Monday, 9 May 2011

Germany 2007, Day Seventeen, Belgium

Day seventeen 19th June

By the time we had packed up there was just time to do a bit of shopping in the Carrefour before lunch, first we had to recycle all our bottles, as we had in Bad Liebenzell Germany.   Like there, we had to stick the empty bottles in a hole in the wall and get a chit back for redemption a the till, only there was nowhere near the same amount of deposit here. It was hardly worth the bother. We got our shopping (beer) and went for the meal, only without the help of the waitress, we got the wrong things and it cost us twice as much (only certain things included in the offer), don't get me wrong though, it was still a cheap meal. One odd thing though, the lasagne tasted different, Dot suggested that it might be chicken but no, not chicken, it turned out to be salmon (never heard of it before, perhaps we should get out more).

Next we parked up further down the road in-between Lidl and Aldi and got more beer and wine and Dot got herself, a self inflating travel pillow (2011 and we are still using it). When we came out of the Aldi I spotted the American couple again, I couldn't resist asking if they had ridden all the way from Germany, they hadn't they had put their bikes on the train and they had also stopped in the occasional hotel or hostel along the way, not just the tiny tent. And the explanation for how they had disappeared a couple of nights before, they had popped into the Carrefour for an evening meal, just like we had yesterday.

The final thing before we left Bruges for the coast and ferry home, was to fill up with diesel. Then it was back out of town onto the A10 for the coast, then the N34 which goes all the way to Zeebrugge, but please note, this is not the quick way to Zeebrugge but the way to go if you want to spend a day by the coast. Another thing to note, is that the N34 is very good for parking up the van by the coast.

Our intention was to stop in De Haan for a seaside walk and then at a supermarket in Blankenberge for the final beer shop. If you look at Belgium 2005 we did the same thing then, so we know where we are going and what we are doing, so there was no stress on out last day.  In fact I find travelling via Zeebrugge particularly stress free compared to some other ports.

In De Haan we parked up by the side of the main road just outside town and walked the very short distance to the tram station, about 100 yards. Then is was just a short walk down to the sea front, beach and long promenade.

We had a very pleasurable day by the sea, in the sun, in a very nice town, what else can I say, except this time, as opposed to last time we were here, it was nice and warm.   De Haan would actually be a good place to stay for a short holiday or for a few day rest on the way home, it looks like there are good campsites close by.

De Haan Front, Belgium 2007

Before too long though, it was time to continue with our journey, finish our shopping and get ourselves to the ferry. We had a look round a few shops and got a couple of things on the way back to the van and then set of for some serious beer shopping in the supermarket, on the outskirts of Blankenberge.

I prefer this type of beer shopping to the so called hypermarkets around the Calais area and for good beers the cost is just as good in this type of ordinary supermarket.  I must add that is just my opinion and I may be wrong but the choice of beer was not that good last time I used one in Calais.   Then again all it depends on what you want, if you want beer you usually get at home cheap, then Calais is ok, I you want something different, that would cost you a fortune at home, then ordinary supermarkets are the thing to do.

Did it, got more than I wanted and was very pleased, even got some chocolate and wine. Last thing to do in Belgium was to queue in the sun for the ferry.

Cabin was not as good as on the boat out, still an outside cabins but with bunks, and the entertainment was possibly worse. So it was back into the quieter piano lounge.

This is going to sound terrible but I even bought beer and wine from duty free, not like we didn't already have enough but they were special offers.

Day eighteen 20th June

Off the ferry, stuck in traffic jams all the way from the terminal out of hull, then a quick run straight to the twins school, to pick them up at 11:30 to have them for the day, holiday over.

We took the scooter with us and even though it is very handy we never used it on this trip. 

Germany 2007, Day Sixteen, Belgium

Day sixteen 18th June

The plan was to go back into town, have a walk round following the canal/river and then a visit the Bruges Zot brewery.  First I went down to reception to find the closest dentist, they were very helpful and even drew me a map of how to get there but in the end, as it wasn't hurting, I didn't bother, I just looked daft.

