Day 1545 – Lee Valley – 26 May 14
For piccies see www.eastmidlandsdea.co.ukPrimarily this blog is aimed at keeping our daughter in the UK, Chloe, abreast of our adventures in Europe. Additionally, we hope that other readers will find snippets of info regarding campsites, prices and foreign travel interesting or perhaps just informative.
Left the extortionate campsite at Nuremberg after visiting the ‘VolksFest’ fairground where an enormous fair was taking place. We ate yet more Nuremberger sausages in buns and mum wouldn't go on the big wheel.
Earlier in the day we walked to the U-bahn (underground) and tubed it into the city centre for €5 return. The main walking areas were full of hot food and veg stall selling all sorts – especially Nuremberger sausages! Pleasant place to visit and we just missed their Blau-Nacht festival by one day. Tubed to the outskirts and visited the Nuremberg Trials Courtrooms and learnt about the Nazi War-Crime Trials. Interesting. Worth a visit.
The journey to Colditz on the 3rd was cold. 3.5 degrees in the mountains at 2700feet. The Camping am Waldbad is in the middle of a wood about 1km from town. Your mother has just gone on a walk to investigate. We’ll visit the Castle tomorrow.
10 down – 12 campsites to go!
Very cold night – frost on the grass at 8am! Heater on all night. However the sun came out eventually and we walked through the woods to Colditz town where they were having a town Fest. Singing, funfair et al – including Irish Coffees for someone at 11.30am! Had a nice Zigeuener schnitzel in a local bierstube and then the Tour of Colditz Castle. A very interesting €15 two hour tour of the prisoners lives during the war. The film ‘The Colditz Story’ used some poetic licence but was fairly close to the truth. Weird, but the guide kept referring to the Nazis as ‘the Germans’ as if she wasn’t one! Finished with a Bratwurst and a walk home. They used Stirling Castle for the filming.
Tomorrow, Lidl, Czech Rep for lunch and then Dresden for three nights. Halfway home!
Set off from Colditz and it was bloomin’ cold! Short drive to Petrovice in the Czech Republic for lunch. Avoided the toll road and enjoyed a nice lunch in the frontier town. It was full of Chinese Shit-Shops selling all sorts of gear including giant pine windmills! Bought some jeans though.
The exchange rate should have been 44 Krone to the Euro but they only gave 27!!!!! Best to get Krone if you want a deal. Diesel was only 80c per litre – and I'd only just filled up in Germany. Curses!
Spotted a weird restaurant – a converted Russian/Czech TU-104 airliner from the sixties. Bloody good landing if you ask me!
Then the quick transit to Camping Mockritz in Dresden, who now holds the record for the longest lunch break. 11am to 5pm!!!!!!!! So we just found a pitch and checked in later. Shirl had a drama with the washing machine but all was solved. €20 per night and quite crowded with Dutch and Germans – who are currently having a singsong accompanied by an accordion.
Bussed into Dresden from outside the gates – 15 mins and €2 Euros. Ten minute walk into the centre which is very impressive. They have restored much of the damage inflicted by the USAF/RAF on 15 Feb 44. It's really quite remarkable and extraordinary. There is plenty of evidence of non-imaginative East German architecture, much of which has been converted to hotels in the centre. We took the Stadtrundfahrt Bus for €20. Nearly two hours but a good deal. Lots to see and three walking tours included for tomorrow. Sunny today and rain expected tomorrow.
Change of plan and went to Meissen. Bus to Hauptbahnhof - €2, train to Meissen - €6 and walked into Alt Stadt after bollocking from train guard for not stamping the train tickets. There was NO ticket office at the station. ALL MACHINES…1984 is well and truly here!
Meissen lovely. Great castle, DOM and Rostbratwurst! (€2) Visited the Meissen factory for tour (€9) and got Chloe a nice wedding present. Well worth the visit. Now off for a Schnitzel und Pfeffer Saus mit pommes! Whoo-hoo! (€8.80)
Set off for the short journey to Tropical Worlds at Krausnick, about 50 miles south of Berlin. It stands on the old East German/Soviet Air Force base of Brand. There is an enormous Airship hangar which was built in 2000, and has been converted into a mega-Centre Parcs type water park. It has restaurants, bars and amusements for all.
The campsite itself is new and has all modern facilities. Pitches are hardstanding and we catch a free bus to the hangar. It's €33.50 per night for the comfort pitch, but we get into the resort for €8.50 instead of €30, so it works out really well.:thumb:
Clearly, there are loads of kids and families from all over – Poland, Russia, Czech Rep, Slovakia and Germany. However, to one end is a Sauna and Spa area primarily for adults. It's €12 per day extra but worth every penny. It quiet, relaxing and there is a plethora of saunas, steam rooms and treatments. It's all ‘Textile-free’ in the saunas. Oo-er!:Blush:
We are off to Poland for the day (Sat 10th) and then into the Hangar to watch the nightly show. Then another day in the sauna area before heading north on Monday. One good innovation is that you don’t need any money – they supply you with a wrist data reader which pays for everything. It's all god value and at £20 pppn including the camping – it's well worthwhile. Of course, there are extras for food and drink – but that's the same anywhere. And when you consider that Nuremberg was €34 per night just for a pitch – it's a bargain!
