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Published: July 10th 2017
By the time you read this, we will be home…..
After leaving Romania, we spent the rest of our time wandering back to Calais through Hungary, Austria, Germany and Belgium before spending our last two nights on the Opal coast in France.
In Hungary we camped on the Danube and cycled to Tata, a pretty town built along the shore of a large lake. A smaller lake close by was created by Count Esterhazy who bought the town and built a summer house surrounded by an English garden complete with folly and fake ruins.
In Austria, we stayed at Tulln, another picturesque town. We cycled around the centre and then further afield exploring the surrounding smaller villages. How refreshing to cycle on the flat for a change, although a strong headwind made sure we didn’t have it too easy.
In Germany we stayed near Passau, a town on the confluence of three rivers, the Danube, Inn and Ilz. When we first drove past it, it looked like a huge island. The campsite was about 10 km’s further along the Danube but a cycle path
allows you to cycle into the heart of the old town. The town hall has markers on one of its walls noting the level of the water when the rivers flood. The second highest marker was in 2013 and reached at least 7 feet up the wall. In Passau, I learnt that John has a secret fascination with cuckoo clocks. We had a look around a shop that sold authentic Bavarian handmade clocks which, it would seem, is sadly a dying craft. Fortunately, they were a little out of our price range!
In Germany, we stopped off in Bayreuth for the afternoon. It is world-famous for its annual Bayreuth festival at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented. Wagner is buried in the town, as is Franz Liszt.
When we arrived in France, we stopped in the Ardennes area for a night and had a brisk walk around the nearby lake. The lake was a little bigger than we thought so what I expected to be a short afternoon stroll turned into a two and half hour trek in inappropriate footwear.
Our plan was to
stay at a campsite near to Boulogne Sur Mer for our last two nights (we stayed here last year). Unfortunately they only could offer us the Friday night so on Saturday we drove a few miles up the road to a lovely campsite in the village of Wacquinghen. We had a pleasant cycle ride down to the coast at Ambleteuse with its fort and then back inland through pretty villages. That evening the campsite was having a soiree in the restaurant – moules frites and entertainment provided by Patrick on the piano accordion. It started at 19.30. I booked a table and we duly arrived at half past seven, suddenly feeling very British as we sat in a deserted restaurant. People eventually started arriving over the next 30 minutes so note to self – don’t worry about being late for a meal when in France. The moules were delish but the accordion player was pants.
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