798 – Saturday 5th August 2017: A Long Drive to a Wine Event
Services completed, we left the campsite and headed south into Germany – for a 5 hour trip… the A3 motorway looked busy but flowing…..until about 2:30 pm. everything ground to a halt. Not to worry (we said) just a minor ’bouchon’ (I don’t know the German for traffic jam). 4 hours later, we moved again, well more than 2 yards – folks had been walking about on the motorway – and using the hard shoulder for wc visits – we could have made money renting our toilet facilities… Anyway, an accident had happened (no injuries thankfully) and substantial roadworks – so a 5 hour journey became 9 hours! We almost had to call the emergency services to us, just to add to the stoppage … we were almost out of fuel. In, fact when we did make it to the fuel station, we put more in than we ever had before – 73 litres and a whopping EUR100+.
We did arrive just on time for the street/riverbank party (our intended international table decorations did not happen) and we joined 100 metre long picnic tables! All to celebrate the local village’s wine production. Wine, food and fireworks along the Rhine! Thank you Leutesdorf. A lovely family evening with Kerstin’s god-daughter and her parents. Kerstin stayed in our van parked at a local winery…
At the end of the wine tasting picnic, Oscar had drunk himself under the table.
The Leutesdorf firework display.
799-813 – Sunday 6th – Monday 21st August: GastArbeiter
“Guestworkers”? How about “Non-restworkers”, Kerstin? 17 days hard labour – but well worth it….. wood chip wallpaper sticks like ’tihs’ – work that simple anagram out? Answers on ‘toiletenpapier’ please. 2 evenings out for dinner at Engers – and a whole days freedom – more below….. Kerstin’s cousin Axel joined the workers for the weekend and dined out with us. We drove and watched the ‘Rhin in Flam’ fireworks from a vantage point where we could see about 4 displays. And it was far enough not to upset Oscar with the noise. We’d head a lot about these firework displays … villages host they own fireworks and then a final display at Koblenz. Actually, it happens all along the Rhein. What should have been a spectacular evening damaged to deliver deposit the teaming rain. K&K found chairs and sheltered their legs with a sleeping bag, that absorbed the water like a sponge. J and A sheltered under a tree. Not a damp squib in sight and it didn’t dampen our spirits.
When the ‘gaffer’ had allowed us a day off, we cycled to watch a local triathlon – mega exciting – and I got my boat ride! We could have entered a hybrid team – Kerstin swimming, Katherine cycling and me running – maybe next year? Our team name could be “The Gassybelters”! Kerstin is a member of the local dive club who were part of the water safety crew so wangled J a Rhein ride in the slowest boat on the river. J should not have expressed the wish for a Rhein ride as he got another one as we crossed to Leutesdorf, which provided an excellent lunch and we pedalloed home to the accompaniment of an “Oscarchestra” in – of course – O Minor – or O major? He certainly gets an O-Level for barking…
17 days labour for the whole team saw an amazing result – the whole house ready for the professional trades people!!! K: aren’t we the pros??? We were paid … ice cream and wine!
Thus, the Jezacaravenette migrated south towards Reutingen – HausK3…
Master Stripper …
How many rooms stripped?
Still at it …
A night off with Kerstin’s cousin Axel: supper in the dry, but not dry followed by the Rhein in Flam firework display in the wet!
Kerstin investigated a vantage point where we could see 2 or 3 villages’ firework display and then the main Koblenz one. And far enough away so Oscar was not worried by the noise.
Another Frikadelle night out … yum.
The first leg of the triathlon. Swimmers did not have to work hard as the current is so strong, but they needed ‘catching’ to make it out of the water.
J had expressed an interest in a boat ride along the Rhein. Not quite what he had in mind, but Kerstin got him a ride on one of the water rescue boats … it just happened to be the slowest one of the water!
Another boat ride … from Andernach to Leutesdorf, with the bikes.
Fab location and food for lunch. An ice cream on the cycle back!
One of Kerstin’s neighbours owned what was formerly a quarry and now a pleasure ground. However, the council want to close it so he’s had to cancel the fishing club and can’t allow people to picnic there now … a real shame as he has spent 50 years creating art and picnic spots and it has become a nature park. With lack of use and the owner’s age against him, it is now looking very overgrown and un-cared for. A crying shame.
The owner may be 80, but he is still building … this is a volcano, and he lit some papers and you can just see smoke coming out of the top!
Little seating areas and views all over the grounds.
Kerstin’s garden over looking the Rhein. The pool may look blue, but was putrid and the pool man never came to sort it … promises, promises Kerstin!
814 – Tuesday 22nd August: The German Wine Route
We don’t need a compass to steer us along the German wine road….just followed our noses! The aire we originally wanted – approach far too narrow so we aborted. A very helpful local man guided us at top speed on his bike to a lovely alternative pleasant aire – and we were alone – no other vans…. We walked in search of a restaurant for supper out – but in spite of more local knowledge, ‘nil by mouth’ was the disappointing result! Oh well, more K Haute Cuisine – left over Frikadelle! What could be better?
