We have been home a quite a while now and are having difficulties settling in to our Australian lifestyle again – waking up in the same location everyday seems a little boring compared to our European nomadic ways – more so for the Driver than the Navigator
This has not been helped by hearing from Linda and David
from Perth who did a 2 year European motorhome tour, returned home to W.A.,
bought a new caravan and car and only lasted about 3 months before selling the
car and caravan again and heading back over to Europe.
They said they soon got tired of having to travel long distances
with no change of scenery, having few places to choose from to stay and then
having to pay high prices to stay overnight compared with their experiences in
They have now bought a Chausson motorhome in France, have returned to Europe and are happily travelling through Europe again.
In February Michael and Pam from Cronulla came and stayed
with us for a few days – we travelled through a few places in Europe with them
including Bad Waldsee (the home of Hymer) and Middenwald where we went hiking
at the top of the cable car.
They have a Hymer 584 which they keep stored in S.E. England
and for the past 6 or 7 years have spent their summers in Australia and the
European summers touring Europe in their Hymer.
They left for Europe again at the start of June.
Whilst they were staying with us we had Michael and Debbie
(ex Randwick NSW but now Bilinga Qld) round for dinner.
Michael and Debbie had a Burstner motorhome which they had
done 3 tours of Europe in and sold at the end of 2017 before moving to Bilinga.
They told us that they have just bought a Rimor motorhome in France and returned to Europe in May.
We had lunch with Michael and Debbie at Currumbin in
February 2017 before we went to Europe and then met up with them in Berlin,
Germany and the Isle of Sheppey off the north east coast of Kent in the UK.
So the 6 of us sat having dinner on our front deck talking
about our motorhome travels with the only problem being that Michael and Pam
and Michael and Debbie were also talking about their plans for their next
tours, but not us.
It was a great night but we woke up the next morning feeling
a little sad.
In March Martina and Ralf our friends from Stelzenberg Germany travelled to Australia and rented a motorhome in Melbourne with the plan of travelling the east coast as far as Cairns.
In Germany Martina and Ralf have a Hobby motorhome and we toured Croatia with them in April 2018 before staying in their house which is about 10 km from Kaiserslautern which is home for a huge US military base of around 30,000 personnel.
After they arrived in Melbourne we connected up our Eco Tourer off road van and headed towards Sydney to meet them on their way north.
We wanted to show them some parts of Australia that they may not have seen on their own so we took them to Diamond Head in the Crowdy Bay National Park, Trial Bay Jail and South West Rocks in the Arakoon National Park and Lake Arragan in the Yuraygir National Park on our way home to Tweed Heads.
In these areas they were able to see some our unique Australian animals including kookaburras, guinea fowls, wallabies and kangaroos but no snakes, sharks, sting rays, red back spiders etc which some Europeans seem to believe are lurking at every corner.
They were even able to pat kangaroos in the wild (not just at a zoo).
Whilst they stayed with us in our Unit at Tweed Heads we took them to Currumbin Sanctuary where they cuddled a koala, fed the lorikeets and saw an indigenous dance ceremony.
We spent the next day at Seaworld Nara Resort and then the evening at the Australian Outback Spectacular which they thoroughly enjoyed (and so did we).
Martina and Ralf have since returned to Germany but said they really enjoyed their time in Australia, even though they probably tried to cover too great a distance in too short a time.
We set off again in our off road van in early June and have travelled through Dalby, Chinchilla, Miles, Taroom, Banana, Baralaba, Duaringa and Emerald.
We then spent 4 great nights in Carnarvon Gorge and did a 5 hour 14 klm hike through the Gorge to the Amphitheatre, the Aboriginal Art Gallery and Wards Canyon.
Since then we have travelled through Roma, Mitchell, Mungallala, and Charleville and are now in Wyandra.
It was there that the king would sign the
capitulation of Belgium.
Torhout was bombed again on 26 May, 27 May and 13
August, which damaged the hospital and some schools.
Torhout was occupied for 4 years before Canadian
troops liberated the city on 6 and 7 September 1944.
It was also during the occupation that the City Hall
was classified as a monument on 29 November 1943.
We camped overnight in the parking area for the
Castle of Wijnendale – free of charge – only facilities were rubbish bins – had
a quiet night.
There are still a few items of interest left over from World War 1 near the Castle.
Wednesday 14th November
Our campsite for tonight: Aire de camping car, Ekelsbeke –
Ekelsbeke was a free camp spot with 7 places only 250
metres from the centre of the village.
The facilities included free grey and black water
disposal and a rest room.
Water and electricity were available for 3 Euros each.
They were gearing up for a festival and the local people
were very friendly and helpful.
