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.


1138-1140: Easter Bonfire

1138-1140:  Clausthal or Zellerfeld?

Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th April 2019

A leisurely start and then a steady drive into Germany.  We are in search of hills.  We overnighted on a EUR5 Stellplatz along a canal.  Surprisingly busy.  I walked along it with the dogs and we both ran it in the morning, before setting sail again.

Our overall plan is to spend a few days in the Herz Mountains, head to Dresden and into the Czech Republic before meeting Kerstin S of Munich.  Take note of this plan …

We arrived at the free permitted parking in Clausthal-Zellerfeld.  I walked the dogs off lead 🙂 and discovered one of the local silver mines being made ready for the tourist season.  The next day, the very helpful lady in the Tourist Information Centre warned me about the current dangers of letting the dogs off the lead … the wild boar have young that they WILL protect them.  She spoke German, and my German is very rusty and school girl … boar was established by me making pig noises!  So Corrie, who likes to roam, is now sometimes BACK ON THE LEAD :(.

C-Z is actually two towns.  We never worked out which was which.  As we were parked up at the intersection, we wandered down town on our first evening … the country’s largest wooden Church in Germany.  University sector, so a lot of cheap eateries, including donner kebabs.  We contributed to the local economy in one of the posh restaurants … just a glass, or two of vino … not sure how much these flasks hold.

The next day was our 4 year anniversary when we actually left the UK for our first trip lasting 360 days.  So we celebrated.  After gathering an inordinate amount of leaflets form the TIC, we lugged them to a cafe in the centre of a little park and had a light lunch.  I finished off with a huge sundae of 3 scoops vanilla, apple sauce, whipped cream and the egg advocat sauce … just yummy.  J took the dogs back to the van for a nap, whilst I went into the local museum about the local mining, the area and the people.  Sadly very little in English and way beyond my German.  A small craft area selling wooden bits and bobs and glass was just along the street, but I managed to keep my wallet in my pocket.

The TIC lady had told me about the Easter Fires … we’d seen a huge stack on our drive in.  I also read about them … pagan festivals to celebrate the dawning of Spring and the new agricultural year.  Tradition has it that people will take a burnt stick home with them to bring them luck, and people will walk across the ashes in the morning.  We certainly saw a lot of sticks being brandished aflame by some quite young children.  No H&S evident.  No barriers to keep people from the flames.  Small kids throwing wood onto the small fire as well.  They were having a great time, and how are they to learn if not allowed to ‘literally’ play with fire?  J spotted the fire service did make an appearance just before lighting the main pyre.

With the witch season being in full swing on 30.04, and the tourist info advising us of the wealth of things to see in and do, we decided to stay to see Walpurgnis (witch night) and skip Czech Republic.  So just like that our plans have changed.  Cos we can!

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Yay, CO2 off lead.

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My walk through the woods and stumbling on the sliver mine … I peeked through an open window.

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So, I’ve just read the guide book … this is Clausthal, the University bit with the largest wooden church.  It can seat >2000 from 1642.  we did walk around it but no way in.

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 A night cap.

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4 year travelling anniversary lunch.

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Most interesting exhibits in the local museum (that I could understand) was the display of hats through the ages. 

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Zellerfeld, in the N, had amazing wooden clad buildings in shady wide avenues.

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It’s not often you are met with a group of youngsters with blackened faces and charred sticks!  And they are friendly!  We were told it is the tradition to blacken everyone’s face as they arrived at the easter Bonfire …so …

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… I had to let them blacken my face, just a little!

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James’ face was untouched!

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We found a warm spot next to the small fire, where small children throw on small and not so small logs.

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Getting ready for the big one.

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Whoosh!

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We automatically moved back as the heat intensified.  Who needs safety barriers?

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I told a lady I was waiting for the tree to fall, but apparently it very rarely does.  As the spruce trees burned, we could see a wood scaffolding structure holding the central tree up .. young wood perhaps.

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Environmental concern?

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878-883: Its 34C in Marakesh!

878 -Friday 27th October 2017:  Wet and Windy (and that’s just the weather!)

Quite wet wether but Northern Germany and Poland have been hit hard…. we vanpottered and waited for the skies to clear – walked into Oberndorf village, posted some cards and wended out way home… a very quiet sort of day.  The highlight was watching the Police arrive with a trailer full of bikes and then teaching youngsters how to navigate the roads safely.  Part of the car park had lanes and junctions painted and the kids carefully followed instructions, sitting erect and careful on their bikes … arms out fully stretched and horizontal with the tarmac to indicate a turn.  Our motorhome neighbour told us that the kids get a badge they can fix to their bikes.  We spotted other car parks with similar road markings.  I don’t think UK Police Forces fund this any more … or do they?

