04/08/2017 Poland

We travelled to Zagan to the Muzeum Obozow Jenieckich – the POW Camps Museum of Stalag Luft 3 and about which the film “The Great Escape” was made. 


One of Rob’s favourite movies “The Great Escape” told the story of the Great Escape here during World War II.  

They have a great museum here and a reconstruction of Stalag Luft 3 showing the three tunnels (Tom, Dick & Harry) that were used for the escape.  More than 600 prisoners helped in building these tunnels.


The Stalag was built in the spring of 1942.  It was built to imprison the officers of the Allied Air forces.  In 1945 Stalag Luft 3 held more than ten thousand captive air force officers.  On 24th March 1944, 76 airmen broke free of the camp.  73 were recaptured and 50 were shot.  Only 3 made it home. Four of the 50 shot were Australians.

There were several other camps in Zagan and at its peak over 300,000 prisoners were in the camps – around 130,000 died of starvation, the cold and or ill treatment.

We left Zagan and headed for Wroclaw to spend the night in the heart of the city in a stadium. 

The first 40 kms were the worst stretch of highway we had ever encountered.  The road was fully corrugated and it was like travelling 40kms with a speed bump every two metres.  Ziggy shook, rattled and did everything except roll.  I think every bone in our body ached.   But then the road just changed back to normal – thank goodness.

There were a few tourist sights we wanted to see in Wroclaw.  We arrived there in the middle of late afternoon peak hour traffic.  Such a big city and so busy.   Arrived at the stadium and were told that the stadium was closed for camping for the next five days so what could we do?

We headed out of Wroclaw city and headed for the country again.  There were several motorway rest spots along the way, but we have been warned through the blog sites that these were the worst places to stay.

In frustration and as it got later we arrived at Olesnica and decided we would find somewhere in the town to just park for the night. 

Found a large parking area just outside of the town church.  There were quite a few cars still in the parking area but there was plenty of room for us. 

Rob headed off to speak with a couple of people and ask about the safety of parking here.  He met this lovely tradesman who was just packing up his car for the night and to our surprise not only spoke Polish but also German fluently. 

Well guess what – Rob broke out in his best German and soon the lovely man told us to follow him as there was a hotel up the road where he played the guitar regularly and he would ask if we could park in the grounds for the night.  He was just so delightful and nothing was a problem.

We followed him up the hill and together the boys met with hotel reception and negotiated a spot in the car park for the night.

We thanked our angel in disguise who before we left him, offered us a bottle of his moonshine – he had a dozen in the back seat of his car – we declined gracefully.

We had dinner and a couple of beers in the restaurant (great food and lovely modern hotel) and tipped the staff on the way out.  They were so happy with the tip, they insisted we come back for breakfast in the morning.  We declined gracefully – as we were beginning to feel the pinch of so much good food and wine (and not a lot of exercise of the last couple of days).

Sunday 9th to Monday 10th  April –Chlebow at Lipce Reymontowskie – 50klms north east of Lodz – Poland

Woke up and spent a short time checking emails just before breakfast and heading off.  Horror, shock – there was an email from Westpac advising us that there were some suspicious transactions in our account and asking us to lodge a report to the fraud squad to investigate if the transactions had not been approved by us.  Having been warned about getting money from an ATM not in a shop or bank and remembering the location where I had drawn cash the day before, we immediately believed someone had accessed our accounts. 

The next two hours was spent on the phone to Westpac changing all our passwords to be safe.  Our accounts had not been accessed so we headed off feeling much happier.  Lesson learnt always phone the fraud squad first before believing anything in an email or giving out information in an email.

We had a late start but we knew where we were staying for the night so enjoyed again the acres and acres of beautiful countryside.

Poland is such a beautiful place.  We have not had the time yet to experience much as we are on a deadline to get to Biala Podlaska.

Heading off the highway, we soon come to a very rural little village.  Only about 8 houses in the street and one of these is where we are camping for the night.  It was called “Bumerang” and is in Camperstop and ADAC books. 

The sign on the gate showed us we were at the correct place but no one was home.  The homestead was locked up and no one in sight.  We looked up and down the street and only saw a little old lady.  Knew that she would not speak English or any language other than Polish – ugh!!.   

We decided that the owners should be home soon so began to back up into a driveway of a partly built house across the road and that was where we were staying for the night. 

Saved by the neighbour who came out and told us the owners were away on holiday and opened up the gates and lead us to the back of the homestead which was set up for mobile home parking.  He told us in his broken English that someone would see us in the morning for payment.

It was like an oasis in the desert.  The back of the homestead was beautifully grassed areas allowing for around 10 motor homes.  You looked out across fruit trees to fields just freshly ploughed. 

Ziggy and Krys at rest at “Bumerang”

Again we were the only ones there.  Within a half an hour some people arrived and told us they were looking after “Bumerang” for their friends who were holidaying in Greece.  The couple were Dutch and spoke excellent English. 

We had a great conversation with them and found out that the town was only a couple of kms away and would be an easy ride into town on our bikes to explore the next day. 

We talked to them about whether we could get Polish SIM cards there as we were ham strung with no internet since we left Germany a couple of days before.  They offered to come into town with us the next morning and help us buy our SIM cards.

Around 9.30am they arrived and told us that they had checked in their town about SIM cards and they were not available there but a small town called Skierniewice around 17kms away could help us out.  We started to pack up Ziggy to follow them but they said they would drive us there instead as this would be easier for us.

In the short time we have been here we have found the people we have met in Poland so wonderful.

