Joys of Caravanning

2nd Trip to Europe 2005.

 

This our second trip into Europe was to Germany, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic and Belgium.  We stayed at 19 different camp sites which I have given a brief description of on the journey taken from 7th April to 3rd of June 2005. The outfit we had was the same as 2004.  We had the 2003 Coachman Amara towed by Citreon Synergie.

Added to this I have given you an idea of  interesting places to visit from each stopping place. 

Site No. 1.

CAMPINGPLATZ KUESER WERTH, Bernkastel-Kues, website here   Listed in CC Europe 2. 

This site was easily reachable from Calais in one day leaving very early in the morning with a comfort or food stop every 2 hours.  Siuated right on the Mosel River we pitched at the river edge and it was very pleasant indeed.  The site has all grass unmarked pitches details of other amenities on their website. 

 Having visited Bernkastel something like 25 times or  more, over the years, without a caravan we know our way around pretty well.  This site is on the Kues side of the river and you can either walk or take the car over the bridge to the other side Bernkastel.  The main old town and market place are there and it is delightful.  Cobbled stone streets, lined with timbered buildings.  Lots of Hotels, Restaurant and one wonderful Konditorei with the name Cafe Hansen standing on the Market Place you must try the Warmer Apfel Strudel herewith a coffee.  Walking around the town you will eventually find Schwannen Strasse and on the corner is the Hotel Moselblumchen.  If you are wanting a lunch or dinner you cannot fault their restaurant. Herr and Frau Grommes-Huwer and their staff will make you most welcome and speak excellent English the food is excellent and menu varied.   Website for the hotel is http://www.hotel-moselbluemchen.de/

From Bernkastel you can explore a lot of the Mosel travelling to Traben- Trarbach, Zell, Cochem and up to Koblenz one way, or the other way to Mulheim, Piesport, and onto one of the oldest cities in Germany, Trier.  If you want to cut across to the Rhein for a trip you can go cross country by Hahn Airport and on to Bingen.  In Bingen you can cross the Rhein on the ferry, to  the famous town Rudesheim.    

                         Square Bernkastel.                                         On Site.

Site No. 2.

CAMPING-ERBENWALD LIEBELSBERG, Neubulach, Black Forest. http://www.camping-erbenwald.de/   ACSI CC taken. Listed CC Europe 2. 

 This site is North East of, Freudenstadt, which is in the centre of the Black Forest a lovely area.  Owners friendly and helpful a grassed open site which we enjoyed.       

The second day we were there, on the Sunday, we went for a ride to Calw to visit a Caravan Centre which we found very interesting, then to fill up with Diesel. John put some Bio Diesel in as we have before when in Germany and off we went.  A few miles out of Calw in the  small town of Nagold the car stopped and there was a warning light.  Two different German men came to the car and asked if they could help straight away. We decided to ring Green Flag, who came out with a breakdown truck and they decided to load us onto the truck and take us to a Citreon Garage in Herrenberg where they put a note in the garage door, parked the Citreon and then took us to their headquarters and fitted us out with an A class Mercedes hire car to get back to the caravan.  Instructions were given to us(in English) to drive back to the garage next day  (Monday) morning to see the damage.  The garage said the car engine did not like the Bio diesel and if they drained the tank and replaced with normal diesel everything would be OK so while we had a look around the town and consumed the obligitory morning coffee the car was put right.  Cost a lot cheaper than it would have been in this country.  Hire car and Assistance all taken care of by Green Flag with excellent service.  No more Bio Diesel.  Freudenstadt is a lovely town to visit. 

 We feel that this is not the ideal spot to stop in the Black Forest knowing what we do on visiting the area without the caravan many, many times before.  Will describe in later Trips other places to stay and visit. 

                                     Calw.                                                  Rathaus Freudenstadt.

                     Scene in the Black Forest.                                 All loaded up. 

Site No. 3.

.CAMPING INNSBRUCK-KRANBITTEN.  SITE NOW CLOSED.