879 -Saturday 28th October:  Cycling to Sulz am Neckar

Dry skies but cold….cycling through a forest along the Neckar – each wearing tights under trousers! On to Sulz am Neckar – and a complete impromptu lunch – the local Fire Service seemed to be all there lunching – good honest food – and a little vino…..

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Maultaschen:  sausage filled pasta pockets with 3 different toppings … hearty fare in Germany.

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Even our home towns of Bristol and Aldreshot are warmer!

880 -Sunday 29th October:  A Good German Tradition – Kaffee und Kuchen

What’s with this cold and damp weather? Is it Europe in October?  A friend had posted that it’s 34c in Marakesh!  Very helpful, indeed…  We decided to move to another Stelplatz with electric @ 1 Euro for 8 hours – heating on.  Haigerloch on top of the hill – posh castle/hotel. We visited the “Atom Celler” where German scientists tried to split the atom during WW2 – for various reasons – the Allies bombed the place once they worked out where it was.  The scientist were interred after the war in a Cambridgeshire country house with CCTV in every room … Big Brother-esque, but less extreme, I should think!   “Kaffee und Kuchen” – coffee and cakes, getting into German culture. The cakes had an unusual effect on our tummies – no more details required!  

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Atom Keller – apparently no risk of radiation!

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The view down to the town after the walk back up!

 881 -Monday 30th October:  Were Off

A tentative fart – very sorry, readers – a tentative start (the other one was probably right too post cakes!) – awaiting news from Kerstin about the post – our green cards  – no, we have not joined the Green Party.   Green cards for insurance for taking Jez into the Balkans.  Phone call from Kerstin – and joy – we’re on the way back to Kerstinland. Gorgeous neighbours helped with the postal vigilance – checking K’s post box and placing the envelope in the garage so we could pick it up, as K is away. Much ‘dankes’ and away southwards….travelled all day and got just south of Munich – overnight car park in Neuberen – Halloween party locally until 6:00 am – oh the exuberance of youth!  K walked O to the town – archway – lots of painted old buildings, hotels and restaurants.

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Neubueren – another come back to place.

882 -Tuesday 31th October:  Not that RAMP again!

Grahame Leslie’s 81st birthday – we donated whiskey from Scotland… part of the fun was doing the sampling ourselves.  

As we motored through Austria and climbed through spectacular scenery – there was snow on the roadsides. We chose motorways after hours in the hills – splashed out for vignette – our progress speeded up. Then, like flash – we’re back in Italia – bella Italia – la Dolce Vita. Can you tell how pleased we are?  Possibly our favourite country – the people, food and wine…  and, of course the chaotic driving!  We recited our limited Italian at each other … a fav being “Strade piccolo, Camper grande … Possible?’ and K’s perfect sentence asking fro stamps for postcards to England!  Given we spent 6 months in Italy our linguistic skills leave a lot to be proud of.

Now then – 2 years ago in Chardonnay, our SatNav took us around Trieste to avoid the centre and motorways. But at one point, we came to a No Entry tunnel – and the only escape was to gun the van up a steep and narrow cobbled ramp with hearts in our mouths and the wheels scrabbling to gain a purchase!  We joked today as we skirted Trieste about that little fandango….. Minutes later, we rounded a corner and came to the same feckin’ No Entry tunnel!!!   The cobbled ramp is still there and we are a tonne heavier with less traction.  It’s called “Rampitupme Crustifer”!!!  A bit like the Egyptian Queen – “Ramitupme”.  We reversed subito and retraced our steps.  We ended up paying for a Slovene motorway toll for EUR16 for all of 5 km of motorway to avoid the ramp!  It’s sitting next to the Austrian one …. and we prefer to travel toll free!  The joys of motorhoming…  

Free aire with services in Gemona, some halloween noise from groups of kids – but a peaceful night – dreaming of cobbles. 

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Picture perfect Austria. 

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No stopping for us … we have snow chains but practising fitting them is still at the top of the To Do list!

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Sunset from our Italian Sosta.