Rob & Marie-Louise Deuver were absolutely wonderful.  They stood with us at a Telecom Poland office and helped us to buy and have a SIM card installed for my Ipad. 

Rob, Marie-Louise, Krys & Robert in Skierniewice

I think we got 10GB of data for around $AUD 8 for a month..  Marie-Louise then spoke to them about Rob’s ipad which had our German SIM card jammed in the SIM card slot  We were taken to another store where with the help of a Stanley knife, the storekeeper was able to open up and remove the jammed SIM card.  He then installed another SIM for Rob for around the same price.

Rob and Marie-Louise then took us to the village centre where they were setting up a market for Easter.  They told us where to buy the best Polish Sausages and we bought these and some home brewed local beer.  Then on to the supermarket where they helped us select some other Polish specialties they said we should taste.

Finally after a wonderful morning, they took us back to their house in Retniowiec for some coffee and Dutch cookies.

Dutch cookies on Marie-Louise and Roberts back patio

“Bumerang” is just a beautiful rural setting and we would highly recommend anyone to stay here for at least a couple of nights.   the owners who were holidaying in Greece – Kazimierz & Jola Foks  are continually upgrading Bumerang and currently are building a laundry there.  There are hot showers, WC, grey water discharge, fresh water and all for around 10 euros a night.

To Rob and Marie-Louise – thank you for taking the time to make our stay with you so unbelievably wonderful.  Bumerang deserves to do well and we hope anyone following this blog site and are visiting Poland – please visit here – you will not be disappointed.

04/04/2017 East Germany to Poland

Tuesday 4th April – Dresden continued

Came home from a great day touring AldStadt (Old Town) Dresden.  The tram and bus system here is so good so was not hard to find our way back.  We came back full of the hope that our fridge would be working.

Dresden Military Museum

Ugh – after about an hour, we noticed the fridge was getting hotter again.   The service department was now closed so we took readings for a while and then put the fridge back on electricity.

Wednesday  & Thursday 5th & 6th April – Dresden

Dropped back into the service department first thing.  The receptionist saw us coming and alerted the troops that we were back again.  We could tell by the look on her face that they were getting a little tired of us now.  The service manager arrived promptly and we gave him our trusty piece of paper logging two hours of time with temperatures getting hotter in our fridge.  We did not have to say anymore and watched as he conferred with other service personnel. 

To cut a long story short, he eventually rang Dometic directly and ordered a part which he said would arrive on Friday (another two or so days here in Dresden was not a problem as it is such a great city).  We still could keep our deadline to be in Warsaw by the following week.  Spent the rest of the day catching up on paperwork, reading and walking,

The part arrived around lunchtime Thursday and was fitted.  It was a small piece of metal the size of a green pea but as soon as this was fitted to the burner, the flame which had been an orange colour changed to blue.  We sat for the next hour or so keeping a watch on the gauges – colder and colder it went so it was time to go out and celebrate.

Gas Fridge Jet

Decided to find another local pub with some good German food and set off on foot.  About two hours later and with sore feet we gave up – who could ever dream that you could walk for two hours in Germany and not find a pub on a corner.

We ended up at our trusty local pub just around the corner (we had been there the night before for a drink only) and had a beautiful German dinner of Pork Schnitzel and of course sauerkraut for me and potatoes for Rob, downed this with a couple of local beers and then headed back for a well deserved rest.

Friday 7th April – Bad Muskau, Germany (border of Germany and Poland).

Happily set off from Dresden with a fridge that was working better than ever (didn’t get our door fixed so will have to wait until we get back to UK to get this done at the end of the year.  Again a typical overcast cold day and drizzle but we are learning that if you don’t go out in this sort of weather then you wouldn’t do anything – kind of getting used to it now except when we hear from back home about the sunny warm days.

The countryside is so green and lush and it is really beautiful scenery with lots of farms everywhere.

Arrived in Bad Muskau and camped in a Stellplatz at the top of town.  Again we were the only ones there (though one motorhome did arrive during the night).  It was about 2 kms down to town so we put on our rain gear, took our trusty umbrella and headed down town to try to find a supermarket.  Had been running the cold food down because we were unsure about how the fridge would run but now – wow we could fill up the fridge – what a treat.

The German side was typical of what we had seen in other towns but once we crossed a bridge to the Polish side – things changed rapidly.  It was like a huge flea market set up with dozens and dozens of old run down shanty type buildings selling wares (mostly cigarettes and booze).  It appears cigarettes are considerably cheaper in Poland than Germany so people come over the border in droves to stock up on cigarettes and alcohol.  Shoes, coats, lace, fruit, vegetables – you could buy practically anything.  Even buses pulled up and people go out with shopping trolleys to stock up

We didn’t buy anything but really enjoyed the experience.

When we headed over the bridge back to the German side, police were stopping cars and checking their boots.  It appears that you are only permitted to bring one carton of cigarettes over the border when in a car and hefty fines are imposed for those that break the law.  Not sure what happens to the folk in buses as I am sure that had lots more.

Stopped in at a pub on the way back for an early dinner and headed back up the hill to Ziggy.

Saturday 8th April – Olesnica (60kms north east of Wroclaw – Poland

Horror shock – we were heading into Poland and didn’t have any Polish Zloty only Euros and the banks were not open on a Saturday – had to get some money so asked the Stellplatz owner where the best place was to get cash.  He showed us on a map, the location of a couple of ATM locations on the Polish side.    Rob sat with Ziggy in case he was asked to move.  Here, every little spot that looked like a parking spot was policed by a local vendor who rushed out and asked you for money to park there.

