Lake Constance was my next stop, recommendation from friends, but via Austria just to say Ive been there. I have to say the trip through Austria was a pleasant surprise and one of the most scenic days. I passed through ski resorts which look so beautiful in the summer, up and down the winding Alps roads, good old Ruffy did well. I even stopped at one ski resort as I know full well wherever there is a ski lift there is a toilet! And I got my first VW wave after all this time. Yay.
We then headed over and up to Lake Constance where I had picked a German town to stop off at, Lindau. Turned up at the campsite it was full, the first time I’ve had that all trip. It was about 35 degrees and by the lake so I can understand. I had passed the motorhome stop off en route, that had no toilets or electricity so did not wish to stop there. After three nights of motorhome stops, it was time for an actual campsite. Fortunately the campsite gave me another site that wasn’t full, 7km away. So off we went. Little did I realise that it was across the border in Austria. How cool. I got to camp a night in Austria as well. And a lovely campsite it was too. Right beside the lake, and although lots of people sunbathing (Germans and their towels!), and families having BBQ’s Zac could have a little swim. I even went in by myself later in the evening as it was so beautiful, another 8pm evening swim, this is the life. The next day I was off to stay with my Polish friend who is married to a Swiss, and we all met in Iceland. I wanted to say I’ve been to as many countries as possible so continued my extra driving en route to their home and headed to country number four Lichtenstein. Very similar to Austria and Germany to be honest and I headed to what I later found out was the capital Vaduz but didn’t see the famous castle. Gutted! That’s the issue with ad hoc planning, I would have known it had a famous castle if I had pre planned the whole trip.
After our quick stop off and walk, on to country number five, Switzerland. Now as it’s not in the EU I can’t use my Euros here and I have no Swiss francs so no souvenirs for me. My friends live near Zurich in a place called Uster. I’m not doing too well with the weather lately as I got there the heavens opened and it absolutely bucketed it down whilst we waited for them to come home. Aga is so funny, she turned up on her bike, soaked through and in bare feet. It’s easier to ride in the rain with bare feet apparently. Love her! We had a fab evening, playing card games (the same ones we played in Iceland), they have no TV! drinking wine and beer and just chatting. So nice to meet all these friends again.
In the morning Valentin the husband had to work but Aga and I went to the local lake and swam. Zac is getting so much better at swimming with me now. Not such an alien thing to see his owner in the water with him. We had a blast, I am a true water baby and could have stayed there all day, but we got out and then went for a long walk to dry off. Such a lovely setting. An amazing morning, great to just swim and walk and talk and in those beautiful surroundings. They are so lucky to live nearby. There were loads of people on their bikes, and inline skating is a big thing out there. Loads of people passed us on their skates. I wished I could stay a few more days, but time doesn’t allow as I have so many miles to drive back, and on my own I don’t wish to do too many in a day. Thankfully they had internet so I could plan my route home. A few ideas popped up on websites and I chose the one going via Nancy in France, Luxembourg and Belgium then over to Dunkerque. More countries to experience.
After postponing leaving for as long as possible I started my journey at 5pm! And what a bloody stupid idea that was. 5pm on a Friday night? Traffic almost at a standstill after 25 mins. I decided I wasn’t following sat navs advice and just headed off on various roads until it got the hint and rerouted me about four times so we missed that road all together. It was like the M25 having an accident. Nothing can go anywhere for miles and miles. I arrived at county number six at 9pm! It was France, and a delightful little village called Thann. I was staying in a motorhome stop, although the toilets were closed by the time I got there. Never mind, I waited until dark and found some bushes! No electricity which was fine as I had no milk anyway.
The morning was one of the best. I had read that there was a Saturday morning market in my camping book, but when I woke up the market was actually in the car park behind us, two minutes away. Awesome. So Zac and I had our morning stroll to relieve ourselves, and then I could buy fresh croissants and fruit for breakfast. What a way to start the day! Trying to get my French working again and after a few hours of panicked conversations, and then remembering the phrases I’m getting more confident. If I had had more time I would of stayed here for another night as well. Lovely village.
After lunch I started the route to Nancy via Bussang and Epinal. I get sat nav to head to the town and I pick a random road from the list and when we get to the town just cancel the route and then head to the next town. It makes sure I am not heading on major toll roads, much nicer to head to villages via smaller roads. It’s a shame not to stop at some of these places but I will hopefully return and see more of them. The next stop was a campsite so I could have a shower. Bit expensive again at £20, extra for Wi-Fi, and my shower block had no hot water, lucky there are three shower blocks. Otherwise nice enough, and loads of English people around. Some even spoke to me, asking where I had been. They are staying there for three weeks and travelling off to see other countries from there. Good idea as it’s so near Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. These are the first people to actually have a conversation with me since Gouda two weeks ago. Lovely huge park next to the site. We had a good hour or so wandering what were grounds of an old mansion which is now derelict. Great view of Nancy as we were on a hill. Lovely place. Landed on my feet again with this route home. Some interesting campers here as well. A Dutch van came in which looked like a converted horse box on the back, very posh one mind. Then a made up fire truck came in, a big van painted red with 112 (the emergency services out here) painted on the side.
The checkout time was 10am but as the lady never told me I shall take my time to leave. Bit bloody early if you ask me. All the English around me had disappeared by 9am, maybe driving most of the way back to Calais or something? The day didn’t start or go well to be honest. As I was packing up I whacked my head pretty bloody hard on the camper door. Then I left my handbrake on so on the main road my brakes failed and I could smell burning. Text my brother in a panic, then realised what I had done but the breaks still needed pumping to work. My heart literally stopped when I went to break and nothing happened. Fortunately after a while of no use, the fluid had cooled down and breaks back to normal what an idiot! The weather however was the worst I think I have ever driven in. Torrential doesn’t even come near. 30 miles an hour and I could hardly see at times. It would then stop for maybe ten minutes but then start again. We stopped off in Luxembourg county number seven, cheap fuel for a start, 20p cheaper than France. We stopped at a lovely old house with beautiful gardens. One sign said dogs on a lead allowed if you are responsible, then another sign said no dogs so I just thought sod it, but a man chased after me in the pissing rain and told me off in French. So pictures from the wall looking down on the gardens instead. The weather only got worse again so the short walk was all we could manage.
The bad luck continued when my back started to ache constantly. Clearly 20 days of slouching in a driving position, when I’m usually walking about all day, has taken its toll. Pain killers it is. I had every intention of stopping in a motorhome stop overnight so every toilet stop I saw I utilised. A service station included, where again I got shouted at as it was 50 c to use the toilet and I tried putting the change to make 50 in. Un piece, she shouted!!! Oops.
Five more countries visited, just one new one to go. And a lot of miles…….
SeeCamping Bregenz am Bodensee, Austria, Bodangasse 7
Thann Motorhome, Place du Bungert, Rue des Pelerins
Camping le Brabois, Avenue Pau Mullor, 54600 VIILLERS-LES-NANCY