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Germany—Black Forest

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It was May but still very cold and wet, with nature running at least a month behind. We had just finished our Carthago Owners UK Gathering at Sumners Ponds, near Horsham and were fortunate to have had a weekend without rain.  Now we were heading for Germany and hopefully finding some sunshine.  As it turned out, this was not going to be the case.

Our first night away was at the Caravan Club site in Folkestone. We like to travel there the evening before our crossing as it takes all the stress out of worrying about getting to the ferry on time.

Second night stop was on the aire in the centre of Bruges. This is an easy drive from Dunkerque and a lovely city to visit.

It was still cold in Bruges but it was dry.  We were surprised to discover that the fee for stopping on the aire has gone up quite a lot and is now €22.50—quite expensive but where else can you stop over in a city centre for that money?

We were intending to head for the Moselle area but we received a text message from one of our Carthago Owners to tell has that the campsites on the banks of the Moselle were being evacuated due to flooding. So, our next stop was just into Germany at the campsite in Prum that we visited last year.   This is a very good stop over site and convenient for a day’s drive from the Channel coast.

left:  Prum campsite in spring


We chatted with the campsite owner who confirmed the Moselle was in flood. So, we decided to give it a miss and head for the Rhine which was high but not flooding.

This is a pretty part of Germany and it is a pleasant journey through to the Rhine gorge.

We stopped on the Stellplatz in Bacharach. A place we had visited two years ago.  The stellplatz was undergoing significant enhancements and should be very nice by now. When we were there, we were surrounded by heaps of earth and heaps of gravel and we were woken early in the morning by the sound of bulldozers and JCBs

As usual, the river was bustling with barges and cruise boats. There is always something to watch here!  We liked the moon rising over the river—very romantic!

Next day we crossed the Rhine and travelled via Koblenz and Bad Ems to a campsite in Dasenau on the river Lahn.   The ground was very wet and the river high. We were placed on the only hard standing suitable for our size and this was right alongside the river bank.  We kept an anxious eye out on the water level—especially as it rained hard all night—and the following day !  In view of it being a wet Sunday we took the hourly train service into Limburg am Lahn.  A pretty town with some interesting shops but unfortunately for Desnée and fortunately for the credit cards, most shops were closed.  As you can see from the photos below it was rather a drab day.



Fortunately, the river did not over flow but the campsite ground was so wet that Priscilla looked like a speedboat on her out.    We were on our way back to the Rhine but this time further south to a campsite between Geisenheim and Rudesheim.  A very pleasant site with views of the river. The weather was drying up now and the sun decided to come out the day we cycled into Rudesheim.  Rudesheim is a popular tourist attraction and best avoided in the high season but now it was busy but not overly crowded.  There are plenty of places to eat and drink and watch the world go by—indeed it seemed that most nationalities were visiting the day we were there!

We discovered a really interesting museum dedicated to mechanical music devices such as hurdy gurdys, street organs, symphonians, pianolas, music boxes, etc. etc.  There were some amazing displays and many of them still working. One that amazed us was a demonstration of a Violina (right). The device comprised eight violins mounted upside down. The strings were played by revolving drums (silver colour) which were variable speed. The stops were mechanical fingers which were operated by the music rolls.  We joined a guided tour which was given in Danish!  Fortunately, we were given an English transcript!

Very interesting—worth a visit if you are in the area.

Onward again and into the Black Forest—our destination was Steinach.  We had pre booked the campsite for one week but when we arrived we were very disappointed.  What had appeared to be a lovely site on the Internet was actually awful. We were allocated a place on a gravel car park that faced rows of static caravans. Not only that but there were dark over hanging trees and no view what so ever.  We had a quick cup of tea and decided we did not wish to stay. We checked out ( at zero cost) and moved further up the valley to Wolfach and to a campsite which we found in the ACSI book. What a difference—this one (Trend Camping) was lovely with spectacular views and really friendly campsite owners.  We were so pleased that we had decided to move.

(left) our pitch at Trend Camping, Wolfach.  As you can see the sun was shining—things were looking up!

The Black Forest tourist board provide free transport on the buses and trains if you are holidaying in the area and this was a real treat.  Just 5 minutes from the campsite is an hourly train service. You can jump on and off as you please, with or without bikes, and travel the whole Black Forest area.  What is super is taking the train up the valley and then cycling back down on the wonderful, traffic free, cycle paths. These paths are tarmac and easy to ride along.  Where there is no cycleway you are allocated a cycle lane on the footpaths.  As you can see (below), these cycle paths are very pretty and not at all crowded.

One such cycle/train outing took us to Triberg in the Gutach valley. We were a bit disappointed with Triberg—very touristy. However, it was interesting to see ‘the highest waterfall in Germany’.  We then took the train back down the valley to Hornberg and cycled back to camp from there.  Wonderful cycling experience.

Just down the valley from Hornberg is the hamlet of Gutach.  Here we found the Rodelbahn  (a summer toboggan run over 1 km long) and George just had to have a go!

(below left) static loco at Triberg station and (below right) Triberg town centre.

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