1151-1156: Bounding Through Bavaria

1151 – Into Bavaria

Wednesday 1st May 2019

Services and off to Bavaria.  Nice quiet overnighter in the Veldsteiner Forest … I took CO2 for a signed circular walk with some interesting rock formations.  Pitch black at night with great star gazing.

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The motorbike belonged to a chap who sat in the picnic hut and drank 2 litres of coke.

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1152-1153 – Going Large in Augsberg

Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd May

Being the third largest city in Bavaria, Augsberg is, and feels like, a large city.  After the timber buildings and cute villages of the Harz, the buildings here are large and imposing.  Again a riverside walk with CO2 on arrival.  On Friday morning we finally ran between shower and then had a quiet morning in the van whilst the rain continued to descend.  Eventually, it eased and we wandered into town.  A chilly and indifferent Kaffee and Kuchen sitting on a pavement and we made it back to Jez just as the rain came down again.  Services and off to Landsberg am Lech.

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Augsberg.

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The Fuggeri – Europes earliest social housing development from 1516.  Now it is mostly retired people. but they only pay EUR1 per annum in rent, but they have to attend prayers 3 times daily.  And a fine if they are late home after the gate shuts!

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Grafitti in the underpass  Matala a hippy comnunity where we spent about 6 nights in Crete abut a year ago.  And where we left off of our Greek Odyssey to return to the UK for J’s medical treatment, so where we will re-start our exploration of Crete this Autumn.

1154 – Legging it Around Landsberg am Lech & Monastery Beer

Saturday 4th May

Kerstin arrived about 9.00 … we had just managed to get up in time!!!  Kaffee and Kuchen (what again?!) and a wander around the town. Then out through countryside and back passing some lakes, captive (wild) boar and piglets, deer and lakes.  Again more countryside infrastructure to encourage people into the Big Outdoors.   Before setting off, Kerstin and I had a damp wander around the new car festival in the car park and someone (not me) had a second cake of the day!  Pretty much all brands were represented and we had a go at choosing Kerstin’s new car.  Her 17 yr old Vector is due its MOT this month (hardly run in at 200,000+ km) and her normal mechanic is refusing to ‘get’ it through another MOT.

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Landsberg am Lech

Our overnight was not far away but very different.  A monastery Stellplatz.  A massive complex, with an independent brewery.  Kerstin investigated and came back with good news … the Bier Stube is open, and we can take our own food up there, so long as we buy drinks.  Time was little pressed, as the bar shut at 8.00 when the monks go off for prayers, but we had till 9.00 to drink up.  A beef one pot went into the pressure cooker and whilst it pressurised, I beat Kerstin at Cribb.  One for his Knob!

When we arrived, there were few free tables, but soon after 8.00, it pretty much emptied out … a surprise as there was plenty of drinking time left!  K and I were rather keen on the Dunkel.

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The chaps at the next table could work Kerstin’s phone camera, but struggled with a pukka camera!  Spot the pressure cooker!  These were the SMALL beers!

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As a regular, you can rent a place to keep your beer stein. 

1155 – Monastery to Starnberg Lakeside

Sunday 5th May

K and I walked CO2 around part of the extensive monastery farm land and past some of the Stages of the Cross.  We got a good view back at the huge Monastery complex and the sizeable brewery.  After some persistent questioning, Kerstin discovered that there are only 5 monks left here. All this commercialism (the restaurant and bars, including the outside terrace seat over 3,500 people and there are function rooms, the shops, farm) for just 5 monks!!  It keeps the premises in good order though.

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Weather  no change!

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Just part of the monastery complex.  A massive car park for all the visitors.  The Stellplatz was EUR14 per night without electricity, but the car park was free.

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The church was, as you would expect, immaculate and ornate.  The money generated has to be spent somewhere!

Another short drive to Starnberg Lake and our stop for two nights.  Kerstin had been concerned that her car would start after the flurries of snow and hail, but it got here.  She and I then drove it to Starnberg town for a wander and an ice cream.  A place that will definitely not be on our “must go back to’ list … in the cold weather it holds no lure.  Perhaps in the summer with all the water sports it may have a different feel.  