Eventually I was able to get cash out at a Bankomat but felt very uncomfortable about getting cash from anywhere other than a bank.  Have been warned through several blog sites to be very selective about where you get your money out.


Catch Up Photos (1)

Monday 10th April 2017

We have been in Europe for a month now and we haven’t posted any photos – one of the problems we have had is that the original Sim Card we had in our Ipad would not come out of the little tray that holds it in the slot in the Ipad

Several shops had tried in vain to remove with no luck but today in Skierniewice a little Polish muscle was able to remedy the situation

So we also were able to buy a Polish Telecom Sim Card with 10MB data for the equivalent of $AUD 8

Our special deal from Telstra Australia gave us 1.5MB data as part of our $195/month package – the saving grace being we can make an unlimited number of phone calls to any country as part of the package – this has been great as we have had to call Westpac on numerous occasions with problems with our accounts and have been on the phone to them for as long as 2.5 hours at a time (mostly on hold) – we had our internet banking account scammed but Westpac were great in fixing the situation

If we go over our 1.5 MB/month allowance with Telstra the charge is $30/MB extra – if we weren’t on their premium package the charge would be much higher – we don’t regret being on the expensive package as we use the phone for heaps of calls

We couldn’t believe how cheap the Polish Telecom packages are – we were told by the people we are currently staying with on a farm that the rate of pay for shop assistants and similar type of employees is around $AUD  2/hour – whether night time, day time, week days, Saturday or Sunday

So please find below a few of the first batch of catch up photos:-

Dunkirk Waterfront
Saint Hubert
Saint Hubert
Pirna on the Elba
Krys on hike at Mandershied
McCaulife’s Monument at Bastogne







03/30/2017 East Germany

Thursday 30th March, 2017 – Leipe, Lebbenau – East Germany

Rainy and overcast this morning.  Filled up with water, emptied grey water and black water and headed off.   Batteries are fully topped off and fridge has worked well on power.  Seems to work well on power and 12 volt but drops a lot when on gas.  Think there may be a problem so will monitor over the next few days.

We are now desperate to find a McDonalds so that we can update the blog site and send news home to family and friends.

Thank you to family and all our friends who have sent us messages and well wishes over the last three weeks.  Hope to be able to answer some emails when we are internet rich!!  Have ordered some new equipment from Adam and Sophie at MotorhomeWifi UK which should help considerably. 

Will pick this up in Poland at Easter time.  Whatever did we do before internet.  We rely on it so much these days and only now realise how important it is to us during our travels.  Thank you to our blog followers who have given us advice on internet options available.

A crazy day today, we seemed to go round and round and not find anything we were looking for.    The roads here are so narrow and with such a large machine as Ziggy,  we don’t know how we manage to get past cars let alone all the trucks that travel on these very narrow roads.  People are so used to this here and are very obliging (mostly) when they see us coming.

Finally after many hours and some unbelievable back roads we arrived at a Stellplatz in Leipe near Lebbenau.  It is a resort of sort with a restaurant and waterway at the back which during the summer months would be full of guests rowing and paddling through the waterways.   No one here right now and they are closed until 1st April.  Fortunately the owner who was working on the restaurant took pity on us after we told him we were from Australia (he has a brother in Adelaide) and allowed us to stay the night.

We headed off around 5pm to a restaurant and resort about a km up the road and had a few well deserved beers and some Germany hospitality.  Really beautiful resort but again not many guests staying yet.  Lesson learned – never ask for an item not on a menu and on a blackboard without a price (German eye fillet with spicy red cabbage – had to have the cabbage to see if it was as good as mum used to make – was not disappointed) – cost us a pretty penny but we went home at twilight after a great evening.

Came home to a not so cold fridge and decided it was time to do something about it the next day.

Friday 31st March – Senftenberg – Germany  (YES WE WERE THERE A FEW DAYS AGO).

After some research on internet, we found a place that should have been a repair and service place for our Dometic fridge in a large town nearby Cottbus.  Sadly they said they don’t do work like this and directed us to a town nearby – only a half an hour away !!    So we headed off again.  This time we again were told that they didn’t have anyone there to help us but as were about to walk out the door, a tradesman said he knew something about these fridges and took time out to have a look at Ziggy.  Appears we need a new part and he said to come back on Monday and he would be able to fit it.

We decided then and there that it was time to chill out in one of our favourite places that we have been to date  Senftenberg.

Passed by a Mcdonalds in Cottbus so in we went and spent an hour updating the blogsite (and having some unhealthy Maccas at the same time).  Think the next visit might be just coffee and maybe a muffin.

To our surprise when we arrived at Senftenberg the gates to the Stellplatz were open and already 8 out of the 12 spots were taken.  The Stellplatz was not due to open until the next day but we were so happy we got in early and found a safe and beautiful place for the night.

Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd April – Senftenberg – East Germany.

A beautiful sunny day today and for the first time in our travels we were in a site where there were a dozen motorhomes surrounding us.  All with German numberplates.  Still to find a fellow English speaking motorhomer.

We spoke with the manager of the Stellplatz who was so impressed that we were Australian she said she would take a picture  of our booking form as she had not had any Australians stay here ever.  Only 11 euros a night and that includes a waterfront site with power and water  We booked in for two nights and happily headed off to the bike way for a much needed ride.

We biked for hours and eventually headed into the centre of town.  We are so amazed that biking is a way of life here and cars are very respectful of bikers.  The markets in the town centre were still open so we spent time looking at the local wares.    Lots of interesting looking sausages and meats though not sure if Rob’s  Aussie stomach is ready  for some of these yet.

