Sam’s Germany/Austria 2019 blog

15/02/19 Maidstone, England

Our adventure has come to an end but only for 10 days! On the journey back was a stop at Péruwelz, Belgium. The stop was on a canal, free and €6 a day for as much electricity as you need. From here was a walk that took us into France, past a chateau, to a lake and back again. In 10 days we are heading back out to Spain for some sun and relaxation on the beach so there will not be a blog but we will do posts during our stay.

10/02/19 Sasbachwalden, Germany

This wasn’t our intended stop but it was raining so we spent the day driving here. The town and surrounding countryside is beautiful with fantastic walks through forests, vineyards and along a waterfall. We done 2 walks of 10km through Vineyards and the waterfall and then 13km through towns and to a monastery that we had only ever from a distance.

The monastery was far more impressive from a distance.

There was a pizzeria that we had eaten in before and it was still fantastic.

07/02/19 Nesselwang, Germany

The stellplatz was at the bottom of a ski slope and the position of the van meant we could sit and watch the skiers and snowboarders.

05/02/19 Füssen, Germany

It’s beautiful here! We have stayed here before to see Neuschwanstein castle but it was covered in scaffolding and the queue was too long to get in so we are going to try again. There was heavy snow forecasted so we didn’t want to be too far away from the van. Up to Lachfell and back through the town. There was a shop selling these pastry balls that we thought were choux pastry but they were just shortcrust pastry which were a bit too much.

Lachfell

Then the snow came. 36 hours non stop!!!

When the snow finally stopped, we took a walk to Neuschwanstein castle that took about an hour and half to get to hoping that the scaffolding had been taken down.

There was no cameras allowed inside the castle but you don’t get to see much anyway. It’s only partially completed because King Ludwig II was declared unfit to rule and arrested in the bedroom of this castle. His only visitor allowed was his psychiatrist so they took a walk and didn’t come back and they were both found drowned in a lake.

01/02/19 Oberammergau, Germany

Another beautiful town but there doesn’t seem to be as many walks here. I think it’s more for the Nordic and alpine skiers or for people who want to stay in hotels. We stayed in a nice campsite because we needed to get our washing done and because it’s winter we need dryers. Oberammergau is famous for wood carvings which are in nearly every shop window and also its frescoes of traditional Bavarian themes, fairy tales or religious scenes found painted on many homes and buildings.

We was going to stay longer than 2 nights but the weather is forecasting heavy snow and we don’t want to be trapped in the mountains so we are moving to Füssen.

30/01/19 Mittenwald, Germany

Famous for the manufacture of violins, Violas, and cellos, Mittenwald is beautiful little town with lots of walks up into the mountains. We done 2 walks to 2 different lakes, Lautersee and Ferchensee but of course they were both frozen and just looked like fields of snow.

27/01/19 Vienna, Austria

Vienna’s capital and largest city. There is a stellplatz just outside the city centre but next to a metro station so getting into the city was easy. The first day was dry but bitterly cold so after a few hours of walking around and trying to follow the city route we caught the train back to the van.

The second day started with light snow and then rain……all day! Vienna is quite expensive we thought and if you want to visit the many different museums, Palace, zoo, riding school, State Opera House or castle then make sure you have plenty of money as each thing is at least €14 per person and there is much more with the different tours that you can take as well.

Vienna is a beautiful city with lots of history dating back to 500BC but we are just not city people. Everybody has their own tastes and we prefer picture 1!

24/01/19 Ardagger Markt, Austria

There is nothing here! The only reason we are here is because Vöcklabruck (where we was going to stay) was full of circus vans and lorries that had camped for the winter! At any stellplatz, aire or campsite we tell each other if we have any doubts about the area and will always go with our gut feelings and mine was saying no, do not stop here! so we carried on for another 2 hours into the darkness, had a close shave with two barn owls and an even closer shave with two deers running across the road. It’s all about the adventure we tell ourselves!

Before moving on to Vienna we have to stop at hanger 7. A building in Salzburg owned by red bull hosting a collection of historical airplanes, helicopters, formula 1 racing cars and home to the Flying bulls, a private aircraft fleet.

23/01/19 Bad Reichenhall, Germany

I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come! Chiemsee is a large lake known as the Bavaria sea with 3 islands. The largest island has a palace built by king Ludwig II in 1878 which was never completed but was meant to be a replica of the palace Versailles. You can catch a boat that takes you to all 3 islands and you can look around the completed parts of the palace but where we were parked, there was no boats until the summer. The tourist information told us where we could catch a boat from so we packed up and drove around the lake to where she directed us. It was really busy when we arrived and there it was…… a sign saying ‘ no motorhomes ‘ so we carried on to Bad Reichenhall.

