trip to Mosel,Venice,Corfu, warts & all

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by dethleff, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. dethleff

    dethleff Read Only Funster

    Aug 21, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Motorhome to Corfu. Warts and all.

    Never found much on the web regarding a drive
    to Corfu, so it may be of interest to someone.

    Part 1 Dunkirk to lake Guarda.

    Prior to buying our m/h 10 years ago we had spent many holidays on the beautiful island of Corfu. So after many trips to France, Spain, Portugal, etc we decided to do the trip to Corfu.

    The three main itineries were the Mosel Valley, Venice, then ferry to Corfu

    We set off on Sunday the 27th of august 2006 for Dover for a Norfolk line crossing at 2am.
    We set tomtom for Marine Parade Dover, that was recommended on MHF for parking up for a couple of hours, before catching the ferry. After a nice man had backed us up out of a narrow road, (East Cliff), and directed us to the Marine Parade, that we were looking for, we stopped there for a couple of hours, but didn’t manage to get any sleep.

    At midnight we drove the short distance to the Norfolk line check in and handed the chap
    our computer printout of our details for the crossing, after a few minutes, while we are thinking is this bloke new to the job, he looked up and said, “this booking is for tomorrows crossing.” “Goodness me” I said or something similar, “What can we do about it”, suspecting it was going to be a get you wallet out. “Well we can get you on this crossing, but it will cost you £10.” I grabbed a tenner and offered it to him, “No you have to go to the office and pay” So over to the office, got out in the pouring rain, and let them stiff me for the tenner. (Remember this for the return journey).

    I have to confess that I have now reached the age where you forget that you can’t manage
    the things, you thought you could, when you were a bit younger.
    It is years since we have done a night crossing, big, big, mistake at our age.
    We found a seat and slept for the two hours solid. Still being in that twilight world we
    disembarked into the most horrendous rain and pitch black night.

    This was the first time we sailed to Dunkirk, now most ferry ports I need a map to get out of, but this port seemed to be built on half of France and designed by Stevie Whatsit.
    We had set tomtom to an aire just along the coast from the Ferry.

    A word about tomtom, because we were going to cross a few borders, I had decided to try
    using Major Roads of Europe. ( took us all the way to Venice, and we only incurred 10 euros toll charges in Italy), in the hope that country maps wouldn’t try to be a smart alec, and take us a shortcut down someone’s backyard.

    Stupidly in my foggy state I didn’t set the map to France to find the aire, after a hour or so we found a carpark somewhere in Dunkirk, and went to sleep, to be woken by some French road sweeping machine, a couple of hours later.
    “Well” I said to the wife, who’s face by this time could have soured milk straight out of the cow, “only another 800 and odd miles to go.”

    We gathered ourselves together and set off in the pouring rain for the next stage of the journey.
    Diesel Fuel 1.06 a litre. Belgium.
    Our destination was the Mosel Valley. I set tomtom for Trier in Germany, knowing we would not reach it in a day, but would find a POI when we felt ready to stop for the night.
    After negotiating the Brussels ring road still in heavy rain we skirted Liege onto the A15.
    After 25 miles we stopped and changed to the Benelux map, to look for a overnight stop.
    We found a campsite at a place called Meefe on the WOMO POI’S about 8 kilometres.

    So off we set, Daisy (tomtom) leading us almost to our destination, when at a crossroads
    Smart Alec took over and directed us to go straight on down a road that grew slowly narrower and more overgrown, until it became impassable. After a 26 three point turn
    We emerged to to see a sign left for the campsite, obviously the sign was put there for tomtom users. On arrival at the entrance of the campsite we noticed a narrow road a few yards away, completely overgrown, which turned out to be Smart Alecs route, so tomtom would have got us here, if we had been prepared to scrub up half of Belgium.

    I carry no maps when traveling, relying on tomtom only, I think GPS is the bees knees and so I am prepared to forgive it, even when Alec takes over.

