Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Romantic Rhine - 2nd time lucky - 27th August – and still raining

Currently we're in France and yet again the weather isn't that great so I'm having an afternoon confined to barracks catching up with my blog and a few other “me” things.

Firstly, I've been saying that it will be nice when we no longer have a TV signal so that we don't waste our time indoors distracted by the gogglebox. Yesterday it happened. To give us something to watch, back in the UK I bought the full collection of Benidorm series 1 to 6. We've previously seen a few but not all and not in order so we thought that would fill a few evening hours (22 to be precise) when we have no TV. How awful you might say, but actually it is very funny and very close to the mark on some occasions, we're only really interested because we spent last winter only 5 miles away and it is actually a very beautiful place, if only you could take away the high-rise buildings and the brits-abroad. It has however been responsible for a boom in the holiday business in Benidorm – I would have thought it would put most people off. I was told that I couldn't watch it until we had no TV so we got it out and settled down to some viewing. We'd already seen the first series another night and put on the second series disc one and the disc failed! Bummer, we'd even bought it from the BBC website and not e-bay so we did expect better quality than that.

We saw the last few episodes of Series 2 on the second disc, but it just wasn't the same. Then I put on Series 3 disc 1 and that failed too but disc 2 was ok. Now we would not be happy losing the first 3 or 4 episodes of each series, it rather misses the point of buying the complete set. It also means that we would not be able to flog it when we have seen it. By now I'm not amused. So this afternoon I decided to check all the discs to see if I needed to send it back to the BBC.

In order I put all of the discs into the computer and the failure rate was 50%. I wrote down all the disc failures. I was not impressed, I get really frustrated when things that should work don't. So I decided to google the problem to see if there was anything I could try. One suggestion was that it could be dust in the laser beam – so I though hey, give the DVD player a “blow-job”.

And would you believe it blow and behold it worked. Result! Good old Google.

So what have we been up to since my last post:-

The Romantic Rhine

The journey from Burgen on the Mosel to Oberwessel on the Rhine was pretty uneventful for a change and a welcome change at that. The only comment was that on the way back up the Mosel to Koblenz I said, “This is pretty, I don't remember any of this on the way down” to which the reply was “Well you were very cross at the time”. And that was putting it mildly, I was almost in tears.

We arrived at Oberwessel to a small but very friendly campsite. It was a good job we arrived early as we had one of the last pitches and we were quite happy with it as we had a river view, the only pitches in front of us were the tent pitches which were empty.

Views from our pitch

Evening Sunshine
Morning Sunshine
Paddle cruiser

One hell of a big boat
The weather had picked up and although we had a bit of rain it was nothing like we'd had for the rest of August.

The following day we got the bikes and buggy out and peddled off to St Goar and Loreley. I had a thing about going to Loreley because I had a school friend of that name and if I remember rightly she was named after Loreley the siren who sits on the rock and lures sailors to their death by her irresistable. We went on holiday together to Spain when we were 19 and although we lost contact some time ago, I have recently found her on “In your facebook”. She's currently living in Gibraltar and maybe we might meet up when we do our southern Spain journey next Spring.

There is a very nice and big campsite in St. Goar for anyone wanting to go to the Romantic Rhine (but it's not in ACSI). You can walk into St. Goar from there and cross the river on the ferry to Loreley.

We hopped on the ferry across the river to Loreley and had a walk around. Some of the side streets were typically German and very old. This house was about 400 years old, it's a shame they built it so close to the railway line!!!!!!

Look for the car transporter train going past (middle right)

Even the ferry is called Loreley
View from Loreley across to St Goar
Typical street
No day out would be complete without the pink bag!
And here's a picture of Loreley (the siren). It's a bit blurred because unless we wanted to walk another mile (we'd already done enough walking and cycling) we couldn't get any closer.

We actually met some English people on our campsite. They were the first English we had met since we left Ypres, some 3 weeks ago. Actually whilst I'm mentioning nationalities I think the Dutch are the champions of camping. Wherever we go the campsites are filled with Dutch people. They must make up 75% of all the campsites we have visited with only the exception of Ypres which was nearly all British. I don't know why but you can usually tell the Dutch because they seem to love the colour red. Yes red not orange as you might expect. I asked Meerke about this and she hadn't noticed before, but looking around they nearly always wear red and have red accessories, like bike panniers, bags etc. I must take some photos to prove my point.

