuckairshow

All pics above were taken on my Sony Cybershop Superzoom //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=advinamot-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B00IFEWK56&asins=B00IFEWK56&linkId=e233801f00ef97f4ad64e2f77d62eab1&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff.

Until next time
Lx

A cheeky night away in Constable’s Country, Suffolk May 13th 2017

Ruby the campervan is parked up alongside 4 caravans on a very pleasant Camping and Caravan Certifed site, The Briar,  just south of Ipswich. The main draw for us to visit this area, is Alton Water, a man made reservoir complete with cycle path around the circumference. 


The Briar is a lovely grassy CL situated in the small village of Bentley, and offers EHU, a loo and emptying and filling points. It’s very relaxed and at only £15 for the night, and less than an hour’s drive for us it’s perfect location for a one nighter. The owners are lovely and made a point of coming to say hello once we were set up. They’d kindly let us arrive before lunch to enable us to enjoy an afternoon of cycling. They were fascinated with Ruby and were keen to have a nosey, as they are thinking about getting their own Ruby in the near future. 


We enjoyed a quick cheese and ham toastie before we unloaded the bikes and hit the road, less than 3 miles to Alton Water. The weather was cloudy, but not raining, and there were lots of families out and about around and on the water which was lovely to see. The track around Alton water was kept well and our bikes coped well – I was so impressed, despite some steep bits we managed to cycle non stop with no getting off and pushing! We stopped every now and again to find some geocaches and take some pictures, and didn’t rush, the circuit took about 2 hours to complete. There was a lovely wildflower meadow that we passed- It was lovely. 





We cycled back to the campsite, via the local strawberry seller (check out the size of those 🍓 and promptly had a longish nap! I love Ruby naps! Good for the soul! 

We’d decided we were going to be brave and risk an outdoor BBQ for dinner, despite the weather forecast being a bit so so, you can imagine our delight when just as Keefy sparked up, the weather gods took care of the lingering dull skies and the sunshine and warmth we’ve missed recently came out to say hello! It was glorious, we even took our jumpers off and had short sleeves! 


Keefy cooked a blinder of a feast for us; local burgers, pork and apple sausages and chicken, cooked to perfection on our new gas BBQ that we were gifted from May and Bernard, whilst I served couscous, coleslaw and jacket potatoes, which were an experiment done in the slow cooker, but they were fantastic! It really was a lovely evening, and as the sun went down we decided to have a walk to the local for a couple of pints which was really nice. 

Sunday dawned wet unfortunately, so we made the most of a lie in, partly as someone, ahem, had a little bit of a headache. A bottle of red wine followed by two pints of aspall will do that Lydia, when will I learn! By the time I was ready to surface the rain had gone, and so we cracked the bacon and eggs out and I was soon feeling 100% again. We also tried some toast (done in the toastie maker, worked well!) topped with John, the campsite owners Saville Marmalade, which was delicious.


 He caught us mid marmalade sampling as he came to check we’d had a nice evening and was thrilled we were enjoying the marmalade. He also wanted to tell us that having been in Ruby yesterday, his wife had dragged him to Marquis to view two yesterday afternoon!! We had another nice chat before packing up and waving goodbye. The sun had decided to reappear so we pointed Ruby’s wheels in the direction of National Trust Flatford Mill, 3 miles away. Flatford Mill is well known as being the view behind the painter John Constable’s paintings. 


It was a picture perfect day, so we enjoyed a 5 mile circular walk from Flatford through the Depdale Valley.   I can’t think of anywhere that is more English- with green meadows, a perfect river running through, rowing boats, ducks and ducklings, a tea shop, and 16th century buildings to peruse. 


We enjoyed a lovely cream tea overlooking the bridge and then a local ice cream before heading home feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week ahead.
What a lovely bit of escapism- and now it’s less than two weeks til our next trip- one of our favourites, Scotland. 

Until next time 

Lx 

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

Day 26- Saturday

Location – Trier Campsite, €25 pn with electric

Miles driven – 300

Weather- showery but sunny and warm in late afternoon

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

 Until Next time

Lx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Day 21 – Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 22– Tuesday

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

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

last night in Austria- Lake Ebensee

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

Miles Driven- 350 miles

Weather- dry with sunny spells

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

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

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

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

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

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

our pitch in The Black Forest- camping Bakenhof

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

Day 24– Thursday

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

Day 25- Friday

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

Weather– dry with sunny spells ☀️

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Until next time

Lx

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

Camera pics to follow!!

Summer 2016: Adventures in Europe, Part 6; Bavaria 

Day 11- Saturday

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

Day 12- Sunday 

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

Miles Driven: a big fat ZERO!

Weather: Sunny and hot ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

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


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

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


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


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





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

Day 13– Monday 

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

Weather: Sunny and hot ☀️☀️☀️☀️

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

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


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


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

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



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


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

Day 14-Tuesday 

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

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

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

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


Lx