    The campsite, to be honest if it wasn’t for the fact that we had had so little sleep, we would have turned round and looked for somewhere else. In this case though it was
    any port in a storm. I found the owner cooking in their small restaurant, who said yes he
    had a space, and I managed to understand, could I give him a few minutes to finish cooking?. I said ok and walked around the campsite. Most of the free spaces had a small wire pen containing baby pigs, the only space I could see was on a gentle grassy slope, and, as Belgium had had so much rain they were thinking about building Arks I was very uneasy about being led to this particular space for fear of getting stuck.
    The campsite consisted mainly of static caravans who looked as if it was there permanent abode, but they turned out to be very nice people, especially when after being led to aforementioned space, they all turned out in the pouring rain to give me a push when I did actually get stuck.
    After a cup of tea, and asking a few campers if I could make them a gift of my motorhome I went to the restaurant to fill in the mandatory form along with our passports.
    Now not being a regular traveller in Belgium, I have to admit I am not too clear on what language is currently in fashion, is it French, Flemish, Walloon?.
    Well I tackled the form and wasn’t doing too bad when, I came across one question on the form I couldn’t figure. I gestured to the site owner to come over and help with the problem, over he came and I pointed to the problem question, and tried to put what I hoped was a puzzled expression on my face. “Ah” he said, and began to sing happy birthday to me, problem solved, date of birth.

    Campsite fee 12.50 euros including electric.

    Next morning we continued on towards Germany (now back to tomtom MREurope) again in the pouring rain. On crossing the German border we changed to tomtom German map and set it for a poi stellplatz Wintrich.
    After a very pleasant drive on superb free Belgium and German motorways, and Daisy behaving perfectly we arrived at the entrance of the stellplatz.

    Wintrich stellplatz is a quiet stellplatz for seven motorhomes, superbly laid out in a vineyard, and a very short stroll to the town. The only thing against it, it is quite a way
    from the river, and every morning, yes every morning the refuse collectors came along and woke us up, just beating the church bells from doing so.
    Apart from Minheim stellplatz we were woken by church bells on every stellplatz
    we visited.
    We thought that the bells maybe on old tradition going back to the time when they were rung to call the vineyard workers to work.
    But all this is only a minor irritation, The Mosel Valley is simply incredibly beautiful,
    and even the words incredibly beautiful does not do it justice.

    There were two other M/Hs on site with us, both Brits, who surprise surprise. came over
    and had a chat, one chap told me seeing my left hand drive, it was is first time abroad and was having uneasy moments driving his big right hand drive Hymer. I told him not to worry I have the same moments with a left hander. Well we are getting on a bit.
    We stayed two nights to charge our batteries, so you can see the early morning noise wasn’t that bad.
    Two nights 14 euros.

    Continued on to stellplatz Trittenheim.

    Sun arrived at last, a glorious sunny day.
    Trittenheim. A lovely town is right on the river Mosel, quite a popular spot, we managed to get on, even right next to the river. Charges were 7.50 euros a night inc electricity with a water machine costing 50 cents for 60 litres.

    100 yards from the s/platz is a boarding stage for the river boat trips. Next morning warm and sunny we waited at the boarding stage for the river boat that would take us to Bernkastel- Kues. We learned that tickets were purchased from a man in a car nearby, not on the boat.

    The trip from Trittenheim to Bernkastel-kues took 2 hours, stopping at a few pickup points along the way. The fare was 15 euros each, return, and worth evey penny.
    The river twists and turns along the way, opening up to new views as you meander along.
    It was the start of the wine festival (this day being 1st sept 2006) and the town was packed. The streets were full of wine, food, novelty stalls, but the entertainment was
    at night. We had lunch at a bratwurst stall, first time we had tried it, turns out to be a high quality sausage. I asked if they had any tomatoe ketchup, “no” we only have CURRY ketchup. I tried a spot of it on the bratwurst and tasted it, then drenched it in it, lovely.
    All in all a very pleasant day.
    During the river boat trip we passed Minheim stellplatz that we thought looked nice
    and put it down to stay later on.

    Its not only sunny now its getting very hot.
    Spent the next day fishing. The Mosel river is a beautiful wide river that looks as if it should be full of fish, it might be, but I couldn’t catch any, I took comfort though. from the fact that the German fishermen couldn’t either.
    Note for fishermen, any visitor who does not reside in Germany does not need a fishing license.