Mike Steers from Stafford had sourced Ziggy for us in
late 2016 and helped to equip her with all the items we needed for our tour and
had started to advertise her for sale a little while ago.
There had been a couple of people interested in the sale
including an American couple who just about drove us crazy with an endless list
of frivolous questions which went on week after week.
We had finally had enough and basically gave them a “put
up or shut up” ultimatum and thankfully they dropped off the prospect list.
During late October/early November a British expat living
in Spain had begun showing considerable interest in Ziggy.
His only concerns were based around all the challenges of
importing Ziggy in to Spain.
Once he had all that sorted out he wanted to proceed with
He gave us the go ahead in early November and transferred
the purchase amount in full in to our bank account on the 14th November.
He had agreed to our “turnkey” approach” which meant that
he was not only buying Ziggy but all the chattels as well including electric
bikes, Garmin Sat Nav, crockery, cutlery, linen etc etc.
It was a good deal for us as foreigners in that we could
just walk away but a good deal for him as well as it meant he could just walk
on board and absolutely everything was there ready to go.
However it left us in a rather awkward situation – we had
sold Ziggy, had been paid in full but we were still in France and had to get
Ziggy across the English Channel and back up to Stafford for the hand over –
every time I drove through an intersection I felt as though every car was going
to run in to us – fortunately we got Ziggy back up to Stafford without any
Thursday 15th November
Our campsite for tonight: Aire de camping car, Watten –
Watten is a free camp spot catering for about 12
motorhomes and is one of the closest Aires to the Calais ferry or Chunnel.
The site is only a short walk to the shops and
The facilities included free grey and black water
disposal and water and electricity were available at 4 Euros each.
Friday 16th November 2018
Our campsite for tonight: Toby Carvery Stonebridge, Coventry –
uneventful crossing from France to England via the Chunnel.
The new departure
terminal has now been completed and there are restaurants and duty free shops
in the departure waiting area.
Felt a little
uneasy walking around the departure area with French police patrolling through
the shops with their fingers inside the trigger guards on their machine guns.
both the British and French immigration checks – the French check being the
Schengen departure point and we had been in the Schengen zone for around 12
months and we were supposed to exit after 3 months.
familiarise myself again with driving on the left hand side of the road in a
large LHD vehicle, but it didn’t take long.
Endured a long
and boring drive from Dover to Stonebridge near the NEC.
Camped in the
Carvery carpark – no charge – fully floodlit – had a great meal and a pint in
the carvery – very nice – but had to get used to the British high prices again.
Saturday 17th – Wednesday 21st November –
Michaels Steer’s house – Stafford
Michael Steers house in Stafford and began discussing all the arrangements
regarding preparing Ziggy for her new owner.
arranged for a full engine service and MOT on Monday 19th November
and a habitation check on Tuesday 20th November.
service and MOT went through very smoothly and when the habitation check was
done we had a new rear skylight hatch installed.
Steve arrived and we went through Ziggy showing him all the workings of the
Steve moved Ziggy
to a nearby camping site that Mike had arranged and we picked up a rental car.
We had a last
dinner with Mike and Anne at a nearby English pub, sampled a couple of local ales
and had our last sleep at Mike and Anne’s house.
we said our final goodbyes to Mike and Anne and headed off in the direction of
Gatwick in the rental car.
Mike and Anne had
been absolutely fantastic hosts and we couldn’t thank them enough.
If anyone is
contemplating purchasing and or selling a motorhome in the UK then you could
not do any better than have Mike Steers at UKMotorhomefinder assist you.
Wednesday 21st November 2018 – B&B
Had a boring but
uneventful drive from Stafford to Gatwick where we had arranged a B&B until
our departure on Sunday 25th November arriving Brisbane at 06:40 on
Tuesday 27th November.
We flew Emirates
as we couldn’t get a seat on Qantas – must say we were disappointed with
Emirates – the flight and staff were nowhere near as good as on the outbound
Had a big sleep in this morning and didn’t surface until
after 9.30 am. With the days getting
shorter and shorter there is very little light before 8am now and together with
our wonderful silver screens that keep out light and cold (and heat) we sleep
longer here than in our sunny bright light and airy apartment at home.
Didn’t venture into town this morning and decided to head
to Ypres ASAP to try to secure a spot in the main Moho park until Sunday.
Not much luck here or at the other two in the area – all
booked out and queues waiting at the gates to move in once a Moho vacated. Many of the parking areas in town normally
open to day trippers were closed from Saturday until Monday – ugh!!!
We had driven through the town on the way to the
campsites and the town was truly alive and buzzing. Thousands of people and cars everywhere so
can imagine what it will be like by Sunday.