Sadly this Site was suddenly closed down in April 2009 why nobody seems to know.  It was a very popular site en route to the Brenner Pass and Italy right near to the Motorway and high up above the Airport but not noisy at all.  A lovely view of the mountains from the caravan.  We spent 2 enjoyable stops there in 2006 and 2007. 

 Innsbruck is a lovely city and there is lots to see in the area.  A day's tour up the Fern Pass to Garmish-Partenkirchen with a stop for coffee in Obsteig and a walk around the village.  Hall in Tyrol and further on the Swarovski Crystal Factory at Wattens+ even further on the Crystal town of Rattenburg are all worth a visit and within a days trip.

                  View from back of Caravan.                                      Hall in Tyrol 

Site No. 4.

CAMPING SAN FRANCESCO**** Desenzano Del Garda, Italy.  Website:- http://www.campingsanfrancesco.it/    Take Camping Cheques. Took ACSI CC this year. Listed CC Europe 2. 

 This is a very nice site and the Facilities are all excellent.  Pitches right on the Lake side.  Very good position for touring the whole of Lake Garda and surrounding area.   We took a day to tour right around the whole lake.  Also did one of the Lake Trips which are varied and good.  Handy places to visit are Desenzano town, Simone and the town we love is Torre del Benaco and also further up the lake is Malchesine.  We have done Limone and Riva by boat, but before taking the caravan.    

 

                                               View from Malcesne.                              

                                             

                                           Harbour Torre de Benaco 

Site No. 5.

LA CHIOCCIOLA***, Capannole, Bucine (Arrezo) Italy.  http://www.campinglachiocciola.com/   ACSI CC taken. Listed  CC Europ 2. 

This is a very pleasant site in the Chianti countryside, we love it.  The owners are very friendly and helpfuland facilities are all good.  Pitches are all hedged with an outside sink with water at each.  A train can be caught at Bucine into Florence and the station on arrival is an easy walking distance to the city .  City Tour Buses (open top) can be caught opposite the station and are a good way to see the city first time.  You can get on and off at will to visit where you choose.  Arezzo is another nice hilltop town to visit nearby.  The other splendid and must visit town is San Gimignano (the town of towers) not too far away.   

                    Square at Arrezzo.                                        San Gimignano. 

Site No. 6.

CAMPING TERME VARRONIANE, Cassino.  Listed CC Europe 2. 

 Well this site was just off the main street, down by the railway station, through a tunnel past an unmanned office and into a large glade with grass about a foot high and unmade roads winding all over and not a caravan in sight.  There was a gardener with his wheelbarrow who signed us to park where we wanted.  So set up and then a little old lady came along and asked for our passports, said she would take them to the office and bring back later.  We were at the least very apprehensive but true to her word she was back in an hour.   The situation was ideal for going up the mountain next morning to Monte Casssino.   It was somewhere I had always wanted to visit and I was not disappointed.  After the visit to the Abbey we drove to the coast to Gaeta for a wander and food.  When we got back to the van, near to us, 8 or more Italians in their motorhomes had taken up camp in a ring.  The Italians do not go in for caravans and ours was something of a mystery to them we think as they kept coming over and looking it all over.

              Polish Cemetary from the Abbey.                          Inside the Abbey Gardens.

Site No.7.

CAMPING DEI TRULLI, Alberobello, Italy. http://www.campingdeitrulli.it/  Listed CCEurope 2. 

 This site is right down in the Heel of Italy, a long way, but we wanted to see the Trulli Houses we had heard about on the TV before we left home.  The site itself was just outside the town and was very pleasant.  Another couple of Brits in a motor home we met on Garda arrived the day after us and we were able to spend 3 days touring around with them before they left for Sicily and we back up to Vico Equense.  

                        Street in Alberobello                                         Trulli Roof Tops. 

                       

               Camping Trulli.                                                Monopoli. 

Site No. 8.

CAMPING SANT ANTONIO, Marina Vico Equense.  http://www.campingsantantonio.it/  ACSI CC taken.  Listed CC Europe 2.  