Walked in to town again, through the town gates along by the river passed the windmills and then anticlockwise around the town following the canal. 

Kruispoort, Belgium 2007Windmill by the canal Bruges, Belgium 2007

Stopped off for a while on the river to watch the road lift to let a pleasure cruiser pass through.  
We spent the majority of the day just enjoying the views along the canal, it is much quieter away from the bars and shops.

Lifting Bridge two, Belgium 2007

Stopped off in the centre for a bite to eat and also took some time in the shops getting a few presents like Belgian chocolates.  We had a wander round an art exhibition just off the main square, very modern and I liked it a lot, not sure what Dot thought though.

By the time we got to the brewery it was late in the afternoon, just too late for the last tour, so we consoled ourselves a drink in their bar, anyway we can always do the tour next time we are here, probably as soon next year.

Bruges Belgium 6 2007

We made our way back to the area of the bars we had been in the day before only this time the other way round (we were coming down the street the other way), the largest beer shop in the world at least had a draught beer on this time. Next it was back at the hotel courtyard from yesterday, all of the motorcycles had now gone and we had a drink at another of the hotel bars in there, it was advertising 125 different beers but of course they didn't have them, only about seven at any one time. The barman recommended a beer with a hoppy taste, so I ended up the hoppiest beer ever, enough hops to last me for a while anyway.

Not really wanting another one of them we headed off for something to eat but the cafe/bar we went in on the canal had stopped serving, so we had a beer and decided we would head back to the van and that I would cook.

The bus was on time. As we got ready to get off at our usual stop, we noticed that the stop before ours was outside the Carrefour supermarket so we quickly hoped off there. The plan now was to get bread and something to go with it for a quick meal and we did just that but on the way out we noticed the cafe was serving a three course special. We didn't quite understand what the offer was but a very helpful waitress led us through it, so we got that and a couple of beers. We could use the stuff we had bought for a picnic on our drive to the ferry tomorrow. The food was good and cheap, so good we thought we would come back for lunch tomorrow, this would set us up for out travels home, we where intending to come back over for beer stocks and with our empties anyway.

Germany 2007, Day Fifteen, Belgium

Day fifteen 17th June

After a morning shower I went to reception to check in and pay up front, €67.50 total, thats €22.50 per night, then off to the internet room and sent a few emails and checked the weather of the next few days (weather not that good).

Then we set off to walk into town instead of getting the bus, its not as far as I thought and we were there in about 20 mins.  It was dinner time by the time we got there, so we stopped at the first chip shop we came to, a place was on a map for young visitors, that I had picked up at reception.  We ordered set menu No2 (I think), burger and chips with mayonnaise, had to wait a bit, as everything was cooked to order.  As I was eating, I though I had a bit of gristle in my burger but it was one of my front teeth had broken in half, not painful (it was a cap) but it put me off my food.

It was a bit of a gray day and a bit on the cold side but there were some good spells of sunshine, we spent the day walking round sightseeing and window shopping. Later as we got tired, we were deciding where to have a sit down and a drink, when we were just outside this tiny bar, so we wandered over and sat outside. It had a wonderful selection of beers and the food being served looked very good as well, the shame is we haven't got the name of the place (do now, Cafe Terrastje) but we do have photos.  We did have to move inside for a second drink as it started to rain.


After the rest, and the rain stopped, we continued with our tour but not for too long as we were getting tired, this prompted us to decided on the bus for the return journey, so we headed in the general direction of the bus stop. Back in the main square (or what we assume was the main square), a street performer was just packing away all his gear, why do I mention this you may ask, well it will all become apparent later on.

Back to where the bus leaves but it was too early to be going back to the site so we looked for somewhere to have a drink. Well there were a couple of bars just opposite the bus stop so that makes it a no-brainer. The first one has wonderful views over the canal and as you would expect in Bruges, wonderful beers as well, Dot orders a Bell Vue Kriek and I settle for a Duvel. From our seats outside the bar we have a good view of the tour boats passing, dot wants to go on a boat trip but I don't.