Drove out of town a couple of kms and parked on the
roadside. Waited until 4pm and then
walked into town to enjoy the evenings festivities. What a magic town with wonderful architecture,
particularly the Flanders Museum and the square around it.
Walked to the Menin Gate where a field of poppies has
been laid by the many visitors who have come here for these celebrations. Like a massive red carpet in a sea of
green. All the walls on both sides of
the road of the massive gate were etched with names of the lost ones in this
We were here to be part of the Last Post bugle ceremony
which is at 8pm every day and has been since 1928 hail rain or shine.
Every restaurant and bar was full with an unbelievable
atmosphere of camaraderie of all nations.
We sat in a bar that was full of Brits, Aussies, Canadians and many
others where shoulder to shoulder they
enjoyed a beer or two or three or more while waiting for 8pm. We spoke to a Brit who has been coming here
every year for over 30 years and had so much knowledge – very interesting.
By 7.30 pm the streets were packed a hundred deep in
front of both sides of the Menin Gate and that was before everyone left the
bars for the Last Post.
So much noise as everyone chatted and waited – then
complete silence as 4 buglers marched toward the gate, stood in the middle of
the road facing the Gate and began the Last Post. So moving as the tears rolled down the face
of so many around us. This was followed
by Scottish bagpipers who played Amazing Grace. We couldn’t see much from our position in the
crowd but captured the buglers and pipers.
The bars and restaurants again filled up so headed the
2kms back to Ziggy. Were not happy about
staying on the busy roadside overnight as it was a main road with trucks and
tractors passing by within inches so were very relieved to find Ziggy in tact.
Parked in a nearby carpark next to a large shopping
complex and were joined by several other Mohos before morning.
Had a very peaceful and quiet night which I am sure we
would not have had on the main road.
Contemplated staying here until Sunday but as the carpark started to
fill with other Mohos, we knew they would be moved on by the police soon, so
opted to move on and away from the increasing multitudes coming into the town.
Our campsite for two nights: Parking Barrage de la Gileppe, Jalhay – GPS
Before preparing the last post we published in Germany WordPress (the software for this site) updated to a Gutenberg editor – just what I needed was something more to learn with only a few more posts to do (not) so apologies as there were a lot of formatting errors in the last post and probably will be in this one.
We could not find new places now in this part of Germanyas we have been through this area before, so decided to bite the bullet andhead across the border into Belgium.
No border checks at all so entry into Belgium again was
A much nicer day today with no rain so really enjoyed the
drive through the Autumn drenched forests and hillsides – awesome – so
This is a gratis Stellplatz which has dedicated spots for
4 motorhomes only and 4 electric points at no cost. Have not seen this very often in our
travels. We were lucky enough to get the
This place is really popular and so busy with the car
park and all adjoining streets full by lunchtime. Again set on a huge lake with cycle and
walking tracks for miles.
High on the hill overlooking the dam, there is a
structure that is three storeys high with a restaurant at the top. From the top there are 360 degree panoramic
The dam wall is massive and the centre span includes a 20
metre high statue of Leopold the Lion
who guards the water and valleys.
The walk across the dam walls is really spectacular and today with the
weather being a little better, the locals really came out to enjoy this.
Day two came with not a cloud to be seen. The carpark filled very quickly and by 10am
cars were double and triple parked with no spots anywhere and once any Moho
vacated, cars quickly took their places with eventually Ziggy sitting all alone
surrounded by cars.
Took the opportunity of such a beautiful (but still
really cold day) to do one of the many long walks so once across the dam walls
we walked through the reservoir forest and along the lake. Couples, families all with man’s best friend
in tow (can’t believe how important dogs
are to Europeans) were everywhere walking and cycling and enjoying probably one
of the last sunny days left this year (hope not).
The views across the lake were stunning and again the
trees in full Autumn colours now drenched with sunlight were spectacular. Autumn in Europe is really special.
Several hours later we returned and enjoyed a hot
chocolate (for the navigator) and one of our favourite beers – Jupiler (for the
driver) at the lakefront restaurant.
Monday 5th November
Our campsite for tonight: Begny-Mine, Blegny – GPS N50.686138.
A UNESCO world heritage site, this mine was really
interesting. It is out of season now so
only option of viewing the mine was to go with a tour group of Dutch retirees
with a Dutch guide but with the aid of English audio headsets. Super information through audio but really
missed the jokes the guide was sharing with the group. Well worth a visit if in the area.
The mine closed several years ago but is a top attractionin the area. While we were there severalbusloads of kids, teenagers and old folk like us took group tours.
Great location to just stop and take in thesurroundings with playgrounds for the kids, an open air museum and an animalpark for the little ones (which the navigator also enjoyed). The brasserie was also well utilised by thegroups and Moho owners.