    Moved along the river to Neumagen Dhron Stellplatz.
    Cost per night here is 11 euros. Dearer than any other place we stayed, but here there are showers, and washing machines.
    At this platz there is what looks like a big blue aluminium caravan built on top of a boat.
    Unlike the other Stellplatz we stayed on where someone collects your nightly fees, you have to go here to pay. It also contains the showers, included in the 11euros, but washing machines you pay extra.

    Spent 3 nights here exploring the town and walking along the river. We paid a visit to
    the Tourist Office where we were given a pamphlet showing a map where the Roman
    remains were located, but theres not much left of them.
    There is a decent supermarket at the edge of town.

    Next and last stellplatz Minheim.

    This platz is very, very popular, and not because it is the cheapest one we stayed at, 6 euros a night. From what I could deduce from the sign in German, it won best
    Stellplatz 2006.
    We stayed 8 days altogether and saw many give up waiting for a space and moved on.
    Not knowing it at the time, we arrived about 10 am in the morning. This was the ideal time when M/homers who were moving on, would start leaving.

    The 4 lines of pitches stretched along the the river, I managed to get a space on the second row, which turned out to be great source of amusement to us.
    The front row being directly next to the river was highly prized and every morning
    about 10am, people from rows 3 and 4 would congregate to see if anyone on the riverside
    row was moving. When someone did, the smart ones would signal to their wife to rush over with a folding table or chairs to claim the pitch. Others, till they learned the system,
    would rush back and drive their m/ homes over, only to find a folding table or chair
    occupying the pitch. Others actually must have asked front rowers when they were moving, and when learning someone was moving next day, they would move their own m/h down alongside the next day at about 9 am, with the resultant traffic jam from other front rowers who might happen to be moving.

    The next morning the people next to us moved on and less than a minute later this bloke
    from row 4 leapt the 2 foot high fence clutching the obligatory folding chair.
    Turned out to be Alan and Di two English full timers, who knew the folding chair system
    has they came here regularly for the wine festival in a weeks time. We became good friends with them. They told us if we ever walked along the river to Piersport and fancied a meal out, go to the butchers, its also a restaurant, which we did many times, can highly recommend it.
    A new stellplatz is planned for Piersport for next year, another beautiful place.

    We had by now been experiencing superb weather, when about 5 o’clock one day it grew quite dark when all of a sudden a great wind blew up, a German close by had is awning blow straight over the top of his van, completely wrecking it. We got ours in pretty quick.

    The Minheim wine festival starts on the 15th of Sept, a very enjoyable night, though somewhat spoiled by the fact due to moving next day, I stayed on the wagon, though, I had made up for it the previous evening.

    Next stop was an aire de service at Ribberville in France. The journey took us through
    Saarbrucken in Germany. We got through ok, but the road runs along and keeps crossing
    The tram lines, and is one traffic light after another. Can’t say I would recommend it.

    Fuel in Germany 1.10 euros a litre.

    The aire at Ribberville turned out to be a carpark with only one m/home there, the rest of
    the spaces were all taken up with cars. It turned out it was Ribbervilles wine festival weekend. So the town was heaving.We were lucky enough to find an aire just down the road, with one space left. Even though we had to reverse in over the tree trunks that were used to mark out the designated spaces.
    There were no facilities on this aire and had a charge of 1.50 per night obtained from a ticket machine.

    So after a pleasant evening meal we settled down with our books, and enjoyed the cooling breeze that wafted in through our two open windows. The weather was still very warm. OPEN WINDOWS! When will I ever learn?.
    It was about 4 o’clock in the morning when I was woken by persistent itching on my hands. The cold light of day revealed six mossie bites. (I am not sure whether its because I am a diabetic, but it takes my immune system a long time to deal with them)
    I asked my wife if she had been bitten, no, she said, she had put mossie cream on while I was getting the ticket out of the machine.

    Next morning we set off in the pouring rain for Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, on the A35 for a campsite at Bekenried.
    On arrival at the Swiss border at Basel we were told to where to park and go and obtain
    the required vignette. Over I went and presented myself to the military gentleman. I said “hello, I require a vignette”. He stood staring at me for what seemed an age, to the point where I looked down to see if I trodden in anything. “Good morning” he said,
    Ah! That’s where I had gone wrong, I had said hello instead of good morning. “Good morning” I said, holding my Credit card up again so he could see it. He stared at me again for a few moments, then with what must have been a great effort on his part, pointed to the credit card pin number thingy, and I inserted my credit card. He didn’t move. I went through the mime of inserting my pin number, looking at him while doing so, He shook his head slowly at this poor English cretin in front of him. Then to my great
    relief he did a smart about turn, went over to his desk and returned with my hard won vignette.Welcome to Switzerland.