883 -Wednesday 1st November:  Another New Country

Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia in 3 days for Oscar. Croatia new for K – I had stood on Croatian soil for 5 seconds 2 years ago when we thought we had wandered into Hungary… Lovely big Lidl lots of foodie things, aubergine, mozzarella, etc. Another m’way vignette (still visions of the Trieste cobbled ramp) – 5km again… Passports to show at border – holding up other cars as we retrieved them from our ‘gasafe’ secret store – now you all know – we’ll have to shoot you!  Or – you could sign “The Oscarficial Secretz Axe” – section 4 of course – for his birthday…  Approaching Porec, our chosen campsite was closed (in spite of their website saying otherwise). But all the campsites seemed shut – out of silly season….  Nice large free parking though with a few other vans, including one GB on our second day there.  We meandered into the old town and had our first Croatian wine….

“T’is the season to be jolly…..tra la la la la…”  Hang about, James – Christmas crumble is light years away – or is it?  Are the 2018 Easter eggs on sale in Asda yet?  52 shopping days…..yikes!!!  

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A nano stop just so Oscar could tread paws on Slovene soil. 

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Would that be the first HAPPY Croatian ice cream …

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 … And the first Croatian glass of vino? 

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Porec

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There are few vitamins in ice cream, thats why you have to eat so much of it!  

So true!

 

864-874: Provence Pligrimmage to Germany

865 – Saturday 14th October 2017:  Onto Castellane

A short drive to Castellane and into a paying aire.  All of EUR 6.50 for 24 hours but free services and right on the edge of the town.  We had a wander through the small old town.  The helpful lady in the TIC confirmed my suspicions that cycling the Gorges du Verdon with the Os-car would be dangerous and stressful.  We did this as a drive some years ago in our Bongo, and it was a magnificent drive, but not to be repeated this trip.  She suggested a quieter route to the lake just north of the town with an area where we could let Oscar run free.  That’s the plan for tomorrow then.

We walked up the path to the chapel on top of the rock … some nice views of the valley, but nothing special.  At the top there were three sets of dogs all on the leads – each one growled at Oscar who was loose.  I’d left the lead with James part way up, and bless, my boy behaved perfectly and came when called and sat by me as I admired the views.  He can pull it out of the bag when necessary.  But I am sure in a couple of instances the owners were transferring their own anxiety to their dogs … one daughter tried to convince her father that the dogs were friends … they may well have been given half a chance!

 A glass of wine (or two) and an ice cream and then back to Jez to sit on our riverside pitch enjoying the sun and the mountain views.  Life is good.

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The Chapel on the Rock over looking Castellane.

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Views form the top.

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866 – Sunday 15th October:  Abortive Ride in Favour of Lunch

OK, so we had a plan – clean the inside of Jez (badly needed doing as possibly 3+ weeks since we’d done anything but the floor!) followed by the bike ride.  But then our mood changed.  We’d worked hard cleaning Jez, the sun is shining and it is Sunday lunchtime!  A walk into town just to see if we can find a reasonably priced lunch.  OK – we found lunch, but not the reasonably priced bit.  My Aged P’s laugh at us, that we state we are on a budget, but then coffee, ice creams and lunches seem to feature quite heavily on the blog.  The set menu was EUR27 for 3 courses; all very good, but the star was J’s caviar of aubergine with an anchovy cream.  A post lunch wander back to sit in the sun on our river bank pitch.  Life is indeed good!

 

867 – Monday 16th October:  With the Family

Anyone who knows us, will be aware that we have a 7 month saga of trying to get J his C1 post 70 years old licence.  He rang the DVLA and …. woohoo it has been posted.  The Aged P’s are due back from France tomorrow and can post it onto Kerstin in Germany.  Time to start planning to head that way.  But hold!  We are only a few hours away from Sarah and family in Biot and we don’t know when we will see them again … time to head for a quick stop to see them?  So we headed, via a supermarket shop to stock on on French specific items, back down to Biot and stayed over night outside their house.  Really lovely to have one final evening with them.

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Jade with ‘da rudder’.

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I haven’t done this for a loooong time!

868 – Tuesday 17 October:  What and Amazing Spot

We considered driving a different route to Reutlingen, Germany … through Italy and then north through Switzerland, along Lake Constance.  I investigated the Swiss road vignette … was it just motorways, which we could avoid?  No it is for class 1 and 2 roads.  OK … how much?  A no go … since we are 3.5+ tons, we cannot buy a standard vignette, but need to register our vehicle and then pay per kilometre.  A lot of hassle and cost for an overnight stay.  Switzerland must loose out on tourists not prepared to pay or deal with the hassle.  Back up through France it is then.

