Right on the river border between Germany and Luxembourg is a fantastic MotorCamp in a town called Echternach.
Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow
The camp is huge with more than 500 sites, most of them powered and quite a few are permanent. We managed to get two spots near the river and they were huge and included a couple of trees between us.
In the morning we walked over the bridge into Luxembourg and caught the bus into Luxembourg city with all day passes each for 4 euros.
Luxembourg has one of the highest earning ratio by GDP anywhere in the world but despite this, we didn’t find it that expensive.
The Border, On the left is Germany and on the right is Luxembourg. The camp is on the river
Dianne and Fiona checking out the bus timetable.
The bus in the narrow back streets
Downtown Luxembourg is mostly all pedestrian access only. The pipe sculpture is made from ducting.
In the main square
Gary taking a photo of a building in the square
Outside Notre Dame
Inside Notre Dame
A small lane in Echternach on the way home past the old Church
The pied piper of Echternach .. feeding the Geese.
In the Echternach campground.. some are quite territorial!
One way to travel
Luxembourg City is like the Czech Republic where it didn’t suffer from bombing during the war like the rest of Europe so many of the old buildings are still in good shape.
After lunch in a quiet Cafe, we had a good look through the town. After running out of more shoe shops to look at :-), we walked down to have a look at the Notre Dame Cathedral. What an amazing building. You can feel the history.
We headed back to Echternach on the bus and stopped off in a bar for a drink and then a walk through town. Again, more lovely old buildings and all of them in good shape.
In the main square on the wall, there was a picture of the square taken in 1899. I did one of the same angle and there is very little change between the two.
We had a great day and enjoyed checking out Luxembourg. Nice people who mostly speak English so its easy everywhere and plenty of interesting stuff to see.
This is probably the best campsite that we’ve stayed at the whole time we’ve been away for both position and facilities. It was however probably the most expensive camp but as Fiona would say “Hey ho!”.
Click on the Images for Hi Res or a Slideshow
There were probably over 200 sites and it is on the side of the river at Koblenz, overlooked from the other side on the hill by an old castle. You can reach the castle by Gondola’s which run most of the day and are reasonably priced with access to the castle for only 12 Euros.
We weren’t sure about whether we would get in to the campsite and when Gary rang the night before, we opted for the “comfort sites” rather than standard which would have added to the price but the sites were great as well as huge 🙂
On our first morning, we set off to the edge of the camp where a small ferry would take us over to the Old Town and from there we could catch the Gondola up to the Castle. The Castle dates back to Roman times and with its attached fort has seen battles all the way through to WW2.
After an hour or so of having a good look around and checking out the view, we had lunch up there and made our way back down to the Old Town. The views from up there are stunning.
Walking through the Old Town was really interesting although much of it has been rebuilt after being bombed during the war. It is still a very charming and interesting town with lots of history.
After an Ice cream in the square, we made our way back to the ferry and to the camp.
We were sitting down outside Ralph having a cold drink when some new neighbours arrived. They were Danish and really nice people. After they’d spent 15 minutes or so discussing where they would pitch their huge tent, they started spreading it out and standing it up with what seemed to be hundreds of pegs. It was a thing of beauty and well set up.
The Crew boarding the ferry
Gary and Dianne on the Mozelle River
On the ferry about to head to Koblenz in the background
Koblenz from the ferry
The castle with the memorial
Dianne, Fiona and Gary in the castle courtyard
Fiona and Dianne at the castle
The campground from Koblenz
About an hour went by when we noticed that they had set it up about 2 metres into the next park which was only quite small but given the sterling effort that had been made, no one wanted to break the bad news to them.
About another ½ hour went by and the Danish Chap came around our side and started pulling the hundred or so pegs out saying that they’d sat down for a beer and realised what they’d done.
After they’d pulled all the pegs out, we worked out a way if we gave them a hand, where all of us could drag it a meter or so along the ground without them completely starting from scratch so they were pretty happy at that.
A fantastic park in a great position in a lovely town. Although pricey but well worth doing for its position and a nice setup.