About a 15 minute walk into town where there was little
life to be seen and the church being the only point of interest worth
itself was great and very peaceful once the gates closed in the
evening. Great complimentary facilities
including water and use of the mines restroom during the day.
Tuesday 6th November
Our campsite for tonight: Park Olmental, Herk de Stad – GPS
Beautiful setting in a wonderful park with water
fountains, a picturesque lake (where fishermen sat for hours on end) and caught
nothing and a beaver pond. We went in
search of the beaver but this part of the lake had dried up and the Beavers
were long gone.
Great little town with heaps of shops with very expensive
clothing in shop windows – the price was enough to scare me away – but did lots
of window shopping.
Again a gratis site with a very new WC block where men
and women went through the same door and the wash basin was right next to the
urinal – so pleased the navigator did not strike anyone of the opposite sex
Really worth visiting here. A really trendy, funky town with a waterway
running through the middle of it. We
arrived late so by the time we hit the town, it was getting dark so could not
take pictures. Very pretty walk in the
evening with the cathedral well lit up and the streets now with Xmas trimmings
Dropped into a trendy little bar where we had to choose
from about a hundred different types of beers.
Woke up to a glorious sunny cloudless day so armed with
camera headed back into town to find the photo opportunities we missed last
night. Market day today prevented us
from getting photos of the uniquely Belgish town square which was a little
Just had to visit the cathedral (just love visiting
these) and were rewarded with an exhibition gallery of photos of Armistice Day
back in 1918. The town is gearing up for
celebrations for the coming weekend which is the 100th anniversary.
We are keen to be part of these celebrations and wonder
where we will be on the 11th – Ypres maybe?.
Great complimentary Stellplatz again with electricity
Thursday 8th November
Sadly left just after lunch after deliberating for some
time about staying here until Sunday – Armistice Day. Still so much of Belgium to see and now only
days left before we head across the channel.
With only 75 kms to our next stop, no more than an hour
on the motorway my driver said, took us nearly three hours with delays and
detours that took us round and round with seemingly no way to get past them –
Our campsite for tonight: Parking Lennik – GPS N50.807800. E4.163050
Arrived as the sun disappeared but were happy to get the
remaining spot (only 4 here but really pretty setting). No walks tonight but hopefully in the
Our campsite for 4 nights: am Alten Bahnhof, Pronsfeld – GPS N50.163010.
Wow – is it getting cold now. Martina and Ralf from Stelzenberg Germany
warned us that come 1st November when the Autumn rains begin, the trees lose
their remaining leaves and you say goodbye to summer, the sun and any hope of
any warmth until March the following year.
The cold came four days early for us this year as we experienced cold, rain, sleet and snow in the 4 days at Pronsfeld. The temperature during the day did not climb above 7 and the minimum on one day, even in the middle of the days was -2 degrees. We sat in Ziggy for most of the 4 days and enjoyed the warmth of the gas heating and the wonderful strong internet speeds here.
Great little Stellplatz with everything you need and only
a few minutes walk to the village. The
camping fuhrer comes morning and night to collect the camping fee. Lots of lovely trees (now in full Autumn
shades) border the camping area.
Met a great Belgish couple who gave us some tips on places to visit in Belgium. They said there are not many camping places and Belgium is overcrowded, hence they holiday in Germany. Advice from them was not to allow too much time in Belgium before going home.
Think without the internet we would have gone stir crazy
as we spent many hours enjoying our movies and U Tube, sport and world news
while the snow came tumbling down outside.
So pretty to watch through our picture windows but certainly kept us
indoors most of the time.
Took the opportunity on the last day to do a walk through the village but not without coats, gloves, scarves and many layers. The old railway cars at the railway station were quite interesting, but there is little else apart from cycling (not today for this little navigator though) and Nordic walking with lots of walking tracks to choose from. Only lasted about an hour and a bit before the sleet came in and we retired back to our warm little cocoon.
Thursday 1st November
Our campsite for tonight: Grenzlandhalle, Hellenthal –
GPS N50.492409. E6.380760
Travelled through more rain again today and struggled to
keep the Windows from fogging up. Has
taken us a while to learn how to do this successfully but now it’s a breeze
using the air conditioning in conjunction with the demister – no problem at
We are only travelling short distances in this weather
and really appreciated getting to this great little camp spot only a short distance
We are just on the outskirts of a very pretty little town
with lots of great restaurants. This
Stellplatz is gratis and does not have any services but is a very quiet and
restful spot. Drizzled for most of our
stay here so after a short time exploring this neat little town, we retired to
back to Ziggy.
