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.
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 🙂
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.
There is a bit of everything here and with Camp Saver Motorhome parking. Its called Mill Creek Animal and Bird Encounters and is about 3k’s off the main road just south of Whitianga.
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Unfortunately they had just had a big rain event and been flooded so the ride on train wasn’t running but all the animals and birds were there.
There is a walk in Aviary where you can go in amongst the Lorikeets which is neat and they’re super friendly as well.
There are over 400 birds here with Macaws and Cockatoos along with many farm animals all spread out. Everywhere you look there are peacocks roaming around and down by the Motorhome parking, there are Pigs, Goats, small horses, big horses Donkeys, you name it, its there. You can also get a coffee at the station cafe.
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Fun for the kids
The motorhome/caravan parking with the Toilets behind
As I arrived I was greeted by a large duck who chased me to the Farm Animal area 🙂
The nice flat parks are generous in size, about 8 metres square with small panels to separate each park. The showers and toilets look brand new as well so a great spot to stay.
Even though it was pretty cold and miserable, there were plenty of families there enjoying the park. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area and great for the kids.
Grant and Jo went over to the US with the idea that they wanted to buy an Airstream Caravan.
They met a chap there who had two of them. So after agreeing to buy both of them, the guy says “Hang on a minute, I’ve got this too around here”, and showed them the then rather dilapidated 1972 Airstream Bar. Grant tells me it was “not a lot” so he bought that too and shipped all three back!
Once they all landed back in NZ, the 2nd Caravan was sold so they could do up the Bar and a year later and lots of hard work, its looking pretty good. With a huge fridge, new lighting and a great sound system, its a fun way to spend a night.
We spent a really good night here after the Zion Motorhomes function at Ellerslie and it was a real hoot.
Kawakawa is famous for its loos and the artwork of Frederich Hundertwasser. Some of the shops have now taken to this unique look as well and it looks great. We were on route to places North but stopped here for lunch.
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We parked down by the Railway Station at the other end of the town and as we walked through, we found that the Cafe’s were a bit light on the food.
What we didn’t know was that there were a couple of cruise ships in at the bay of Islands just around the corner and they had bussed in passengers and literally cleaned out the Cafe’s of food!
We eventually found one at the other end that the busloads seem to miss so all was good.
Kawakawa is one of the few places in NZ where the Train goes right through the centre of the main street in town but the locals take it all in their stride. It is a real sight.
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At the station
The Train at the station
Looking down the main street
The outside of the Hundertwasser Toilets
It’s this big. Dianne, Gary and Fiona walking back to the vans.
Although most of us know Frederich Hundertwasser as the designer of the Kawakawa loos, he has also designed Railway Stations, Grain Silo’s and other well known buildings all over the world.
Don’t forget to click on the Images to enlarge .. oldie repost
Yesterday morning, we met Jim, the custodian of the Westport NZMCA park. What a neat guy, the park is fantastic and it’s clear to see that he lives and breathes the park. We are fortunate to have people like him and other volunteers looking after our parks.
Earlier, we’d ridden the bikes into Westport town centre, about a 15 minute ride, Google reckons it 10 minutes 🙂 .. We must be slow buggers! It took us about 20 🙂
The girls found their Postie Plus and Gary was looking for a barber. We didn’t really do much but it was nice to get some exercise in the sun and check out the town. Once back at the park, we loaded our bikes, got ready to go and we headed in to get diesel, lpg and water from Caltex.
We were heading then for the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes. I hadn’t seen these since I was about 10 yrs old so it was nice to see. Doc has done a really good job of the pathways and it’s a fantastic feature of our landscape.
After an hour their and lunch in the carpark, we moved on to Greymouth.
We are staying in a Motorhome park behind a service station 5 minutes walk from town. Great spot. We walked around to the Speights Ale house on the Quay for a meal. We’re moving on to Hokitika tomorrow to do the tree tops walk.
One of the things we wanted to do was catch up with old friends Pam and Campbell who we knew from our old days is Devonport. They have set up an amazing Farmstay B&B business just outside Temuka and had invited us for tea. Yippee.
The next issue was where to put Rafe as Google Earth showed their driveway impassable for Motorhomes and there wasn’t roadside parking either.
There was an great camping ground a few K’s up the road at Winchester which was $18 a night with plenty of room to spread out so we headed there.
The campground is actually in the Showground’s so there are times of the year when it isn’t available. Nice showers which don’t require any money and a big kitchen common room which looks the business.
After an afternoon of lazing in the 20 C plus sun, we got the bikes down and headed down the road to Pam and Campbells place. Drinks in the sun on the deck and amazing roast meal and it was really neat to see them after having not seen them for at least 20 odd years. They look really well and the House they have done up looks great and they’re now running it as Olivers Farm Stay Bed & Breakfast. Campbell is a Chef so the meals are stunning !
Campbell very kindly dropped us off at the campsite later, with the bikes on a bike rack on the back of his car as it was a bit dodgy in the dark on State Highway 1 ! Thanks very much guys and it was lovely to catch up again after all this time.