The bar is actually a hotel and a couple of large BMW motorcycles pull in to the courtyard we are sat in, to book in for the night, soon after another eight or so BMW's show up as well. Soon the courtyard is getting full of parked motorcycles and the staff are starting to looked worried, staff from the other restaurants and bars around the courtyard are also looking concerned. I hear the leader of the motorcyclists being asked to move the bikes to an underground car park near by and used by the hotel, but I can tell they have no intention of moving them. Later (after another drink), when the bikers reappear, changed for the night, I discover (by asking) that they were a group on a customers day out from a London BMW dealership and were off back home tomorrow. They hadn't moved the bikes before we got the bus back to the site.

Back on the street, next to the hotel is a shop proclaiming to be the largest beer shop in the world (don't think it was, our local Tesco has more beer), anyway it had a bar so we popped in and it too had good views over the canal but not the same selection of beer on offer as next door had.

No problem with the bus tonight, we got off at the bar we had used last night but it wasn't open, we did however get something to eat from the chip shop opposite. Just before the bus stopped to let us off, I though I spotted the American couple with bicycles we had seen on the campsite Kehl Germany a few day ago. They where on the main road next to the useless bus stop, so I popped round the corner to offer advice but there as no sign of them, very strange.

Back on site there is a rather old LDV van parked next to us, it has been partly converted for use as a motorhome (it has a mattress in the back) but not that much has been done to it and has a wooden replacement for window in one side. Anyway to cut a very long story short, it belongs to a very young Australian couple, over in Europe doing street theatre, we had just missed there performance in the main square. We help them by charging their mobile phones for them they have all of the wrong adapters. Story is they got this van free from a bloke in Germany and all they have to do in return is get it MOTed back in the UK and take it back, sounded like it was going to be expensive to me.

Had drinks outside the van with a couple who had just done up an old Hymer, he was a bit worried that it was a bit old fashioned but it looked good to me, I think it was because he was next to a brand new Geist, that looked amazing.  I have since come across two of these new silver Geists broken down by the side of the road.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Germany 2007, Day Fourteen, Belgium

Day fourteen 16th June

When we got up and opened the blinds, every other tourer had gone, we where on our own, that made us the only target for the zombies or witches or aliens or whatever else was on the site (did I mention that, in the bar the day before, through the smoke, I think I saw Mulder and Scully).

First stop diesel, then dropped in to the booze warehouse and bought that much, we were given four rather nice complimentary bier glasses. Back in the van though, I found €12.00 on the bill that I couldn't account for (had they charged me for the glasses?), I went back in to ask about it and it was the deposit on all the bottles of course.

Now off to Bruges, we have been meaning to visit of years and never got round to it, so it was time to make amends. Turned right out of the Booze place, onto the N6 and within yards we are in Belgium on the N4. Took the second on the left (looking at the map now, could have taken the first), narrow road that didn't look like it was going to the motorway but in the end it did. On the A4 to Brussels ring road, round to the north and off on to the A10, this looks simple. Well as we got on the ring road the havens opened and you couldn't see a thing, thankfully most of the traffic slowed to a crawl, we missed our exit, we were looking for signs to Bruges but should have been looking for Gent and Ostend. We turned round and headed back to the right turning, we now had the right exit number, but I still got it wrong, there was another exit alongside the one we needed and I took that one. Wherever it was we ended up, I luckily could do a sort of U turn and get back to the road we actually needed, the A10 all the way to exit 9 onto the N50 on the outskirts of Bruges. We followed the N50 to the R30 Bruges ring road (we actually we went through the village of Oostkamp that we should have gone round on the N50) to the N9 and then followed the signs to the site.

The note on the reception door said to find a pitch and come back to back tomorrow morning. I had my wifi card for the lap top with me and this site was supposed to have a free wireless internet connection, so I had to check. I had a key ring that detects these things, so I clicked it and sure enough a strong signal, I had checked every other site we had been to but all without success.