Friday 2nd November
Hard to believe we are coming home at the end of this
month after more than 21 months away. We
are getting really very sad now and often there are several quiet moments when
we are travelling where both of us are feeling the pain and knowing our holiday
is coming to an end.
We have booked the Chunnel crossing between Calais and Folkestone back to the UK on 17th November to enable time to service, detail and register Ziggy and have a habitation check done and neither of us are looking forward to leaving Europe.
Ziggy has been just wonderful and while we have two interested parties waiting to inspect her, I for one will not be disappointed if they do not fall in love with her. If no sale eventuates, we will put her in to secure storage in the UK and return again for a while next year – now the thought of that makes us happy!
Rain has stopped for the moment but it is still really cold. We watch as the locals walk by in their heavy coats, layers, hats and gloves and wonder how they can stand this type of weather for so many months of the year.
So many places are now beginning to close for the seasonand we really appreciate that back home, nothing closes ever for any part ofthe year.
This is a great campsite right on the edge of the village with only a short little walk to the massive lake which now only has a few boats moored, whereas a couple of months ago, sailing and small cruise boats happily cruised back and forth. What a difference a few weeks make.
There is a really great information centre and a pretty village with lovely homes scattered up the hillsides around the lake. Lots of hotels and restaurants on the waterfront but only a few remain open.
Quite happy to be able to take a really long walk today as the weather has improved (still no sign of sunshine – has been nearly a week now without seeing the sun). The walks (and bike ways if you are brave enough) took us across the dam wall and around the lake which is stunning.
Temperature overnight was -3 and woke up to thick frost
on the grass. Even have a patch of
sunshine this morning so hope it remains for a while.
My driver hasn’t had the opportunity of taking many
photos over the last week or so – the weather has been so awful and the
navigator has not had much to write home about for the same reason.
We have decided to head for Calais through Belgium so we
don’t have to pass through France but will eventually have to cross in to
France to get to the Chunnel crossing.
We are very sad about leaving Germany as we have had such a
good time here – the country, people, food, beer and everything else have been
It also makes such a difference when we have been able to
understand what the locals are saying and they can understand us as well.
Important that you have plenty of cash at all times (same in
many European countries) as credit cards are not accepted in many businesses
with the exception of supermarkets and service stations.
Be aware of the “pay to pee” concept in Germany – when you
can find a public toilet (offentliche toilette) there is a fee to pay on
exiting the toilet.
We were surprised that this system was also in places like
McDonalds and in some restaurants and bars.
The Driver was caught out a couple of times as he usually
wanders around without any money at all as I am the one who carries the money,
The other unusual concept for us was the deposit or “pfand”
system whereby a deposit is paid on all drink type purchases both at
supermarkets and in some restaurants and bars.
The supermarkets have automatic machines where you can
deposit your empty bottles and receive a docket which can be offset against
future purchases in the store.
Sometimes the deposit is more then the value of the drink ie 19 Euro cents for a bottle of water and 25 Euro cents for the deposit.
The most confusing situation we experienced was at a restaurant/bar at the Deutsches Ecke at the junction of the Moselle and Rhein rivers in Koblenz – we went to the bar to order 2 beers and were told we had to go to another section to pay a deposit for the glasses – 2 Euros each glass.
We did that and then returned to the bar and ordered the 2
beers which were then placed on the counter top – We went to pay but was told
we had to go to another section to pay.
We consumed the beers and then went back to the bar to have
the glasses deposit refunded but was told we had to go to another section to
have the deposit refunded.
Just as well we could understand the signage (and there was
sign pollution) or we could have been there for ever.
In many places staff are not allowed to handle cash – only
the owner or manager handles the cash.
Our campsite for tonight: Moselufer, St Aldegund – GPS N50.080662. E7.131390
We have decided as we now only have a little more than a month before heading home that we revisit some of our favourite places on the Moselle.
This is a great winter spot as not many pitches offer shade as we found out on our last visit in summer. Bikeways run along the front of the campground and all pitches have magic waterfront views with a small but lovely village.
One of our favourite places again right on the Moselle where barges and river cruise boats meander past every few minutes.
One of the prettiest and safest bikeways we have ventured on which travel through the vineyards past old stone bridges and a castle to boot. A little tractor towing a wagon that takes about 10 tourists shares this bikeway and leaves little room to get past. So many little villages to pass through along the way makes this place a must to stop at and do several biking adventures.
The Village is set on a hillside and surrounded by grapevines. So many winemakers here in the village and wine sampling is a must.
Spent many days here and had such a wonderful time.
The campsite has a small waterfront Imbiss (cafe) where the campers and locals gather throughout the day and night for food and drink. The Imbiss closed for the season on Friday night and the big finale was the BBQ with outside bonfire which attracted a huge number of people who partied on until the wee hours of the morning. Beers were €1 and wine €2 so there were a lot of untidy people. Last look at our watch was after midnight so time to leave the party animals and indulge in some beauty sleep.
