Published: May 18th 2012May 18th 2012
On the Romantic Road
Woke up to another wet and dreary day. Will this never end? It seems to have gone on forever with little sign of letting up. The intrepid driver decided that instead of driving to Girod he would do the 7 hour drive all the way to Rothenburg in Germany. All started well until we reached the first town where the sat nav got very confused with the road system. To be fair it looked like a kitten or two had got into mother in laws knitting bag and wool and unravelled the lot. It was no wonder she got lost and it took some time to get back on the right road again. We needed petrol again and found as usual that it seemed impossible to find a petrol station in Belgium on the motorway. Are they only to be found in the towns? We entered Holland and I wished I had taken a photo of the sign but after my miserable attempt at Belgium I decided to give it a miss. We stopped lunchtime in a motorway service station for a break and spotted the Blue Knights of Belgium . Motorbike riders obviously going somewhere important as they kept passing
us one by one.
Leaving Holland we entered Germany – another sign and better still the first petrol station for miles . Petrol in Germany just under 1.50 a litre compared with 1.54 in Belgium . We filled the van up and noticed that were no lorries on the road on a Sunday. It seems if my memory serves me right that they cannot be driven on a Sunday and most were parked up in laybys waiting for Monday morning. Heaven to have relatively empty roads. The fields here are full of yellow oilseed rape. A very pretty crop but when it goes over it smells of rotting cabbages. Greater Celandines and Queen Annes Lace grow on the verges- the season ahead of back home. I noticed that solar panels also blight the landscape sprouting like mushrooms on the roofs of homes and in solar panel farms. It seems that the Germans have embraced solar panels much as we have in Britain.
When we arrived at Rothenburg the driver commented that perhaps driving almost 400 miles was a tad too far in one day and he would probably not do it again.
We parked in the torrential
rain in our first stelzplaz in the pretty little town of Rothenburg. We were the only Brits amongst a fair number of German and Dutch vans. The site was brilliant, loads of hardstanding, a facility for water, clean and tidy toilets and electricity provided on a pay basis. We could not use the electricity as the meters were too far from our van and had to rely on gas for the fridge and heating and the batteries for our lights. The site was secluded and surrounded by mature horse chestnut trees with their white flowers dripping from the trees like candles. The weather turned even more nasty as it thundered and lightened. This went on for some while and according to Glenn it looked black over Bills mothers.
We lost a passport in all the commotion. It had fallen out of a bag and we were convinced we had left it behind at the last campsite. Visions of having to go back came to mind so it was with some relief to find it behind the drivers seat.
Eventually the rain subsided, the thunder and lightening stopped and we headed into Rothenburg. The town is very pretty with
walls and towers encircling it. The houses inside are colourful and have exposed wood which makes the whole place picturesque. It felt even more lovely as all the visitors had gone home and we had the walls and town virtually to ourselves. The town possessed none of the usual high street chains and all the shops seemed individual. Most had elaborate brass signs above their shop doors. I have seen similar in towns in Austria. They look much better than a modern sign and more in keeping with the area. It would have been nice if the shops had been open but that was expecting too much for a Sunday night in the low season. We had to window shop and the Christmas shops seemed the most interesting of all with pretty decorations for the tree. The nightwatchman was doing his tour telling his tourists all about the history of the town. Rothenburg was the sort of town where you expected the Pied Piper of Hamelin around every corner. We scored the town 9/10 and it certainly would have scored 10/10 if we had had decent weather and a bit of sun. It is a photogenic place and we spent
ages click clicking at each photo opportunity.
We purchased two Schneeballons. These seem to be speciality of the region and are large fat fluffy looking cakes . We choose nougat and nut and took them home for tea. Not quite what we expected they were rather bland and dull despite the icing and we only ate half of them. I suppose you can say we tried them and won’t be bothering again. At 2 .90 euros each they seemed an expensive disappointment.
The steltzplaz was quiet overnight with the sound of the distant church bells and the rain dripping on the roof. We slept OK as usual and made a note for ourselves that we need to buy a clock for the van rather than rely on my wristwatch and our mobile phones.
As we left in the morning we pondered why no-one had come for our money. We thought that the rain had probably put them off. However as we left the car park we noticed the paying machine that we should have put our 10 euros in. We must have walked past it three times without even noticing it. As we left we thought to
put our money in but it was too late as the times would not have corresponded with our stay. We hoped that if we were going to get a parking fine that they would with German efficiency have left it on the vans window rather than have to write to the DVLC to find out our address, post the fine to us and hope we would pay. Lesson to be learnt the hard way – if we use a steltzplaz check for machines. We did not deliberately stay for nothing we just did not spot the machine. The fine may await us on our return and what an expensive stop it will turn out to be.
Rothenburg is a lovely town and I would certainly recommend it.
There are more photos below