Monday, 24 August 2015

The Rhine and an Old Quarry

Fabulous overnight camp with sunny weather and a balmy night. Willy got out his guitar again and played some beautiful music. He is very good. Classical finger picking style but can also play "house of the rising sun" finger picking style. I joined in with the words in English. We sampled more German beer and wow is it cheap. A six pack of premium pilsener is about $8 Aus. Woo hoo!! A lovely Czech schnapps from Willy for a nightcap before the sleeping bag and tent were calling out!!
Another club member, Thomas had joined us in his white Tristar. Nice vehicle with a very good canopy over the rear tray. Hart was very impressed. 

 Then it was off to France. Sounds so casual that you can just head off and drive to another country. 
But first we were spotted by a young newspaper reporter from the area of Baden who did a u turn and followed until our petrol stop. Nice young guy. And of course when he saw two cars from Australia his eyes lit up. He had a story. After a few photos, an interview and the exchange of email addresses we were off again. But wondering if the editor will use the story as Hegi had phoned the paper and told them about our trip but they were not interested. We shall see.
We went across the Rhine which is the border with France and drove through the Alsace region to Mulhouse. This was interesting as it has changed from German to French a few times though history so it it is a mixture and has its own culture. 
We were going to a huge Auto museum set up by the Schlumpf Brothers who came from Switzerland. It covers cars from 1870 to today. They have the largest collection of Bugatti cars in the world and have all types from the very early days to the amazing Veyron, costs a cool 1.3 million euros if you want one. Fastest production car in the world. There would be nearly 400 cars on display and my camera went crazy!! They have the very first automobile and the extremely rare Bugatti Royale which was hand made for the Royals of Europe. But only a handful were made.
Sorry if you are not into cars but it was an experience. 

We then drove back into Deutschland and through countryside that looked very dry. I think they are suffering from semi drought conditions. Saw more Tony Abbott wind generation and masses of solar panels. Even whole paddocks just covered in panels.

Our next campingplatz at Gewerbekanal was an excellent setup with quality facilities and nice grassy sites. Did a bit of shopping first and the checkout woman winked at me after a spoke in Aussie German to her. A nice touch.  People camping from all over Europe but very few Aussies. Just us three so we were quite a curiosity and had lots of people wandering past. 

A communal cooking night with Hegi's lovely wife Mona being a great camp host and keeping us all under control. More guitar, more schnapps and funny moment when Hegi pulled up a YouTube clip of a Finish folk band playing Thunderstruck by ACDC. It was hilarious. Our Aussie mate Paul tried some little garlic bulbs in a chilli oil and I introduced our friends to some Aussie humour as I explained it was called, Johnny Cash!! Ring of Fire ha ha.

Another great day and it was off North on a three x two lane Autobahn. What a great system. Observations:
Germans are very good drivers and also courteous. Good road manners. 
Cars in the outside lane go fast, very fast. Not so good manners if you block them. 
There are no trucks on Sunday. What a blessing. They are just not allowed from 10.00 pm Saturday night to 10.00 pm Sunday night. There are very large parking areas set up where they park. In one there would have been at least 80 trucks just sitting there waiting until Sunday night
The road surface is excellent.
There are not the numbers of caravans and holiday makers that we would see at weekends.

We turn off the Autobahn after a couple of hours and went to a minor road beside the Rhine as we headed further North through the Rhineland. 

Then it was castle overload. Seemed like there was a castle around every corner. Beautiful towns right on the river banks and huge barges going up and down the river. 
We stopped a river village called Bacharach, as per Burt!! below a beautiful castle made a coffee and watched the river traffic. A glorious day with great company. After driving off again in our convoy it was more castles and even one in the river. Paul and I could not resist a photo opportunity with a castle as background.

Our overnight spot was something quite different. Called Stoeffel Park it is an old basalt quarry and they have kept it intact with a museum, old machinery and lots of interpretive information. We set up in a circle again with a couple more IG 16 members added to the group. 
A lovely English couple, Clive and Jenny, who were meant to be on the tour arrived to cheers. Their diesel engine had blown an exhaust valve on the way to Berlin as they arrived there on the back of a truck. They had managed to get it fixed back in Juterbog and drove North West from Dresden to join us for the rest of the tour. 

Did a guided tour at 5.00 which was great as Hart became the interpreter for all the English speaking members of the group. A budding career there we think. But our old guide was passionate about his subject and time was marching on. We are all hungry and thirsty but he just kept going. You just had to smile! He used to work in a VW factory assembling kombis so straight away he was Hart's new best friend. A local IG 16 club member bought along two crates of local pilsener which was great. A grille (German for BBQ) some great shared food including my veggie stir fry and it was off to bed. A hard bed I might say as we set up our tents under a big she'd roof with a concrete floor because rain was forecast. And it did pour overnight but we kept dry even if my back and hips took a beating.
The Syncros looking great all in a circle glistening in the moonlight and all one could hear was the snoring of the males who had consumed a nice amount of beer and schnapps.

 Tomorrow off further North via Koblenz and the junction of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. 


  1. And another of these wonderful stories and beautiful pictures. Thanks Peter for keeping up the good work. It is so interesting to follow your journey and I can just imagine the fun you all are having. And as Hartmut was saying yesterday - the scenery is just beautiful and I should have travelled with you guys!! Don't think so though .... am glad to be sitting here in the warm sunshine, peaceful and no stress and still being able to enjoy your travels. You see so much and meet so many people and your observations are great. So glad Mona is keeping an eye on all of you. Love the picture with all the grog.... how relaxing your evenings must be. I hope though that you recovered from the hard floor. But at least you were dry this time. Looking forward to the next couple of beautiful pictures around that picturesque region......

  2. Glad the sun came out! Sounds like you are having an amazing time, great to see all the photos, D.

  3. I am chuckling...loving the fabulous updates! Seems to me that you need to come home and dry out...there are too many stories of Schnapps and Bier!!
    Keep on enjoying yourselves. Soak it up!
    Allies liebe, me in Schatz!