Headed back to the waterfront and stopped in at restaurant on the waterfront for a delightful lunch – salmon is so cheap here – thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon in the sunshine and then headed back to Ziggy for some reading and relaxation before the sun set for the evening – no dinner tonight – we are still both full to pussys bow from the beautiful lunch we had.

How the weather changes so rapidly here – woke up to a vastly different day – cold and overcast so sat indoors for a wee while reading until the sun tried to pop out and off we went again.  This time we almost did a complete lap of the lake, stopping regularly to take in the sights and lovely little villages along the way.  Even a sailing boat out on the lake today.  Appears here that people are not stopped by the weather.

Stopped in at a waterfront café and had a bratwurst roll and a cold beer.  Around 300 motor bikers rode past the square with probably 50 or so stopping in the square to join us for lunch.  Mostly grey hairs just like us out for a day on the motor bike.  The bikers outfits were just unbelievable – very trendy.

Met up with our neighbours at the Stellplatz who were again from Dresden – lovely people again and very keen to spend time with us – didn’t speak English but we got by and think they understood most of what we were talking about (we will never know but it was fun).  They told us about a great Stellplatz about 5kms out from Dresden Central.  It was also a Hymer dealer and repair place called SchafferMobil.  We decided to give it a go instead of going back to Cottbus.

Monday 1st April, 2017 – Dresden, Germany

Found Schaffer-Mobil easily – like a small city with every conceivable type of motorhome in the front yard – mostly Hymers so we are very optimistic that they will be able to help us out.  The back was where the motorhome park was set among rows of hedges separating  each lane – very green and lush and they have wi-fi included – hurrah!!!    Guess what we will be doing this afternoon?  After a couple of hours of computer work it was time to stretch the legs.  We found a huge shopping centre called Elbe Park around 600 meters away.  It had every conceivable shop you could ask for.  Dropped into some internet shops to find out more about the types of SIM cards that are available and did a little food shopping. 

Came back and met with the service people who have assured us they can fix the fridge problem in the morning.  We have a repair to the driver’s door (that Rob broke) that needs doing as well so will probably be here for a couple of days.  The latch on the inside driver’s door gave way during week one (Rob pulled it way too hard) so we have had to wind down the electric window and open the door from the outside .  No problems with the outside mechanism though.  Our alarm system will not work properly until we get the door fixed so this will be a must while we are here.

Spent the evening enjoying the luxury of having some internet.

Tuesday 2nd April 2017 – Dresden Germany

Bought a family transport pass for 9 Euros which allows both of us to travel by bus or train anywhere in Dresden for 24 hours.  Good value as the nearest stop is just down the road from where we are staying

We went to the historic part of the city – many of the building here were built in the 1500s and are just beautiful – they have either done a great restoration job and or were lucky because there were some massive bombing raids carried out by the RAF and the USAF in February 1945 – 1245 bombers attacked the city for 3 days and nights.

Our first real sign of Tourists – saw a couple of tour groups of Asians and Americans – they stood out so guess we do too.

We went to a McDonalds to get some Internet and I couldn’t believe it – there was a sign saying that it cost .50 Euro to go to the toilet – never seen a charge anywhere else to go to a McDonalds – that was just the first part as to get to the toilet you had to feed the money in to a machine and then hope that the turnstyles would open to let you through – then you needed to go through the turnstyles again to get out – knew there was a reason why I have never liked McDonalds.

Some of the Dresden sights were amazing – many great sights are grouped together in the historic part of town – the whole area is illuminated at night

In the afternoon we caught a tram to the Military Museum – a Museum spread over 4 floors with exhibits of the German army from 1300 to the current day

The main emphasis is on the two world wars and we thought there may not be any information about Hitler and the Jewish situation but to their credit there was – but not a whole lot


03/24/2017 East Germany

Friday 24th March 2017 – Burgkunstadt – Germany

Woke up to the same, same and no different – overcast and cold (around 12degrees) in the morning so decided not to do the intended bike ride. 

What a shame as the bicycle track looked very interesting. 

Headed up town Hammelburg to talk to the guy at Vodafone about future options for internet (we are sorted for Germany – thank goodness but given the advice we have received from so many of our blog friends decided it was the best thing to do). 

The guy at Vodafone confirmed what everyone has told us to – i.e. to get a sim card in each country we visit – best and most economical thing to do.

Left Hammelburg and again travelled the motorways and back roads to our next destination. 

It is just so exciting as around every corner – there is something different.  First the rural backdrop – green fields and beautiful scenery, passing through towns along the waterways and as you reach each village, you are greeted by alpine houses with various pastel colours of render – pinks, blues, violet, green and gold. 

Nothing looks open here.  The doors are shut tight to keep the cold out and only when you stop and test the door, you find it open and locals there to greet you.  What a wonderful world it is.

Ziggy has not let us down.  We are so happy with the layout – the bed is just unbelievably comfortable and snug at night and the lounge/dining area so spacious.  The dinette area with café style seating is great for dinner and then to spend a few hours doing the homework and planning for the next day.  When all is done, the lounge is a full length 2 metres plus for the lucky person who nabs it first to lie in comfort and watch the TV (when we can get a satellite connection).

Our next village for the night was Burgkunstadt.  We are heading north now to make our way to Poland but want to stay in Germany as long as possible (to take advantage of our Aldi Internet for Germany).  We will try to avoid going through Czech Republic for now and cross the border far to the north east into Poland over the next few days.

We are camped again right on the border of town – with Aldi and our new found Edeka (another supermarket chain but with so many extra brands to choose from and lots more fresh food – though a little more expensive than Aldi) within a short walk. 

