2nd January 2019, Schneverdingen, Germany

For the last two weeks we’ve spent a wonderful time with Heike, Angela’s sister-in-law. We don’t get to spend much time together and even though Brian couldn’t be with us over Christmas, this festive season has been brilliant.

We arrived on 20th December to an amazing welcome from the dogs, who we absolutely adore. They are Tessa, Murphy and Piper – three completely different personalities, and all under the command of the cat, Oskar!

IMG_20181223_164331  IMG_20181220_175021  IMG_20181221_141859   

IMG_20181223_092737  IMG_20181224_145842 (2)

Poor old Murphy was seriously ill the week before, but he has made a full recovery…thanks to an extremely expensive diet going forward!

Heike had to work another day before her holiday began, but after Friday we started preparing for Christmas in earnest. Over the next few days we bought all the food needed, especially the salmon for the day itself and lots of bubbles. Heike and Dean went and bought a tree that we dressed on Christmas Eve, plus we visited Luneburg to see the market while Heike did some last minute shopping.

Whilst in Luneburg we also went to an ‘English’ tea room called Johnson’s where we had some delicious scones and a pot of tea. It was lovely and warm in there as well which was such a treat as it was so cold outside.

IMG_20181222_113801  IMG_20181222_121314  IMG_20181222_121600  IMG_20181222_132128  IMG_20181222_132143

 

The Sunday before Christmas we visited an hotel in Bispingen called Schmucke Witwe,IMG_20181223_115441 where they serve an amazing breakfast buffet. You could choose from all sorts of cereals, bacon, sausages, eggs in all variations, salmon, herring, as many different types of bread rolls you can think of and lots of salads stuffs.

As it was so full we were at one of the tables situated in the gift shop area, which only served to encourage us to buy things!

IMG_20181223_101247  IMG_20181223_110525   IMG_20181223_114907

Christmas Eve was spent shopping for the fresh items we needed food wise, dressing the tree and taking the dogs on a very misty walk on the heath. Dinner consisted of a cold buffet, stuffed jacket potatoes and mini italian style filo pastries. We had a few games of cards, opened our presents then cracked open the bubbles and settled to watch a movie.

IMG_20181224_164635  IMG_20181224_183745

Christmas Day was even more relaxed – heaven! After a bottle of bubbly and breakfast Heike and I went for a very long walk with the dogs, while Dean chilled out at home.

Dinner started with Portobello mushrooms stuffed with blue cheese and tomatoes, followed a few hours later by a massive fillet of salmon, crusted with walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, sage and parmesan on a bed of roasted vegetables.

IMG_20181225_172325  IMG_20181225_172355  IMG_20181225_180038

Late evening, after further card games Heike make crème brulees that perfectly rounded off a wonderful, relaxed day.

The period between Christmas and New Year was equally relaxing, spending time with Heike and the doggies. Heike had a couple of days away with Piper at an agility tournament where she came 2nd (Piper, not Heike!) so we made ourselves useful and painted the front room.

During our time there, Brian was able to join us for a few days and arrived back home on 31st December. Despite suffering from jetlag he managed to last (on and off) until midnight.

Dinner was a Raclette with both meat and vegetable options, alongside loads of delicious sides. We also watched ‘Dinner for One’, a German tradition apparently which was very silly but very funny. Same procedure as next year…?

When midnight came, oh my goodness! The German’s attitude to fireworks is nothingIMG_20190101_001011_1 short of mental – every house must have spent hundreds of pounds on fireworks, that they left off in the street immediately outside their houses!

The spectacle lasted well over an hour and to be honest it was nerve wracking for us as our van was literally a couple of metres away from fireworks. We’d love to view the displays again, but no way will our van be anywhere near them next year…Brian and Heike are still not sure why we were so anxious!

Once we were sure the van wasn’t going to go up in flames, we relaxed and had a few bottles of bubbles to celebrate the arrival of 2019 along with some retro music until about 3am!

The day before we left, the four of us went out for dinner to Landhaus Höpen. Mother had given us some money to put towards a meal which was lovely, as we do not often get together.

We were all a little bit subdued to be honest, as it has truly been a wonderful couple of weeks together. The fact that we’ve all been so relaxed and chilled has been a delight and we cannot wait to see them in the summer, hopefully even in England…?!

IMG_20190102_194026IMG_20190102_210350IMG_20190102_210955IMG_20190102_211122IMG_20190102_211219

Dog Walking Pictures

IMG_20181221_101544  IMG_20181221_103831  IMG_20181223_151807  IMG_20190102_144527  IMG_20190102_152816  IMG_20190102_154100

IMG_20181220_155151  IMG_20181221_104034

Posted in 2018 | Leave a comment

19th December 2018 Hameln, Germany

This was our last stopover before arriving at our Christmas destination. It took 2.5 hours IMG_20181219_123020and 109 miles so another short journey. Before we arrived we stopped off at a Penny Markt just outside the village and were able to park out the way while shopping.

