Gas tests and a helpful garage – Germany

18th and 19th July 2018

Cathy posting,

Pogo is Parked in a Stellplatz in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony Germany, near Braunschweig next to the Salzgittersee- Lake

Late last night in our Potsdam parking spot we were getting ready for bed when I thought I got a faint whiff of gas, I was sat on the dinette bench over the location of the outside gas lockers, I’ve got a good nose for gas having sniffed out a couple of leaks in our previous houses, Dave Continue reading

Royal Palaces and relaxation in Potsdam – Germany

Tuesday 17th July 2018

Cathy posting,

Leaving Berlin, we head west towards Potsdam, 22kms, we have seen a free Stellplatz just outside Potsdam at the Volkspark Biosphere, (N52.419265,E13.050040) on arrival Pogo is pleased with his leafy private bay, we chock him up and head over to the tram stop, No. 96 takes us 5 or 6 stops in to the centre, we are looking for somewhere to watch the World Cup final – France vs Croatia, Continue reading

Konstanz – Germany

Dave posting,

Thursday 5th April 2018

Konstanz

Left the Aire at Radolfzell this morning and drove a short distance of approx. 22 kms to Konstanz. Before reaching Konstanz we called at a petrol station to buy a Swiss Vignette for the motorhome, it’s requirement to drive a certain motorways and road in Switzerland, it cost €36, but it means in effect that you have prepaid for the toll roads, it’s valid up until 31 Jan 2019 I think.

swiss vign

Widely available at stations near the border

The motorhome stopover at Konstanz is a very busy car park 50 yards from the city centre, buses and cars park here also there was about 8 motorhomes when we arrive. (It’s €18.00 for a 24 hour stay). The police seemed to be stationed in the car park which is very comforting, and they seem to be checking every bus that comes in we’re not sure what they are looking for but they are thorough in their work.

It’s raining heavily so we get the kettle on, finally it breaks and off we go to explore but we got too complacent and it was only a break in the weather, we quickly hurried in to a coffee shop to avoid the downpour, coffees requested and I asked for an espresso special on the menu, turns out it had whisky in it!

There’s a break in the rain and we head back to the van as it’s forecast heavy rain for another hour or two. Relaxing and chilling out in the van, Cathy used the Mr D pot for the first time on this trip, made a chilli con carne for that evenings meal. As it its being prepared the smells waft across to the van next door and the German lady says with a big smile “das izz goode, yah” we laugh and call back “it’s a chilli for later”. The Mr D pot works like the hay box method of cooking where an inner pan sits inside a thermally insulated larger pan with an outside skin, just chop food in to small pieces, add enough liquid to more than cover, bring to the boil & simmer for 10 mins, put the cooking pan inside its insulated pot and leave for up to 4-5 hours. It loses heat at a very slow rate therefore the cooking process continues. It’s great for low energy use and the convenience of your meal being cooked whilst you are doing other things.

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Imperia Statue, it slow turns 360°

Imperia Statue

The statue stands at the entrance to the harbour of Konstanz, Germany to commemorate the Council of Constance that took place between 1414 and 1418, it’s 9 metres high, it rotates on it’s axis once every 4 minutes. A voluptuous, scantily clothed woman holding 2 men on her hands, one is Pope Martin V and the other is Emperor Sigismund, both are naked except for the crown and Papal Tiara. It is said to conspicuously memorialise a prostitute.

Konstanz was the place where the Catholic church finally resolved the question of how many men should rule the Catholic Church and from where. During the council of 1414-1418 the population swelled from 7,000 to 20,000 as the European powers arrived to argue who should have the Papacy, Gregory in Rome, John XX111 in Pisa or Benedict in Avignon. Cardinals, academics, bishops settled to discuss, the statue is said represents the weakness of these powerful, important men gathered to discuss the future Catholic church and yet Imperia has power over them, their morals forgotten.

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Old Rhine Bridge

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Old town gateway

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The flags caught my eye

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Harbour

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Ah, we have found the sun at last!

The sun appears once more and we got out again all wrapped up, not chancing it again we are out now no matter, we walk alongside the huge beautiful lake in a westerly direction, it was a dry, clear late afternoon and early evening is imminent. Let’s see if we can buy a drink in that Lebanese restaurant, it looks like its got a balcony overlooking the water, as the door opens we can smell the most gorgeous food smells, urmmmmmm, lovely pity we’ve got a chilli waiting.  Nice owners, no problem, zwei lager bitte and can we sit outside? Are you sure? isn’t it very cold and windy she said in excellent English. Yes please if that’s ok we’re English! she laughs yes no problem. Two lagers appear in lovely glasses with Konstanz written on them that we wish we could take home

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We sit outside enjoying the tranquillity, the view and our time here at Lake Bodensee.