Bad Reichenhall was so nice, we ended up spending 6 nights here. The first day was a 14km walk to a lake called Thumsee which took us past the local military barracks. I’m not silly, I know when taking photos of any military or police then not to include any faces or anything that contains information. Walking past the barracks I notice a nice picture on the wall of 4 soldiers playing drums so I get my phone out and take a snap….oops! A soldier starts calling to me and asking what I’m taking pictures of? How many pictures have I taken? and wants to see the photos on my phone! This man has a gun on his side and I’m one of those people that does everything on my phone so if he confiscates it then I don’t know what I would do. Thank god I only took the one and I didn’t have to delete it.

The rest of the walk went without incident!

Before arriving here we was watching the news about the unusual heavy snow fall and how 9 people had already died for various reasons so on our next walk when we come to a barrier that says no walkers then I do not want to pass but Andy still wants to continue!

I win this argument and follow a different walk sign.

The sign was just before the 2nd kilometre

We got to see loads of new vehicles for the army arriving by train and I was a bit dubious about taking any photos.

From here we caught a train to Salzburg, the fourth largest city in Austria and the birthplace of the 18th century composer, Mozart. The city was also the setting of The sound of Music.

17/01/19 Bad Aibling, Germany

The original stop was going to be Donauwörth with one of the oldest streets in Germany but there was nothing there and nothing looked old so after a kebab we moved on.

16/01/19 Stuttgart, Germany.

The stop here is for the CMT 2019, the biggest leisure show in the world. 9 halls full of camper vans and all sorts of goodies. We spent 2 days looking in different vans we thought would be nice to have if we were to upgrade from the Laika.

There were some weird and wonderful vans

Of course there was our van with some minor adjustments, which I don’t think are improvements.

We met some very nice people on the Laika stand and was given some good tips on how to fix the peeling decals and we agreed that the Kreos 5009 is still the best Laika.

The only disappointment was the lack of little things to buy. We need a new silver screen and thought this would be the place to get it but there were none or some mirror guards but none. Nobody doing shows of frying pans or dinnerware sets or any little nick nacks. NEC is better in that regard but the stands at the Messe in Stuttgart allow you to go into the higher end vans more which was really good.

13/01/19 Gaggenau, Germany.

Unimog ( Universal-Motor-Gerät ) owned by Daimler-Benz and is a range of multi purpose all wheel drive medium trucks. Andy loves these trucks and we just happened to be passing the museum. Due to their off road capabilities, Unimogs can be found in jungles, mountains and deserts. As military vehicles, firefighters, expedition campers and in competitions like truck trials. In Western Europe they are commonly used as snowploughs.

It was raining when we arrived at the car park so Andy took advantage and cleaned the van.

11/01/19 Baden Baden, Germany

On the way to Baden Baden we stopped at Thieu in Belgium which had the largest boat lift in the world until 2016 when China built a bigger one.

The boats can go on either side of the building, the gates close like a lock and then the boat and water gets lifted 240ft to the next level of the canal!

Next stop was Dinant, Belgium just for the Golden Wok Chinese buffet. It’s quite a walk from where the van is parked but the food is worth it. €15.80 each with as much soft drink, beer or wine as you want.

Baden Baden, Germany is a Spa town with ruins of a Roman Bath. One of Germany’s oldest towns and also known as the “summer capital of Europe”. The town has a casino, lots of spas, museums, shopping, a ruined castle and lots lots more. The tourist information café and bar is said to do a Heibe Schokolade mit Sahne ( hot chocolate with cream ) with the best whipped cream in the world so we had to try it to see. Not bad for €3.30.

The intention from here is to go to Vienna, Austria but there has been really bad weather reports of the heaviest snow falls that only happen every 30-100 years and so far 7 people have died. We will just have to wait and see as there are a couple of places we want to stop at first.

08/01/19

At last we are out and about in the van again going through Belgium, Germany and Austria. Stop one is Ypres ( Ieper ) in Belgium, well known for its part in WW1. The town has become a living memorial to the 185,000 commonwealth lives lost during the Great War. We started at the tourist information office, in the Cloth Hall which also holds the ‘In Flanders Museum’ and followed the heritage path around the town. The ramparts on one side of the town are the best preserved in the country.

THE CLOTH HALL

The Cloth Hall is one of the largest commercial buildings of the Middle Ages which lay in ruins from the artillery fire that devastated Ypres in WW1. It was reconstructed in 1933-1967 to its former glory.

SAINT GEORGES MEMORIAL CHURCH

Built to commemorate over 500,000 commonwealth and British troops.

MENIN GATE

Dedicated to the British and commonwealth soldiers who were killed in WW1 and whose graves are unknown. The names of 54,395 soldiers are engraved on stone panels. The gate was not big enough to hold all the names so a cut off date, 15th August 1917 was chosen and the 34,984 names missing after this date were inscribed on Tyne Cot memorial instead. If a grave is identified then the name is removed from the walls.

Every day since 1928 ( except during WW1 when Ypres was occupied by Germany ) at 8pm, a bugle has sounded ‘The last call’ to remember those that lost their lives.