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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 🙂
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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.
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!
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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.
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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 🙂
Ralph the Renter is from Milton Keynes in the UK. He’s a 1992 Hymer with a 2.9 litre, non turbo, 5 cylinder Mercedes Diesel with Auto Transmission with not too many gears 🙂 He’s not a speedster but can quite easily do 90 k’s without too much stress and with the fills of diesel, seems comparitely competitive with Harry in terms of fuel economy.
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He’s got a drop down bed and you can drop the table and make up a double there too. We prefer to use the drop down bed as you simply flick it up out of the way fully made up and its quite comfy.
The front end of Ralph
Ralphs living space with the Niesmann and Bichoff brochures on the table.
Looking forward in Ralph
Fiona and Gary at tea time
There is a loo and a shower at the back and the Galley is across the back with the habitation door on the opposite side. Ralph also has air conditioning too which has been great and we’ve pressed that into service a few times.
Hot Water, Truma heating a 3 way fridge (under bench model) and it all seems to work.
Harry is a 2004 B654 Hymer. It was owned by friends of Gary and Diannes in the UK who had it from new. Gary and Dianne bought about 5 years ago and now store it just out of London. It has a 2.9 litre Turbo diesel and gets along quite nicely.
It comes fully equipped including Air conditioning and Gary being Gary, has everything you could imagine hiding in its huge garage 😉
Harry’s living area with optional drop down bed for overstayers 🙂
Gary and Dianne setting things up
They’ve had lots of fun in him and with this tour with us, has been hugely helpful for us being European Bunnies and them leading the charge 🙂
And it is Amsterdam. Dianne found a great camping ground just on the edge of town surrounded by Canals. The campground sold 3 day tickets where you could swipe on or off the tram as much as you liked. This worked really well.
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The first night we went in to have a bit of look around and ended up having tea in the town and checking out the red light area.
Day two we got up early and headed in so Fiona could check out the Art in Rijksmuseum.
A Famous walk bridge
One of the oldest foot bridges over a canal
The car accident on the bridge
A Dethleffs in the campground 🙂
Lots of young people in tents in our campground.
Gary, Fiona and Dianne at a cafe
On the way there was a car accident on one of the bridges so that was as far as the Tram could go. One of the downsides of Trams of course is they can’t go around the obstruction so we walked the rest of the way.
While Fiona was at the Art Museum, Gary, Dianne and I got on a Hop on Hop off round and Round open roof ferry. For 19 Euros, we could go right around the city by Canal with an audio commentary which was fantastic. Not great for taking piccies as you could only shoot out of the sides.
One of comments which came across was that the canals are 3 metres deep. One metre of Water, One Metre of Mud and another Metre of bicycles 🙂
On our third day there, Fiona and Dianne were keen to check out a Diamond Factory. I didn’t think I’d like it but I found it quite interesting. It was quite tourist tatty and the free coffee was awful but great to see.
One of the curious things I found with Amsterdam is Bikes have right of way over EVERYTHING!
The Bike lanes are everywhere and they go like the clappers and they simply ring the bell if you get in their way. It is quite intimidating. Also in the bike lanes are scooters and small cars and they go even faster. Often there is only a few inches between the edge of the footpath and a scooter doing 30-40kph! .. Its not uncommon to see people speeding along on bikes on their cell phone with a child strapped on somewhere.
So much history.. most of the buildings are centuries old and some have a lean either forward or sideways 🙂
Amsterdam is a really interesting city. Next were moving on to Germany.