Monday – Tuesday 22nd & 23rd October
Our campsite for two nights: Wohnmobilplatz, Kinheim – GPS N49.972141. E7.057040
Haven’t been here before and guess we avoided it when here in summer – no trees here at all but lovely and sunny with the wonderful Moselle/vineyard views forever.
Not a lot in the village but lots of interesting heritage buildings and a waterfront hotel which was very popular particular with bus groups.
The morning ritual here is a bit daunting with the church bells peeling at 8am, the campsite fuhrer arriving in his tractor at 8.10 am to collect the camp fee and the baker sounding his horn at 8.15 am. Given the temperatures in the morning are single digits and it is still relatively dark at 8am, there were not a lot of happy campers at this time of morning. Got to say the campsite fuhrer was not the friendliest.
Lots of little veggie plots border the campsite where veggies grow and the walnut tree on the border of the plots was dropping nuts in abundance. Lots of campers out with their bags gathering up the nutty pickings.
Great little Stellplatz but the 8am forced start is the only negative.
Wednesday & Thursday 24th & 25th October
Our campsite for two nights: Moselstellplatz, Traben-Trarbach – GPS N49.957180. E7.104980
Couldn’t get in here during the summer months as it was packed out but this time round we won the lottery and got the best spot right on the waterfront with only the bikeway between us and the Moselle – no campers either side as well – just wonderful!
Can understand now why this spot is so popular. Our 20 minute walk along the bikeway riverfront track led us into one of the prettiest towns we have visited. The double city is on opposite sides of the river and after spending two days here, not sure which side is the best. Traben is the oldest with records dating back to 820 and Trarbach 1142.
The architecture is spectacular on both sides with many old churches, cathedrals and buildings renovated back to their previous glory. Spent the whole day exploring one side then the other and had to pinch ourselves as we walked through a wonderland – street after street of awe inspiring architecture.
The main tourist attraction is the Bruckentor (Bridge Gate) on the Trarbach side which is a three storey entry structure on the bridge leading to the Traben side. Looks like a small castle and is now a wine tavern on the second and third level.
On day one, we saw from the town, the ruins of Grevenburg Castle high on the hill and day two we took the challenge and climbed the mountainside to the top. Only a few kms uphill, but all the way up a steep hillside left us breathless at the top.
So worth the effort as the 360 degree views over the Moselle, Traben and hillside vineyards were amazing. There is a cafe right at the top (a road from the other side of the mountain leads to the ruins).
It was the old commandants quarters refurbished to a rustic cafe with an open fireplace, where we enjoyed a beverage before taking the steep descent back down to the twin towns.
Definitely worth a visit to see these twin towns and the Stellplatz was great but very popular even now out of season – it was full by lunchtime.
Friday & Saturday 26th & 27th October
Our campsite for two nights: Reisemobilpark Treviris, Trier – GPS N49.750189. E6.624440
The Stellplatz itself is on the Moselle about 3kms from the Old Town. No real views as such as the fence and shrubs on the border block out most of the view. It is well laid out and the best spot to camp because of its proximity to the Old Town.
A nearby regular bus service runs from Monday to Friday but not on weekends. We arrived late on Friday and still tired from our long treks in Traben-Trarbach yesterday opted to rest and take the challenge in the morning.
It is really cold now with this morning’s temp at 3 degrees with a high of 7 predicted so on with the coats, scarves, gloves and backpacks, we walked the 3 kms along the river, over the Romerbrucke (Roman Bridge) (2nd century) and soon found the Old Town.
Trier is Germany’s oldest city (over 2000 years) with seven Roman UNESCO heritage sites in the city centre to explore.
Wow, wow and double wow – what a fabulous Old Town where there is street after street of pedestrian only zones and with a mapped tourist trail to go by, made the exploring without missing anything so easy.
So much to see it took the whole day just walking and enjoying every moment. Some of the most memorable for us were:
1 Porta Nigra is the world’s best preserved Roman city gate (170 AD) the town’s landmark. Set in the heart of Old Town in the main square, it stands tall and ominous amongst the newer buildings.
2 Konstantin Basilica (4th Century)
3 Kaiserthermen Imperial Baths (4th century) currently being renovated but many parts still visible.
4 Dom St. Peter (4th century) – just amazing.
5 Liebfrauen Basilica (13th century) and joins the Dom.
Were a little disappointed with the Amphitheater (100 AD) as it was a long walk out of town and though some of the original gates in the lower level still stand, would not recommend this as we have seen some in Greece that were much better.