We found the stellplatz really easily and there were a number of motorhomes already there which is always useful. It cost 8€ for 24 hours (it only takes coins) and 1€ for eight hours of electricity, but you can load the machine up so there is no need to pop out every eight hours!

IMG_20181219_130357IMG_20181219_130335  IMG_20181219_130433

Once sorted we walked in to the centre which took about 15 minutes, and were soon sampling our first mulled wine of the day. It was a particularly cold day when we went in, and Dean was intent on finding the impressive statue of the Pied Piper…he was very disappointed, but we found out later that half of it had been covered up as part of the Christmas decorations. We’ll have to return for another visit in the summer as every year they put on a festival, celebrating the Grimm fairy tale that the place is famous for.

There are some very pretty buildings here carved in wood and finely decorated.

IMG_20181219_141234 IMG_20181219_141636 IMG_20181219_144051IMG_20181219_144534 IMG_20181219_145516 IMG_20181219_151335

IMG_20181219_142706 IMG_20181219_144759 IMG_20181219_144830

Posted in 2018 | Leave a comment

18th December 2018 Münster, Germany

We visited this place again after a nine year break! The journey to Camping Münster took 3.25 hours (148 miles) and was another really pleasant trip, with the site immediately off the main road.

It costs 15€ a night on the stellplatz which includes electricity at 10 amps, with an additional cost of 50 cent per shower token (3.5 minutes). The shower complex is one of nicest we’ve seen in a long time! It is very clean and modern, with very spacious showers that have been decorated with animal caricatures in the shower cubicles. 

 

IMG_20181217_144931IMG_20181217_144946IMG_20181217_145753

We decided to stay in the first afternoon we were there as the weather was a bit rubbish, so we had a good tidy and sorted out a load of washing after our week away. The campsite is really well planned out and we’d already bought a few tokens for the machines (at 2.25€ a wash and 1.75€ for a dry, it was a bargain) so by the end of the evening we were all square and ready to go again.

The next day we caught the bus into the city as the bus stop is about a five minute walk from site. We bought a day ticket for 12€ and the bus took us into the main station. The campsite helpfully provide you with a bus timetable that also tells you where to disembark and which stand you get the bus from for your return journey.

IMG_20181218_114202  IMG_20181218_114629

There are quite a few Christmas Markets in Münster but before we even got to one we discovered a bicycle shop where we found a seat cover for Angela’s new bike that matches the bell we bought in Amsterdam – result!

IMG_20181218_162317  IMG_20181218_162521 

We visited all five markets in Münster, indulging in the food and drink before heading back to the van when it got cold! To be honest, as we’ve been to so many markets over the years the shine is wearing off them but it has been nice to be back in Germany.

The best is yet to come though as in the next couple of days we’ll arrive at our ultimate destination – to spend Christmas with family!

IMG_20181218_124247  IMG_20181218_130004  IMG_20181218_131814IMG_20181218_134649  IMG_20181218_135058 IMG_20181218_140049IMG_20181218_134737IMG_20181218_145433

Posted in 2018 | Leave a comment

16th December 2018 Amsterdam, Holland

It took us 3.5 hours (160 miles) to arrive in Amsterdam but the weather improved throughout our journey, so we arrived with the sun shining.

Our Sat Nav told us we’d arrived about 700m before the entrance, so if ever that happens IMG_20181214_125830to you keep going across the intersection and it is up on the left hand side. Access to the campsite was very straightforward, apart from an irate couple trying to get out at the same time we were coming in. Never leave your exit until the last minute before you get charged for another day!

Amsterdam City Camp is a fully enclosed site with secure access. It is a self check in kiosk and we paid for three nights with electric (6amps). There is free fresh water and an emptying point on site. Pitches are definitely not six metres apart – think more along the lines of an aire – but when we were there everyone was considerate of each other.

IMG_20181214_130649  IMG_20181214_130706

 

IMG_20181214_145646

Our journey into the city was easy too. A ten minute walk from the site and you are at the ferry terminal where you can take a fifteen minute ride (free) into the centre of Amsterdam. You are also able to take your bicycles on too, but be mindful there are no seats.

IMG_20181214_150044  IMG_20181214_151402

On our first day in the city we were distinctly underwhelmed as the first place you come across is the Old Town, that is so busy just like London. All we could smell was cannabis and it was so frenetic with trams, daredevil cyclists and dumb tourists (us) not watching where we’re walking!

We managed to find a little cafe bar and had a warming gluhwein before getting the ferry back.

 

P1120986

However, the next day we came in on the bicycles and while looking at the map we were given some tips by a local gentleman. He sent us off in the direction of the Jordaan area and gave us specific instructions of a wonderful bar/cafe that served amazing apple pie.

We’d told him of our disappointment the day before so it was great to get some brilliant advice. As we cycled away from the centre, the feel of the city became much calmer and friendly so we locked the bikes up near the cafe and stumbled across a local market.