Kitzingen is about 350 k’s from Prague and after stopping just inside the Czech Republic border to spend our last crowns on Diesel and lunch, we cruised on into Germany.
Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow
We arrived in Kitzingen about 2pm in the afternoon at a great Stellplatz by the river which was 9 Euros a night plus power at .5EU by kwh. It took two 50c coins to get through the night with just a fridge going and a couple of phones and a laptop charging.. pretty cheap. This works out about NZ$15 a night all up with free toilets and dumping and it was a stones throw from the centre of a charming village with more of those lovely old buildings.
We settled down and made a start on a 5 litre bottle of Estrella Wine which I’d bought for about NZ$9 in a Tesco store in Prague. I was assured from another shopper that it was ok to drink but we were a still bit worried about it. It was actually quite nice when you think what it cost 🙂
The next morning, Fiona was off early over the bridge to the baker to get some buns for us all for breakfast then we all went back for a look and a cup of coffee in the square.
Part of the churchfrom the camp
In the town
The View from the camp to the town
You pay for your ticket here and display it in your window
A Euro for your water
The Dump Station
.50 EU for power
Later in the day, the motorhomes started filling up the Stellplatz and parked where ever they could. The place was chocker.
A park right by the river with barges to watch go by, close to town and nice and cheap.
Approximately 120k’s West of Prague is the resort town of Karlovy Vary. It’s airport used to be an international airport as the party privileged in communist times used to fly in for their spend up in the shops and for its spa treatment.
Also famous here is the Grand Hotel Pupp which is the Casino Royale Hotel in the James Bond Film.
Click on the Images for Hi res and a Slideshow
It is famous for its spa and there is an underground thermal aquifer where people have come to fix all sorts of ailments. There are various wells with thermal water at different temperatures and different minerals do different things!
Like the rest of the Czech Republic, the buildings are just stunning.
Its is an important tourist area for the country and everywhere seemed pretty busy but unlike Prague, you could still easily move about.
It seemed every second shop was a Jewellery or a Dress or Shoe shop so Fiona and Dianne were having a great time.
We eventually found our way to a nice street cafe by the river where we had a chilled water to cool down from all the window shopping 🙂
The Hotels there are something else and I can only imagine what it would cost to stay in them.
A lovely town and another place where without the local knowledge from Dianne and Gary, we would never have known about.
Fiona and Gary looking at all the glitzy stuff in a shop window.
The Romatic Hotel. I took this for Gary and Dianne 🙂
Fiona Gary and Dianne by the Spa
Jewellery shops, shoe shops and Galleries, endlessly down the street 🙂
We got a rental while we were in Prague so we could leave the motorhomes at the campsite and have a look around. One of the planned outings if you like, was to Cesky Kumlov which is 150k’s southwest of Prague.
Click on the Images for Hi res or a Slideshow
It is now a UNESCO protected World Heritage site.
We set off about 9am and after a stop or two along the way, we arrived at Cesky Kumlov. The town was established in the 1400’s and was then German. Most of the buildings in the town were built in the 1500’s due to a discovery of Gold by the castle.
Tourists enjoying the boats on the river
Amazing little shopping streets
Fiona and Dianne on the bridge watching people boating in the river.
The river. The restaurant on the right where we had lunch.
Part of the Castle
The Castle hovering over the village
The town is built on what is almost an island by the course of the fast flowing river that almost completely surrounds it. The castle was closed on the day we were there as it was Monday. I’m not quite sure how that works but never mind.
There were a few bus load of tourists there but nothing like other places we’ve been to. We had a great meal in a restaurant by the river and walked around the village.
A stunning wee town and if it wasn’t for the local knowledge of Gary and Dianne, we would never have known about it. A great day out. Thanks guys.
We had another of those GPS moments finding our campsite in the centre of Prague. There are a series of tunnels that act as the main route through Prague and under the river. There are even turn offs in the tunnel like a motorway network so when you get the lovely GPS lady saying half through a 80kph tunnel, saying turn right and you are at your destination, things get a bit confusing.
