The answer to the Germany question has to be the facilities and the infrastructure. The road network is extensive and navigating is straight forward. If you're wondering where to stay many communities provide a Stellplatz to park the motorhome. In order to find them we use the Bord Atlas. A very comprehensive guide book. It's in German but we manage to translate the key words and have found it extremely useful. The link below takes you to the Amazon website where the latest edition may be purchased.
We stopped at a Stellplatz this week at a place called Gangelt. The small town didn't offer much but the park adjoining the Stellplatz was fab. Extensive cycle and walking paths and a nature park. I was transported straight back to one of my childhood favourites here on the border with the Netherlands and not on our border with Scotland, which is where I saw them last. Yes, a herd of Highland Cattle
And now for the Spain question. We have just heard from friends that the motorhome parking at Platja D'Aro on the Costa Brava has been closed down. One of our favourites. Why? I have come across an article stating the intent of the Spanish Authorities to provide more appropriate facilities for the motorhoming community. It was published in 2006 but in the current recession I would have thought it would be in the best interest of councils to encourage as many visitors as possible.
While we were staying in Platja in March our friends Peter and Chris who live just down the road in L'Estartit told us of attempted armed robberies in their community. An invasion of police were trying to track down the perpetrators. Armed robberies-whatever next? Ironic news after our crime free visit to Mexico. Maybe as a result the police are struggling with manpower issues, or has there been a misdemeanour from a motorhome user? If you know the answer please contact me as we're mystified and disappointed to lose a really great spot to stay in a superb location. The local economy must be suffering as we all used the town and of course, in our case, the dentist.
Poor Mike has had toothache again, the same tooth he had filled twice in Spain back in October last year. He hadn't complained about it but after a day wandering around San Miguel De Allende and after visiting lots of churches he finally gave in and admitted to having toothache. He had hoped to hang on until we got back to the UK but the gum looked swollen and felt 'spongy' when he prodded it with his tongue. As we had another day in San Miguel we decided if he needed anything doing it would be better to get it sorted that afternoon to give him an extra rest day on day two rather than having to sit on the coach to Mexico City feeling rough. The concierge at the hotel was incredibly kind and helpful and managed to locate an English speaking dentist. The hotel overall had been a bit of a Fawlty Towers experience so I was very relieved when she got the dentist herself on the phone who agreed to see Mike that evening. Mike ended up having his molar extracted because it was beyond saving. This is really sad because the roots were healthy, the tooth itself in an advanced state of decay because a dentist somewhere had left a dressing in!
So, how was San Miguel De Allende? Different again to our other Mexican stop overs. The buildings were painted in lovely terracotta and yellow hues and the houses looked very Spanish. The town has been settled by many expats from Canada and the USA and is known for its artists and jewellery. Our hotel was an eclectic experience but that was not a problem.
Photographs around the town here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page when you get there.
The last stage of our Mexico trip has now begun. We arrived in Mexico City a couple of hours ago, our arrival delayed by roadworks. So far all looks good and it's Friday night, so we're out to hit the town.
It's boiling hot here!
I've just seen the 'Beast from the East' headline for the UK weather forecast on Sky News and we're feeling smug with our decision to have a winter off, away from the motor home. We struggled enough with the cold last year in Greece and Turkey, so the Floridian climate is providing us with a winter duvet.
As we had time on our side we took a transatlantic cruise to America. 13 nights from Barcelona with stops in Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and Tenerife. The first crossing for the brand new 5 1/2 star Celebrity Reflection. It is a beautiful ship, loaded with all the latest technology. The food, however was deemed a bit too 'Arty farty' by my picky husband. That wasn't their fault, hearty stews with loads of sauce would never have been high on the agenda for the chefs, passengers or crew. As you can imagine Mike wasn't left to starve as there was always plenty of choice. Diners were well behaved around the buffet and we didn't see the stereotypical 'plate piled high syndrome' featured on fly on the wall documentaries. I marvelled at a woman who was asked to walk to the other side of the counter for the patisserie selection because the server was trying to clean the area. A distance of under 60 feet must have pushed up her stress levels beyond tolerable as she actually stamped her foot and said she couldn't walk that far!
Security were called one day over an incident involving Germans and sunbeds so I guess we could have been next to any pool in the world based on that holiday observation. Fortunately no-one noticed the day I found Mike lying on his sunbed, showing off his natty 'Y' fronts when he thought he'd already changed into his Speedos. Very few men can get away with wearing Speedos, but even fewer can show off their shreddies for the benefit of cruise companions. The excitement could have been too much and security may have been forced to throw him overboard.
The itinerary promised 6 days at sea to cross the Atlantic Ocean but this was increased to 9 and the stop in Tenerife was cancelled because there was some problem with one of the engines, preventing the ship from reaching full speed. I must confess that I worried about this. The anniversary year of the sinking of the Titanic and we were making the crossing, away from icebergs but were we risking our lives? Would the headlines wonder what we were thinking? Was the crossing being made in view of commercial pressures and passenger safety on the back burner? Well, of course not. They'd fixed the engine before we left the Mediterranean and the rumours were building up amongst us passengers.
So what do you do with 9 days at sea? Not a lot. Read, sleep, eat, watch TV, sunbathe, go to the theatre, work out in the gym, people watch and make up gossip to scare other passengers. It was relaxing but a tad too long without stepping on dry land.
The chair is tipped back to horizontal, the right side of my face wedged against La Dentista´s left bosom. The Blue Danube is being played on their sound system and I open my eyes to see 3 bespectacled females, each wearing a surgical mask, faces upside down concentrating intently on me. I´m being a good patient, no Melodramatica this week. I´m actually trying not to laugh. The music is a ridiculous choice, a Strauss Waltz for the dentist chair? Not so amusing is the hand held flame thrower being used to heat metal spikes before they are inserted into the root of my molar. I´m on an ocean of discovery as I hadn´t had the procedure explained and therefore had no idea what I had consented to. The smell of the smoke emanating from my mouth is very strange. Two hours of prodding, poking and scratching in my tooth was more than enough. If I ever contemplate root canal work in the future, please remind me of this. I´m not going to get sentimental about a molar again.
Thanks to Peter Cowling for the cartoon.
I´m back for my final visit next week to have a crown fitted. Poor Mike lost a filling last night. Isn´t this unbelievable? They´ll have to issue a loyalty card next.
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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