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Published: November 2nd 2011
We decided to take the motorway for the rest of France. It was a little – a lot – expensive, but it took two hours off our time. Cruising across Eastern France listening to Blind Melon and Redgum was a nice way to spend a morning.
Driving in the EU was a little odd. The only reason we knew that we'd crossed the border into Germany was that people started passing me doing better than 170 kmh. We were in Germany, but not far inside. We headed for the Schwarzveld, the Black Forest. Not far south of Stuttgart we ended up in the small town of Schiltach. We had randomly chosen this stop from the map, and it proved to be a beautiful town.
We found the local campground, and it was in an excellent spot. Right by the river, and under the old rail bridge. We got to work erecting the tents, and Klaire got to work feeding the ducks some old French bread.
The town was very German, or, at least, what I think of when Germany is mentioned. German architecture, and plenty of pubs. It was raining, just a bit, which wasn't at all inconvenient.
It meant that the warm and welcoming interiors of the pubs were that much more warm and welcoming, and the huge, excellent beers and fantastic food even better.
We got up too early the next day, but only because everyone else did. In Germany you didn't seem to have much choice – there was time you should be up and, in case you missed it, the church bell started ringing. We tried to pay, we really did, but we couldn't find anyone to take our money. The reception desk was deserted – we called out a few feeble 'Hallos' and 'gutentags!', then left...quickly. A free night's accommodation.
It was my first autobahn experience. Having learnt to drive in a place with no speed limit I was a bit excited, and I think I did okay. Only got lights flashed at me once. Even got the Berlingo up to 170kmh at one stage that still wasn't quite fast enough for the far left lane, and the other occupants seemed somewhat white-faced, so I backed off. Fun, though.
You really have to pay attention. A couple of times we got stuck in serious traffic jams – at the end
of one we could see why you need to pay attention – a black Audi station wagon had slammed into the back of a truck, obviously going some serious speed – the Audi was gone up to the boot. I couldn't see how anyone could have survived. This accident sobered up the Germans for about 5 minutes. Even when I was sitting on 150 to pass trucks there were cars up my arse.
We got to Bamberg, our destination. The first campsite was populated by freaky people that gave us the evil eye as we rolled in. Near a town called Neustadt de Wien, or something, the camping was crap; no facilities, and we all felt like a shower .We decided to push on. The next one wasn't much chop either – the people looked a bit odd, and it had the word 'Naturist' in its name.
By that time we were pretty close to the Czech border, so we said bugger it and headed for Pilsen. At least they had a whole species of beer.
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