Stopped in the main square for a hot gluhwein and watched some locals joining in for a display of how “The Macarana” is done German Style.
A truly wonderful day ending with a brisk walk home and then “feet up” in front of the heater for the rest of the day.
With friends Martina and Ralf at their home in Stelzenberg Germany
Sunny skies and fantastic warm October weather for the whole stay here which gave us the opportunity of spending lots of time detailing Ziggy both inside and outside. She is more than sparkling now and we are sad to think that it is only six weeks before we head home. Ziggy has been our home for such a long time now, it is hard to imagine not having her as part of our life in Australia.
Ralf is a real whiz with motorhomes and he installed a new micro-switch in one of the taps, adjusted the sun awning arms, renewed the waterproofing membrane on one of the skylights which was looking a little tired and made all of his equipment available for us to detail Ziggy – much appreciated Ralf.
We had such a fantastic time with our friends and their family and did so many things it is hard to remember them all.
Martina’s mum and dad Christal and Emile are singers as part of a 40 strong choir in Kaiserslautern and we were lucky enough to be invited to their Schubert concert which also featured many great movie films such as Lion King, Aladdin and Phantom of the Opera to name just a few. Accompanied by professional operatic soprano, baritone and piano player, the two and a half hour concert was just wonderful.
We celebrated a 50th birthday with Ralf’s sister with her family and friends in a restaurant several kms away and they welcomed us with open arms. Spent many hours talking about Australia with a few who had visited Australia previously and others who want to go.
Had a wonderful afternoon tea with Martina’s sister, brother, mum and dad and enjoyed cakes you can only dream of and the best home-made apple crumble pie (made by Cornelia – Martina’s sister) – yum – had to have two slices of this one.
Went on some wonderful hikes through the Pfalzwald with Martina, Ralf and Petra and on one day enjoyed the panoramic view at the top at the Hohe Loog Haus with a wonderful traditional German late lunch/dinner.
The road on the way to the departure point was a little testing – it is called Totenkopf Strasse which roughly translated means Deadhead road and there are many traffic accidents on this road.
Our last day and also our wedding anniversary (our second in Germany) was spent in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse on the last day of the two week wine festival where more than 110 floats paraded through the streets.
Mostly pulled by tractors, beautiful horses, vintage cars and some man power, the floats carried wine princesses from all the wine regions in the area.
Wine flowed freely and helpers with the floats were eager to fill up any glasses you had in hand.
Several bands in full colourful German costume passed by and created a wonderful atmosphere.
Back in the town centre, Ferris wheels and other rides were in full swing and every spare spot was taken up with food and drink outlets. Spent a whole afternoon here – just fantastic.
We have made wonderful friends in Martina and Ralf whose hospitality, friendship, companionship and help over this week with Ziggy have left us so sad to part company with them and their wonderful friends and family.
Ralf and Martina are going to try to come and stay with us in Tweed Heads in March next year and our Polish relatives from Biala Podlaska will be staying with us in August/September and we hope to be able to show them all some Aussie hospitality.
Ralf and Martina are also keen for us to return to Germany so we can go touring in our motorhomes together again – maybe Ziggy goes back into storage over winter??? – something to chat about in the evenings to come.
Monday 15th & Tuesday 16th October
Our campsite for two nights: Am Nohfels, Bad Sobernheim – GPS N49.778881. E7.658640
After a large shop at our favourite Lidl store, in Kaiserslautern, we travel through a colourful countryside with Autumn now in full swing. We passed along many roads where both sides of the road were showering autumn leaves creating a carpet of orange, red, brown and green – so pretty. We just love the Autumn tones but can imagine it being a nightmare to clean up the tons of leaves everywhere.
The campsite is set in such a colourful Autumn setting with apple and nut trees scattered throughout the campsite. Hedges are well groomed and everything is perfect here. The small cafe adjacent attracts lots of visitors and campers and overlooks a small river.
Several walks and bike ways lead in every direction. Walked to the village only 10 minutes away where there are loads of shops, cafes, old churches, quaint buildings and of course a small town square where we enjoyed a quiet ale.
The walk/bikeway in front of the cafe led along a treed avenue to the Barfusspfad which is a local attraction where you take your shoes off and walk barefoot across the river to the other side with the aid of ropes. There is also a suspension bridge though dismantled at present so only way across was through the river. Really worth the effort though a little chilly in the water now.
They have a local tree artist who has carved fantastic animals out of logs and these are right beside the cafe.