Click on the Images for Hi res or a Slideshow
So in a motorhome convoy, we followed each other around and around the motorway system to find out that the said campsite was right on top of the Tunnel by the Vlatava river. Thanks to a bit of sleuthing from our resident Detective Gary, we found our way in. The next hurdle was the lovely campsite girl’s English was probably slighly better than our Czech but we managed to sort everything out 😎.
The campsite was quite interesting but was pretty reasonaby priced for the 5 days that we were staying. $3500 Czech Crowns per van with two including power, toilets, showers and dumping facilities. This equals NZ$225.
On our first day, we headed up to Prague Castle on two trams which took about an hour. When we got there, we realised we’d made a mistake going there on a Saturday on the first day of the school holidays. It was absolutely chocker.
There were people everywhere. After spending half an hour in the queue for tickets to see the inside of the Cathedral, we then discovered the queue was about an hour or more at least so we decided to head back into town and try again later.
We walked down the stairs back towards Prague Old Town Square. Crossing the Charles Bridge, we saw where parts of the film Mission Impossible were made where Tom Cruise flipped a car and ran up to a bridge. The square is a now a little market square.
There is a post on the centre of the bridge which was where you can make a wish.
The Entrance to Prague castle.. security was tight
One of the Guards having a happy day 🙂
The Prague Castle Cathedral
Prague Castle Cathedral from the back.
Charles Bridge and the Old Town
The old Town by Charles Bridge
parts of the Old Town with Prague Castle
Dianne and Fiona with Prague Castle behind
Looking along the Charles Bridge
Fiona and Dianne making a wish in the middle of the Charles Bridge
Walking through Old Town
Cheese and biccies on the rooftop Terrace
The Prague Astronomical clock which was first installed in 1410!
Old Town Square with the Tyn Cathedral
As we walked through the old streets checking out all the shops, we eventually got through to Old Town Square and the famous Tyn Church.
We stopped at a pub in the Square and had a glass of wine and Cheese Board on a roof top terrace looking over most of central Prague which was magic.
A walk around the Square came next after which we made our way back up to Prague Castle to have another go at the Cathedral only to find it had closed. So we headed back to the camp to enjoy a glass of wine in the sun.
This campsite in Dresden takes the cake for value for money and its a great easy to use tidy campsite and is well used. It is completely automated with entry barrier arms where you take a ticket like a carpark and you pay when you exit. There is a graphic based machine which allows you pay with different languages and also dispenses tokens for both the showers and the power.
Click on the images for Hi Res
When we arrived at Schaeffer Mobile Stellplatz, we simply rocked up to a barrier arm and pushed a button for a card, just as you would in a parking building.
As we drove in there were 6 rows of parks on either side and it was simply just a case of selecting a park. After parking, there was just the job of plugging in to the power which is charged by the kwh.
All very simple.
There was no one anywhere near the site apart from the camping shop, and the Hymer / Dethleff / Concorde dealership in front.
We ordered hot bread for 8 am in the morning for a couple of Euro’s .. magic!
All you had to do was keep an eye on your power consumption as an electric jug would eat through your tokens for power depending on your consumption.
For two days staying with free wifi, toilets, black and grey water the total was 30 Euros for two days stay and 4 euros for power (We had an electric jug!)
There was free Wifi and the water was 50c (Euro) per 50 litres and you could buy different amounts. Black and grey dumping was free.
NZ equivalent = about $60!! .. good value..
I can see this working well for the NZMCA sites, even partially where they have power available and charged by the kWh for those who want to use it.
We caught a tram from our campsite north of the city and headed into Dresden. It was only one tram so there was very little chance of getting lost today 🙂
Click on the Images for Hi res or a Slideshow
Dresden is an amazing city. It was completely flattened by bombs where there was only rubble left and has been completely rebuilt with help from fundraising in Britain.
Many of the old charred stones have been left in the rebuild as a reminder of a terrible time in Dresdens history.
One of the most significant rebuilds has been of the 18th century Protestant Church in the main square. It is simply stunning. We were lucky that we could get inside and have a look there and it is just beautiful.
The ceramic mural of past Kings and Queens
The outside of the cathedral. Note the dark stones on the left. The rest are new!