 Well here we are back again to see Giovanni as we so enjoyed our stay last year.  Did longer tour of the Amalfi Coast this time and a half a day in Sorrento.  Well worth a second visit.  See more info in Trip 2004.

                     View to the Office.on Site.                     Fish Platter in Giovanni's Restaurant.

                                                             View of Amalfi.

           

Site No. 9.

CAMPING EUROPA, Passignano, Lago Trasimeno.  CAMPSITE NOW CLOSED. 

Second visit here too but such a lovely spot on our journey up North.  Weather was better to visit Assisi this year and Todi.  See Trip 2004 for more info. Not a lot more to say on site but more pictures down below.

                                                         Assisi

          

 

                                    Ice Cream Counter in Assisi. 

Site No.10.

SPINA CAMPING VILLAGE, Via del Campeggio Lido di Spina, Venice. http://www.campingspina.it/   Listed in CC Europe 2.  

This was a very nice site near to the Adriatic, modern reception,  friendly and well laid out.  The problem we had was that it was humid with storms brewing.  We pitched the caravan OK and then I noticed mosquitos, swarms of them, so as I am allergic to their bites I shut myself inside with all screens closed.  Later we noticed vans were going around spraying the swarms.  Not been in bed long when we had the most awful thunder storm.  Next morning the idea was to visit Venice but due to the mosquito's being about again we decided to move on to Austria.  Pity, but we have been to Venice before.  Did not get outside to take any photo's so nothing to show.

 

Site No. 11.

JODL CAMPING, Alt Ossiach, on the Ossiachersee, Karnten, Austria. CAMPSITE NOW CLOSED. 

It is nice to come back here again and we were greeted very warmly indeed.  After our visit here last year we wanted to return and stay a bit longer. 7 days.  Found  some more places to visit a trip to another See in the area  Millstattersee and to Gmund to go around the Porche museum.  It is interesting to know that just outside Gmund on the drive to the Malta Pass you go past a large wooden hut which was where the first Porche cars were made. The Malta Pass is a nice trip but unfortunately it was still closed when we were there this time. 

                    Jodl Reception and Cafe.                                       Inside the Cafe.

                     View from side of Cafe.                                    Porche Museum, Gmund.

                   View over the Ossiachersee.                           Maria Worth on Worthersee.

Site No. 12.

AUSTRIA CAMP AM MONDSEE, St. Lorenz, Mondsee, Austria.  www.austriacamp.at/   Listed in CC Europe 2.   ACSI CARD TAKEN.

This site, we first saw from the main Salzburg to Vienna AI Motorway when we stopped for a coffee at the roadside services of Landzeit.  If you have not stopped at one of these road services restaurant you have not lived.  Not your Little Chef I can tell you.  Well to get back to the site.  We were taking in the view over the lake, Mondsee, and in the distance saw a caravan site.  I said to John lets not go on instead go back to that site and stop it looks idyllic.  Glad we did, as you will see from the photo's.  Toilets and Showers 5 star could not fault them.  There is a nice  Restaurant too.  Owners are very helpful.  One tip once you have parked the van take your car to the carpark just outside the site gate otherwise you get charged extra for it.  We parked right down by the See and had a wonderful view.   From here you can visit, Salzburg, Bertchesgaden, Wolfgangsee and Halstattersee.  Go to St Gilgen just down the road and catch the boat to Wolfgang and have a coffee or lunch on the terrace of the famous White Horse Inn.  Spend some time walking around the resort it is magical, then catch the boat back. Food shops are good in Mondsee also look around the beautiful Church here.  It is where the wedding in the Sound of Music was filmed.  Two more places to visit are Ramsau village when in Bertchesgaden and the Silent Night Chapel at Oberndorf where the famous Carole was written.  Traunsee is another nice See to take a boat trip on.  You really need 7 days here to see everywhere in the area.

                 White Horse Inn srom the Boat                  View from the Caravan.

                         Island in Traunsee.                                              

     

                       Main Street, Mondsee.                           Sound of Music, Wedding Church.         