We stopped at an aire on a lake just south of Grenoble in a place called Treffort.  The aire is part of a leisure complex, including boats, and charges EUR10 for an overnight stay.  We nearly didn’t stop as we balked at the price for a quick overnight stop especially when we did not need the services.  We were tired though and asked another motorhome where to find the pay machine …. free out of season.  The other 5 vans were all hooked up to the free electric – we don’t consider it worth it for a one nighter.  Amazingly this area gets hardly a mention in our guide books, but the mountains are stunning, especially with the evening sun on the Autumn russets and golds.  This is a gem of a spot and definitely on our must come back to.  Must be a lucky spot, as I took Oscar out for his late night ‘opportunity’ and saw not one, but two shooting stars.  J has since read that Halley’s Comet is currently shedding debris, but how lucky am I?

Now I must mention supper … I had to attempt to recreate J’s starter of caviar of aubergine with anchovy cream.  It was not the same, but it was bloody good.  I really should start a recipe section on the blog.

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Inspired by fellow motorhomer Dan’s favourite socks, which a friend knitted him … thought I’d have a go too.  Managed not to drop stitches with knitting on the round and amazingly it came out sock shaped!  Just it’s pair to knit now.

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Our most stunning overnight spot.

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Should have taken the pix when we arrived and the sun was in the Autumnal hills.

869 – Wednesday 18th October:  

Another driving day, but we got just past Besancon:  Note to self … use the motorway to bypass it as it was very slow driving through it.  We stopped, once we found the right place at a free aire in Montebeliard … the original GPS coordinates were plain wrong, the second, close enough but not quite and then, thank you Wild Camping POIs – we got there in the end.  I was starting to have a hissy fit from being tired and hungry when J spotted the 4 dedicated spaces, and we squeezed ourselves in and had a thrown together ‘chef’s salad’ as it was quick!

 

870 – Thursday 19th October:  Onto Reutlingen

I texted Kerstin giving her the option that we could arrive tonight or tomorrow lunchtime … she is a Uni Prof with a stupid work load and strong work ethic!  Come tonight, as no lectures / meetings tomorrow.  We park up in a bit os spare land a couple of hundred metres from her house.  We could stay in her ‘guest apartment’ on the top floor, but we prefer our own bed.  The spot of land is used by some of the residents for parking but is destined to built on to house Syrian refuges.  Now, why is it these residences are generally for young men only?  Where are the women and children.  A village near Kerstin’s other house in Engers had the village population more than double due to the refugees … how is this integration?  Enough politics.

We had a great local walk as it really is quite rural here with some lovely views.  Supper in Kerstin’s downstairs kitchen (she has 3! Don’t ask how many loos!!) in front of the log burner.  🙂

 

871 – Friday 20h October:  Rottweil Towering

When we left here in August we headed to Rottweil, a pretty old town known for its painted buildings and iron shop hangers.  A new feature, not open in August, is the Thyssen Krupps lift tower.  It had just been topped out when we saw it before but now it is open to the public.  

A few facts:

  • 2640 tons of steell
  • 3.6 m progress per day
  • 246m highest visitor platform in Germany
  • 21m diametre
  • 16,000m2 tefloncoated self cleaning glass fibre fabric around the outside
  • 15 mins is the time the fastest employee took to climb the 1617 steps
  • 30 secs for the visitor lift
  • 12 shafts for lift testing
  • 1.5km of shaft
  • 18m/sec the fastest test escalator, about 65 km/hour
  • 240 tons active mass damper to balance wind forces
  • unique simulation to make the tower sway to mimic extreme conditions in which to test the lift.
 
Kerstin and I went up the tower first leaving Katherine with Oscar. Superfast elevator to viewing platform – immense views 360 degrees – I expected some wind movement – but nil – hence the success of the damping mechanisms…..
 
Kerstin stayed and I let K join her at the top – it’s over 800 feet in old money!  Incredible feat of German engineering – a world beater, definitely.  A brief walk around Rottweil, coffee, ice cream, of course – and back to base HQ.

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The cladding is the fibre glass self cleaning fabric just going on.  Quite a few worker abseilers.

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View from the top.

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The almost see through glass fibre mesh.

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A very small old prison in the centre of Rottweil, has a football captive!

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Perhaps this double tower was a forerunner of the Thyssen Krupps lifts?

