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!

 

Days 83 – 87: In search of warm and sun

83 – Friday in Frederikstad

More running, followed by packing up and using the emptying and refilling station on the campsite.  We are hammered on toll roads as we are over 3.5 tons … somewhere around 3 times a car toll, so we set Sally Sat Nav for toll free.  No idea how much she saved us, but the views were prettier than the main road and motorway, if slower and bendier.

We had been ‘collecting’ Norwegian beer and cider cans.  You pay a ‘Pant’ (deposit) on them and then post the empties into a machine that prints a credit note for use in the supermarket.  The machines cleverly spot fakes … it rejected a Finnish Fosters can.  K went in with two bags full and came out with the tinies value in milk and cheese spread.  We did well leaving Finland with only about 50p in local currency; K had looked for something for 6 NOK, but could not find anything that cheap!

We stopped off at Frederikstad.  K thinks it vaguely familiar .. Must ask Mutt if we visited this … she WILL know.  It is incredibly twee and pretty, but worth the stop.  It was a fort for over 300 years.  Cafes and craft shops now;  see the crochet bench below.  K had to explain to James that there is always room for an ice cream or cheese as they go into a different stomach.  He was eventually persuaded to have an ice cream so K could … too embarrassed to pay for only one using a card!

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And so to Sweden, once more.

We have parked up off the main roads in an archipelago overlooking the Tjorn bridge, which opened in 1960.  A disaster in the 1980s when it was destroyed by a ship in mist, who could not alert anyone for 45 mins that the bridge was down.  8 people died in cars that drove onto the bridge … and off.

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84 – Saturday: Another Archie Pelago

We decided to stay on the island and explore a bit.  The plan had been to go onto Gothenburg, which is the 2nd city of Sweden and had 4 pages in the guide book to denote its importance.  However, we were feeling a little citied out after our two days in Oslo.  And the weather looked fair … time to enjoy being outside.  We drove to the the tourist information in the main town on the island and picked up a cycling map and were told there was the annual harbour festival going on.  We had a wee dander down there and an ice cream (separate stomach, remember!).  What was really lovely to see was there was not a booze bar in sight.  Lots of coffee and cake, music (including the diesel engine for the country and western railroad sound), local produce and arts and crafts stalls, old wooden sailing ships with joyful bunting.  People were having a really good time without the need to get off their faces.

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The whole of the Swedish Ford Mustang Club had convened and James was finally towed away.

 

 

 

Lunch back in Chardonnay and call it a reaction to warm weather, but we both went for a nanny nap.  The bike ride became a distant non-reality.  We drove to the sculptures / ancient burial mounds and then decided not to go in as it was £8 each.  Just as well we had not cycled after all!!!

Back to our pitch of last night and the view of the Tjorn Bridge.  A BBQ at the picnic tables – lovely.

85 – Sunday: Driving to Denmark and Hamlet castle

Little to report … we drove, passing Gothenburg …. this will be another trip.  Arrived at the dock for the boat to Helsingor DK… paid £72 and boarded almost immediately.  Castle in view on arrival so we followed our noses and parked up between it and a marina.  We had a leg stretch around the very pretty town and fair gawped at what seemed really cheap prices.

Another motorhome had checked it out with locals… yes it was free.  The toilets were free.  The chemical toilet disposal was free.  And the water was free.  And yet, the castle car park next door was fee paying and packed!   We did laundry and both showered … it makes such a difference knowing you can replenish water supplies the next day really easily.

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86 – Monday: Ferry Unexpected Ferry

We wandered into the town to replace part of James’ e cigarette and by the time we had done this it was properly raining (again).  Our urge to visit the castle was washed away.  Something about the rain as we feel we should use the day as a driving day … so we did.  Replenished water and set the sat nav for fastest route to Bordeaux, near our destination for 12 days time to meet up with K’s family.

It was not until the symbol of a ferry came up, that we became aware that Sally Sat Nav was taking us down to Rodby for the ferry to Germany … we had expected to go across the Storbaelt and Little Baelt – island hoping through Denmark.  A quick phone call to Scandlines and J discovered that the 45 min crossing was less than we had thought  it might be … £85.  Given the Storbaelt bridge was £36 we decided to go for it.  Unfortunately, we had a 2.5 hrs delay as one of the boats had broken down, fortunately we could see it gaping hull in the dock, so no one was stranded at sea.  We took a  thrown together salad up onto the boat and, as it was 9.00 p.m. when we alighted, we headed almost immediately to a Stellplatz in Burg auf Fehmarn.  Stellplatz are motorhome parkings in Germany.  Sometimes they charge and often have sanitary services and electricity.  We had to do a wander and get coins for the parking ticket of EUR10 …  does this count as a campsite?  We have stayed in campsites for only 22 nights and in a fee charging marina for 2 nights. Pretty good going.

 

87 – Tuesday: Shorts and Driving

Exercised and K spotted really cheap shorts and trousers in the centre of Burg – she was definitely not moving fast enough!   Given she is using string to hold some up, it really was time to replace some items in her wardrobe.  After breaky we set off and returned with 3 pairs of shorts and one pair 3/4 length trousers – all for a grand total of £32.  We do like Germany and its prices.  The town offered multiple choices of lunch for around EUR10.  We also stopped at Lidl and bought fuel on the way.  As we departed, the queues to get into the town were humungous.  Mostly S and some DK plates all on a much cheaper than home shopping spree.

A driving day and the rain came and went and returned and left again.  Was K too optimistic in buying shorts?

Having decided to stop by 7.00 p.m., we found a free Parking … with free, if slow, wifi, at a place called Neuss (nice and free) Ski Hallen.