Camping Memling

Veltemweg 109, 8310 Brugge

After we drove round and picked a pitch, I checked again but got no signal so I had a walk round the site and the only place with any signal was reception but there was a room to sit in, complete with a computer for you to use free. It had been the site bar once upon a time and I think I would have preferred that myself, the internet it good to have but it doesn't compare with beer.

The hard standing pitches are not very large, in fact they are small but the people that have end ones get more room, well not more room but no one can pitch next to you on one side. There is one left and we decide to move, only another motorhome is up by reception, so we have to be quick to pack up and move (bit like in Koblenz at the start of the holiday).

Its getting late but Dot wants to go into Bruges, I thought we would just leave it until tomorrow but we have been talking to the couple next to use and worked out where the bus goes from, the number 11, next to a small bar (that gets me interested), so off we go, right out of the site the opposite way to where we came in. At the end of the road I haven't been listening properly and turn the the wrong way back onto the main road (this make sense to me if you want a bus). There is a bus stop opposite with two locals sat in so we wander over and ask if this bus goes into the centre, "yes" is the reply so we wait. Reading time table there is no mention of the No11 and the two locals get up and into a taxi, not a good sign. We decide to walk towards the town to the next stop, on the way I ask in a shop about the bus and we have been at the wrong stop on the wrong route and we are directed to the right place. This is getting too hard to describe so I will try to do a map,

We should have been at bus stop A but I had stupidly turned left and headed to the Useless bus stop before eventually ending up back on the right bus route at bus stop B, the only good thing about this was we now knew where the supermarkets where. The bus actually goes off the top of the map from B and then circles round to A, before heading to the town centre. The driver was very helpful and pointed out to us when we got to A, that this was the best stop for the campsite, later he also pointed out where to get off in the town centre. When we did get off I asked the driver, if this was the bus to get back, the answer was yes up until 20:00 but after then we would have to get one of three other numbers to get back , too complicated for me. By now the time was getting on and as we had two more days to explore we decided to have a quick look round and get the last No11 back to the bar close to the site.

After a walk round, we check back at the bus stop we were dropped at and find that is not where the No11 stops (as the bus we got off pulled away it had changed to the No3 and this is presumably why it was the wrong stop) the actual stop was just off the main square (I found out by asking another bus driver). At this point it started to rain, so we headed over to the right bus stop as the next No11 was due but the 19:20 bus didn't show and we assumed it had gone early. Luckily we could shelter from the rain in a shop doorway close to the bus stop, the 19:40 bus was also a no show and we were beginning to worry, at about ten to eight I asked the driver of another bus about the No11 and was assured it was on its way. The 20:00 (the last No11) also didn't turn up, at five past eight I stopped the No16 and again asked the driver about the No11 and again was assured it was on its way. I explained that three had not appeared and that the last one should have been here five minutes ago, he thought for a moment and said "get on I will take you". This driver deserves a medal, he finished his own route and then took us to the gates of the campsite (didn't like to tell him we wanted to be at the bar, thought that may be a bit cheeky). One moan I have is the No11 is a circular route and the tickets are valid for one hour, if we had got the bus we went for it would have been free, as it was we had to pay for this door to door service, although I think it was worth it to see the looks on the other campers faces as we pulled up.

And the reason for No11 bus no shows, there was a triathlon taking place and the fun run part of it, around the outskirts of the old town, had caused massive traffic jams all around the ring road, making it virtually impossible to get in or out of the centre, luckily the No16 driver managed to get us through it somehow.

We did walk back to the bar, where we met two other couples from the site and had a few different Belgian wheat beers with them, the locals on the other hand were drinking Bass.

Germany 2007, Day Thirteen, Luxembourg

Day thirteen 15th June

Was in no rush to leave but our electrics were unplugged by the owner, I think he wanted us to go. Went over to pay, €38.26 total, €19.13 per night, this was supposedly with a 10% discount from my CCI card. On the way back from paying I had a word with two English women who had had their electrics unplugged as well. They were touring Germany as they no longer go to France, since their van was broken into there, while they were sleeping.

Off we go to Luxembourg and then Belgium.