We drove the 90 minutes to Poland for a sticker verification. It was much busier and brighter across the river in Poland and LIDL was rammed. We just kept on going and headed back via back roads. However, we had a weird situation with the wag. The RPM became limited and power was dropping when I accelerated. It showed all the symptoms of a Turbo Actuator problem, so we called out the ADAC man when safely limped back into camp. He could find no problem, but didn’t have the engine computer adapter as our 'van is too old!
So we found a local Merc garage and planned to go there on the Monday (12th) morning. However, I had noticed that the windscreen washer reservoir had emptied via a leak and wondered if that had caused a short! Well, it must have, because on Monday morning, the engine was ‘sweet as a nut’. So we just headed straight onto Wismar Stellplatz on the Baltic coast near Lubeck, The camp was almost full but well organised. We missed the turning but made it via some very narrow roads and a U-turn!
€10 per night plus €3 for leccy and €1 per shower. Friendly staff and five minute walk to Netto and ten minutes into town. Wismar is not how I imagined it from the descriptions. It much more open and there is still a lot of E German architectural evidence and unusual old building are rare. Actually, I wouldn't go out of my way to visit the town. Had a nice meal and an early night.
On to Gromitz today to meet up with Britt and Gunter at Camping Porta Del Sol!!!
An eventful journey on minor roads. Saw an old E German border post and then got a flash from a speed camera – doing 69kms in a 60! Might get away with it. I hope!oh:
Found the site after some nav issues and met by Britt and Gunter who have hosted us royally. Schnitzel mit Spargel – excellent and then cards. Looked round Gromitz which is a charming seaside resort with all facilities – shops, restaurants and pools. Take note Spain…they were ALL OPEN!!!!! It's a nice campsite – mainly permanents, but excellent facilities.
Off to Lubeck today after a hearty Germanic breakfast! Weather poor but who cares! 'van is nice and warm .
The loss of power happened again yesterday and I reckon it's similar to the electrical fault we had on the nearside indicator housing in Italy. The water leaking from the windscreen washer reservoir has shorted the power switch to the pump and the ECU has reacted in a similar way to the condensation in the indicator. I'm hoping that when it's dried out – all will return to normal.
Have eaten ourselves into a coma! So much lovely food provided by Guenter and Britt. They have been so kind, showing us around this lovely area. We topped up with vino and set off to Camping Sejs Bakker near Silkeborg in Denmark to see Britta and Alex. The 'van DID NOT recover and the turbo is not working. To make things worse, the mains electrics has shorted out and we have only the leisure batteries and gas. Denmark has no LPG outlets for us, so we will now go home one week early. No choice really.
Britt and Alex are looking after us – Aquavit for lunch!!!!! – and cycling to the local tourist hotspots. The weather is fine so we can enjoy our last few days in the sun. Hopefully, both problems are not major fixes.
We set off from here on Tuesday (20th) and catch the ferry from Esbjerg on 22nd. Lee Valley to see Clo and drop off Cava and then back to Welby on the 26th. Our gas should last and I'm sure we’ll survive.
After some raucous games of Clag and Mexican train lasting until the early hours and much hospitality supplied by Britta and Alex, we set off to Ribe Camping near Esbjerg. The highlight was a day on the lakes on a paddle steamer and a climb up to the highest spot in Denmark – 171 metres!!!
We drove to coast with the engine struggling and visited Sondervig. As we passed Esbjerg we decided to try for the ferry on the 20th as the engine was not happy, so we diverted to the port only to find the ferry fully booked!! So we drove to Esbjerg Camping and will stay here for 2 nights. It's OK and we’ll bus it into Esbjerg tomorrow – if it's not too wet!
And – miracle of miracles….the electricity came back on! And driving from the port the engine sparked back into life!!!!!
So we sat at Esbjerg Camping where they charged £12 for a ‘Camping Card’ which apparently is required in Denmark. Wouldn't let us in without it. However, at Sejs we didn’t need it!!
Got loads of jobs done and leccy seems OK. Ready for ferry at 1845 and should be back at Lee Valley on Friday at 1500. Arranged hire car - £730 for 7 weeks – but it's cheaper than owning one! 'Van Annual Service on the 28th and MOT in July. Just hope that this Turbo Actuator is not too pricey. Also need a new wing mirror and windscreen washer bottle.
Have got May and June off with no visiting except locally and the hen night.
That’ll do for now
See you soon
M and D
Postscript: Both the Electrical Problem and the Turbo Actuator have miraculously fixed themselves. Weird but good news!
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