Site No. 13.

CAMPINGPLATZ SCHNAITTENBACH, Schnaittenbach, Germany. Website here             Listed CC Europe 2.

A very nice site  with the town swimming pool complex situated there too.  Quite a lot of statics but the tourers are put on a seperate open grass field with electrics.  Very good toilets and showers but quite a way from the van.   We stopped at this site while travelling north to visit Colditz.   We had been tossing up whether to venture into the Czech Republic and Praag anyway we decided to stop here one night and see the area before making our minds up.  We set off the next morning to visit the town of Weiden which was a very nice little town.  we then went on to find the Nachtman Crystal factory and then drove to a small border post with a view of crossinghaving a look and coming back into Germany. But we were refused admission because we did not lave local registration plates, and told we would have to go to the main border crossing just up the road.  This was because at the time the Czech Republic did not have an open border.   Anyway the next day we decided to "go for it" and go East.

         

         Country Road German/Czech Border.                           Weiden.

Site No. 14.    Now in 2016 is in the ACSI Camping Card Scheme

CARAVAN CAMP VALEK, Chrustenice, Lodenice, Czech Republic. here      Listed in CC Europe 2. 

We were surprised by the warm welcome we had from the owners on arrival and soon felt "at home".  The site  was a large lawned field, beautifully kept.  We parked up fairly near the Restaurant and Facilities but at the other end was the largest swimming pool we had ever seen, which at that time, was being renovated.  We ate in the Restaurant all three nights we were there with 3 course meals and wine for yes £30 for all three nights.  Do not expect it is so reasonable now though.  

The owners gave us a map of Prague and told us to park the car in the then free  P+R carpark at the Zlicin shopping complex, just down the road, and catch the metro into the city centre.  This was fine and we arrived in the centre close to Wenceslas Square then caught a City Tour Mini Bus.  This was great and it took us all around the city and up to the Castle and Cathedral. The stained glass windows in the Cathedral are beautiful and there are lots of them. 

The other trip to make is to visit Karlstejn Castle and village.  There is a huge carpark where you can catch a horse and trap and ride nearly all way up the steep hill to the Castle which is worth a tour of.  Then walk back down through the village back to the car viewing the crystal shops as you go plus a few restaurants.  We enjoyed the short stay in the Czech Republic and left with a hope we would come back.  The journey out of the country was an education up a long winding hill with a small hut at every bend housing ladies in their nearly nothings enticing their men customers in.

                                 Parking Area.        Caravan Camp Valek.            Restaurant.

                             Horse & Carriage                to                         Karlstejn Castle.

                  

                                                       Prague Cathedral

Site No. 15.

CAMPINGPLATZ AM WALDBAD, Colditz.  www.vacansoleil.ie/Am_Waldbad   Listed in CC Europe 2. 

This site was very pleasant and close to the famous Castle, just drive and park on the Colditz Town Market Place and walk up the steps and you are there. An English spoken guide took us around with three other British guys.  The guild was very good and friendly, se told us all about life in Colditz under the Russians and said they had lived better then than now.  The Russians housed them gave them School and Sports Facilities also kept the Factories working.  Now the large local factory, Porzellanwerk Colditz, making sanitary wear, is derelict the bosses and machinery all gone to West Germany.  The guide showed us her car, guess what, a Trament, which she adored.  One interesting fact the guide told us a door to solitary confinement cell (as pictured below) had 2 prisoners in that escaped.  The guards could not under stand how they got out as the door and lock were still in place after they escaped.  When they caught them they had an enquiry to how they did it.  The prisoners said "You Germans make very good , strong locks but bloody awful hinges."  They had lifted the door off its hinges, got out and put the door back on before escaping.  I advise anyone going that way to do the tour it was wonderful.  The tour should have been an hour but our guide took two.

                   English Prisoners Sewing Machine.                           Second inside Gate. 

   

                                  Colditz.                                              The Solitary Cell Door.

    

                       Colditz                                                          List of Escapes.                           