We ate what was left of a sausage casserole after we had to wash the sausages and re-cook it.  It had been nicely stewing in the slow cooker all day. Our hab door is knackered and needs banging shut … when doing so, the slow cooker slid off the shelf and …  we managed to get most of it up with Kerstin contorting her body to get all the finely chopped onion and celery pieces up from inside the handbrake casing and from under the driver’s chair!  Kerstin then left us to go to the comfort of her Munchen hotel room to get a good night’s sleep and shower for her lecture on Monday afternoon.  Perhaps she just didn’t want to wake up to the smell of onion and white wine sauce!

 

1156 – Cruising around Starnberg Lake

 Monday 6th May

On damp dismal days, we tend to have admin sessions or go for a long lunch.  Today, we walked the 1 km to pick up the Grosse Rundfahrt around the Starnberg Lake.  Coffee and cake on arrival, two glasses of wine and then a local dish … meat loaf (think frankfurter sausage texture) and potato salad to soak up the wine!  So although the lunch wasn’t a great culinary experience, the scenery varied a bit.  And it was very relaxing 4 hours.

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A comfortable modern boat.

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Typical village along the shore.

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You can just make out the snow atop them there hills in the South.


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Any guesses what this is?  

Kerstin explained that poor people were going through the rubbish bins to find bottles and cans that have a deposit on them.  People can now put their bottles in here for ease.  Sometimes they are on waste bins.


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1148-1148: Hitching and Witching

1148 – Wet in Weringerode

Sunday 18th April 2019

We had the option of two parkings in Weringerode, the first looked OK, but we drove onto look at the second … glad we did.  It was gated with services.  Only EUR5 and when I paid the tourist tax and asked how long we could stay, was told as long as we liked … just the one entry fee.  He did look a little concerned when my eyes lit up, that we may move in permanently.  Having paid our Tourist Tax, we were now entitled to free bus travel and discounts off some attractions.  We had been wondering about being able to park in a few days time at Shierke as the village is small and the parking limited.  The TIC chappie also gave me a sheet with the FREE shuttle bus times to the Shierke Walpurgis Nacht festival.  Result … we’d stay put for 3 nights.  Just as well we got there when we did as, 2 days later, we counted over 20 vans in the overflow (and pay at the metre every day) car park outside our barrier.

With the wet stuff coming starting to come down, we poured wet stuff down our necks.  When the waiter offered us a selection of wines, we raised our arms in defeat … we knew some names but not the flavours.  A chatty chap next to us told the waiter to bring a Dornfelder and promised to drink it for us if we didn’t like it!  Liked it so much, we had two!  And we’ve been experimenting with the same grape at different prices from the supermarket since.

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Weringerode is a really pretty town.  It has over 1000 half timbered houses, a steam train and castle.  Oh and this rather special town hall.

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This is as close as we got to the train and up the Brocken mountain.  We would have gone up  until we discovered that, not only EUR45 per person, but 60% of that for each dog.  In the words of my daughter  Not happening, Mummy.

1149 – Hitching

Monday 29th April

Wet, wet wet.  And cold.  And having said I needed an admin day, this should have been my opportunity!  However, the rot had set in with the wine in Weringerode square … it turned into a late night.  Don’t think I was up until abut 11.00!  And not a lot got done.

We left the dogs about 6.00 p.m. (fortuitous) and caught the free bus to Schierke.  It was the first night of the festival and there were Celtic music bands playing.  Had a glass, something to eat and enjoyed the music.  Got back to the bus stop …

OOPS No.1: The busses stopped at 19.30.  Shuttle bus then … 

OOPS No.2: The shuttle only ran on the main festival night – tomorrow!  Taxi then … I counted our cash …

OOPS No.3: Asked in a restaurant … no, taxis from here!