 P1130009  P1130006  P1130010 

IMG_20181215_124602IMG_20181215_124852It was especially cold that day so after a wander around we headed into the Papenieland Cafe (founded in 1642), where coffee and apple pie was duly ordered. The cafe had a lovely warm feeling about it and the staff were very friendly and relaxed. When we’d had our second cup of coffee we headed back out and just cycled all around the west canals, taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

 

We made it to the small Christmas Market in Museumplein opposite the Rikj Museum, it did have an ice rink where loads of children were making the most of it and having great fun. As it was getting cold we started our way back to the ferry, picking up provisions on the way.

IMG_20181215_142732 IMG_20181215_142836 IMG_20181215_153158

As we arrived at the terminal, the ferry was just about to leave but we made it with seconds to spare! To round off a great day, we watched Strictly Come Dancing and enjoyed a wonderful turkey tagine and red wine.

IMG_20181216_092200

For the final day we left the bicycles behind, and we’d had snow the day before so thought it unwise to cycle in. This time we headed to the east side and wandered (briefly) into the red light district, curiosity getting the better of us!

IMG_20181216_130947 IMG_20181216_132432 IMG_20181216_145301 IMG_20181216_133528

The canals in the Old Town area felt much more relaxed, maybe as it was a Sunday there seemed to be less traffic around. We mooched our way in and out of the side streets and canals, ending up in a nice bar and having two beers each (2 large, 2 small)…for a whopping 24€!

IMG_20181216_150307 IMG_20181216_150234

IMG_20181216_163001 IMG_20181216_163147 IMG_20181216_165126

We agree that we need to come back to Amsterdam another time and maybe go further out from the centre. Many people say how beautiful the city is but we don’t feel we’ve seen it in all it’s glory this time.

Posted in 2018 | Leave a comment

13th December 2018 Bruges, Belgium

 

Our Eurotunnel trip went without a hitch as usual. We were at the port an hour and a half before our train so were able to buy our headlight deflectors from The AA Shop. We’d left it to the last minute which is not like us!

Our number was called and we drove on to the train, then within 35 minutes we were across the other side in France. For those curious about the train, it is so easy to access even with a large vehicle like ours. They sort you into cars, vans etc. then you join an orderly queue and you slowly drive onto the train. Staff pull you forward to the required position then place a chock behind one wheel. Once you’ve put your vehicle in first gear and wind your windows down, you’re done!

IMG_20181211_080631 IMG_20181211_083227 IMG_20181211_083642

IMG_20181211_085119

Within an hour and 45 minutes (73 miles)we were at the campsite in Brugge, Belgium. The journey was very pleasant and the directions to the site were spot on.

Camping Memling is in a quiet residential street, with a forest/park adjacent to it where you could walk your pooch. The check-in is self-service and very easy to navigate, where it gives you your pitch number and a very detailed site and city map. It is around 25€ a night including electric at 6amps which we felt was reasonable, considering the proximity to a major city and the quality of the facilities.

IMG_20181211_132430 IMG_20181211_133135

We parked up and headed off into Bruges on foot to do a recce. It takes about 40 minutes to walk in across the Kruispoort city gate, and you do have to watch out for cyclists! Brugge has four remaining city gates dating back to the 15th Century and the Kruispoort is the best preserved one. Our first views of this city were beautiful with the windmills, canal and sunshine – we fell in love with the place straight away.

IMG_20181211_140730 P1060041P1060056 P1060054

We followed the signs to the centre and walked along the cobbled streets to the large market in the centre, where a small Christmas Market is underway. Gluhwein was on sale so it would have been rude not to imbibe, but…it still does not taste the same as it does in Germany!

As it was getting dark, we headed back home calling into Aldi on the way back. There is also a Lidl next door, with both being about a five minute walk from the campsite – perfect!

Over the next couple of days we cycled in which took about 15 minutes, but goodness the cobbled streets make it a bit of a bone shaker! There are so many little streets you can amble down, then you come across the canal and its bridges which are a delight.

There are so many places to lock your bicycles, so once we’d found a spot we continued to walk around the surrounding streets just taking everything in. The city has a really safe feeling about it and we both really enjoyed just mooching about. We did however indulge in a waffle and hot chocolate (20€ in total) at The Old Chocolate House. The cafe is upstairs and is a very old fashioned, quaint place and was full of Brits but don’t let that put you off!

Our new bicycles have been well and truly christened, but it is so nice to finally have a bicycles that fits me (Angela) It is a larger frame (men’s) so much more comfortable, but now we’re on the look out for a funky bicycle seat cover and bell – maybe in Amsterdam…?

IMG_20181211_142346 IMG_20181213_124253IMG_20181213_134645 P1050914

IMG_20181212_125052IMG_20181212_130055IMG_20181212_130327 IMG_20181212_131431IMG_20181212_132127 IMG_20181212_144024 IMG_20181212_144336IMG_20181212_150152

Posted in 2018 | Leave a comment