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On those rare occasions that my human leaves me to sit in another location, there is nothing nicer than mucking about on boats!  I thoroughly enjoyed the views across the Saar river in Saarland, Germany on my latest boat trip…..

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Trekinetic wheelchairs are all about adventure!

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I woke up this morning to a new year…in fact, my 53rd year, therefore a birthday outing was in order.  Hubby and I had planned a trip to Saarbrucken for the day but for whatever reason whilst I couldn’t sleep properly last night I had plenty of opportunity to think about what I have enjoyed this holiday, and therefore would love to do for my birthday.  I realised that a large number of my best memories have been wine tours and vineyards, so surely that was the better option for my day out – hubby probably wouldn’t mind either! 🙂

I planned a return trip to the Bad Durkheim region which was a couple of hours away, but during my route planning the points of interest on my satnav showed a huge tract of land a much shorter distance north of us which also has a wine region – who knew!  Exciting new vineyards to explore on the Moselweinstrasse.

When hubby woke, I posed the question about whether he would mind skipping our original plan for a wine tour – guess what his answer was?

We headed north towards Trier and hoped to find somewhere nice for breakfast on the way.  Not 20km later we noticed signs for Villeroy & Boch…and then some more….they were following us, and it would appear rude not to follow the call of the famous pottery works.  It turned out to be a great decision because the town of Mertzig is on the Saar river, and has Villeroy & Boch, and boat trips, AND great places to eat – what’s not to love.

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Breakfast consisted of all sorts of beautiful and fresh continental goodies – a real treat….IMG_4552

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We decided to go on the boat trip tomorrow as I had my heart set on the wine route today.  It was a lovely drive through valleys along the Saar and Mosel rivers and into more vineyards than I have EVER seen in my life – and that’s saying a lot from a girl who has lived in South African wine country.

The scenery was magnificent….

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Then we stopped at the gorgeous village of Trittenheim on the Mosel river.  Here we met a third generation wine farmer who has scaled down his operation to a mere 10,000 bottles of wine per year in his later years.  What wonderful stories he had for us, and what wonderful wine hubby tasted.  Needless to say, we came away with another 8 bottles of wine; but more importantly, with wonderful memories….

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Happy and satisfied with another wonderful day in Germany, we headed back to Campingplatz Siersburg…..

…and the question of whether I’m any wiser now that I’m a year older? Perhaps not nearly as wise as I would like to be, but definitely wise enough to know that spending a glorious day with my amazing hubby is priceless!

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….eat chocolate – LOTS of chocolate!

Our second day in Switzerland was dedicated to more eating – this time of the sweet variety.  Switzerland started the eating chocolate craze and continue it in style to this day.

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We were on the doorstep of the oldest chocolate factory in Bros – the Cailler chocolate paradise.  We absolutely had to go on the tour, and it was one of the best tour experiences we have ever been on.  It was a bit like a theme park through the history, the manufacture and then the tasting of chocolate – WOW!

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You get to try all sorts of chocolates and as long as you don’t take any out of the factory tour, you can eat as much as you like…

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…and I for one definitely had my fill – hubby on the other hand had to be dragged away with the promise of a cup of coffee in the restaurant.  They obviously specialise in great hot chocolate, but by this point I had admitted chocolate defeat and settled for a Latte and an amazing Frappelatte…

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Now fully sweetened up, we went for a wonderful drive down to Lake Geneva and the town of Montreux – made famous by Deep Purple’s, ‘Smoke on the water’ – or so, hubby informed me because although I had been singing it for years, I had not made this association.

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The drive back was a bit of a hair-raising affair as we traversed rather high mountains in search of the more scenic route!  Boy, we certainly got that in buckets….and did I forget to mention that we encountered MORE vineyards? They are following us around on this holiday 🙂

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Wow, the skills of these tree fella’s (get it….tree fellers?, oh never mind!)…DSCN6578 DSCN6585

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2nd Oct 2015

After one night in the previous campsite we moved onto Alte Saghmuhle in Sulzburg; only a couple of miles away in distance, but a million miles away in beauty and tranquility!  Saghmuhle means sawmill and this area is clearly BIG on timber.  The old sawmill wheels have been re-invented as water features on the site next to the main house….IMG_4276 IMG_4287 IMG_4293 IMG_4294

Our type of campsite is rural and we got this in spades….DSCN6417 DSCN6422 IMG_4313 IMG_4315

Amongst the magnificent trees and scenery of the South Black Forest, this campsite is deceptively large because so much of the terraced camping is hidden amongst a very old and established forest on terraces which are hidden from each other by vegetation.  This is our idea of paradise, and despite it being beautiful, remote and picturesque it still has all the facilities that we need with bathrooms, washrooms, laundry and electricity.  

Across the road, and where the majority of the sites are situated, is a very old Jewish cemetery set against the hillside in the forest.  I wasn’t able to go up these stairs, even my hubby puts his foot down at certain inclines, but hubby got some lovely pictures for me…DSCN6407 DSCN6413 IMG_4293

Next let’s talk about wood piles.  Not something many of you will get too excited by, but when your home has 3 working fireplaces (and 5 others to uncover) then you may begin to understand my wood pile envy!  Obviously in The Black Forest there is no shortage of wood for fires and wood piles are equally aplenty in back yards as well as farms, but here at Alte Saghmhule we have a pretty impressive woodpile by anyones standards…IMG_4321 IMG_4327

For me, forget all those other 5 star campsites with their swimming pools and restaurants, I would happily spend a few weeks here and tour the region, visit the vineyards, or sometimes just sit around the campsite.

