Tuesday, 12 July 2016

SUCCESS IN GERMANY. ....DELIGHT IN HOLLAND

Monday 12th July

Sunday 11th.july (unless you know that the GF went to school in Germany in1958, the next bit may not mean much)

After Saturday's debacle, I took charge, did  some research and emailed William. Consequently we were able to drive and park the van 250 yds from the remains of Prince Rupert School which are nowhere near what is not the Bunker as described on the local map, the actual bunker having been demolished last year as we had been told. Also, contrary to previous information, only one building remains, not the whole school complex. This building is in a state of disrepair and fenced. As luck would have it, a young lady (covered in bird shit ) was opening the only gate for someone as we approached so I inquired if this was in fact the site of the old PRS. It transpired that it was, was now being used by an organisation running the largest,and most successful Common Tern breeding  project in Germany and she was the director. We explained the GF'S interest and she welcomed us in and gave us the tour. She had just obtained a grant from the town to preserve & renovate the building and intended to have a museum installed to show it's history from Kriegsmarine submarine pens to BAOR  boarding school. The Tern project occupies 2 or 3 rooms, the rest look like a squat, peeling paint and 50 years of neglect. However, she was quite adamant that no one from the Ex pupils association had been in there since she started in 2009, so one up to the GF, who is not a member. The GF had her photo taken against a crumbling  background.
The Tern project was fascinating. It was a floating raft in the sea, which had been covered in rocks and shingle to provide nesting sites for Terns. They had gone front 60 pairs 10 years ago to 900 today and the project is a major research facility despite being confined to 3 bare rooms in a dilapidated ruin.. the staff are mainly volunteers doing Phds and post graduate stuff from universities all over Europe.  So it was jolly interesting.
We had had enough of Wilhelmshaven by now, so we drove to Jever so the GF could not recognise the house were her parents may or may not lived and then we went to Holland. Nice site on the coast at HARLINGEN....and the first thing we saw was Reg&V......small world.

Monday 12th July

Cycled into town, less than a mile, then cycled around it. Absolutely beautiful, full of character,old houses,canals and restaurants. I finally got treated to a slap up father's day lunch at a harbourside hotel which only cost Julian & Justin a mere €107, which the GF has paid and added to their (ever increasing) account.

We are home tomorrow,  14.15 ferry from the Hook to Harwich, so hopefully home by 9pm.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

LOST DAY

Sunday 10th July ......

........has been cancelled. Don't ask me as all enquiries should be directed to my wife. End of.

THE FINAL CURTAIN.....

Saturday 9th July 2016

Thursday 7th July

A lazy day at the very pretty campsite in GVARV as our ferry from LARVIK to Denmark doesn't leave until 17.30 and it's only a 90 minute drive away. The morning is enlivened however by the Grand Final Playoff of the  Moëllky challenge between me, Big Malc and Reg at 11am.
Th draw for order of play, made by Eric, MY water carrier,  does me no favours with Malc to throw first and me to go last. Malc fluffs his first throw, Reg gets a good one and I'm hanging in there. Malc recovers, and takes an early lead, Reg holds on and I trail...but 2 good throws put me in the lead which I maintain for several rounds and only miss a winning shot on 40 by taking a 9 instead of the 10....this  leaves me needing a 1 to win, but the 1 pin is closest and isolated so must be a banker. ... Malc is on 44, Reg out of it on 37. Malc steps to the plate and flukes a 6 and is declared the winner. My supporters run up a protest flag on the basis that Reg and I should have another throw which could result in a tie at the top but the umpires are adamant that the first to 50 is the winner regardless of throws so I am second,  the first loser. Distraught.
Leave at 14.00 and arrive ferry 15.30. The ship is a high speed fast cat type and is packed.
We go straight to restaurant and get private room for 20 or so and stay there for the voyage,  just under 4 hours across the Skageragg. Excellent running buffet with amazing seafood,  cold meats, hot dishes, desserts and cheeses and all drinks included (shame I have to drive later) so we eat our way to Denmark for about £28 a head. Dock at 21.15 to find it is dark, which is a shock and we have an hour's drive AALBORG.Campsite is organised and expecting us so very efficient directions to pitches.