Back on the E52/B28 the opposite way to how we came in to Kehl, over the Rhine into France where the road name changes to the N4. From the N4 onto the A35 round Strasbourg to the A4 then all the way to the A31 north into Luxembourg, where the road name changes to the A3. The A3 goes to the A6 to the N13 and N6 to the site opposite the petrol station on the outskirts of the village.

On the A31 approaching Luxembourg we were very low on diesel but I was determined to get there for cheap fuel, once on the A3 in Luxembourg it seemed ages before we got to a station and it was the same price as France anyway. I know we were on the motorway, so I only wanted to top up to get us to the campsite, but the queues were huge. It was a big station where you pay on the way out and the pumps couldn't be reset until the person who used the pump before you paid, it caused much confusion.

The Campsite in Steinfort, picked from the ACSI book is within walking distance of Belgium, and just off the A6 from Luxembourg or the A4 from Belgium. Steinfort is a pleasant enough village, the campsite on the other hand is not pleasant and this is a warning not to go there. The owners are very friendly but the site is like a hillbilly camp or new age travellers encampment, with some very scary looking people and animals living there. On our return to England, even though the owners were friendly, I felt I had to report this site to ACSI, suggesting they send an inspector ASAP, and got this reply from them.

"Thanks for your e-mail. We observe this camp site serieously, because we got more complains about Steinfort. We will inform our inspector."
I have never before felt the need to do this (not with a campsite anyway, I did report a hotel in Rome not long ago but that was an unbelievable place, like living with someone's deaf Gran for a few days, not a like a hotel at all ) but as there were other complaints, I am now glad that I did report this site.

The new write-up in the ACSI book has been altered to say

A well used overnight camp site next to the A25 on the Belgian-Luxembourg border. Some permanent pitches give the site an untidy appearance. The toilet facilities are old, but are clean.

Not a great result, as to me it was the people on these permanent pitches that put me off the place.

Campsite Steinfort

72 rue de Luxembourg, 8440 Steinfort

There is a very narrow entrance to the site but it is one-way, on arrival we are asked to park up and report back to reception. We parked up and had a walk around the site, there were better pitches in the next field, one next to another van from the UK, so we went back and moved. It was during this time we noticed how strange the site was, mostly statics and mobile homes many of them with weird and wonderful additions (sheds, wooden awnings, lean-tos etc,) one was a caravan inside a tongue and groove built shell. you could see the van inside through the window. Some had awnings patched together with duck tape and in front of us was a very small, two man tent inside a double gazebo.

Campsite Steinfort

On a site we were on in Feb this year they were destroying large static mobile homes that must have been about twenty years younger the ones being used on this site.

We went back to reception to check in for one night, €14.00 for the night with €1.00 refund to pay for the showers at  €0.50. Popped in to the bar for a drink on the way back to the van, eventually got to the bar through the thick smoke and strange people sat at the bar, had to sit outside with our drinks, as we didn't have enough tattoos and or piercings to stay inside with the others. We had though we may eat in there later but changed our minds, we also decided it would be a good idea to lockup securely and get off the site.

First stop was at the garage, they had a good selection of food and booze, so we would pop back later, and the diesel still wasn't any cheaper. We walked right through the village and found a booze warehouse at the fare end, had a good look round and made plans to return with the van tomorrow. 

Popped into the first bar we came across, the decor was like stepping back into the seventies but with old people, the next place was better and we sat outside with a couple of Leffes.  Had some fun with the passing rush-hour traffic, as they had to stop at the traffic lights, I would offer them my drink and they would make gestures, some bad but most good. 

We eventually had to move on when there appeared to be no ladies toilets. Stopped back at the garage for bread, something for tea, sweets (chocolate) and beer, it came to about €45.00, I questioned this, turns out I was paying for someone's petrol, nice try.

Back at the site, it had filled up quite a lot but there was nobody from the other tourers about, we had our food and decided to have an early night, securely locked in.

Watching out the window things just got weirder, a man took his ferret for a walk, then a woman walked passed followed by half a dozen cats. At the van adjacent to us, cars would pull up, the owner of the caravan would come out talk to the occupants of the car and then the car would then drive off, perhaps he was the fountain of all knowledge, maybe he was selling drugs?