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4th October 2015

We headed off through Basel and down towards Gruyere.  An easy couple of hours on really good roads so we arrived in plenty of time to do a bit of sightseeing, and what better place to start than at Castle Gruyere.  A stunning town set on a mountain top with a castle at the peak.  We watch a short film on the history of the castle before going off to get some beautiful pictures of the building and surrounding countryside.  This place is wonderful, but a REAL challenge in a wheelchair!  My Trekinetic was a lifesaver and without it I wouldn’t have even got to the gates of the castle.  I wasnt able to go inside the castle but they didnt charge me an entrance fee but I still managed, only just, to get around the grounds and outer yards.

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Next on the agenda was the factory visit to the Gruyere cheese board.  Very nice, but very commercial, so we didn’t stay too long before heading off to find Camping Haute Gruyere in Enney.

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Dinner was an obvious choice because our campsite cafe offered cheese fondue on the menu.  Hubby is definitely a happy camper….

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Today’s blog post is a review of our final camp site in Germany by my hubby….

The river Nied runs gently through Campingplatz Siersburg and the river front pitches are large and spacious with lovely views; all very picturesque.

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We decided to choose a pitch with a great view of the river, but this did mean we were at the furthest point from the ablutions. The ablutions are very clean and have all the facilities you need when out camping.  Access for toilets and showers for wheelchair users is in a separate space at the main restaurant and office complex and I did not make use of these am unable to make any comment, but the brochure does say they have heated shower and toilet facilities for the disabled.  

Our camper was on one of the larger pitches which had a hard standing which was level – rather nice as we have not yet had the chance to buy chocks for the wheels to level the van.

We arrived in the first week of October and by then the site was entirely empty of families as they had returned for the new school year.  The only other campers were touring couples and a few semi-static caravans which had not yet departed for the end of season.

Generally the campsite is neat but as with all German campsites we have been to so far, there is a large number of semi-permanent caravans left on site all year and these were sometimes a little untidy as they were filled with a years worth of camping and holiday paraphernalia, but this did not detract in any way from our enjoyment of the site.  

Internet access on the site is excellent and available all round the site for a very reasonable cost per day.  A real bonus when you are attempting to blog about your travels.

The restaurant and bar served us an excellent takeaway meal last night and the owners are very helpful and friendly.

We were very happy to have stopped here for the three nights at the end of our holiday as it is quiet and comfortable with great access to the wine routes in the Rheinland.  We are also within a 4 – 5 hour drive of the ferry in Calais which makes it a good alternative to the other great camping site we stayed at previously in Luxembourg.

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3rd Oct 2015

Today was unification day, and an official holiday in Germany so we were not entirely sure what to expect apart from being told that all the shops would be closed.  When we set out on our tour of the countryside, we never expected too much, but we got WAY more than we could have hoped for.

Firstly a lovely drive through the Black Forest.  Then off to Staufen for a walk about followed by a pitstop for cake and coffee whilst we watched the local races around the town.  Different distances and age groups participated, but generally most people got involved and we notice that the Germans are a very active nation and they start them very young which is admirable.IMG_4373 IMG_4385

From Staufen we headed off to the wine route near our campsite because they were having a Weinwandertag, or wine-route-meander today.  We had expected to amble into the village and see what was going on, but we were immediately caught up in the local excitement of wine, food and a bit of fun in the sun, and decided to join in.  Firstly hubby had a glass for the road accompanied by the local German band in full swing, and then we grabbed our map of the route and struck out for the vineyards.  IMG_4435

I will admit that it was very hard work, especially for hubby, as these vines like to grow on hilly ground and therefore the route was up and down and all around!  Thank goodness for my trusty Trekinetic K2 because otherwise this amazing activity would have been beyond us.  This may well be the first time any of these folks have seen the route completed by someone in a wheelchair…and almost definitely a first for Trekinetic….Thank you K2!

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This Weinwandertag is brilliantly organised each year by the Britzinger winery with very well stocked food and drinks stations along the way.  We opted for Rosenberg route 2 because it is apparently not quite as taxing as route 1 – I cannot compare them but boy am I glad we didn’t do more difficult one!!!

After a kilometre or so we stopped at the first station with tents, table and chairs and plenty of food and drink to be enjoyed before the next stage.  We forged on without stopping and after a wonderful walk through the vines we eventually arrived at the next station where we thoroughly enjoyed our refreshments.  We decided to skip out a number of the stations because we had started so late in the day and really wanted to be back to enjoy some of the food, wine and music on offer at the Britzinger winery.  The next stage was a bit of a killer, and hubby and I huffed and puffed up a number of very steep tracks and roads before getting back to the starting point.  Oh boy, that was a workout and after 6kms we definitely deserved that fat port roast roll and new wine.

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Seriously, this has to be one of the best days out you will ever enjoy.  If you are ever in Germany during early October, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Satiated and tired we headed home to pack up our campsite ready to leave for the next stop on our journey…

Switzerland, you have a LOT to live up to!

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