The chilli con carne was superb, spicy just how we like it! Cathy threw in some fridge stuff too like green beans, no waste in our van!

The next day we are up at 7.30 and out by 8am without breakfast in glorious sunshine, it looks warmer than it is though.

Heading of in an easterly direction on the shores of the lake. This area is mainly sports and community facilities, museums, docking for boats, lakeshore cafes, bars and restaurant, couple of smart looking hotels, large open spaces and parks. Fantastic for families and big kids!

What a great way to start the day!

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Peaceful few minutes

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These keep catching my eye!

Meandering back we had to have a coffee on such a superb day we’re not ordering any breakfast we’ll have something back at Pogo, these are the most expensive coffees we had to date at €4.50 each! they were large and they tasted good and we had a lovely view too! we had walked for about 2.5 hours though so well deserved.

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Dave

Border crossings

Dave posting;

Wednesday 3rd April 2018

Woke to the sound of gentle rain drops and rustling leaves in Ribeauville, our plans to climb the hill to Château de Saint-Ulrich quickly dissipated, we decided to get dressed and have breakfast on the road after we have driven for a short while.

40 minutes later we crossed the border on the D424 road in to Germany near Emmendingen. We stopped in a resting place and ate breakfast, switched the van Mifi on click here for our mifi blog,  and researched sites and places to stay near Konstanz, Bodensee, we have been to Lindau at the southern end before in 2008 on our motorbike so we thought we would like to go the northern end near Konstanz.

I also wanted to buy an Umwelt Plakette, a green emission zone sticker, you need one for your vehicle to be able to drive in to some German city zoned areas, it’s like the London Low Emission Zone. I tried to buy one online before leaving the UK but I was declined so I thought I’d chance it and try to buy one from any of the 300+ TUV SUD stations in Germany, I found one about 16 kms away, good news, let’s go there and sort that out and we can then relax as we drive through Germany without fear of being caught out or driving into a zone without realising.

Got to the TUV station, after presenting my V5 log book and an inspection under the van I was told we can’t have one because pogo is too old and doesn’t meet the emission standards, oh, that’s a blow but its not the end of the world.

Whilst I was in the TUV station Cathy has found a place to stay at Radolfzell, north end of Bodensee Lake which is actually Untsee,  I put the coordinates in and guess what the Sat Nav asked me if I wanted to avoid the environmental zones! What a great Sat Nav this is! That makes our lives more relaxed whilst driving in Germany.

sat nav zones

Should prevent a problem later on!

Route planned avoiding green zones and off we go, on our journey we see the Alps, they look fantastic, very far away but the scale and size makes them stand out all grey, dark and moody, rough jagged edges and snow capped peaks, we tried to take a photo but it doesn’t do the views we had any justice. I could have stopped and looked at them for hours, to me they are so beautiful!

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The Alps

Got to our place at Radolfzell at 3.30pm, and it started to rain hard we’d missed lunch so we ate a meal and read a for a little while and listened to music and waited. The rain stopped and we went for a walk down to the shoreline and the sun started to break out even though it was 7.30pm creating fantastic light and sunset, it was then that I discovered my camera battery was flat so I had to use my iPhone camera.

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P1030476This area near the lake looks like it would be a super place for families in warmer weather, lots of water based activities, cycle and walking paths that go for miles around the water along with cafes, coffee shops, bars, hotels and restaurants. There are two marinas plus lots of bird life, we saw a heron quite close by until it flew off to “safety”. This is a really interesting place and well worth a visit in our opinion.

sunset

Walked along the shoreline for quite a while and back through town its evening now about 8.p.m  and we spotted an Aldi and Cathy has run out of porridge! it’s a staple for her and tea bags, essential items bought we were paying at the checkout and picking our shopping up when I noticed that Cathy still had a box of tea bags under her arm that we hadn’t paid for, good job I noticed it otherwise we might have been in the Gefangnis! or Jail as we know it.

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Camouflage trees!

 

 

Tree of the day! we’ve seen some unusual trees on our journey so far, the ones in france which seemed to line every road I nicknamed Brussels sprout trees, if any one knows what they’re called let us know and these above here in Germany are amazing! they look like they’ve been wrapped in fabric.

We had a relaxing evening with The Bank rolling Sausage and cheese, olives, red wine, music and chatting about our adventures so far, we agreed that we were both enjoying life in a motorhome.

Dave