Just after it got dark we heard voices and there were flashing blue and red lights, I thought, drugs bust but it wasn't, it was fire rescue. Nothing on fire, from what I can work out (the Welsh couple next to us talked to the ferret man and got some info) some sort of animal had attacked the cat lady and escaped from her caravan. The fire rescue people had nets, cages, padded suits and helmets with full face visors and I think they caught whatever it was after about half an hour.

We put extra locks on, put on the alarm we hadn't felt the need to use up until then and we made up and slept on the lower bed, rather than unpack the over cab bed, so we could get away bright and early.

Germany 2007, Day Twelve

Day twelve 14th June

After seeing just how busy the roads were the previous day and having all the instructions we need for the bus, we decide that going into Strasbourg by bus is a better option than using the scooter. Its about a one mile walk to the bus stop but its not a bad walk along the river. It is just starting to rain as we arrive in the town centre and the No21 bus just getting ready to leave, we hop on and pay €2.50 each return. There is plenty of room on the bus until we get to the train station, from there the bus is very full until we get to the centre of Strasbourg.

We had no water with us, we were supposed to get some from Kehl centre but as the bus was ready to leave when we arrived, that didn't happen, so the first thing we needed was a shop. The first one we found by the cathedral wanted €4.00 for one bottle of water, I would rather die of thirst than pay that much for water, so on we went. We passed a land train ready to do a tour of the centre, Dot wanted to get on but I wanted to get water fist, so we let it go, eventually down a side street we got a large bottle for €0.80, quit a difference.

We headed down the side street to the river/canal that rings the old centre of the city, to sit and have a drink of water, fortuitously for us, this was where the tour boats were leaving from for trips, we got tickets and hopped straight onto one that was about to depart.

Its usually a good idea, if you are new to a town or city, to go on a scheduled tour if possible, be it an open top bus, boat or land train, you can get lots of useful info, orientation and can save visiting places that are not really worth it.

Window shot, France 2007Canal tour Strasbourg, France 2007

The boat trip does a complete circuit of the old city, via cannel, river and a couple of locks and we did find parts of the city we would like to visit latter on foot.  In fact lots of places looked worth a visit but we only had a day.

 Another boat trip, France 2007.

Off the boat we headed for the Petite France district, the old pretty part of the city, we walked along the cannel retracing the route of the boat tour. As we were taking photos of a lock full of children in canoes the skies turned black and there was a clap of thunder, we turned and headed for cover, the cover just happened to be a bar.

We made it in just as the heavens opened, we got sat down and ordered two beers, the waiter said he would bring two large glasses of the local beer. As there are many breweries in the area, I though we might get something special, we did but it wasn't the beer, that was very ordinary, it was the price about €11, I had forgotten that drinking beer out in France was expensive but this was something else. The really sad thing is, we paid that much for the beer and can not even remember what it was called also, it was so very ordinary.

Expensive bar, France 2007Run

Within minutes the sun was back out and we made a swift exit from the bar and continued our exploration of the old town. We spent a long time looking around, there is a lot to see, we got sandwiches for lunch and we crossed a covered bride that had three different levels. Much later after a very long look round, we headed for the shops, then in a large shopping mall, looked again for a PC shop and routing software but still no joy.

Me, Strasbourg, France 2007.

There was a highly recommended bar, that we kept a lookout for but by the time we got round to it, we were out of cash, so we had to give it a miss. We eventually walked all the way round the old town and ended up back where we started, as the weather is looking dodgy again and as it was now tea time we hopped on the bus back to Kehl.

It rained all the time we are on the bus back but luckily stopped as soon as we got off. We were going to have a look around Kehl and have a drink but as the rain was holding off we made tracks for the site. Made it back dry but after a long day walking I couldn't be bothered with cooking, so we got something in the site restaurant and had a few drinks as well. Later we where going to sit outside the van but it started to drizzle so we moved inside but not before I had talked to the Scottish couple next to use who highly recommended Luxembourg, claiming that on top of all other reasons to visit, was that fuel there was only €0.60 there. 

