here we are, 5 nights and six days into our tour and only just starting to catch our breath after the enormous effort of getting going. I suppose that we could have waited a couple of days longer and started in October, but the weather was turning and I wanted to be moving in September. Gone are the high 20’s and low 30’s°C of just a couple of weeks ago. Now we are lucky to top 10°C during the day and just avoid frost at night.
Our first two nights we spent on the edge of a field / forest, bordering the garden of an old mansion which still has the artificially made lakes immediately behind us, in the once fine gardens, now reclaimed by nature. We could have stayed longer (free of charge) but our aim is much further South and West. Still it was a great walking area for the dogs and we visited the farmers pigs and horses etc..
The third night was spent on the outskirts of Dresden, a really spectacular City, easily a match for Berlin, Paris or London ! I am not talking about the famous Frauen Kirche, which Aunty Betty supported the rebuilding of, after we had bombed the city to bits AFTER WWII, which was insignificant in the shadow of the other magnificent buildings. Our location was behind the Fritz Berger camping shop (again free). There was a very fairly priced mains electricity connection, so we distilled as much drinking water as we have capacity to carry (10 liters). It does not sound very spectacular but once the grounds were locked up at night we could also let the dogs roam freely. We also had a key incase we wanted to go out, but we chose to rest up again.
How can I add a photo ? The attachments block below does not seem to want to help me
Night four was spent on a rather ramshackle farm on a rather wet and windy day/night. Here we experienced that the plastic wedges, which we had bought at Fritz Berger, to replace our old wooden chocks, didn’t survive their first usage ! Not to worry we can reclaim this, when we get further South, at another of their shops.
Last night and tonight we are at a small private distillery. They also keep sheep in their orchard and that’s where we are camped. The weather has cleared up and so all is looking fine. We tasted a selection of their schnaps’s yesterday and will take a couple of the best with us, just in case it gets really cold. Ah yes, with the sheep in their shed, our dogs can run freely within the orchard, a welcome change, not being on a lead all the time, more like home.
We have added a dent in the side of the car and scraped the back feet of the caravan, ripping off the elephants feet, but no real damage. The roads and tracks are at times very steep and narrow ! The caravan seems to need regular attention, a drawer flew out during the drive, two days in a row and is, for now being secured with masking tape during future journeys. A mirror had also been freeing itself from the wall, but I hope to have solved that problem …
It seems that everything is made for show and not really built for purpose. OK, if you just drive down motorways and then onto ‚Holiday - Campsites things would probably suffice, but in my view, that ain’t camping - caravanning. I expect to be able to use steep country lanes and, carefully, some dirt roads / tracks.
The next major issue that itches us is getting resupplies of gas. Not a problem in Germany, using their UN 11 kg cylinders which are swappable almost everywhere. It seems however that, in spite of 40 years of EU mismanagement, there are still over 300 different gas fittings in use. While we have bought an EU adapter set so that, in theory, we can have our cylinders refilled, we can’t actually find anywhere in France, Spain or Portugal, that will actually refill our bottles. Each country wants you to convert to their system, but what do you then do with your old gas cylinders ? And it costs several hundred €uro’s every time for their new (rented) cylinders and valves etc.. In Spain we read that you have to ‚make a contracto‘ and for this you also need a new gas MOT as well … more cost !
Can anybody give us any tips ?
Surely there must be a list of gas (propane / butane) refill stations that are willing to refill our German (UN !) cylinders.
There are seemingly millions of people moaning about this madness on the internet but, to date, no practical solutions …
Best wishes to everyone send
Bill & Rahi
It seems that the pictures have not been included in my copy and paste action. I shall try again soon !