All my fault and J uttered not one word of blame … her really is one tolerant man.  So here we are stranded in a small village, 19km from the motorhome and our two dogs!!!   If it hadn’t been for the dogs, we’d have just checked into one of the small hotels, assuming they had space.  Toothbrush-less.  Nothing for it, but to walk.  I was seriously concerned about J, as the treatment has really affected his fitness levels, but he is a game one!  The quickest route was several KM through the dark woods but witches are about, so we elected the road and tried hitching.  The first 5 cars passed, obviously deciding we looked very dodgy!  But the 6th, a solo lady, took pity on us.  And despite her near vapour fuel tank, drove us well past her turning and to near our motorhome.  So lucky.  And such a lovely lady.  Sure we’d not have got a lift if we’d had the dogs … it would have had to be a hotel costing us more than our daily budget!  This is the first time either of us has hitched in over 30 years … Maddy is so concerned that we are regressing to our teens and totally irresponsible!

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All the stalls were done in Medieval style.  Addition of a warm coat over her costume to keep warm.  Warm wine seemed in order  you chose your fruit and she warmed it in the kettle!  Neither of us liked mine … too fruity!

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Brilliant German Irish folk rock band.  We recognised most of the songs.  Shame more people hadn’t turned out, but it was soooo cold.

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Pea soup  warming.   As well as 2 thermal vests and leggings.

1150 – Witching

Tuesday 30th April

We followed the walking trail around the town in the morning and dined out in a fast food style cafe for well under EUR20 for two full main meals and soft drinks.  

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Weringeroode locals!  Getting into the mood for Walpurgis Nacht.

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We caught the shuttle train to the castle at the top of the hill, where our walk started.

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Along the old town wall  they were smaller then.

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Half a tower … exposed at the back.


A nanny nap for both us us and off we set again for Schierke and the festival … with CO2 this time.  J had double checked the shuttle bus timetable!!!  As we arrived people were lining the road … not for us, but the parade.  Bonus, hadn’t known about that.  All the local clubs from local distillery to Ice Hockey (a lot of beer on their float!) paraded past.  Then a cracking band and some wine.  We all got home safely on the shuttle bus :).

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The costumes were generally amazing … a film set.

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A coven of witches dancing next to us  they must have been some of the Line Dancers Group!


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Almost worth getting a cat to be able to carry / wear one of these!



1145-1147: Birthdays in Bad Harzburg

1145: Rammelsberger Bergbau Mine

Thursday 25th April – Saturday 27th April 2019

Happy Birthday Munchin and James!!

We ran where I’d walked the dogs yesterday, alongside one of the reservoirs.  Packed up and sauntered all of about 10 miles to Bad Harzburg.  The Stellplaz was one end of town, but right next to the TIC and the cable car.  The EUR10 nightly fee included the Tourist Tax.  We stayed 3 nights.

The high street is best part of 2 km long and lined with restaurants, cafes and clothes shops.  We managed a couple of drinks and ice creams, every time we walked it!  A special lunch was had on 26th as it was J’s birthday.  The TIC had recommended a couple of restaurants (not high on the TripAdvisor listing, of course) and the one we picked was super.  It allowed CO2 to join us and everything was really freshly cooked with quality ingredients.  With it being asparagus season, we shared a creamy asparagus soup and J had asparagus with his tender Schnitzel.  I went for the pan fried fish platter …. a bottle of good red and dessert.  The whole bill was EUR100 incl tip, which we didn’t think too bad for the quality.  

We caught the cable car up to the castle where fortified ourselves with coffee and cake (on a different day to lunch out, of course), before the downhill walk to the tree canopy walk.   We took turns on this as no dogs allowed.  

I got naked in public!  Yes really!  Strange as it may seem, it was less embarrassing to get stark naked than to keep my cosie on.  Whilst J napped, I went to the Spa.  Two prices, one included the 8 sauna complex, which I selected.  I should have picked up on the ticket sellers, slight tone of surprise when an obvious foreigner asked for the sauna ticket.  I swam and wallowed in the pools.  Did a hilarious aqua aerobic class, where the instructor got us splashing as much as we could, and was massaged by water jets.  Just lovely … time for sauna now.  In I wandered …. oops … I was the ONLY body in a cosie … so off it came!  Not sure I could repeat this if I was with anyone I know.  Interesting to note that there were a LOT of older men, but only younger women.  But I did feel really relaxed and clean after my 4 hours.

