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Published: October 8th 2009
Friday 10th July
Crossing into Germany
Had a fantastic sleep-in until 10am - the constant drizzly weather is hardly motivating - and on the road just before lunch. It took us ages to finally cross into Germany as the weather was so terrible, with a quick lunch break at a service station seeing us all crowded under the open boot of the car trying to avoid getting wet.
On the exciting side, we did have our first (and hopefully last) incident of driving on the wrong side of the road… Craig was coming off the motorway and went into the left lane as our next turn was a left one. In Craig’s defence, it was an easy mistake to make with poor road markings and signage, and so was not just a slip into our normal driving habits (driving on the left, not just driving poorly). So we all realised at roughly the same time that things weren’t quite right, especially as a police/army car ahead waved us down to stop, and were able to merge back into the right, and correct, lane - as did the three other cars
who had followed us!
We arrived in Trier, a town our guidebooks claimed to be at the start of the most scenic section of the Moselle Valley, by late afternoon and promptly found a caravan park down on the river. It was, however, nowhere near as scenic, nor romantic, as it sounds being on the Moselle River, with the campground cramped and cluttered, and views of the river consisting of a glimpse through untrimmed shrubs. And to add insult to injury the showers provided only cold water - so it made for very short showers given that the temperature outside was only 18 degrees. Lovely warm spag bog for dinner, then bed about 10pm, the rain having given up for the time being thank goodness... Day 32
Saturday 11th July
The next morning saw us packed up and off by 11am, heading into the township of Trier in search of an information centre with guidance as to the best route for us to experience the Moselle Valley. This turned out to be the B53, a 190 kilometre stretch of road
that follows the alongside the Moselle River to the township of Koblenz. And so with information in arm, we set off to explore the famous German wine-producing region.
The views as we drove along the valley were absolutely amazing, with vineyards running adjacent the river, completely covering every inch of available land up the surrounding hills.
We left the relative safety of the B53 and wound our way up a hill, stopping for lunch with fantastic views of the blossoming grapes around us.
Further on, we stopped once again to savour some afternoon tea from a tea house with views over the river. The sweet creamy German slices were delicious but a tad belly-ache-inducing.
Arriving in the town of Cochen, we parked the car and went to investigate a cable car that ferried tourists up one of the larger hills in town, promising fantastic views of the town and river and valley below. The price was a little too expensive, and so provided us with a perfect excuse to work off the calorie-rich afternoon tea we had enjoyed earlier in the day. The walk was quite breathtaking initially
(literally), with a multitude of steep steps. We persisted however and were rewarded with great views from the peak. Not only was Cochen a pretty town to see, with the typical wood-beams-on-white-walled German houses, but there was also a castle perched on a nearby hilltop to complete the picture.
Back in the car, the search for a campground for the night was on, eventually finding one at about 6.30pm which was a real find - right on the river and for quite a reasonable price. The good weather had continued (ie no rain) and so with camp set up and bellies full of nachos, we all played some badminton, then some cards, with bed calling at 10.30pm. It was nice to be able to enjoy our evenings without needing to seek refuge in our tents due to rain and/or midges! Day 33
Sunday 12th July
Rain overnight… of course, it was too good to be true… which continued into mid-morning. We had toast with vegemite and cheese for breakfast which was a real treat - although it did require us taking
the toaster up to the toilet block for electricity.
Our original plan was to have a look around Koblenz a little, but with the terrible weather we instead decided to keep on driving, this time following the Rhine River along another of the famous German wine regions to the township of Mainz. We found the trip to lack somewhat in comparison to the Moselle Valley, with the road being very busy and further away from the actual river, hence not providing as good a view of the vineyards or giving the trip as much character as we found weaving in amongst the Moselle.
We made it to Mainz by 1.30pm and while our plan was to stay there for the night, we could only find one campsite and it was terrible. So after a quick lunch, it was back on the road and we were off again, this time skirting around Frankfurt and heading towards Aschaffenburg, our new aim being to camp somewhere on the way to Sailauf, where we were due the next day. However, this was based on the thought that Aschaffenburg was about an hour from Sailauf, not the 10km it
actually was... So we were in a bit of a weird situation, being so close, but with our hosts in Sailauf not expecting us until the next day. So, we ended up at a small town very nearby called Schollkrippen where we stumbled onto a free camping spot on a deserted carpark between the local pool and school. While a pretty basic set up and aimed mainly at campervans, without any toilet or showering facilities, it was free and also the only campground we could find in the area.
So after setting up, we had some dinner, played some cards, and then crammed into the big tent to watch a double feature, before calling it a night about 11.30pm.
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