I have learnt over the years that the whole of France goes on holiday during the last 2 weeks of August. Not wishing to get caught up in all the traffic was partly the reason for staying in Germany-but why leave? The weather has been gorgeous and we've found some very lovely locations to hang out as well. The past few days at the Kirnbergsee. A peaceful and very relaxing environment in which to find ourselves. It is on the southern edge of the Black Forest.. It hasn't all been peace and light. There has been some heavy rain which resulted in the roof blind above our bed leaking. We learnt of this when we woke up in a soaking wet bed. Mike has clambered up on the roof and resealed it with some kind of silicone type stuff and it seems to have worked a treat. Poor Mike is in the news again this week as he got stung on the leg by two wasps. His leg has swollen up and soon he will have an elephant's ankle. I think it is a little bit better this morning but it does look really sore.
I do suffer a recurrent guilt trip at not having to work at my age.
'How lucky am I?' is a question I often repeat to myself, and I'm also asked what I do all day by folks who work. This guilt has been assuaged by the discovery of the book, 'How to be Idle', by Tom Hodgkinson. A marvellous read, it's funny, irreverent and provides evidence that we weren't all born to work for other people. I have to share with you the quote of a quote from the book which sums up our style of travel and life very well.
'All day long, no plans,
And I remain at leisure'
Wang Wei (698-759) in reply to Chang Tin.
So we continue to go with the flow, while the weather is fine. We see no need to head for sunnier climes when we have one here. So, business as usual with walking, cycling tours and free swimming. The activity should all go some way to counteract the super-size me mode I embraced while helping Lizzie empty her freezer for their house move. When we arrived here an elderly German lady gave us a jar of home-made blackcurrant jelly, welcomed us to Germany and wished us a happy holiday.
Mike bought toilet paper the other day, 'Happy End' was the brand, in large and bold print on the packaging.
On that note here endeth this blog entry.
While we were staying with Lee and Lizzie in Monchengladbach, I had my first sighting of a daddy long legs this year. For me, this is the first sure fire sign of autumn and was enough for a weather cooldown panic to set into my head. The evenings had become noticeably chillier and so after saying our farewells we shot straight down south to the Black Forest. We spent a few weeks in this area last summer, based on a single line of advice from a local,
'Freiburg is the sunniest place in Germany.'
This advice had played well last June and the forecast looked good, the Autobahn was clear and so we just drove here in a day and so far so good.
If you were with us on the Blog last year, you may remember one of my first posts, 'I've lost my best bucket'. This occurred just up the road in Oppenau. A lovely free Stellplatz, a great location with challenging walks, an excellent Italian restaurant and a water supply from a freshwater spring. Expecting it to be heaving at this time of year we were surprised to find just 3 other motorhomes parked, and no German registered vans. As we know, places never stay the same and an idyllic repeat of last year was not to be, as we only stayed one night. Chiefly, because we felt rather cheated by the €5 parking charge that has come in since last summer. I do appreciate that isn't a lot of money but all we were getting was a car park and when the Italian restaurant served us pizzas on a pre cooked base the fate of Oppenau was sealed and we backtracked the 11km back to Oberkirch. €32 for the week here, lots of German motorhomes and access to the fabulous Black Forest guest card. Just providing proof that we paid to stay with the parking ticket from the Stellplatz and we are entitled to use of the public transport network throughout the whole Black Forest region for the duration of our stay– completely free. There are other special offers around the town including free use of the local open air swimming pool thrown in for good measure.
On Monday we travelled to Freiburg by train. The journey took about an hour, and we changed once. Clean, quiet, and absolutely running to time. The larger, regional train consisted of a double-decker, upper deck for seated passengers and downstairs for standing with bicycles. Freiburg provided a pleasant wander , complete with an old Minster undergoing renovation, a traditional market in the main square. The restored cobblestones were lethally slippery after a passing shower, there were tram lines to negotiate and an open channel with water running along each one. Loss of concentration or disorientation could result in serious injury and as a University town, surely the students must regularly take a tumble whilst under the influence?
