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Archive for the ‘Forests’ Category

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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…the Black Forest, and more wine country!

Our next stop was near Sulzberg on the edge of the Black Forest.

Not too long after setting off, it was time for a pitstop, and hopping off the autobahn we stumbled across a little jewel with the best beer garden ever…IMG_4082

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Sitting amongst the vines with a pretzel and a cappuccino in the sunshine was perfection!

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Today’s campsite promised more than it delivered I’m afraid because after the previous site, this one seems a lot more ordinary.  Don’t get me wrong it is still nice, but it had a lot to live up to after our previous site.

No disabled toilet or bathroom to be found – despite the claims in all the literature. By this time of the day we can’t move on, so we decide to stay only one night and move in the morning.

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We set up our campsite and headed to the local store for some dinner. On our return we followed a sign for another campsite a few kilometres away. What a lovely surprise, and I believe we have found our next campsite.

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4th October 2015

We left Kamping Alte Saghmuhle with a bit of sadness because she will be missed.  We did however make a slight deviation from the route to stop and get a ‘not so little’ memento of our time in the Black Forest….meet Wald – that’s German for forest – because Wald is a log which used to be a member of the Schwarzwald or Black Forest.  Hubby thinks I am mad, but I wanted a reminder of our wonderful times in the forest and I also needed a log for chopping my kindling for the fireplaces at home.  Here’s Wald doing a magnificent job of hosting the camping kettle…

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…and here, the flowers from the camper van….IMG_4518

…he wasted no time at all settling in to camping life and making himself useful!

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Setting up in our first day was a bit of work because we were so tired by the time we got to the campsite – Camping-Freizeitzentrum Sägmüle in Trippstadt, Germany.  We decided to have a meal in the campsite restaurant which would have been much less stressful if the provided a ramp rather than the steep steps!  No options to get inside, so if you are unable to climb a few steps this is not the campsite for you…unless you don’t ever need to go to the restaurant of course.   The bathrooms here are brilliant, and on a crisp morning brushing your teeth standing in a heated floor is rather special.

Waking up to a very chilly morning with the sun just creeping into the valley was a real treat.  This campsite set in the Palitinate forest is lovely and we were given a pitch on the lake…this is the breakfast view on a crisp, clear and quiet morning….IMG_4014IMG_4010

After a quick bite we headed out not knowing where we were going, but happy to simply explore. Happily this worked our really well because we stumbled across a wonderful town about 50km away – Bad Dürkheim – spa town with a rather unusual method of producing a seaside climate using a salination plant built in around 1860.  This enormous structure is what captured our attention….

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The salt water is fed by a pump to the top of the building where it trickles down through blackthorn twigs and the wind passing through creates what is believed to be a very healthy atmosphere. A truly fascinating place and one that is highly recommended if you’re ever in the area.

They also have the most imaginative water playground ever!  Here’s hubby having a lovely time testing the equipment…

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If this town wasn’t lovely enough already, it completely won us over because it is literally surrounded by and interwoven with vineyards – the winemaker in me was jumping for joy, and the wine drinker in hubby was ecstatic!

You are positively encouraged to walk around the paths through the vines and try out the ‘neue wein’ which is a speciality in the German wine lands….a partially fermented grape juice with sparkle.  We purchased a 3 litre jug of it and hubby has been savouring it ever since!

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IMG_4022…and their other claim to fame – the largest wine barrel in the world!  Take a closer look and you will see how many litres it can hold – although it was never used as a wine barrel, but rather as a restaurant from the outset.

 

 

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Having not been very well recently has affected my usual get-up-and-go (and my blogging apparently!).  In order to get away, even if it was just for 2 days, we headed off with the family to try a little camping.  It has been so long since we went away and back then we had a huge motorhome which is now a thing of the past.  The aim of the weekend trip was to see how we managed with a tent and me in a wheelchair.  The campsite we found was absolutely beautiful and so peaceful.  It had just the right amount of facilities with a couple of toilets and showers and a little cleaning area.  Only 10 tents allowed which made it peaceful and quiet (until our grandsons arrived that is!) – just what we needed.

My Trekinetic K2 was ideally suited to this location as it was quite hilly and the toilets were over the grass and up a stone driveway.  No problem as hubby provided the necessary propulsion because of the injury to my shoulder.

On the Saturday afternoon we took the family down to the little stream (or beck as it is called in Cumbria) along the farm ‘roads’.  Going downhill is always fun, but coming back uphill is a much bigger challenge.  Now for the confession – on this trip, the pictures of me are a little staged because coming down the hill I managed pretty well with some assistance but I needed both hubby and my daughter to give me a push back up again!!  I was quite useful though in shouting warnings of any impending dung heaps which they tried valiantly to avoid – not always successfully. Oh well! what else can you expect when out bundu bashing and enjoying the countryside.

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And by the way, how come I always seem to have a child hitching a free ride??

Camping proved to be wonderful in the great weather; I think we had better try it a few more times before we decide if we can camp around Canada though.  I must say though that I think without the Trekinetic K2 a lot of campsites would be much more difficult.  Now all we need is to find a more comfortable bed and I think I could do this more often.

Definitely a worthwhile weekend experience; and here’s to many more happy camping holidays!

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You might recall that we starting Geocaching recently and we thought that it might be fun to try find a treasure whilst in France.  My iPhone came in very handy for finding a local cache, translating the instructions and using the compass to point us in the right direction.  We selected one that had a very easy rating because the last thing we wanted was to get stuck in the wilds of France and not be able to speak the language to call out a rescue party!

We parked up as close to the site as we could and then it was on foot (and K-2) from there.  We had a good laugh with our non existent French and the dictionary and translation software, but eventually with a lot of pushing and shoving, the boys helped me negotiate the very overgrown path up the hill, across the clearing and through the thickets to the general location.  With me shouting directions from the compass, the two of them foraged around in the undergrowth and within a few minutes successfully located our cache. 

So, despite our language and physical disabilities, we all had a great sense of achievement for locating our first international cache.

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On our initial travois around the grounds at Chateau Charbontiere, we had noticed an abundance of lovely big chestnuts and with the weather so clear and dry at night, it was a necessity for a bunch of Africans to acquire said bounty and roast them over a big fire.

Wellies donned; off-road tyres re-installed (I have a fab set of slicks for indoors), chestnut bag slung over the handlebars (I knew it was worth spending the extra money for these) and we were ready to head out into the wilds of the Charante!

Have any of you ever picked fresh chestnuts before? No? Well then like us, you will not know that before you can get to the lovely nuts inside, you first have to deal with a very thorny exterior.  After a few prickly fingers, the boys got the hang of it and started crushing them with their boots – this ensured the outer shell was removed and we were left with the bits we wanted.  It was a good thing we had my Trekinetic and a very large bag with us, because after an hour or so we had enough fresh chestnuts to set up a stall in West End and make back a bit of the money we had blown in town the previous day.

Oh, what an amazing afternoon out with the whole family and between me pushing and the boys pushing me around the really rough spots (and using my wheels as another method of shelling chestnuts) it became a day to look back and smile about.

On our return the boys set about creating us a fire pit – sorry Pat and Tony, but we did clean it all away afterwards!  That evening and almost every one after, we had a big roaring fire and the most wonderful fresh PYO chestnuts ever – and marshmallows too.

By the way, I remember finding a few stray nuts in the washing machine the next day!

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