Site No. 16.

SONNLAND CAMPING, Sesslach, Germany.  Listed CC Europe 2.  www.camping-sonnland.de/

We chose this site as it is midway between Bamberg and Coburg, both cities we wanted to visit.  The site was situated just outside the smallest city in Germany, Sesslach which is worth a visit is a walled city and very small and very quaint full of timbered houses.

Coburg, where Prince Albert was born is a lovley city but at this time the whole market place was having a re-vamp.  Bamburg  another city that is well worth a visit is on the Regnitz and the unique Rathaus stands in the middle of the river.  We took a trip on the RiverDanube which was very relaxing.  Another interesting place to visit is the Goebel factory where they make the Hummel Figurines, which as a collector myself,  I found very interesting.   One good thing about this site is they are all serviced pitches and every morning the owner comes round about 8 am and hangs your ordered bread in a bag on the door handle of your caravan.  Real service.  

    

                    Prince Albert Statue, Coburg.                   One of the Gates of Sesslach.

                      Painting of the Hummels.                                   Rathaus, Bamburg.

Site No. 17.

CAMPINGPLATZ ZUR BRUCKENSCHANKE, Eltville-Hattenheim am Rhein.  http://www.rheingau-campingplatz.de/  

Site is right by the side of the Rhein a nice private, flat grass field, away from the road and the restaurant.  Each outfit has a key for which a small deposit is paid for, for the gate to the field. 

Our German friends, we met last year, found this site and it is not listed by ACSI or the Caravan Club.  We arrived in style, in a breakdown truck with the caravan being towed behind due to the car breaking down near Aschaffenburg 50 miles away.  By courtesy  of Green Flag the car was picked up and taken to the Citreon garage to be fixed and collected after the weekend. 

Lots of places to visit in this area and we have a German guide, our friend, Bernhard.  One trip was to Rudesheim and after a Rudesheimer coffee at a hotel on the Drosselgasse we board the Seilbahn up to the Niederwald Monument. 30 minutes walk in 35 deg. C along the top to lunch at the Jagdschloss Niederwald then to the chairlift down to catch the Boat, Vater Rhein or Bingen, at Assmannshausen back to the Rudesheim.     The round trip was 9 Euros per person (not incthe lunch though) in 2008 it was still only 10 Euros.  What fantastic value!  Nice places to visit are the Lorely, St. Goar on the Ferry and Bacharach amoungst lots of other towns.

                                     Settling in on Site after arriving on back of a breakdown truck.

    

                 The Drosselgasse Rudesheim               Famous Rudesheimer Asbach Coffee.

                      The Seilbahn Rudesheim                                    Sesselbahn. 

                 Jagdschloss Niederwald.                                   Boat Varta Rhein 

                             New Frankfurt.                                          Rathaus old Frankfurt.

Site No 18.

WALD-CAMPING PRUM Prum, Eifel, Germany. www.waldcamping-pruem.de ACSI CC Taken.  Listed CC Europe 2.

This is our second visit here which is an enroute stop for returning home to the UK. It is very pleasant , owner is very helpful.  Little or no TV reception.

                   

 

                                                         On Site Wald-Camping Prum. 

Site No. 19.

CAMPING YPRA, Heuvelland,Belgium. www.camping-ypra.be  ListedCC Europe 2.  

Second time here we find it very handy to stop here a night enroute to the Tunnel  1 1/2 hours  for more details see Trip No. 1.

                                                              In the Tunnel

This trip was most enjoyable even though we had two problems with the car.  Green Flag were fantastic so were the garages concerned, we could not fault any of the service at all.  As for the charges by the garages in Germany they were a lot cheaper than they would have been over here in the UK.    All the sites were good or excellent the only dubious one was the one at Cassino.  The reason was no contact person at all and site rather unkept.  But it served the purpose for us to visit Monte Cassino.

We covered 6,577 miles in all with the car Home to Home in Suffolk.  Other than the two breakdowns no other problems health wise or with the caravan.

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