Thank you for everyone’s feedback, to be honest I think that the promise of retrospective blogs was an empty one until we received so many comments and emails and realised embarrassingly that people still check the site regularly. So not to disappoint, here are some yarns and tall stories about Liz and my trip to Germany. Thank you to Liz who let me cut and past some of her group email to help prompt my memory.
After we left the boys in Frankfurt Liz and I started on our adventure. Liz describes our first stop Heidelberg where “we had a few money problems and put together a bit of busking act. Phil recited Man from Snowy River while I sang Waltzing Matilda in the background while jumping around like a kangaroo. Luckily the banks came through and we never had to put it into action, but there were a few tense moments as we tried to conserve the last few cents we had”.
The money problems we experienced, I later discovered were a product of me entering my PIN number incorrectly and not being able to access any funds for the entire time I was in Germany. Thank God for gracious friends – who don”t mind paying for your holidays.
Our camping ground in Heidelberg was picturesquely positioned along side the river with large trees behind, unfortunately they were not enough to mask the sound of the traffic from the major arterial directly behind the campground. Our first lesson for a camping road trip holiday – choose our camping grounds more carefully so that we can get more sleep and be a little less grumpy. I was also a little grump because I was missing Matt.
Then onto the Romantic Road through Bavaria from Wurzburg to Fussen. We have decided there is more romance in the thought of the drive than the drive itself. But there were some gorgeous German towns along the way. We recommend that no couple attempt this route because it is poorly sign posted and often leads in disagreements, especially when the driver travels 2 or 3 km to find a location to turns around after missed turn offs.
Fussen the end of the Romantic Strasse is magnificent. Set amongst the mountains with lovely lakes and 2 very famous castles, built by a very eccentric man. I was so taken by him that I bought his biography, wishful thinking that I would read it. I have a long plane trip to Oz. Heading out of Fussen we hit a bad rainstorm – and had flash back of the pictures of flooding that had been on the news weeks before. Liz and I made the quickest decision we made for our entire trip – we were heading for the city and a B&B, we weren’t gonna camp that night.
In Munich we discovered another much loved German pass time – nudity. Liz and my love for nature drew us to the magnificent parks in Munich. Unfortunately other German”s were using the autumn sun to get an all over tan. Have they not heard of the new sun smart ways? So traumatised by this open nudity and unable to take in the natural beauty of the parks, Liz and I headed to the beer halls to get sloshed. One night Liz describes “Had the best night at the touristy beer hall, the Hoffbrahaus. We sat with these old German guys with the lederhosen on. After getting through as much beer as we could (a very good 500ml) we noticed their photos on the wall. These guys were the locals. Some conversation in our very bad phrase book German discovered they had been going there every Friday night for years. They were very sweet.”
We then headed for the hill, and how magnificent they were. Berchesgaden, a little alpine village right near the Austrian border. We hiked lots, cheated a little by catching the cable car up the mountain. But boy my knees hurt after 5 hours of down hill walking. We met some very tame cows and took lots of photos. It was stunning. One day we walked right to Austria, quite bizarre. It even had a customs house there, but now there is just a teahouse and a bus service that leaves at regular times. They may have big mountains in Germany, but they are not as hard-core as us Aussies or maybe they just have it right. After four hours of walking to a “remote place” you come across a pub in the hills that sells sausages and sauerkraut. We visited a local schnitzel bar, which reportedly had 20+ types of schnitzel. They where all pork, with variations of toppings. Some local lads recommended a dish and we spent the night talking with an old timer (even though he didn”t speak English), who took everything out of his wallet to show us. We also went rowing on a lovely glacial lake and laughed like school girls when we passed some naked rowers. Boy could they row, disappointingly I couldn”t keep up with them.
Our final German stop was Rhinefalls. Hmm, actually we discovered it was in Switzerland and very confusedly asked the young girl at the tourist office how we got to Switzerland. I was extra annoyed because I had made a big fuss about boarder crossings and how I wanted to avoid them, just in case they caused us delay and we didn”t even notice that we crossed one. So we hurriedly tried to find a cash machine to get some Swiss francs, the euro makes it all so easy that you forget how it must have been 10-15years ago travelling though Europe. Apparently Reinfall is the biggest (?widest or longest) waterfall in Europe. Really it isn”t that fantastic. But the Rein river itself is great fun and river life is really alive, with people floating down it all day and night. Somehow Liz convinced me to canoe 40km down the river. I was a bit dubious, it sounded like too much hard work for a holiday. I was happy to do the 20km trip for the same price, but Liz is an accountant and value for money is important for her, so we set out on the 40km trip. When we were on the train travelling down the river, it began to sink in the task that we had set ourselves. When we set out it dawned on us that the trip started on the lake and there was no current to help us along, the task therefore because 10 times harder. The current kicked in about halfway along, I kept Liz going with Saltie songs and choruses. The nudist beaches and a man offering us sex, gave us motivation to row a little harder too. Poor Liz was suffering the next day…and she tried very hard to bend my “no massage” policy.
Next stop was Stuttgart where I left Liz at a bus stop, this stop was literally a formality and we didn”t expect to find much there. But as it happened we arrived in the middle of a wine festival…every major city in Germany we visited seemed to be having one festival or another. The next day I drove 800km and paid 50euro in tolls, across France and England (without my trustee navigator – never again will Liz be able to pretend that she cannot read maps), with a ferry crossing in the middle. Amazingly I just happened to be on the same Ferry as my in-laws the Piening”s and we all jumped in the little Rover (with a lot of luggage) and headed back to Bedford and my beautiful husband.