    Vignette 40 swiss francs

    Basel, If I didn’t know that Switzerland had been neutral during the war, I would have
    swore it had been badly bombed during that conflict. The road reconstruction workings going on make it a nightmare. If you can find another crossing into Switzerland take it.

    Stopped 30 kilometers into Switzerland for some fuel
    Went in to pay the girl, said “hello” and gave her my c/card. Oh dear! I had used the hello word again, no reply, but instead she went into a thousand yard stare, with the most miserable face I had ever seen. Walked back to the van repeating to myself, must not use the word hello, must not use the word hello.

    Diesal litre 1.78 swiss francs = 75pence.

    Arived at campsite Sportzentrum, Bekenried. Lake Lucerne.

    Went to reception and said “Hi” It worked! A really nice bloke, couldn’t be more helpful.
    We parked next to this tiny caravan, (we had been told where to park due to the rain sodden ground, ). The EHP was one I had never seen before, but 20SF deposit you could hire one.
    So we sat there with a cup of tea watching the rain bucket down, and looking at the lower slopes of the mountains, everything above was covered in mist. It was pointless venturing out due to the rain, so we sat reading, hoping it would give over, and we could go and have a look at the Lake which was close by.

    Sometime later the door of this mini caravan ( It was the size of a mini car) next to us opened and this chap got out, he had to be six feet tall, who came and stood by our window and peered in at us, much to the alarm of my wife. He was followed by another man, this time an elderly gentleman. We waited to see if there were any more residing
    in the caravan. We couldn’t figure out how on earth they managed in such a tiny space, but they did.

    The rain eventually eased up and we went and had a look at Lake Lucerne. Sad to say this was not the ideal time for our first view of the famous Swiss lake. The rain had started again, plus the mist, everywhere deserted; it was not the best light to see our first Swiss
    Lake. We spent ten minutes sheltering in a lake pleasure steamer ticket office counting
    the mosquitos on the walls, then deciding to make a run for it back to the van.

    We decided to stay another day hoping the weather would improve, It did start brighter
    but it soon reverted back to the previous days weather.

    Campsite 29.80 swiss francs a night. £12.62

    Next stop Lake Guarda.

    The A2 motorway to Milan was very busy. I was aware that there were tunnels in Switzerland, but was surprised just how many there were. Quite a few were closed one way, for repairs, so traffic were using the remaining tunnel both ways.
    We noticed every so often lorries were made to pull over into a slip road, where they
    were then let back on to the motorway at intervals, so as not to create bunching.
    Whether this was for tunnels, or just traffic calming we don’t know, but we thought it a great system.
    We arrived at the Gottard tunnel still in pouring rain, which I believe is 17 kilometers
    long. We emerged into brilliant sunshine and blue skys. Now we could see the mountains
    in all their magnificence, we pulled into a rest area and just feasted on the scenery.

    The A2 joins the A4 north of Milan, now traffic was very very busy, here they were laying a fourth lane to the motorway, so traffic was down to a crawl for about an hour.
    Once through this it was solid traffic all the way down to Lake guarda.

    Camping Vo, Dezensano Del Guarda. £21 a night

    Lake Guarda was beautiful, to be fair, the weather was glorious, but apart from that
    Dezensano Del Guarda was alive with people, and shops were all open, it felt like being on holiday after Lucerne.
    Camping Vo was adequate for the three days we were there, its situated 1.8 kilometers
    outside the town of Dezensano Del Guarda on the lakeside, a nice walk into town.

    Woke up to 9 mossie bites, yes sprayed, candles burnt tablets etc.

    Next stop Venice.
  2. RockieRV

    RockieRV Deleted User

    Great read!!
  3. kands

    kands Read Only Funster

    Jul 20, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Fabulous read Dethleff, can't wait for the rest of it :BigGrin:
    Well done matey.....


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