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Oker Resevoirs where we ran.

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We stopped a a small waterfall along the route.

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Birthday lunch.  And in a shirt!

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Birthday jumper.

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Birthday Dartington Crystal tumblers.  No slumming it in Jez!

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CO2 wedged amongst legs in the cable car.

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 You can just see the Stellplatz.

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Coffee and cake stop: I liked the blossom sun canopy and the phrase on the porch  Its good here.

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View of the Harz from the hill.

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A musical talent!  A big big for the motorhome  think hell stick to the guitar.

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The tree canopy walk.  Again another example of how the Big Outdoor Playground that is Germany encourages all age groups to get out and into the countryside.

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An 8 km contraflow.  At 6km, to go was a :(, at 4km was a :- and then at only 2 km was the 🙂

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1143-1144: Mining in Goslar

1143: Gander at Goslar

Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Once all the laundry was suspended wherever it could be (trouser hangers are VERY useful), we set off for the permitted parking in Goslar.  We parked opposite a Czech chap and his elderly father, who were in a tiny ancient caravan.  Seriously, it was stuck together with gaffer tape and cellotape.  No way could it have been towed any where.  Talking the the younger, both of us in school German, he told me he worked here and that the young dog came from Czech, but her papers were German!

The day ended with a short walk around the pleasant town, with market square.  Much more charming than Hahnenklee and much larger, and ice cream and supper in Jez.

 

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Goslar.

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1144: Rammelsberger Bergbau Mine

Wednesday 24th April

Short drive to the Rammelsberger Bergbau Mine and Museum.  I’d emailed and pre-booked an English speaking tour.  When we arrived, there were actually 3 tours we could have done, but the one we’d been booked onto was fortunately the most interesting.  We got to follow the water course into the bowels of the mine inside the mountain. Herr Rammels, a mine manager 200 years ago, had engineered 4 giant water wheels to be built into caverns inside the mountain.  Each using the water from the previous.  Two were reverse wheels … by changing the gate from a header tank, they could lower and pull opposing baskets up and down the shaft  The other two ran the water pumping to keep the mine from flooding.  Three wheels had been replaced more recently, but we could still see the original long beams running down tunnels and walked along water courses.  It really was an excellent tour.  

Lunch in the cafe and then J retuned to walk CO2 and nap, whilst I spent another 2 hrs + wandering museums in the processing plants.  Everything from the geology of how the metal ores got to be there, to processing, machinery and local history.  The ore deposited been extremely concentrated but was exhausted by 1988 when the mine closed.  EUR16 each for the one tour and museums but really good value.  

After walking CO2 around the reservoir that fed the mine, we overnighted in a wild spot along another set of reservoirs near Oker.

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Theis does not do the scale of the enterprise justice, especially when you think so much of was underground.

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The Changing Room was the start point for the tour.  Hoisting clothes meant peoples personal clothes were secure and at night, work clothes were high up to dry.

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Hard hats were essential  everyone on the tour banged their head at some point.

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The water course.

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Lots of colourful mineral deposits.

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One of the large reverse wheels.

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A smaller drain wheel.

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Inside one of the many processing drums that ground the ore to a fine powder.  Water and air were then used to extract the metals.

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Sorry, lots of industrial kit pix, now  I just love the metal, rust of near recent industry.

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The ladders were formerly used to get up and down the mines. 

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The header reservoir that I walked CO2 around.

 

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A Dutch family had adopted this Spanish puppy  they had no idea how big she was until she arrived  and she’s only 9 months now!  Check out the frilly knickers  they could get proper in season pants in big girl size!

 

1141-1142: Walking and Washing!

1141: Easter Walk and Washing

Sunday 21st April 2019 – Easter Sunday

A short drive to a free permitted parking in Hahnenklee, with limited services, but 60l water for EUR2.  The guide book described Hahnenklee as a small and more tasteful spa town.  As we wandered this very small town, we decided it was a bit run down and lacked charm.  However, it did have a pretty Norwegian style stave church which we looked at before lunch.  Then I took CO2 for a 8km walk through the woods, with Corrie on the lead … just in case any protective breeding boar were around.  Oscar just plods along within 30m of me, so he’s no worry.  At the top of the hill is a complex with cable car, chair lift, bike park, go carts and a rodelbahn (karts on a track).  Germany really is one big outdoor playground.