Also we have met some inspirational people on our travels. I'm sure I have mentioned before that we feel younger for spending the winter with so many inspirational older people but we met a couple on this site that really were the kings of the road. This older couple (I think they were Dutch because of the red stuff) arrived on their bikes, pitched their tent and stayed just one night. Iain went off to the loo and by the time he got back I could tell him that the man was 80 and they had cycled 13,500 km in less than 4 years. That's nearly 8,500 miles. WOW good on him. He'd had a heart attack some 6 years before and his doctor told him that he should stop his sinful life of sitting around reading books (I thought he was going to say smoking and drinking) and get some exercise. He did say that he had an electric bike so that it takes some of the strain but anyway that's still a fantastic achievement. I think I'm doing well if I cycle 10 miles in a day – but then I'm normally towing the buggy and Iain says I can't have an electric bike until I can't peddle anymore. I think it's actually because he's not that keen on cycling and doesn't want to encourage me. Iain asked me how I had learned all the man's life story in less than the time it took him to go for a pee. Well that's what happens when you only have the company of one person for a long time. You pounce on anyone that will talk to you.

One of the good things about the campsite in Oberwessel is that there are a couple of supermarkets just across the road, so we were able to get supplies easily and managed to stock up again for a few days travelling.

The following day the weather was good and we took a walk into Oberwessel and it's quite a pretty old town with lots of towers, some old town walls and a castle on top of the hill.
We did walk half-way up to the castle and then gave up.  An elderly couple had walked it the day before so that really showed us up.

This man just happened to be behind us!!!

Having had a fair walk around the town walls which were quite precarious to get down from, especially when you are trying to get a dog down with you, we were in need of some refreshment so we stopped in the main market square at a hotel for a drink at about 3pm and we were told that they were closed.

Closed on a Friday afternoon in August

And Iain was looking forward to filling this one

We had planned to cycle to Baccarach which was further up the river on the Saturday but the weather forecast was for thunder storms so we just had a relaxing day. Of course it didn't rain, did it. Except for when we decided that we'd better take the dog for a walk before dinner and as soon as we got out the heavens opened, which cut short that walk.

Our pitch was at the end of the campsite and there was a little track down to the river so it was great to be able to let the dog off the lead and have a paddle in the Rhine. The Rhine could be added to her list of “Rivers I have paddled” but then I realised that she has been in the Rhine before when we went to Cologne a few years ago and I enjoyed a week by the river while Iain went to work at the airport. The taxi driver thought it was very strange when he picked Iain up at the campsite, dressed in business suit, destination the airport and no luggage.

Moving on, and I've nearly caught up now. We left Oberwessel on Sunday (31st August) with a plan to go to an Aire in Port du Mousson on the Moselle (yes we're in France now) which Steve and Claire had stayed at and as it said it wasn't suitable for big motorhomes (although looked perfectly suitable in the picture) we actually made a back-up plan to go to Nancy. However looking at the map, Iain noticed there was a 3.5 tonne limit through the town so we decided that there was little point in going there. Shame it looked lovely.

So we travelled some 185 miles to Nancy in France. Great little campsite, with good and FREE wifi. We like FREE. The weather still isn't very warm and we've had a little rain.
August in Nancy
We would have liked to have gone into Nancy to have a look around but as always we are restricted with the dog and not sure if we can go on a bus with her. Cycling was not an option as although it is only 4 miles into town from the campsite, the town sits in the bottom of a big bowl and if we go down there, we've got to get back up. 4 miles uphill walking for me would be gruelling and pushing my bike with the buggy on the back would have been impossible. So we settled on a good walk around a lovely park next door to the campsite and then catch-up afternoon with my blog and sort out the DVD failures as I mentioned above.

View of Nancy from the park
Nancy is beyond the bushes at the end of the park

So there we are – uptodate again, well I'm writing this at 6.30 am and I should be getting some sleep as we're on the road again today (2nd Sept) we are heading south to Dijon where we are hoping for some more appropriate weather.

Change of plan again - not going until tomorrow.  Partly because I was up in the middle of the night and so am tired today and don't fancy the 200 mile drive and partly because we've got good and free internet here so it will give me a chance to get everything posted and do some banking etc.

Having decided to stay an extra night, we had enough food but I'm afraid that the essential supplies were lacking. So having got ourselves organised this morning we took a walk to the supermarket for some beer. There are two from the campsite, one turn left for about 2 miles and one turn right and take the second left and this seemed to be the nearer one so we took this.  Having walked for about 15 minutes we came across the 1 in 10 descent towards town and we'd only just come across the first left so I said that I didn't mind if it meant a lot further walk, but I'd rather go to the other supermarket that was left out of the campsite.

So we did this, we walked back to the campsite and some 2 miles to the supermarket, only to find that 5 minutes before we arrived it had closed for lunch - for 2 hours.  So we ended up coming back empty handed.  What no beer????????

We're on the move tomorrow so we'll just have to make do.

Be back soon............................................................

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