Tuesday, 25 September 2018

German Avenue Road, 25 September

We hauled ourselves out of bed this morning and had a quick breakfast, and were in such good time at the terminal that we got a crossing half an hour earlier than scheduled - 09:20 instead of 09:50.  I had been a little worried as my debit card had had to be cancelled while we were away, and I wasn't sure whether we would need it at the terminal, which is why we were early, but luckily we didn't.

Despite endless roadworks on the M20 and heavy traffic on the South Circular, we got home by 11:00 UK time and have unpacked and done the first of many loads of washing!  Home now until early November.... watch this space.  I'm hoping we'll have an excursion or two between now and then, but am not sure.

Edited to add: we finally gave in, this last morning, and put the heating on while we showered and dressed!  As it was Calais, right on the edge of the time zone, it wasn't even light at 7:00 am, and it was very cold.  I nearly wasn't warm enough in bed last night and had to use my extra rug for the first time, too.  Pyjamas next holiday, rather than summer-weight nighties!

Monday, 24 September 2018

German Avenue Road, 24 September

We did not hurry this morning, and it was gone 10 when we left Metz, stopping first for more gas, and then there was the long, dreary road through Luxembourg, Belgium and France back to Calais - 297 miles in all. It would have been shorter, and an hour quicker, to have gone through France, but motorway tolls being what they are, we thought not! 

We stopped for diesel in Luxembourg (cheap!), and for lunch in Belgium - don't ask me where; I was asleep and didn't really wake up until we were approaching Calais!

We are parked in the usual place, and I did a Last Shop including delicious kidneys for supper, and we will have to hurry in the morning to present ourselves at the terminal by 09:00.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

German Avenue Road, 23 September

Last night's parking was a dismal failure! It was a lovely place, surrounded by vines and fruit trees, but random cars kept driving up and stopping, with young men getting out of them and, a few minutes later, going away again. I've no idea what they were up to, whether legal or otherwise, but it kept on happening, and I felt quite frightened and hence slept very badly.

We tried to go up to the very end of the Avenue Road, and probably succeeded, but we aren't quite sure where it officially starts/ends. After buying bread at a random bakery, we headed off home up the motorway. I fell asleep and missed, so I am told, a lovely drive through the Black Forest, on minor roads as there don't seem to be any motorways! I woke up in time to help the SW find relatively cheap diesel (it has got more expensive during the holiday, but that is, we gather, pan-European, not just Germany). 

And so we crossed the Rhine (again - and we had already crossed the Danube that morning!) into France and stopped for lunch soon after Strasbourg. We decided to leave the motorway after a couple of junctions and go the other way, with the distinct advantage of no tolls. It was still mostly along fast roads and very quiet. But as we approached Metz, the heavens opened and we were deluged. And had to be very careful indeed getting to our parking for the night, by the Moselle. But we are there now, and the rain is away, and supper is nearly ready. The van next to us has burnt their supper - their door opened and an arm waved a very smoky pan around, followed by a smell of burnt food.... Hope it was still edible!

Saturday, 22 September 2018

German Avenue Road, 22 September

Although we still have two more and three  more nights to go, they will basically just be "driving days", to get us home. 

We have finished the Avenue Road, from its start on Rügen Island, in the Baltic, I it's end on Riechenau Island, in the Bodensee (Lake Constance). 1,255 miles in all, plus the 800-odd miles to get to Lauterbach and, I assume, another 800 miles to get home. But it was the Avenue Road we wanted to follow, and follow it we did. I'd like to last the states we went in, but can't find a map of them! From the north-east to the south-west of the country, beautiful little towns, towns which were once border towns but are now as central as you can get. We've travelled past vast fields - former collective farms - and past vineyards and, today, apple orchards. We've seen how little villages celebrate the start of the wine harvest and drunk several bottles of "Federweißer", the young wine of the country dry has to be kept cool and upright, and you mustn't tighten the lid of the bottles!

Today was the last day of the Road, and we started with a walk round Riedlingen, then visited a Rewe for a Last Shop in Germany (the supermarkets are closed on Sundays), and a DM as I've fallen in love with their own brand moisturiser!  Then we followed the Road all the way, including across the ferry to Konstanz, and have found a lovely secluded place to park up for the night. The SW has, of course, gone for a walk!

Friday, 21 September 2018

German Avenue Road, 21 September

We were not sure this morning whether it had rained in the night or whether it was falling leaves. In fact it turned out to be sycamore seeds which fell down from the roof on to the windscreen wipers every time we moved off for a while.

The Swan Whisperer went for a short run this morning, and then got breakfast. This was a mistake (not his cooking - the poached eggs were perfect!) as he forgot to tell me we had run out of eggs so when I went shopping at the local Rewe I didn't buy any! So we stopped there and I made him get them, before we headed to Tübingen, and then on to Schloß Lichtenstein, where we had lunch, and finally down the Avenue Road to Riedlingen where we are spending our penultimate night in Germany. Tomorrow we will be on the Bodensee, then two long days driving and home on Tuesday morning. It has been a lovely trip.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

German Avenue Road, 20 September

I was really disappointed to discover that the town of Neustadt an der Weinstraße, despite its lovely name, was not a pretty town at all! There were a couple of churches near the aire, which we went to have a look at and a bakery which I bought rolls, and then a Rewe, Lidl and Ali which I went to the latter of.

One look at the proposed route today convinced me that if we were to go on the Avenue Road at all, it would only be for a token distance. We still stayed on minor roads, mostly the Weinstraße, and stopped just outside Landau in die Pfalz for lunch and just outside Gaggenau for a cup of tea, passing through Karlsrühe en route.  It was a lovely drive especially as we are on the edge of the Black Forest here.

I had planned for us to stay outside a hotel which let one park up for free if you had a meal there, but the car park was full and there didn't seem to be anywhere reserved for motor homes so we came back into town and have parked up in the municipal aire which is free and has services. It seems very nice.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

German Avenue Road, 19 September

Only a short drive today. We were woken up, as threatened, in the wee small hours by the grape harvesters - mechanical, these days, not students - going out and fully-laden trailers reappearing. But we went back to sleep and even though the Swan Whisperer went for a run, we were away by 10:00. The drive was partly down the Alleestraße and partly down the Weinstraße (do they overlap?) first going slightly all round the houses and having to reset the Sat-nav at one stage as it had defaulted to a route we didn't want! 

We wanted to stop in Bad Durkheim for lunch, but it was a bit of a bust as we had just missed the wine fair but the big car park was still full of vans. Then the restaurant which had had Federweißer a couple of years ago didn't have it and the food wasn't very good. Oh well. 

Now we are at Neustadt an der Weinstraße, within spitting distance of an Aldi and a Rewe and the SW has gone to explore, but we don't know whether it is a nice place or not.