We have also found our first hardware store – a supermarket more designed to please the male in our family.!!!  

The sun had come out and it was time to hit the bike trail again.  Surprise, surprise, we found another Vodafone store – have been hunting for days to find one – now they are around every corner.

Packed up the bikes and then for our next task – how to fit the bike cover provided by our Friend Michael Steers in Stafford UK .  

You need a degree to fit one of these.  The packaging did not give you any real instructions on how to fit one of these, so for a frustrating hour we pulled and tugged and tried our best to put this around our E bikes. 

Think Fiamma should put out a “Dummies Guide to fitting a Bike Cover” on the web for people with grey hair!!!!   We did it – hurrah! – but then discovered we had not fitted the bike alarm-lock system before we did the final zip up.  !!…!!! ugh!!!

Saturday 25th March, 2017 – Grunhain – Germany

Woke up to a beautiful morning – blue skies and sunshine – what a difference it makes to the way you feel for the day when you wake up to a morning like today.  Hope this the beginning of many days of similar weather.

We stocked up on wine and beer and meat at Aldi and headed off.

After a two hour trip again through some unbelievable scenery we arrived at our next destination – Grunhain.  One of those very small villages in the middle of nowhere.  

The Stellplatz was behind a restaurant and again on the outskirts of town.  No dedicated bikeways here so put on the walking shoes and headed for the town.  Most of the village shops in Germany seem to close around midday on Saturday so the only places open after lunch are the pubs – well guess where we spent an hour or two trying to speak to the locals in our very best German.  Had a lot of fun and after a few beers left for a shower and bed for the night.

They have a beautiful tradition here for Easter where they decorate small trees with coloured plastic easter eggs.  The trees are around 1 – 2 metres high and most with no leaves so all you can see is the beautiful coloured eggs hanging from bare branches.  Also the houses have little easter rabbits at the front doors.  What a lovely tradition.

Sunday 26th March, 2017 – Pirna – Germany

Couldn’t find the first Stellplatz we were looking for – Schlosspark Pirna –   Seems like it had been replaced with a new building under construction.  Went round and round and found everything except it. 

There are apparently 4 in this town so on to the next one.  This one Elbaparkplatz, was right on the Elba river.  No services  at this one but the location was great.  Arrived here before lunch so off came the bikes and we were ready to explore.  I think every man and his dog was out enjoying the beautiful blue skies and sunshine.  We thought the whole German rowing team was out on the river, I think we counted around 20 x 8  man boats out there.  We sat and had a well deserved rest while watching them go through their routines.

Monday 27th March, 2017 -Senftenberg – Germany

Wohnmobilstellplatz, Buchwalde – right on the Senftenberg Lake – another beautiful sunny spring day.  Arrived here only to find that this motorhome park does not open until this Saturday 1st April.  We parked in the car park just outside of the gates and found someone who allowed us to stay outside in the car park for the night. 

Just absolutely beautiful here and would highly recommend this place to anyone.  The bike track runs along the waterfront and seems to be never ending.  We biked around 15kms and there was no end in sight.  This park is open from 1st April to 1st November only but it appears you can park in the car park outside of the gates for a night. 

They also have a grey water and chemical dump point outside which we were able to use – but water is not available.  We rode by a marina with many shops and where the locals were out in full force – biking, rollerblading and walking.  Found the ice cream shop irresistible and indulged in a double scoop –to share of course, as we did not want to undo all the calories burnt off on the ride.  We are not using the batteries on the bikes so the exercise has  been great.

Set up the BBQ for the first time and enjoyed a German rump steak (very expensive here) with a bottle of cheap French red. 

Can feel the muscles in the tops of the legs so must have done some good today.

Might try and stretch the friendship tomorrow with the locals and stay another night.  Feel we need time out of travel as we have not stayed anywhere for more than one night so far. 

Tuesday & Wednesday 28th & 29th – Lohsa – Germany

Thought we would head off mid morning to visit McDonalds which we sighted in town yesterday.  Though we have internet on Rob’s Ipad from the Aldi SIM, it is not compatible with our laptop so we have not been able to update the website. 

Tried to get the SIM out and put it in the phone and use hotspot but it was jammed in and there is no way we can get it out.  No luck with McDonalds – it has to be the only McDonalds we have ever seen that does not have a car park and is walk in only.  We went round and round trying to find a car park with no luck.  Time to move on.  Didn’t go back to Senftenberg and headed off again.

Only a short distance away we found Lohsa.  Right on a lake again with a bikeway all around the lake.  There are so many lakes and waterways in this part of Germany.   Met some great people from Dresden who spoke excellent English so spent the afternoon with them.  They have invited us to come stay with them in Dresden and they would show us around. –  How good is that – meeting someone for the first time and getting an offer like this.  We thanked them and said we might visit them on the way back – but we wont as we don’t like to intrude.  They left late afternoon to head back home so we were once again alone in a big camping area.

It will get busier come the weekend as that is when officially most things open here.

Shopping for food is an experience all by itself.  You can’t read everything on the label so you go on sight mostly.   Chicken, turkey and pork are the main meat items you can purchase (at a reasonable price).  Have not had a bad experience yet with choosing meats that are marinated (in what you might ask?) cook it and then you will know!!  Bought two bike helmets at Lidl for an amazing 9 euros would you believe.  They have to better than none we think.

Woke up Wednesday morning to an overcast day so took advantage of the day to find out more about what makes Ziggy work.  Time for some much needed washing and housekeeping to be done.  What a breeze.  First person to wake up in the morning gets up and turns on the heater – the smalls get put in front of the outlet to warm them up (still very cold in the mornings now – still in single digit numbers).  Had a very relaxing day not doing much of anything except enjoying the view and the day off travelling. 