872 – Saturday 21tst October:  Biking to Tubingen

The e-bikes reappeared – Kerstin borrowed one from her Uni – a quiet Os-car (mostly) and we sailed the short distance to Tubingen sedately. A lovely and lively town – world famous university. Lunch by the river in a busy restaurant – it was peak time – I had a local beer and K’s had wine.  We discovered that there is/was a Mr Alzheimer who studied in the town – medical science owes him a lot.  And Friedrich Miescher who discovered nucleic acids. A leafy park (the Autumn leaves are really falling, now…) and a magnificent building completely covered in street art/graffiti…   Another splendid day in Germany!

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The pretty old town.

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The waterside restaurant where we had lunch later.  Spot the punt – reminiscent of Cambridge?  

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History has not been changed here … this statue was allowed to remain even though it is is of a composer whose works were later adopted by the Nazi Party.

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The lab within the castle and part of the university where Miescher worked. 

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View down to the old town hall.

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So lovely to not be tour guide for once!

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The main town square.

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You can just make out the Os-car and our bikes were very safe … it takes 20 mins to fix all the locks.

 

873 -Sunday 22nd October:  A Chocolate Pilgrimage

Yesterday, it was 18C and nicely warm – today dawned at 6C and never got above “very cold” – I know – we’re softies these days, chasing the sun around Euroland…  Yesterday’s cycle ride was about 14k – today was to be approx 60k!!!   Extra layers of clothing – and my Orkney wooly hat was packed – it very soon made it from the saddle bag to my head!   K worm cashmere tights under her trousers.  Forest trails, uphill and down dale – thank goodness for the e-bikes for that extra power – more excellent German engineering… We reached the Ritter Sport chocolate factory (nobody called ‘Charlie’ there, though) and museum, after 3 hours in the saddles. I believe it was getting colder – coffee – and it rained…. The 2 Ks toured first and then I followed suit.  Mega chocpurchases later, we pointed our pelliton towards Reutling.  Our bike batteries had run down quite a bit – we hoped they would see us powered home.   Katherine and I swopped batteries as she needed the extra oomph to tow his nibs.  Not long later, I ran out of power. Now, this meant I was back to cycling a non-powered bike – as we had done for years – no problem?  Yes, problem – these machines are much heavier than standard cycles…..  I got used to walking uphills. The girls offered to seat me in a bar and fetch Jez – but the indomitable Irish spirit declined the kind offer (madness?). It rained again and I swear it got even colder.  K:  My Hero 🙂

The journey home was a bit shorter – thank goodness – and no sooner in the door of KerstinHaus, we wrapped ourselves around some good Muscatel – and Kerstin lit her roaring log fire/Aga stove…

Oscar had barked his way home solidly at the end – why? Even K telling him p**s off didn’t work.  Think it might have been dinner time! But a fantastic day, again – in the Arctic/Germany – well worth the conditions. We are definitely getting softer…..  would we survive a Winter in the British Isles – no!!!

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Two slaves for one turkey … know which I’d rather have.  But where to put them in Jez!

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Clare Ritter invented the square bar so people off to exercise could put a bar in their top pocket without breaking.

Oscar’s Diary

“Guten Tag, mein herren und damen” – that’s German, you know – boyos!  Now then, these ‘owner’s of mine have shown me quite a few countries since last August when I allowed them to adopt me from Solihull… All excellent fun – and some games. J is doing nicely with his ‘playfighting’ lessons – he gets carried away with the biting thing – but dammit, he’s only 70, after all – some concessions to age must be made.  Where was I going with this?  Yes – the chocofrenzy pilgrimage thingy wotsit – of yesterday!  Ok, I pretend I don’t mind the Ocarcarriage to humour them – but – they put me in the pram – in zero temperatures, bounce me along 60k of forest trails, up and over kerbstones, etc. – and they have the cheek to tell me not to bark!!!  The European Caninevention of Human Bites – section 13 para 6 – clearly states that a K9 must not be subjected to ‘bouncing, freezing and kerbing’ in any vehicle – my owners are in clear contraflagration of the law.  My remedy before the courts?   Freedom to bark, extra rations and bedrest – at my leisure…

Yours, respectfully (with bedsores) 

Oscar

 

874 -Monday 23rd October:  A Water Pilgrimage

The Ks left J minding Oscar and Jez and made a return visit to the Spa they visited back in August.  Two exercise classes, two Zen steam rooms, massage jets and various pools of various temperatures, they returned somewhat wrinkly.  J tidied and sorted and blogged.  Our last night here, Kerstin has to return to the day job, until we get the nod that the green cards for the Balkans have arrived.