Our campsite for 2 Nights: An Der Pirminiushalle, Hornbach – N49.183819. E7.365600
We rate this little CP with a 10. It is just so well organised and designed by a Moho owner – very obvious as everything you need is here and is so well done. A really beautiful treed setting and peaceful and quiet. There is a small sports ground beside the CP which provides several boules lanes, a mini golf course, table tennis, snooker and a small soccer field – all equipment is supplied to play these games and is gratis and included in the tariff (though you can make a donation). We spent a few really enjoyable hours in there and sad to say the driver outshone the navigator in every game we played.
The CP hut includes a big covered area with tables and chairs and loads of tourist information. Beside the hut is a fire pit with seats around it. Timber can be purchased from the supermarket. Wifi was great on one day but a bit iffy on day two.
There are several great walks in the area and the first was to explore the historic town only 15 minutes walk away. The old church was built in 1573 and is currently being refurbished while the monastery’s (Kloster) interior has been converted to a five star + hotel where we enjoyed a pint served in their own beer stein, in the sunny beer garden.
Thursday & Friday 27th & 28th September
Reluctantly we left here, could definitely have stayed on longer as there are so many walks here and it was so beautiful.
Our campsite for two nights: Freizeitpark Zweibrucken Wohnmobil, Zweibrucken – GPS N49.253639. E7.376230
This small town (town of roses and horses) has a proud history despite its nearly complete destruction in 1945 during WW2. The town was declared derelict by the Americans and plans were to abandon any consideration of rebuilding.
The locals got together and held a compulsory lottery, the funds went to the rebuilding of the town and some old buildings were rebuilt to the original specifications including Alexander church, Karlskirche and the Castle.
From the CP you walk along tree lined pedestrian avenues to the Rosegarten – beautiful gardens that are open all year round, though sadly the rose season ends in September, but still a few there now and lots of other blooms and gardens.
The town’s sporting facilities are fantastic and we passed by many sporting fields and equestrian centres where horses were being groomed and put through their paces.
The CP again is really well done with excellent bathroom facilities and showers included in the tariff that have no time limit and loads of hot water. Washer and dryer at €2 a load – took advantage of that and excellent wifi to boot. Beside the CP was a beer garden and restaurant where we spent both afternoons in the sunshine with the locals. A great Stellplatz though the €50 deposit for the bathrooms was a bit daunting (key was well looked after).
Unusual place this which is nowhere near a town but included as part of a hotel and resort. The CP setting was natural bushland bordering a small lake where there were lots of beautiful nature walks. Wifi excellent and you could use the facilities of the hotel when it was open.
One section included the most unusual cabins looking like large oak wine barrels. Separate barrels for each room i.e. one barrel on its side was the bedroom and beside it, the bathroom – all on a small deck with a couple of deck chairs. If you wanted a two bedroom, then you got another barrel. The setting was in a vineyard with the grape vines separating the units.
This place is just magic. Very private on the outskirts of a small village. It is high on a hill with views forever with several grassed terraces and large pitches. Wifi again is excellent so taking advantage of this whenever we can. The property has several rustic timber huts where tables and chairs, a fireplace (with timber) and the most unusual western artefacts create a wonderful ranch style atmosphere.
Again there are so many nature walks from here where great tracks take you through forests where quite often the tree canopy is so dense you cannot see the sky. No sounds of life in any direction with just us, the trees and the birds – thank goodness it is well signposted. Something we soon realised is that being on top of the hill, all walks go downhill first and then the inevitable – the walk back is all uphill. Took a few of these walks with the smallest being 5.5kms and each time, the uphill took a lot longer 😅.
The days have been very cool with overnights at around 3 degrees so walking has been a real joy. Nights are spent around the fire pit where the owner puts on a great fire where the conversation becomes more lively once the moonshine comes out. It amazes us that everyone seems to have that bottle of clear liquid in their alcohol stocks and are really keen for novices like us to share it.
The owner puts on the occasional BBQ grill where he cooks outside for the campers – only does this when there are enough numbers, and produces the biggest, fattest and juiciest piece of meat we have had since leaving home. This comes with cooked potato and you bring your plates and cutlery, bread, salad etc. Total cost €5 each and the rustic beer garden is large enough to house a large group. Had a real hoot on one evening but as the Germans began speaking faster and faster and with different dialects, we lost some of the communication.
So many times in our travels we have come across people who really would love to come to Australia but think it is really dangerous with the number of deadly animals and sea life we have here. Evidently several documentaries shown overseas portray this. The tourism bureau really needs to lift its game here as our image to overseas travellers is really scary.
A really special peaceful place for those that enjoy a rural, rustic, unique and interesting environment. All services here including wifi with electricity and water at a small cost and camping with the panoramic views only €7 per night.
Loved the meat so much have organised the butcher for some of the same to take with us.
Well done Hohenblick – your property and staff have been 10 star plus.