We have free camped mostly to date, but here at Lohsa for ten euros a day, they provide everything including electricity.  Haven’t  needed electricity as Ziggy’s solar panels and batteries have worked very efficiently.  Had a wonderful night just listening to music.  Our Ipod has over 2000 songs to choose from.   Had a Pink Floyd night with a couple of bottles of wine – tried to dance but the dance floor was a little bit small.

03/21/2017 Germany – heading east

Wednesday 21st March – Klingenberg – Germany

Another typical European day – overcast, cold but not raining. 

Looking forward to some sunshine again soon as we have not had the pleasure of sunshine since we left Dunkirk. 

We remember meeting with two very lovely British ladies when we arrived in Dunkirk in beautiful sunshine. 

They said they travel the continent regularly and “when the sun is shining, you stay put and lap up the sunshine as it does not happen very often”.  We think now that we can understand what they meant.

This does not stop us from exploring and making the best of every day even when it is cold, overcast and no sun!!    The countryside is so beautiful.

Today we again travelled for approx. 100kms and arrived in Klingenberg Germany. 

Our campsite is on the river but not one of our favourite spots to date. 

We took off for a short walk to the town centre and again ventured into the trusty “tourist information centre” in the middle of town. 

They advised us that we could get the illusive internet in a town called Worth just a short km away.  We headed off and along the way we discovered an Aldi store so decided to venture in and see what was to offer. 

We found some throw overs for our lounge and dining chairs (3) and then continued on our merry way to find this internet store.    Sadly when we finally found the store, they had nothing to offer that was a reasonable price and suggested either Aldi or Norma’s as an alternative.  We headed back to Aldi and with much difficulty purchased a package (but had no idea what we purchased).

Four hours later and a little tired, we came back to our safe haven and decided to leave the hook up until we were fresh the next morning.

Some words of wisdom to new travellers – make sure you have absolutely everything sorted in England before you head to the continent.  It will save you a lot of time and heartache.  We have been told from friends following our blog that Vodaphone is the best option for internet. 

Strangely we have not found one in our travels on the continent to date.  Also anything you wish to buy for your motorhome should be purchased in England before you head over.  It may cost you a little more but will save you hours of time hunting it out in the continent.

Thursday 22nd Match – Hammelburg – Germany

All too hard as when we found the help phone number and dialled the number, the operator spoke so quickly we had no way of understanding what she said. 

We decided to go back to the internet company we had visited the day before and ask for help.  They obviously spoke German fluently and knew all about the internet so this was our best chance.  A couple of hours later we were connected and headed off to Munster about 3kms outside of Dieburg where Krys’ parets were married and where Krys was born.

Beautiful little town, very modern and mostly very new.  Didn’t have an address where Krys was born nor did we have an address where her parents were married or lived so after a short visit we headed off again.

We are staying in a Stellplatz right in the centre of Hammelburg and did a walk through the town.  Strangely the first building we came to was an Irish Pub.  Was tempted to have a Guiness but decided to leave this until our visit to Ireland later on down the track.  We discovered a beautiful little town square and again because the sun was shining , the square was filled with chairs and tables ready for the local trade to soak up the sunshine.

Surprise, surprise – we found a Vodaphone store in the square – a little too late for us!!

Hope to take a ride on the bikes in the morning (if the sun is still shining) !!.

03/19/2017 Mosel and Rhine Rivers

Monday 19th March -Manderscheid – Germany

Armed with addresses given to us by our friend at Bastogne, we left our safe park in the centre of Bastogne and drove to the hardware store to purchase 4 items on our list that we needed for Ziggy.

First item was a water hose and tap fittings.

We used Mr Google on our iPhone to describe what we wanted and pointed this at a shop assistant.

He studied this very carefully with raised eye brows for a considerable amount of time.

We began to think Mr Google wasn’t giving us much help here.

It wasn’t until we spoke the word “hose” that the shop assistant smiled and directed us to the hose section – success at last – phew! 

Water taps (when you can find one that has a top on it here, they are usually very close to chemical toilet dump stations so we didn’t want to use these to fill up our fresh water tank without using our own hose. 

We decided to leave the other items for another day as we had just gone through our own “Battle” with the French. 

We smiled at our one triumph for the day and eagerly moved on to our next adventure.

We drove about 100km through lush green forests and quaint homes and villages. 

Took a wrong turn (not unusual) and discovered a new estate outside a village with unbelievably new modern homes – architecture though and building materials still in the old style.

Drove through Luxembourg into Germany. 

Wind farms and acres of solar panels are everywhere in France and Germany.  They certainly are embracing alternative energy sources.

We both now feel at home as the road signs are in German and we can actually read and understand (most or should I same some) of them. 

We spend the hours testing each other on German words – not sure who is leading the competition right now.

Heading off the motorway we take a sharp right and go down, down, down a very steep and windy road. 

We hoped our sat nav wasn’t heading us in the wrong direction as we had no way of turning around. 

Then with great relief, we saw three other motor homes parked and breathed a sigh of relief.

Our home for the night was beside the beautiful rural Hotel Heidsmuhle which is surrounded by forest, a lagoon with ducks, swans and fish jumping.

There are beautiful walks set up around the property and we ventured off for about an hour. 

The reward for the exercise of course was to spend a couple of hours on the deck of this beautiful Hotel and taste the local Bitberger (or two). 