 So again we changed our plans, out would go Trier and in would be our first ever stopover in Luxembourg and we planned the route on paper accordingly.

Germany 2007, Day Eleven

Day eleven 13th June

Time to move on or we could end up in Bad Liebenzell for the rest of the holiday, we did only plan three days but ended up staying six, €112.80
 total, €18.80 per night should have been €14.00 with the ACSI card but the electricity was extra although that did include free transport. The plan was to move further south in the Black Forest for three nights but we are now going to skip that and head straight for Strasbourg or we will have no time left for a visit to Trier and Bruges. The other change to the plan is to stay in Germany, on the opposite side of the Rhine from Strasbourg in Khel, we had had some bad reports on the campsite in Strasbourg and this site looked ok and only a little further from Strasbourg centre.

After getting the van setup for travel, the first stop was for diesel (petrol station opposite the site) and then Lidl for beer to take home. The price of diesel had risen steeply since we arrived in Bad Liebenzell it was €1.07 but was now €1.14, and it had actually come down from the previous day. In Lidl, the amount of deposit we got back form the hole in the wall, paid for another crate of plastic bottles of weissbier.
The easiest way out of the black forest from Bad Liebenzell is to follow the B463 back to the A8 the same way we came in and then to head for Strasbourg along the A5. From exit 54 we just followed the E52/B28 to Kehl and then the camping signs to the campsite right on the Rhine.

Campingpark Kehl
Rheindammstra├če 1, 77694 Kehl am Rhein

Reception was closed when we arrived at 13:45 and would not be open until 15:00, the restaurant was open so we asked if we can park up and have a beer while we wait. The answer is yes, park in the car park but the bar closes in ten minuets, I parked up very quickly.

After refreshments and with 50 mins to kill before reception is open, we wander over to have a look at the river, in the distance we can see the bridge we must cross over with the scooter to get to France and Strasbourg. We set off in that direction with the intention of walking away from the site for 25 mins and then turning back to check in. We reach the first bridge in less than 20 mins, its a new foot/cycle bridge, obviously a Millennium Bridge like the many many others around the world. This is a rather large, fine example of a Millennium Bridge, bit like the one in York but much bigger and with two spans, one for pedestrian / cycles and one just for pedestrian. Anyway I just want to turn around and head back but Dot reasons that as we are there, we may as well, at least walk part of the way over the bridge. The two spans join up in the middle with a seating area and after a short sit, we end up walking all the way over into France. The bridge enters France on an island at Le Jardin des Deux Rives, where there are a lot of workmen dismantling numerous marquees. It looked like their version of the Chelsea Flower Show had just finished, we walk round the gardens and they are nice enough anyway and the fountains are very good (we didn't have the camera with us as we didn't intend to go anywhere we only went to look at the river, we missed many opportunities for good pictures). Forgot to mention we passed a flying saucer on our walk parked up by the river.

Flying sauce by the RhineCampingpark KehlPedestrian Bridge on the Rhine, 2007

The site owner didn't speak any English but made up for it by waving his arms about a lot and pointing at bits of paper, he gave us a bus timetable with bus No21 circled, along with a map of how to get to the bus stop in Kehl centre and a map of where to get the bus back from Strasbourg centre, all without asking for one.  He then took us to a hard standing pitch, between an older German couple with a larger motorhome (who were rather noisy, had the TV on fairly loud) and a Scottish couple with a camper. On the other side of the Scottish couples camper, is a couple with a large motorhome with trailer, attached to the trailer is a 30ft aerial, I never saw them outside, they seemed to spend all of their time talking on the radio, not my first choice for a holiday passtime.

That evening after another short walk we go to the bar but it is very busy and there are no seats outside so we have to sit inside the restaurant, we had missed the last seats outside by seconds to an American couple in lycra shorts, I assume they are on bikes. They where and with a tiny tent, how do they manage, I sometimes think the motorhome isn't big enough but mainly only during periods of poor weather.