815 – Wednesday 23rd August: Reutlingen
At Kerstin’s invitation, we Jezaparked just near her residence – K3 of course. Her Mum, Erika joined us too. A walk around the huge allotments that people buy here – chaps have livestock and massive sheds and summer houses. A boozy supper and an Award Ceremony! We were aptly rewarded for our decorating labours!
We were presented with medals and wine for our efforts … Master Wallpaper Remover and Master Painter. Our medals are now hanging proudly in Jez!
816 – Thursday 24th August: A Run, A Spa and Rotweil
Morning dawned and I set off for a 10km run – the furthest for more than 2 years – ambitious? I had run 8km recently… Directions from Kerstin and map ‘roughly’ in my head – off I ran through the forest – lovely with nice ups and downs. Out of the woods (I had followed excellent trail markers) and on to the main road. Hmmmm – no markers – nothing daunted, off I went following ‘the yellow brick road’ – slight exaggeration, dark asphalt road….. Half hour later, I was sort of lost…. I could visualise K laughing – in her magnificent spa experience with Kerstin… Thinks – “I must not phone for K directions unless desperate.” Keeping to the main road, I knew (?) roughly where Kerstin’s village was…. Stopped to ask – and was pointed back in the opposite way! I had now covered 8 km and was visualising 12 or 13 in total – not as planned…
Back uphill, I spotted a left turn with some trees in the distance – could that be the woods I started in? Took a chance – and hey Bisto (gravy?) – presto – it was the woods!!! I dance around for joy and trotted home……. Exactly 10 km and only 2 hours on the road. When the girlies returned, suitably pampered – I had consumed 4 bottles of zero alcohol beer! A bit teedryated, you know!
K: As well as my medal, Kerstin reward me with an amazing morning in a Spa. It was amazing. Have I used that word? Really amazing. Lots of pools in and out, different temperatures and lots of massage jets. The best massage area, had a light to tell you to move round to the next jet … they started on the feet and moved around different areas of the body. My fav was the twin jets that hit each butt cheek? Exercise posts, which we did attempt and then an hourly aqua aerobics … we managed one class. We wandered into the Steam room and thought this was bit un hot or steamy. A member of staff arrived, flicked a switch and poured some lemon into the central post. Darkness followed by a ZEN light show as the temperature rose … and rose. I think Kerstin aborted first and set off a wave of exodus. I was one of the only 3 who stayed till the end … followed by a vocal cold shower. To complete our chill out, we bobbed around one of the main pools floating on ‘poolnoodles’. And all for EUR11 per person …. worth driving back here from miles away … truly amazeballs. And I’d spotted a Gery Weber (clothes brand I and Mum like) outlet store. So we stopped on the way home … 3 jeans and 3 tops later for all of EUR138 from the biggest Gery Weber store I’ve ever seen … I was a completely chilled and a happy bunny. Oh, and I picked a voice mail from a lost James!
A quick lunch back at Kerstin’s and then we set off back for a wander around the discount shopping town – shoes for K and shorts for J! Next destination – Rotweil – home of the barking variety … late arrival at a convenient aire next to sports centre and close for town walks. If we’d had the time, we would have stayed longer just to use the superb sports facilities – in and outdoor pools, climbing walls and tennis courts.
817 – Friday 25th August: Rotweil Walk and Onto Belfort, France
Lots to see – K picked up a town walking tour – and ice cream too of the Tiramasu variety. Nearby, the Krupps company had built a massive tower – for testing speedy elevators – 200 metres tall. It has only just been topped out. When it opens in October there will be a visitor info centre and a viewing platform. We’ll definitely visit next time we are nearby as it really is an impressive structure with views.
Spot the Rotweiller!
Seriously pretty Rotweil.
Lots of wrought iron signs to advertise the shops.
The Krupps tower, still with a crane on top.
We lunched back at Jez and hit the road again. La Belle France welcomed us back – and into Belfort town.
818 – Saturday 26th August: Belfort Walk and Mercey sur Soane
The day followed a similar pattern to yesterday … a town walk. Belfort has a massive Vauban fort and a sandstone lion that celebrates people repelling enemies. A pretty town centre. Then lunch back at Jez and then back on the road.
Our friend from Brizzle had invited us to stay for one night in Mercey near Besancon – gorgeous swimming pool (Kerstin – this pool was OK to use!!!) – hot day and straight in for a dip – after a welcoming libation… BBQ and chilling on the veranda. In the AM, the village was taken over for kart racing but they made room for us to drive through – huge thanks – we’ll be back.
Another massive Vauban fort.
An almond croissant for breakfast 🙂
The red sandstone lion was designed by the same architect as the Staue of Liberty, Bartholdi.
819 – Sunday 27th August: Driving South to Nice
Nicebound to see my daughter Sara and granddaughter Jade Scarlet….. 10 hours driving (longest since Portugal-Nice in march) and a welcome stop at Digne le Bains – large and crowded aire but just the ticket for the not-too-weary travellers….. Zzzzzzs.
Looked like it might be great place to buy our putative French home – but on enquiry – winter snow and lots of rain – not for us sun worshippers, though.
Nice tomorrow to see S, G & J 🙂