Heidsmuhle Hotel Manderscheid

We are now talking to the locals and enjoying a laugh as we speak our best German and people can actually understand us.

Krys navigating a stream on our hike in Manderscheid

Tuesday 20th March – Bingen on the Rhine – Germany

We reluctantly headed off from this beautiful place.  Would like to have stayed longer but if we haven’t already explained previously, we have one major commitment to get to Biala Podlaska in eastern Poland (right out near the border with Belarus) for Easter (13th April) to visit  my relations – Barbara, Petr and their lovely daughter Kornelia. 

We don’t speak a word of Polish but thank goodness Kornelia and her partner Kamil speak excellent English so there will be many days of translating back and forth happening. 

Barbara (through Kornelia) has helped me with documentation for getting my Polish Citizenship.  We think we have now done everything and submitted everything we need to get this – fingers crossed.

Today we travelled through the beautiful Mosel Valley – with villages everywhere on the side of the river.  Acres and acres of grape vines coming right down to the waters edge.   The vines are not in bloom right now but I am sure we will taste many of the varieties grown here over the next couple of years.

Explored our first Lidl – very much like Aldi at home.  Beer and wine is so cheap here compared to back home so we stocked up with several bottles and headed off for our sleeping place for the night.

Not as exciting as the Hotel Heidsmuhle but they had free internet here so I am sure Rob will wile the hours away this evening using the facility.

18/03/2017 Belgium

Saturday 18th March

Left Bousse-Lez-Walcourt for Saint Hubert which is the European capital of hunting and nature.

The architecture here goes back to the seventh century when Saint Hubert’s Abbey was founded and then rebuilt in 1729.

Saint Hubert Abbey

The locals were very friendly even if I couldn’t understand a word they were saying – languages spoken in Belgium include French, Flemish and a little German in the north west but unfortunately where we are it is only French speakers and my attempts at German have Fallen on deaf ears.

Fortunately the girl manning the tourist office spoke very good English which helped us out immensely.

Grocery shopping in a supermarket is an interesting experience when everything is labelled in French, particularly when you get to the checkout with fruit and vegetables and the operator tries to tell you in French that you were supposed to weigh the goods yourself – ah well – “Non Francais – Australie” seems to help particularly when said with a smile and a “Merci”.

All the wine we have been buying comes in bottles with corks which we haven’t seen for years at home.

Spent a couple of hours in a little bar which had over 100 varieties of local beers some of them as strong as 12.5%.

Very cold again today – got all the ski gear on.

Sunday 19th March

Visited our friend in the tourist office again for some more info, did a major shop in the local CarreFour Supermarket and then headed for Bastogne.

Bastogne is famous for the battle fought there between the Allies and the Germans in the winter of 1944-45 which is better known as “The Battle of the Bulge”

This area was also previously invaded by the Germans in 1914 so can understand why the German language is not too well accepted here.

There are 4 or 5 huge monuments and museums erected in honour of the US 101st Airborne Division which was surrounded by the German 5th Panzer Division until the 27th December when the siege was lifted by General Patton’s 3rd Army.

McAuliffe’s Monument

The Americans are somewhat heroes around here.

We are planning on heading to Germany tomorrow where at least we will be able to communicate with the locals, even if slowly.

03/14/2017 -France – Across the channel to France

Tuesday 14 th March

Left Canterbury and headed south to Bodiam in East Sussex.

The countryside is lush and green and with springtime colourful flowers growing wild in the fields.

English castles and quaint pubs everywhere.

Can’t believe the amount of traffic on the road at all times of the day.

Once off the motorways, the roads are so narrow and in many cases not enough room for a small car to pass let alone Ziggy.

Not sure how we missed some of them – could only be an inch each side to manoeuvre through. 

We purchased 2 electric bikes in Bodiam, set them up on the bike rack and headed for Dover to connect with our ferry to Dunkirk.

The only ferry time available on line was 2am so we found a safe place to park (next to McDonalds) and tried to get a little sleep before heading down to the dock.

Very difficult to sleep with the constant fast food junkies at it until all hours.

Dover dock was like a huge city but fortunately with a little help from our sat nav and Lady Luck we found our way to the correct dock.

Wednesday 15 th March – Malo Beach – Dunkirk – France

Left Ziggy in the lower decks of the ferry and headed to the lounge for the two hour trip across the channel.

Managed to get a little sleep.

5am French time we arrived and set off in Ziggy to our first Aires (French parking places for motor homes).

Another challenge now – driving on the wrong side of the road and in the dark.

Had a few hairy moments but thanks to our sat nav found our resting place at Malo Beach, Dunkirk, in around 30 minutes.

Hit the hay and slept solidly for around 4 hours.

Now for some sight seeing.

Headed off for a 2 hour walk along the beachfront.

Miles of three storey town houses – all different designs butted together and dozens of restaurants and ice cream parlours on the beach promenade.

Dunkirk Waterfront

People everywhere walking, jogging and riding bikes.

Headed off to the local shopping centre to try and find an ATM to get some euros. – THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL! Success at last so now our only problem is getting internet and phones sorted.

Now to test out our e bikes. – What a hoot – travelled along the boardwalk weaving in and out of people, bikes, prams, roller bladers.

Will definitely invest in one of these when we get back home.

Took to the e-bikes like a duck to water.

Thursday 16th March – Tournai Belgium

Left Dunkirk and headed south east to Tournai, Belgium – approx 100 km trip. hard to believe we have travelled now through England Wales, France and Belgium in just over a week.

Stopped in an Aires in the middle of the Village.