Dianne and Fiona along a terrace with Gary taking pictures
Through to the main square. We had a cuppa at the café on the left corner with the chairs outside.
Looking across to the south side of the river
There are some new buildings in Dresden. The shopping malls are something else.
There is a also a Ceramic panel of all the previous Saxon Kings and Queens along a road by the Rathaus which is the Town Hall.
Its an amazing city and its nice to see it rise to be the centre of Culture in Germany again.
We arrived in Berlin pretty knackered as although it is only 3 hours driving from Hanover, it is all on the Autobahn and is very boring driving. The only break in the steady lines on the road flashing by and lots of trees was when we spotted a car upside down on the other side of the Autobahn. Its amazing how quickly the traffic builds up. When we passed it going the other way, it must have only just happened and within a few minutes, the queue was about 8 k’s long! With us averaging about 85 K’s an hour, cars were zooming by as if we were standing still!
Click on the images to see Hi res or a Slideshow
We were about to have our first experience in a Stellplatz. This one was in Tegel which is one of Berlins north western suburbs on the end of the underground line. It was about 20 minutes walk to the underground from the Stellplatz so was very handy.
Stellplatz are quite different to what we are used to in NZ in that you are charged for every single thing you do, usually resulting in a cheap stay but this one was expensive by the time you added everything up, and for its money was pretty scruffy and unkempt.
One of the nice things about it was their setup of both the Black water disposal and the Grey water. The Black water was done on a stainless steel bench where you stuck your cassette neck into a flexible 4 inch pipe and out it went. You could then rinse it out but being at a bench height, you didn’t have to bend down and murder your back! It was almost like the good old days at school doing a science experiment 🙂
The Grey water was done with a stainless bucket on the end of a hose which you unclipped from a post and stuck under your grey water outlet and then let rip. All very easy.
After a good nights sleep, we were up early and onto the undergound to do the round and round bus trip. We figured this would be the best way to see heaps and then we could go to what we really wanted to see after that.
Fiona, Dianne and Gary waiting for the train back to Tegel
The Berlin Library where they burnt the books
The old Reichstag
A Chunk of the wall
Tourists br the Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate
One thing that really stuck out was seeing the Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. To see all this was quite sobering and seeing Berlin as it is now, you can only imagine how awful it must have been for so many having the wall up and everything that went with it.
The next day, Fiona and I caught the train back into town to see the Jewish Memorial which is a huge area down by Brandenburg Gate with several hundred big concrete boxes.
Its an amazing thing to see and you can walk among the boxes and get lost in them. An awful reminder of a truly awful time in our history and with the current generation of Berliners being so helpful and nice everywhere, it is quite amazing to think that this could have happened here.
As we left the Stellplatz the next day and headed towards Dresden and as we were just around the corner from one of Europe’s bigger motorhome accessory shops, it would have been rude not to stop by and peruse the shelves of this great store called Berger. You can find it here at www.fritz-berger.de
A lovely city, the weather wasn’t up to much while we were there but we saw the essentials and we’ll be back.
Thats the name of the Motor camp we stayed in in Hanover and is about 4 k’s south of the City.
Click on the images for Hi Res
It is a huge area surrounding a lake of Chalets and parking areas for Motorhomes Caravans and tents and is fully equiped and even has its own restaurant.
In Germany, everything is priced separately including “Strom” which is power and is charged by the KWH but actually works out to be pretty reasonable.
Some caravanners just along from us seemed to spend quite a bit of time in the water and it looks nice.
Stepping back a wee bit … As we approached the border into Germany from Holland, the motorway suddenly became a parking lot and everyone was redirected off into a parking area and separated into lanes by the German Police.
We were selected for an extra look and presented our passports and our smiley faces. After answering a few basic questions of where we’d been and where we were going, the nice older Copper waved us through. I think he was more excited about seeing some NZ passports for a change 🙂
It seems they were quite stressed about the G20 summit that was on in Hamburg as he advised us not to go there as it was “difficult”!
Needless to say, we were relieved to be sitting down under Gary and Diannes awning having our first glass of wine that afternoon in a very nice Camping Ground 🙂