German tradition is to have white asparagus around Easter, so we had that with a Bechamel sauce as our starter, followed by a turkey casserole … my family’s tradition is turkey at home … thus keeping all traditions alive in Jez.  

It was over this meal, that our plans changed again.  I’m not suggesting that we were inebriated, but mellow and happy with our lot.  Where shall we go after Kerstin’s 50th party on 11-12th May?  Stay in Germany?  Back to Naples?  Slovenia.  Then James came found it!  Sardinia and Corsica.  To justify the ferry costs, we shall put back our return to the UK by nearly a month … It will mean we don’t do our normal Ireland Scotland Summer trip, but if the dreaded B no deal does happen, we will have plenty of time outside the EU Schengen zone.  So we will make the most of our island hopping.  Now into planning mode!  I later ordered some guide books from eBay (old and used) to be sent to Kerstin’s for us to pick up … and forgot to change the delivery address from our house in Combe Martin … the one we are now using for holiday lets.  Fortunately our lovely plumber and his parents are staying there, so thank you Steve for posting them on!

Incidentally, Kerstin is our usual central Europe international postal address.  We’ve used her on previous trips for a replacement driving license and a green card.  On this trip, we also used her for James’ hormone injection.  The doctor agreed to give J the prescription so he could bring the pre loaded injection away with him, but the pharmacy did not get one in stock before we set off.  So my Aged P’s to the rescue again … they collected it and posted it to Kerstin’s.  Mum told a little fib … she told the Post Office that she thought it was a pen!  It didn’t arrive and a bank card she posted days later had arrived.  Bugger, Bugger.  It must have been stoped at the border and destroyed.  We booked J a flight home from Munich and a doctors appointment.  Then 3 days later, Kerstin sent me a pic of a parcel … the injection had arrived!!!  Must’ve either gone on the slow boat via China or, I reckon, had been scanned and recognised as medical and not illegal.  The good news is J doesn’t have to fly home for 2 nights and we did get the airport duties back from EasyJet!

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Gustav-Adolf Kirche 1907.  And James, not from 1907!

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We are in witch territory.  We’ve seen a lot of posters with witches and all the lamp post had a selection of Hexen.

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Views from the top of the Bocksberg Hill on my afternoon walk. 

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I passed this view twice, as a path Id intended to follow didn’t exist!

 

1142: Love Bench Walk and Washing 

Monday 22nd April 

Back-pack loaded and we set off on the Love Bench Walk 7km around the base of the hill.  Really well done … another feature of the German Outdoor Playground … a bit of fun to get people out walking.  It was well signposted, wooden benches carved with hearts, love poems, and plaques explaining the stages of a relationship; from dewy eyed lively chatter when love can deepen or not develop to a long lasting marriage where so much has been shared.  We stopped en route for Kaffee and Kuchen … huge slabs (I helped J finish his!) and didn’t really want our picnic lunch that we’d lugged around!

When we got back, we filled with water and I went into cleaning mode.  Initially, I put all the underwear and a few T Shirts into bowls to soak and then we cleaned the van.  When it came to rising and spinning, I decided to get the twin tub out.  But as we were in a car park it was not the done thing!  So we put the twin tub in Jez and bowls to catch the water … stealth laundry!  We also showered ourselves!!!  

The stealth laundry was so successful, that we repeated it the next morning and did 6 pairs of trousers, the rest of the tops and fleeces!  Clothes drying on hangers from every door and cupboard handle!  Sunny and windy – perfect with all the windows open!

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Start of the Love Bench Walk.

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J with Corrie on one of the love benches.

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Quite a few cairns …

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so we built one with 4 stones to represent, us and CO2.  Aaaah!

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A foot bath at the end of the walk.  And 3 people were using it.

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Stealth laundry.  Equivalent to 4 machine loads, which cost less than EUR4 for the water used.  Just our time.  The twin tub has certainly more than paid for itself.