Category Archives: Germany

On the Border

Right on the river border between Germany and Luxembourg is a fantastic MotorCamp in a town called Echternach.

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Gary and Dianne walking through 500 odd campsites to our site..

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.

Ralph and Harry at Echternach

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.

The bus in the narrow back streets

Luxembourg has one of the highest earning ratio by GDP anywhere in the world but despite this, we didn’t find it that expensive.

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.

Gary Dianne and Fiona walking through the shops..

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.

Outside Notre Dame
Notre Dame

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 Echternach Village

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.

Echternach in 1899 (Before)
Echternach now (After)

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.

Overlooked by History

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!”.

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Ralph and Harry

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.

Harry holding up the washing

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 the ferry about to head to Koblenz in the background

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.

From the Gondola looking down on Koblenz

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.

A Panorama from the Castle

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.

Koblenz square

After an Ice cream in the square, we made our way back to the ferry and to the camp.

William the 1st Monument in Koblenz

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.

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 zoom in piccie of the campground from the castle

A fantastic park in a great position in a lovely town. Although pricey but well worth doing for its position and a nice setup.

Coffee by the Castle

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.

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Us before the rush

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.

Gary looking relaxed with Harry and Ralph

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 🙂

Fiona walking across the bridge on the right. Lovely old buildings

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.

Later in the day, the motorhomes started filling up the Stellplatz and parked where ever they could. The place was chocker.

Busy town

A park right by the river with barges to watch go by, close to town and nice and cheap.

Spend up for the Russians

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.

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Looking down the river at the shops

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!

The Grand Hotel Putt is THE Hotel in this great wee town.

Like the rest of the Czech Republic, the buildings are just stunning.

The view of the town from the Grand Hotel

Its is an important tourist area for the country and everywhere seemed pretty busy but unlike Prague, you could still easily move about.

Fiona on a bridge by the spa.

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 Spa

The Hotels there are something else and I can only imagine what it would cost to stay in them.

The shopping street.

A lovely town and another place where without the local knowledge from Dianne and Gary, we would never have known about.

And a map so you can see where this is.

Campsite Automation

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.

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Harry and Ralph on the Stellplatz

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.

The entranceway

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.

The front of the dealers yard. Stellplatz behind.

There was no one anywhere near the site apart from the camping shop, and the Hymer / Dethleff / Concorde dealership in front.

Vans for sale. You can see the barrier arms and the camped vans out the back.

We ordered hot bread for 8 am in the morning for a couple of Euro’s .. magic!

The drive over grey dump and the pay as you go fresh water.

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.

Fiona, Dianne and Gary walking baack to harry and Ralph.

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!)

Busy and Popular Campsite

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..

Harry and Ralph

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.

A City Rebuilt

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 🙂

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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.

The inside of the Cathedral

Many of the old charred stones have been left in the rebuild as a reminder of a terrible time in Dresdens history.

The outside of the cathedral. Note the dark stones on the left. The rest are new!

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.

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.

The Ceramic mural of Kings and Queens
Close up of the mural

Its an amazing city and its nice to see it rise to be the centre of Culture in Germany again.

Checkpoint Charlie

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!

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Dianne, Gary and Fiona opposite with Harry

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.

Ralph behaving himself in the corner

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.

The Grey and fresh water tower at the Stellplatz

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.

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 wall
Checkpoint Charlie

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.

You can see a persons head popping up through the concrete blocks at the Jewish Memorial

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.

Fiona at the Jewish Memorial

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 happy Wurlitzer player at the Brandenburg Gate

A lovely city, the weather wasn’t up to much while we were there but we saw the essentials and we’ll be back.