Monday, 13 September 2010

GERMANY PHASE 1

25th.August 2010 BACK ON THE ROAD .....again

After what seemed like a week long 65th Birthday celebration...which also involved a street BBQ to include the other 2 neighbours who were 65 over the same weekend (that's an awful lot of Leo's) we were finally able to load and leave at midday on Wednesday.
First stop was the public Weighbridge at Copdock where for the princely sum of £7 I discovered that we were 35 kilos over the limit at 4040k. Not too much of a problem with a full tank of diesel at 90k and 2/3 full freshwater tank at another 60k and a fair amount of food. It does mean some careful calculations on the way home regarding Wine stocking. but at least it was not as bad as I had begun to fear. Down to Folkestone and the Blackhorse CC site to discover it was extremely busy with overnighters coming and going to the ferries/tunnel and that somehow or other I had booked for Thursday night not Wednesday. Not an auspicious start but they had room for us. Derek and Margaret arrived an hour or so later in thr rain and we a jolly night chez nous eating and drinking and planning the next few weeks.

26th August 2010 UNDER THE SEA TO FRANCE

Caught the 7.20 tunnel shuttle, D&M preferring the seasick ferry at 10.30 and headed North without incident through Belgium and into the funny bit of Holland that sticks into Belgium on the coast near KNOKKE. Destination GROEDE which was described as 'Hollands most beautiful beach'. Bit of Tourist Board over-exaggeration and the weather was overcast much of the time but a pleasant enough spot and a good ACSI family campsite.

27th-28th August 2010 A DAY ON THE DIKES

(Stop sniggering at the back)
We stayed 3 nights, took the bus to Knokke, which is a very nice seaside town and v.upmarket with lots of designer shops etc, and then SLUIS a very pretty little town but much like a designer retail outlet village ( my minority opinion).On the Saturday, by way of entertainment, we all hired bikes and rode around the dikes and polder with a picnic overlooking the estuary that runs down to Antwerp and across to Vlissingen. The bikes were very large typical Dutch ones that produce a very comfortable upright riding postion, with lots of gears for the unexpectedly hilly flat countryside....getting up the Dikes proved quite strenuous in places on account of a force 8 blowing off the North Sea. But I haven't had so much fun on a Saturday since the night in the Hot Tub in Kesgrave. Weather warmish but v.windy. Sun hot when out.


29th-31st. August 2010 DUSSELDORF MOTORHOME SHOW

One of the clinching arguments for the trip to Berlin was the opportunity to visit the Dusseldorf Motorhome Show, undoubtedly the largest in Europe and apparently a very lively affair in a huge exhibition complex which becomes a campsite for the week. Can Verify that. Arrived on the Sunday afternoon after fairly boring trip past Antwerp,Eindhoven and Dortmund to be confronted by v.large queue of motorhomes trying to access the caravan centre. Initially we managed to find the wrong queue as we decided to opt for a pitch with electric hook-up and getting into the right queue required the cooperation of 3 lines of traffic queueing for the non-electric pitches...........but everybody was very jovial about it. A strange pricing structure meant that staying for 3 days (arrive Sunday,leave Wednesday) only required payment for 2 nights and we got discounts by having joined the Duss.Motorhome Show Club for free some weeks ago so the 3 nights cost us 38€ . The vans are all parked in long rows, nose to tail and with constant coming and going required a great deal of organisation since we learnt that there were over 2000 motorhomes on site on the Sunday. The entrance to the site resembles a Filling Station but instead of fuel pumps there are rows of service points for water,waste and toilet emptying. Next to the entrance was a large collection of fast food and beer stalls plus a huge marquee,.long trestle tables, serving hot meals, lots of beer and an oompah band. We had a super time in there one night, great food, much ale and clinking of glasses with everybody around us. Good fun.
From the camping area, free shuttle buses run to the exhibition halls and back with great efficiency and we had a good day on Monday at the show which was enormous. Bought replacement LED light bulbs for a bargain 2€ each instead of £6, a couple of washing up bowls and other mundane items but not a new van as we didn't see any that we liked....(not in our price range anyway) On Tuesday caught the shuttle to the complex and then a train into the city.
The tourist office gave us a walking tour leaflet called Dusseldorf in one hour which was about right. A pleasant city, some nice old buildings, a modern housing developement around the old port and a very chic shopping area called Konigs Allee and an several hours were well spent.

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