Monday, 20 September 2010

A LOT OF FUSS

12th.September 2010 CZECHING OUT

A fleeting visit to the Czech Republic but time to head south for sunny climes via the bit of the Romantic Road that we didn't do last time due to Romantic Road overload. We intend to pick it up at AUGSBERG so turned towards Germany via the pretty route over some mountains (which did not appear on the map) despite the satnav wanting to take us the long way round. If I had known that the road between ZWIESEL and REGEN had been closed and that a long detour was now necessary (which was marked very confusingly) the satnav option would have been good. But we had a pretty enough route over what I now know is the Bayerische Wald, and whilst not dramatic appears to be a big ski centre. The border is is just before ZWIESEL and the contrast between the Czech/German sides is striking. No ski resort on the Czech side, just huts advertising cheap booze and cigarettes, then suddenly,at the border, a smart german ski resort with lots of bars and hotels,cars,bikes and people.
Ignoring the messing about due to road closures, we stopped at a Stellplatz in a village called PLATTLING but didn't like the look of it, being a bit isolated and the 2 motorhomes already there looked as though they were living there permanently......then 2 young ladies appeared out of the woods holding hands and the GF decided it was time to move on....another avenue of pleasure denied me....
So we drove another 50km to ALTOTTING which had a very nice Stellplatz close to the village centre and over a dozen motorhomes parking up for the night. Browsing the Michelin Guide I was amazed to find this place rating a fairly decent mention as a place of pilgrimmage for over 700,000 people a year........and the coaches were much in evidence. So we walked into centre to find a a very pretty little place making a fortune out of its Black Madonna housed in an octagonal chapel in the centre of a ring of churches,shrines and a monastery with remains of Bro.Bernard who has been beatified or sanctified in living memory for being the monastery gatekeeper and handing out bread to anyone who knocked at his door(he didn't even have to bake it himself). The Black Madonna is another of those nasty doll things, not as gross as Santiago da Compost-heap but getting close. There was a Big pile of wooden crosses by the door and people were picking them up and then circling the chapel on their knees. The place was covered with hand painted plaques thanking the Virgin for her intercession and just the sort of place I loathe but apparently very popular and a good class of pilgrim.

13-14th September 2010 WHATS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT

First to AUGSBERG. Stellplatz on outskirts a bit scruffy but quite busy and wanted 7€ to park overnight. As weather was iffy and a bit of a hike to centre we opted to park for 2hours (2€), walk into town, see the old buildings and cathedral and then move on down to FUSSEN.. here we found 3 basically private Stellplatz, catering for 40,50 and 100 motorhomes at 8-9€ a night plus tourist tax of 1.60€ each, plus slot meter for the electricity plus slot meter for showers and .50€ for fresh water....and by 5pm they were full but you could stay on a decent campsite for that money (if there was one). Fairly long walk into town centre but very pleasant village, lots of nice old buidings. Drove out to the KonigSchlosser at NEUSCHWANSTEIN -the whole point of being here -where mad Ludwig II built his fairytale castle and now lots of people make lots of money from herding tourists around. Entry to castle is long walk from carpark (7€) so get the shuttle bus or if you are a Good Fairy you flutter your eyelashes at gullible husband and opt for the horse-drawn carriage at 12€ one way for 2. Visting the castle is by tour guide only, so you book your language time slot and then hang around buying coffee and souvenirs until your tour is called (8€ each). Tour takes 30 mins, no photos allowed and explanation is perfunctory and then back to the souvenir shop. Took the shuttle bus back down 1€ each to find that the crowds waiting their turn to buy tickets was enormous, as were the queues for buses and horsecarts.........if you go, early is good. With 2 coffees, we spent 45€ for a very unsatisfactory visit.
Back to FUSSEN and stayed the night at a different stellplatz where the owner had a workshop and fitted a non-return valve to the water system to try and cure the minor problem I have with water seeming to run back from the hot water tank when we travel. Unfortunately this seems to have exacerbated the problem but it only cost 20€.
We shall head for Bodensee or Lake Constance and SWitzerland trying to avoid buying a motorway sticker by slipping into the country via Konstanz.

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