Village Art Scene

Took a long walk through the village and visited Notre Dame Cathedral. (Tournai). – Amazing to believe these cathedrals were built hundreds and hundreds of years ago and still standing.

Tournai Cathedral

The cathedral is undergoing major refurbishment currently.

Have had perfect spring weather over the last few days and the locals are out in full force enjoying the warming sunshine.

Tournai Cathedral

The town square was filled with locals drinking and eating in the sunny open air in the village square.

Tournai Town Square

Hard to believe we are on the other side of the world though constantly reminded by the locals speaking to us in French.

Friday 17th March. – Boussu-Lez-Walcourt – Belgium

Headed off on a typical European morning – cold and overcast – but happily no rain. – still getting used to Ziggy and the challenges of VERY NARROW streets through the towns along the way. – Glad Rob is driving.

Once in the rural areas we are finding it easier as the roads are wider and less challenging.

The countryside is so lush and green – so different to our Aussie dry outback and countryside.

Little villages spring up everywhere – back to narrow roads and more challenges around every corner.

Arrived in Boussu-Lez-Walcourt – What a find! – Not sure what the name means but it is probably something like “Adventure land by the sea”. – Very picturesque as we are camped beside the water with only sloping green grass and a beach between Ziggy and the water.

This place does not officially open until 1 April but when it does we are sure it will be packed as it offers so many activities particularly water sports.

35 Klms of walking and bike tracks so we donned our warmest gear and hit the tracks – absolutely freezing.

Came back for a couple of rums and watched the light disappear over the horizon (no sun set tonight).


03/07/2017 England and Wales

Tuesday 7th March 2017

Apologies to all the people we promised to phone, email etc but we are having massive problems with communications. The trip of a lifetime started with the taxi arriving 15 minutes late and he did nothing to try to make up for lost time.

Next, on check in we were advised that our 40kg luggage limit (each) was over by a staggering 9kg.

Of course we were reluctant to part with any of it and were happy to pay for the additional 9kg until we found out it was going to cost us a cool $990.00.

Ugh!!!  So there we were running late and having to remove items from our suitcases – how embarrassing.

The suitcases that we had packed so well now looked like a demolition sight.

The things left behind were mostly for our motorhome Ziggy – but what the heck – we could replace those in England.

The plane from Gold Coast to Sydney was held up for us while we were removing luggage and we were assured that it would be taken to our plane – we wondered if our luggage would arrive with us in London.

Things now had to get better – we hoped.

Our flights from Sydney to Dubai and then on to London after a short two hour stop over were just wonderful.

We befriended our French Steward Jeremy, who is a Sommelier from the Loire Valley.

He made the whole experience just wonderful.

He really looked after us and even gave us a list of contacts in vineyards in France and his mother who is the mayor in a town near Le Mans – said she would give us tickets – wow was Rob impressed.

Wednesday 8th March 2017

Landed at Heathrow – raining and cold – think we expected that.

How excited we were to see our first suitcase appear and then the other three.

Straight through customs and then picked up our Volvo rental at Hertz.

Off to Stafford now, about 3.5 hours north west of London to meet up with Michael Steers and Ann.

Michael is our contact in Stafford who assisted us with our purchase of Our Hymer 544 – Ziggy.

We had the most wonderful experience dealing with Michael throughout the many months before our trip.

He made sure everything for Ziggy was checked out and safe and even purchased items for us so we could take off immediately.

 What a wonderful find Michael was and we would highly recommend him to any one wishing to purchase or sell a motorhome.

We spent the next 24 hours with Michael and Ann going over Ziggy and spending some wonderful hours talking and dining with them. – Friends for life now.

Spent £221 buying groceries and replacing items Qantas confiscated at Gold Coast airport.

Now to find a place to put everything. – We will probably change everything around 3 times before we are happy. – So many cupboards and so much space in our new home for the next two years.

Thursday  & Friday 9th March, 2017

Off today on a farm stay just outside of Stafford .”Park Farm B & B”. – Here for two days to become fully acquainted with Ziggy. – We are parked in a beautiful green paddock with views to the farm house and stables on one side and trees and green everywhere on the other side – all to ourselves now.

Had dinner with Michael and Ann at Saracen Head Restaurant- lots of laughter and told lots of tall stories.

Friday night was our first home cooked dinner in Ziggy. – Put loads of weight on over last few days so need to get back to regular exercise and good wholesome fat free meals.

Saturday 11th March

Left the farm and headed for Wales to catch up with Phil and Kaye Davies – Spent the afternoon tasting some of the local beers and wine then went on a pub crawl.

They live in a beautiful little village – met with lots of the locals and friends of Phil & Kay. -Ton of fun again but couldn’t keep up with them and staggered home at a reasonable hour. They eventually came home around midnight – so glad we came home earlier.

Sunday 12th March

Hit the road after breakfast and headed south for Canterbury – just a stones through from Dover where we will take off for Europe in a couple of days.

Took the best part of the day to find our way back past the South east of London – got lost on so many roundabouts – think the UK must be the roundabout capital of the world.

Rob was absolutely exhausted when we finally parked for the night in the Dover Park and Ride.

Monday 13th March

Took the bus to down town Canterbury – stocked up on groceries and tried out our newly acquired credit and debit cards and tried to buy SIM cards.

Canterbury Cathedral was under renovation so couldn’t see it but looked just amazing from the outside.

We were very frustrated as only one of our credit cards worked but we couldn’t get cash out from our debit card.

Back to Ziggy and on line with our banks to sort out problem hopefully.

Decided to leave our SIM card purchase until we get to France as no-one we tried to get sim from could guarantee us they would operate in Europe.