Germany 2016

Germany 2016 was to be our first trip abroad in Jean-Luc, we had been to the Isle of Wight in the Delaware but that doesn’t really count, so we set off to Portsmouth for the Thursday overnight ferry to Le Havre.

I have to say I was nervous going abroad with Jean-Luc after all he is 8.5 meters and 5 ton fully loaded, I have worked and driven in Europe quite extensively but that was 30 years ago, would it be so different now?

I used to prepare for my work trips with crib cards showing destinations and way points with expected travel time and distances, nowadays we have sat nav so what could go wrong? Well it is safe to say that the sat nav found the required destination of the Brittany Ferries terminal in Portsmouth with ease so things were going to plan, weren’t they?

We awoke with the excitement of the unexpected and that was just breakfast, well after all it was a French boat would they know what a full English was or would I have to endure a pain au chocolat? Well I was worried for no good reason as full English was definitely on the menu, I did try to blend in and had coffee instead of tea, and it was all very nice, and perfect to set us up for the trip ahead.

I knew things were not going to plan when the sat nav refused to accept the German post code for our first stop at friends in Shleiden not to far from the Belgian border in the Eiffel National Park. Well we managed to enter a destination for a town near the French Belgian border and we made do with this but things would take a turn for the worse as we were guided by the trusted infallible sat nav all the way to Calais the one place we had tried to avoid and the reason why we had taken the ferry and not the tunnel!

Things did not improve and once in Belgium the sat nav just gave general compass direction rather than driving directions, it was basically useless. Out came the maps and after a couple of phone calls we arrived at out friends some three hours later than expected.

The area around Shleiden is stunning, there is an abundance of walking routes, cycle routes and just places to go, we took a trip to the¬†Ordensburg Vogelsang this was Socialist training camp set up for the future leaders of the party, it is an impressive site and is open to the public and the surrounding area is just a walker’s paradise.

We said farewell to our friends and set off towards Koblenz on the Rhine and the end of the Moselle river, the start of our trip up the Moselle valley, all without sat nav. I had watched a YouTube video of a chap who had been to the campsite we are heading for, this proved invaluable as I remembered parts of the trip and it did help. We had planned to stay two nights at the Camping Knaus site right on the Rhine and we were not disappointed if a little more cramped than we are used to compared to UK sites.

Koblenz and the Rhine.

Koblenz and the Rhine.

We may have been novice sardines but the view was just stunning, the Rhine out front and the Moselle to our right we could not wait to explore.

Just a quick note that the hook up was the standard 3 pin socket we see in the UK, adapters were available on site at the check in office for those like me that went with the older European 2 pin plug.

The campsite has everything you could want, there is a bar on site there is a restaurant on site and at the end of the road there is a Netto that has everything you need for your stay and onward journey.

The Rhine with the Moselle to the right.

The Rhine with the Moselle to the right.

We took the ferry from the eastern edge of the campsite over to the main area of the city, I can’t remember the cost but it was loose change and took about five minutes dodging the cruise ships that frequently turn up and down the two rivers, impressive vessels. Once over the Moselle we took the cable car up to the fortifications that stand guard over the junction of these two great rivers, the views from here are just stunning looking out over the entire city below.

Once back in the city we looked for food, the choice is amazing and just what you would expect from a large city centre, not the cheapest but plenty of variety and high quality. The second order of the day was to buy a sat nav that bloody well worked in Europe, so 99 euro later I was satisfied we would be able to find our way home following the route we had wanted to in the beginning, the seven “P’s” spring to mind again.

We stocked up in Netto and set off out of the Koblenz heading for Cocham as our intended destination, nowhere confirmed or planned we just wanted to wing it.

Raw Wine or grapes to you and me!

Raw Wine or grapes to you and me!

Well we drove through Cocham and found it very busy, we chose to carry on and find somewhere to stay, in the end we carried on all the way to Trier. We located a Stelplatz attached to a car park but there was a round of the World Rally Championship taking place and the place was full of petrol heads and anoraks not what we wanted to experience so we turned to the sat nav and headed for the nearest campsite as it happens on the Saar river.

Camping next to the River Saar

Camping next to the River Saar

This little site was just what we wanted, quiet, next to the river, good facilities and easy cycling along the river side path.

We cycled into Saarburg some 10 kilometres ¬†away and had a walk around this very pleasant town, there was a lovely area full of cafes and people eating coffee and cake, I can’t pronounce the German version but it almost sounds the same, very relaxed and informal.

Saarburg

Saarburg

We bought BBQ supplies from the local butcher and bread and cake from the the bakery across the road, well you need a bit of cake with your afternoon coffee! We stayed here for three nights and decided we wanted to see Cochem so we took trip back along the motorway and dropped down to Cochem and set about finding somewhere to stay. In the end we were again some way outside of the centre but this was due to our wanting to stay by the river again rather than not being able to find anywhere else, there are Stelplatz in and around Cochem.

By the river Moselle

By the river Moselle

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