Friday, 21 February 2020

Moselle Valley, 20-21 February

I didn't post yesterday, as there was really nothing to post about!  The gas cylinder finally ran out while we were getting breakfast, a good week after the Swan Whisperer was convinced it was about to run out Any Minute Now!  So that's all right; we will be going to Germany in May with almost a full load of gas.

We drove from the outskirts of Charleroi (a nice aire - I'd recommend it) to Gravelines with singular lack of incident.  I slept most of the way - you know me, guaranteed to sleep in a moving vehicle at any time!  However, just as we had parked up, the heavens opened and for the next two hours there was a most spectacular storm!  No thunder and lighting, but very heavy rain and wind.  And then it eased, and the sun came out in time to set, but by then neither of us felt like going out again.

Then this morning we got up punctually, and after breakfast drove over to the Super U we could see from our parking - it was further away than it looked - and I did a huge Last Shopping, and then we drove to Cité Europe where we used the services, and so to Eurotunnel, where we were offered a crossing half an hour early (yes please!), but in fact got on an extra one 45 minutes ahead of schedule.  Mind you, there was a huge traffic jam on the South Circular, so that accounted for it!  Home by 14:30 UK time, and the steady work of unpacking and putting away, and generally sorting things out.  But the orchid that the Daughter and Son-in-Law gave us after their wedding, nearly 13 years ago, has flowered again!

We definitely love our new van now we are used to it.  The loo smells more than the old one did - this may be the chemical we were using, as it was what they gave us at the caravan centre, not what we normally use - and the lighting just doesn't shine in quite the right place when one is sitting in the swivelled-round seat (this is also awkward to do).  The table is smaller than in the old machine, and awkward to move, but one can live with that.  But that is the only downside, really.  

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Moselle Valley, 19 February

I should have had my act together this morning, got up betimes and headed into Koblenz, but singularly failed to get out of bed until the Swan Whisperer had got back from his "run". Poor man - it had, apparently, looked a lovely place for a run on the map, but when he got there it was far too steep and slippery for any but the most cautious of walks!

We started homewards after breakfast, agreeing that we will definitely come back both to Koblenz and to Lahnstein one of these days. But for now, we drove to Kerten, near Duren, where I did a Last Shop in Germany, and we got diesel, and then - while I slept - to this aire on the outskirts of Charleroi.

And the gas, which the Swan Whisperer was convinced was going to run out at the weekend, is still going strong, like the Widow's Cruse.... 

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Moselle Valley, 18 February

So today was All About Koblenz. After breakfast, we used the services (very necessary!) and then caught a bus into the town centre. This was a few minutes walk from the Altstadt and the Moselle, so we walked along the Moselle up to the Rhine, passing a memorial to the Roma and Sinti people who had been deported from Koblenz and murdered in the death camps. We went past the Castor church, with a lovely bed of pansies outside, and then arrived at the Rhine where there was a cable car across the river but, sadly, out of use and in fact being maintained before the new season starts in March.

So we walked on, and back into the Altstadt, the heart of which was the Jesuit square and church. We would have gone into the church, but Mass was about to start, and although we could have gone to the service, we thought that in German we might have trouble knowing what was going on. So we went back to a restaurant called the Einstein, a few steps away, where we had the lunch special, which was lentil stew with sausages and (unnecessary, I thought) Spätzle, followed by a small ice cream, and we drank beer and coffee.

By which time I had had enough, so we went back to the bus stop and caught the bus back to the camp site, the Swan Whisperer cleverly realising that one stop further on was almost definitely nearer than the stop I'd found. As, indeed, it proved to be.

So I flaked out and the Swan Whisperer did some shopping for me and went for a walk on his own behalf. We had debated moving on but it is very nice here, so we didn't. 

Monday, 17 February 2020

Moselle Valley, 17 February

We were wakened by church bells at 7:00 am, so the Swan Whisperer went for a run, slightly further, I think, than he meant, but then, we were parked up in the car park at the start of a rambling area! So I got breakfast, and managed to burn myself on the grill pan, which hurt, but lavender oil has sorted it, although you can see the place.