The market stalls closest to the Cathedral provided a 'Wurst Walk' with stalls cooking row upon row of sizzling German sausage. The greasy smell that infused my nostrils did nothing for my appetite. There were plenty of takers for one of these phallic lunches, each sausage in excess of a foot long, the central third encased in a bun, served with lashings of mustard. During a heavy shower we dived into the 'Uni Kebab' The kebab may not seem like typical German fare, but as the Turkish people provided a substantial proportion of the workforce required to rebuild postwar Germany, there is a sizeable Turkish population and the result is plenty of kebab shops. This one must be the most genuine article this side of the Black Sea. The chef took a fresh ball of dough, rolled it into a flatbread, cooked fresh on a flat circular hotplate for each of our wraps. They provided the most pleasurable chewy consistency, The filling was equally fresh and delicious, REAL meat rotated on the skewer, not that awful pre-formed doner meat. The place was packed full with Turkish people. And so, the highlight of my visit to the historic city of Freiburg was provided by the kebab.
The last time I posted we were at Emmerich am Rhein, at the Marina. 3 very hot nights there, relaxing back into Germany and then we moved 5 miles up the road to Hoch Elten. We know a free Stellplatz there and fortunately there was plenty room for us..
One night staying at Hoch Elten and we made a return visit to a really lovely Italian restaurant in the town- Pizzeria Sugo. I ordered a 250ml carafe of wine, when a 500ml was delivered-it looked huge, manners dictated that I send it back. What lone drinker could possibly manage 500ml on her own? So I sent it back. Beforew that the replacemet 250ml didn't touch the sides, a refill was ordered straight away. Who'd have thought 250ml would look so tiny and disappear so quickly?????
Next day, we headed south to meet up with Jon and Linda. Our great motorhoming friends based in Norfolk. Except, obviously, they're in Germany at the moment. The baking hot weather had broken, with more seasonal highs in the late 60's and 70's. We met them at a very quiet stellplatz in Aldekerken. 3 nights partying, cycling and a matinee movie thrown in when the wet weather really closed in.
After 3 nights we said our farewells to Jon and Linda and headed further South to see Mike's son Lee and his family. Based for the next few hours at Monchengladbach in Germany. With only 14 families left on the entire base it's something of a ghost town. To think it used to be the Joint Headquarters for the entire armed forces in Germany. Times change and time to move on. They leave on Wednesday and so will we. Where to? Who knows? Watch this space.
I was asked last week how we kept cool in the van without air conditioning. My answer was to take advantage of the breeze, with windows and doors open. The Germans and Dutch parked here with us keep their blinds down all day, to block out the sunlight-but that wouldn't suit us-too gloomy. The awning has been deployed and we are taking advantage of the shade. My Mum always says that air conditioning makes people bad tempered in the heat because they can't acclimatise. Perhaps we ought to have an on line poll. We're not bad tempered-Mike has done a wash load and I am pottering- with a smattering of expired thunderbugs embedded in the sun lotion applied several hours ago. Looking forward to the cool shower tonight-another measure to help combat the heat. A cockerel woke us up early from his perch in the small petting zoo type area on the stellplatz.
Germany is covered by a very extensive cycle network and this region takes particular pride in theirs. From our waterside location we can cycle into town where there is a lovely promenade front facing the Rhine. The bars have great views of the river and the assorted boats, barges loaded with all different types of cargo. We saw all this a bit sooner than we anticipated yesterday when the Garmin took us through the pedestrianised town centre. Another reminder for us that around towns we're better off using our eyes and our common sense, rather than a Sat Nav.
I love travel, any type. There is always a buzz in finding & exploring a place for the first time, meeting and making new friends and if you return things are never quite the same.
Going away? Travel essentials from across Amazon
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