Finally…. We are up to date…. Here is the second part of week 1. We will attempt to publish successive weeks on Saturday or Sunday. Thanks for following.

Wednesday 25th September

We have been away since Saturday and all we have had weather wise is rain, rain and more rain. So much so that we have abandoned a plan to visit the Champagne region at the beginning of the trip and instead are continuing east and a bit southish towards Switzerland, maybe. We decide to go to a campsite in Luxembourg.

This involves a bit of weaving in and out of Belgium and into France then back into Belgium. Whilst in Belgium we had to have a pile of frites with ketchup and mayo and some other strange spice sauce that Hayley had. As we move from country to country in a small amount of time we pass the old customs checkpoint which have been left as they are but caricatured somewhat. Maybe they are thinking of opening them up again. Well anything is possible these days…

we have been there before and found it very pleasant, however the weather is not great which can always make a place look different. H finds a site and it’s a good one, big with plenty of space and all the facilities we need. We get in line to get an entry token and find our spot at Camping Kockelscheuer.

It’s not clear why or how but Del is feeling not too great. Too much uncooked beef? Too much Belgian beer? Whichever he is going downhill fast, stomach ache, headache and a rising temperature. Half a packet of paracetamols and a lie down helps but bed is crying out as a wave of tiredness descends over him. By 9 he is in bed and out for the count…

That was Luxembourg…

Thursday 26th September

It’s still raining. The noise of falling rain on the roof of the van can become tiresome, it’s like a form of torture. Del is up and about and feeling a lot better. We have a good long breakfast and decide to continue with our plan. Hayley finds a nice free aire at a place called Bitche in France. Located high above a town and in the shadow of a citadel it looks like it could be an interesting place to visit. The rain eases off but it’s still grey and everything is soaking wet. It’s all a bit miserable really but we set off with a hope that the weather will improve.

The weather holds and we arrive at the aire. It is very nice. After a small wait we bag one of the five spaces that have beautifully manicured hedges around each space and settle in. We take a walk around the citadel which is quite spectacular with an equally spectacular view of the town below. We navigate our way through the roaming sheep and down into the town. Like Belgium it’s closed. Everything is closed!

Once back at the van the rain starts again. Can’t get away from it. Oh well. H rustles up a very nice comforting paella which goes down we and we sit with a glass of wine and watch some Black Mirror after dinner. There are worse ways to spend your Thursday night.

Friday 27th September

Today we are going into Germany and the Black Forest. We woke up again to the sound of rain on the roof, it’s heavy. Breakfast is the usual long affair discussing what we should do, where to go, the usual morning conversation. We need to do some laundry so we need a campsite with a washing machine and a dryer, always tricky to find.

We set off towards Baden Baden, the drive in the rain is horrendous, it’s just relentless this rain. We find a campsite but sadly no washing facilities. Maybe we should give up and try another day. So we head for Gaggenau which is on the way to Baden Baden and has a free aire next to a spa/swimming pool. Could be good. We get there only to find that its full. No matter, we have the traditional “kaffe und kucken” (coffee and cake to you and me). All very nice but we decide to move on and head to a paid aire, cost 7 euros in place called Forbach. The rain is starting to ease off and there could be some stuff appearing called blue sky.

We arrive at the aire in Forbach. Wow!!! It is amazing, it’s empty, we are it, why? Why is such a stunning place empty. There is space for 6 vans all with an amazing view of the valley and the Black Forest. Fantastic. We hook up the power and make ourselves at home before setting off for a walk into the lovely town of Forbach and a visit to the covered wooden bridge. Well worth a look.

A walk through the town and beer and back to the van with our fantastic view. We have some more visitors, two British vans who are heading north west back to the UK. The host of this aire we are at is a lovely, helpful, friendly guy. Free internet, free water and a free travel pass on the local trains and buses in the Black Forest area. Suddenly the sun is peeking through the clouds… We’ll have two nights here please.

Week 1. In conclusion.

Well week 1 was ok. Well actually that’s not quite right. It was great, varied and interesting despite the most appalling rain. We were not alone though, the heavy rain was a curse on most of Europe with some getting more than others. Not sure where we were on the league table of rain but we did have our fair share of heavy, noisy rain.

We learnt a bit about Belgian beers, who, where and how. There are only 14 trappist beers worldwide and six of them are from Belgium.

We never thought that Belgium was a place of engineering prowess. How wrong we were. They have contributed in an unimaginable way to canal transport with their own collection of boat lifts. Big ones though – real heavy lifters. We also found the people to be very nice and friendly.

The same goes for Germany. So far the people are lovely, helpful and welcoming wherever we went. The Black Forest is beautiful, the scenery is quite stunning. The local council provide a free bus and train pass for tourists which is so good and useful. Germany gets a big tick from us. Well worth a visit.