After breakfast, our first port of call was a supermarket in Kobern-Gondorf. We had originally planned to spend the night there, not in the supermarket, I don't mean, but in an aire, but decided to push on to Koblenz, which is not very far away. The place we had hoped to spend the night was just where the Moselle and the Rhine intersect, but when we got there it was €19, which said it included electricity and services, but the only thing that looked like an electric socket was full of water, and no sign of anything else. So we came away and have found a really nice aire where the Lahn and the Rhein intersect, instead. Only €11, and although electricity is extra, we found a socket with 4 Kwh left! Water is extra, but only €1 for 100 litres, which is fine. We haven't used the services yet, but will need to tomorrow.

So we had lunch and then I dozed off for a bit. The SW went to explore and when I came awake, I did, too, walking up to the nearest DM, about a mile away, and finding out that there is a half-hourly bus service into Koblenz from near our campsite, also half-hourly train from a little further away. In fact, I almost got on a bus into Koblenz, but only had a €50 note, so didn't. Instead I walked to the DM and bought what I wanted from there, and then walked back to the campsite. It didn't seem worth taking a bus for just one stop, which was all that I could see how to take between there and here. But tomorrow we will go into Koblenz, and may stay here another night as we are ahead of ourselves. 

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Moselle Valley, 16 February

I don't think we're going to run out of gas, after all! It might have been a bit closer had the big cylinder finished last night, when the Swan Whisperer said it was about to, but it is still going strong, and we have an untouched 5 kg cylindrr, so plenty. Especially as we haven't needed the heating today, it has been so mild.

I have been very sleepy all day so have done very little, but thoroughly enjoyed the drive along the river - it really is wonderful, but arguably not in the summer! 

We had hoped to spend the night in Cochem, but it was a bust, as the only parking we could find for motorhomes was only until 7:00 pm, so we drive on and found this lovely little car park with dedicated bays for motor homes, although no services or electricity. Village called Brodenbach, apparently. I will take a photo in the morning, but meantime here is one taken a bit further upstream.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Moselle Valley, 15 February

One disadvantage of the very big bed in this motor home is that the Swan Whisperer is too far away to snuggle against his back when you wake up not quite warm enough in the night!  Ah well.

After breakfast this morning he went off on another of his 2-hour walks, leaving me on my own, and then we set off downstream again, stopping at a bakery for rolls for lunch and then in the town of Bernkastel-Kues to eat said lunch and to have a walk round the town. Actually, what we walked round was Bernkastel; Kues is on the other side of the river and not as pretty, from what we could see. There were several double - barrelled towns we went through like that, rather like Budapest, we thought. Not that the town looked anything like Buda, or even Pest! It was very pretty and, even in February, a great many tourists! Mind you, it was a very un-February-like day; we didn't really need coats or wraps! Brilliant sunshine, while at home they are being shaken by Storm Dennis! 

Then we drove on along the river tu where we had hoped to spend the night, only to find it closed because of the high water. So we are at another aire, a mile or so away, same price, but this one doesn't offer electricity, which is a bore as we are low on gas. We may go straight to Koblenz tomorrow, we'll see. The Swan z Whisperer, needless to say, went off on another marathon, but can't back in time to cook Sausages and mash as it is Saturday and we have to have Sausages and mash on a Saturday... 

Friday, 14 February 2020

Moselle Valley, 14 February

"Extra for the mice, extra for the lice,
Two per cent for looking in the mirror twice!" I really think the aire at Trier must have been taking lessons from the Master of the House, as on top of the not insubstantial overnight fees, we had to pay for electricity and for using the services and had we wanted a shower (which we could not have had anyway as they were out of use for the winter), that would have been extra, too. They did say at the entrance that you could use the loos for free.....
So anyway, the Swan Whisperer went for a run and after breakfast we went to a Kaufman where I did a shopping, and then we drove on here through some very pretty villages - it is lovely  now and will be really lovely in a month or two - to a village called  Schleich where we have parked up by the Moselle.