Friday 8th July

Day at leisure to explore AALBORG which we do by bike. Very pleasant city, especially the Music Park. When a new concert hall was built in the 1980's, someone had the bright idea to get every artist appearing there to plant a tree in the park.  Sir Stiff Pilchard planted the first, and now there are a lot. What makes it special is the speaker system in front of each tree which plays 3 tracks when the button is pressed. Artists inluding  B.B.King,Sting,MJQ,Chris Barber,Dionne  Warwick, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Lionel Hampton, Tom Jones,Status Quo, van Morrison and of course Bob Dylan. So we had a really great time ....even John Cleese and the philosophers song.
The evening was our last meal together at a restaurant on an island that can only be reached by a ferry from the campsite.  Another Scandinavian buffet which was excellent, followed by tear jerking speeches, presentations to our leaders who did a superb job and tearful farewells as everybody will depart for all points of the compass on Saturday morning.

Saturday 9th July

Leave 09.00 for Rendsberg in Germany. 4 hour motorway drive which is a relief after Norway.
Meet fellow travellers when we stop for coffee and then again for lunch but nobody else comes to aire at Rendsberg. It's been a long haul and we are not sorry that we have come to the end. It's been great fun, we've ticked the boxes we wanted to and have the stickers and t-shirts to prove it but it hasn't been easy. And everything was better for the company of D&M (especially the 12€  profit from cards).

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

THE END IS NEAR...OF THIS I'M CERTAIN

Wednesday 6th July 2016

Tuesday/Wednesday 5/6 July

Not many others opt to split the journey bug in hindsight it was a great decision.  We did 10 3 miles one day and 118 the next at a very lesurely pace, stopping often and had time to pick up 5 caches along the way, visit an out of the way waterfall, mooch round GOL,FLÅ and KONGSBURG where the Jazz festival was just beginning, annoy and then befriend a dutchman and cement Sino-British relationships. The waterfall was off the path and reached by a very wavery wood and wire suspension bridge over a significant drop and a raging torrent. Unfortunately no photos available. We had hoped to find a nice picnic spot on the banks of a river or fjord to camp the night but it was not to be....we are too close to civilisation. ...and we had to make do with the bus and lorry park at the rear of a hotel/shopping mall in the town of FLÅ. This became extremely entertaining as every 5 minutes a coach load of Chinese arrived for a comfort break and buying opportunity ......until they spotted the 2 motorhomes and a caravan next to us. It transpired that they had only ever seen such things on the movies and they all wanted to pose in front for a photo. They then started peering in the windows at us and poking heads through the open door. It was so funny that eventually we were giving tours, taking photos for them as they sat in the drivers seat and posing with them.  in front of the vans. There must have been 10-12 coaches, all apparently part of the same group, so we made lots of people happy.
We shared dinner chez Parker.....they did main course and wine, we did starters,desert and won another 2€ (candy from a baby).
During dinner however, an extremely large lorry/trailer combo roared into our now otherwise empty car park and after a turnaround, parked within inches of our bumpers as we were parked side by side, rears to the fence. If we had wanted to move we couldn't. ....so D and I got out to have a chat with him. He was very grumpy, said he would be parked up for 11 hours, that at least 10 more would arrive in the next hour as this was the only lorry park along this road for miles and if we were unlucky, some would be refrigerated. Seemed to think we should be in a campsite. So we calmed him down, he suggested we move round the other side of the complex to the hotel car park and nicely moved his rig so we could move. Then came round for a chat so we were all friends....except only 2 of his chums turned up, not 10. So we had a good night's sleep  and D&M even went into the hotel to avail themselves of the free WiFi.
We then had a nice run on Wednesday to GVARV which will be our last night in NORWAY as we sail to DENMARK tomorrow afternoon.