WEEK 3 – 11th June – 17th June 2022
Everywhere, everyone is now feeling the rising cost of fuel at the pumps, not just in the UK but all over Europe and the rest of the world, (Boris can’t help us). We are staggered how much it costs to fill our diesel tank up, it’s crazy and the rise in price is quick and continuing.
We didn’t really have a full plan about where we were going to go, we knew we maybe wanted to go deep into eastern Europe and to get more country flags on the back of the van, but given the cost of diesel we have decide that we needed a plan, a cheaper plan, so we have decided to carry on out of Germany and into the Czech Republic for a few days then down south towards Austria for a week, then pop out to the west of Austria, then either do southern Germany into France or go through Switzerland and into France then north home. A big change from our loose original plan.
Hayley has worked out that it costs 2 euros every 6.5 miles, which is a crazy sum of money.
No matter we are here now driving about in Europe, and enjoying it.
Saturday 11th June 2022
We enjoyed our rustic stay in Green Camping right on the river Rhine, very peaceful and quiet, a nice change from the madness of Cologne airport, Blackpool and theme parks. We gently ease our precious van out of the space, do a quick van service and off we go.
Today we are heading east to a Weingut (vineyard). We have stayed at French vineyards, which are always nice of course, but we haven’t stayed at many German ones. We did it once a few years ago and whilst the pitch in the Weingut was very nice, the wine was a bit… well… not great. We thought that we might give it another go.
We fill up with fuel at 1.95 euros a litre and after a 3 hour drive we arrive at Weingut Hemberger. We find a space which offers a good mix of shade and sun and we get settled in. Payment for the pitch is by an honesty box, a small black box screwed to the wall where you drop your 8 euros a night into a small slot. There is everything here, fresh water fill up, grey water disposal and for 2 euros extra you can empty your chemical toilet.
Similar to our last Germany weingut, they operate here an honesty wine fridge. In the corner of the court yard is a large upright cupboard fridge full of their wine with a price list. Simply choose a wine, take it out of the fridge and put your money in the honesty box on the wall. Brilliant.
We choose a local white brut fizz for 13 euros. It’s already chilled so with trepidation we thought that we should try a glass. Well, it is excellent. Very very nice indeed for a German wine. So we spend the rest of the afternoon discussing travel tactics in the sun sipping the local fizz right next to the vineyards. What a great way to spend the rest of the day.
As we continue our walk we look up and see a hot air balloon making a gentle descent. Lovely…
It’s a lovely evening, no wind, clear blue skies and a setting sun. We decide to take a walk, it’s a fantastic setting.
Sunday 12th June 2022
It’s lovely bright warm morning, so we take breakfast outside. After breakfast we just sit chatting and reading and taking in the wonderful views of this region. Today we will cycle in to the nearest town which is called Iphofen. It’s a Sunday and in Germany, which is mainly christian, most of the shops and cafes will be closed, no matter the excerise will be good for us.
The vineyards have a small road network of their own for the workers and they all lead into a town somewhere. It’s not long before we are cycling through the lovely stone archways of Iphofen town and into the main square. It’s stunning, amazing, old but so well maintained, clean and tidy.
All the houses have beautiful window boxes of flowers just bursting with colour. Most of the bars and coffee shops are open so we indulge in coffee and some wonderful apple pie. Three inches thick and full of apple. Yum.
We have a good walk around the town, it doesn’t take long but every street is just delightful to look at. Very nice.
A quick cycle back to Jess and today it’s Hayley’s paella, always a winner, even better with the local fizz!
Monday 13th June 2022
Bit cloudier this morning, oh well, it has been nice here and a place that we look forward to revisiting. We already packed everything away last night as we hoped to get away early today. No chance, it’s 10:00am before we really get going. First stop a supermarket as we have acquired a collection of plastic bottles. Germany has this pfand system here where they charge extra on bottles so you have to take them back. It all sounds very good but you can burn a lot of fuel trying to get to the supermarket to get rid of them. We have 7 bottles so that’s 1.75 euros.
Off we go, today we are heading for the Czech Republic. It’s only a couple of hours and it’s a very pleasent day for driving as we trundle through the whole width of Germany and eventually arrive at the border.
Hayley has applied and paid for a ‘vignette‘, a requirement in most European countries that help pay for the motorways. Saves stopping to pay a toll, you pay a fee in advance and you are ready, if you don’t pay then the fines are quite heavy.
Here we go, that’s it, we are in the Czech Republic! There is supposed to be a shop as soon as you cross the border which we turn off to visit but can’t find it so we just continue on our way entering the lane for the roadworks by mistake, the road was confusing coming out of the services, honestly! We are stuck.
The workmen are looking at us wondering why a UK registered, 6m motorhome is in the ‘works only lane’. Funnily enough we are wondering the same thing,
Hayley is out with her hi-viz vest on, a legal requirement, and starts to direct Del back into the service area to make the turn for the correct lane, which works well until he hits a temporary roadworks sign. Fortunately it was not fixed and Jess just ignores it. 200m into a new country and trouble!
Tonight we are staying at Camping Briza which is a lovely terraced campsite with a spectacular view of a lake which we have a walk to. It’s very nice here. Lots of Dutch and Germans. We are the only Brits. Hmmm…
We are in the Czech Republic for 5 days. So far so good.
Tuesday 14th June 2022
Today it’s another lovely day. We had a good sleep, late to bed however after Del thrashed Hayley at chess, twice! Bacon and eggs for breakfast and then we say farewell to our hosts at Camping Briza. We need some shopping so we drop into a supermarket called Albert. A large chain of supermarkets here in the Czech Republic. It’s immaculate and the staff are milling aroud cleaning and smilling. This European travel is interesting. We see lots of things and get to know the culture and the way of life, but it’s always interesting to visit another country’s supermarkets. We love it! After spending 40 quid on stuff we are ready for the off.
It’s a 3 hour drive to the next stop which is just slightly north and 10 minutes by tram to the centre of Prague. The drive was excellent, nice smooth roads, splendid scenery. We hit some heavy traffic on the outskirts of Prague before entering a very long 3km tunnel after which we pop out on the other side and into our campsite for the next two days, River Camping Prague. The host here is a very friendly local. The site is a little tight but has a nice homely, campy feel to it. We get set up and settled in. Today is wash day and it’s already 3 in the afternoon. We get two lots of washing done and sip beer while it’s underway and drying.
Hayley is planning our day in Prague tomorrow.
Wednesday 15th June 2022
Busy day today. We are going into Prague. There is a tram stop 5 minutes from the campsite. We are planning to eat and drink everything local, do a bus tour around the city and a river trip. We only have today so we need to make the most of it.
We have a simple breakfast and we are off on part 1 of the day. The walk to the tram stop. This takes us past some white water rapid canoe training which is fascinating to watch. Requires a lot of fitness so we’ll leave that then.
The number 17 tram takes us right into the centre of town. The buildings are splendid and the place, despite the amount of tourists, is so tidy with hardly no litter. It’s a bright sunny day and it all looks rather wonderful. We have a couple of hours to kill before the bus tour so we have a good walk around exploring the streets.
We try a local street dessert called a Czech Chimney which is basically a spiral of sponge dipped in a tonne of sugar and topped off with ice cream.
This is surely not meant for one person to eat, it’s massive, messy, full of calories but yummy!
The best way to see a city is by bus. However the traffic like all cities is just gridlocked in parts. It’s a lovely interesting place. It’s not London or Paris but it has some fine buildings and a very interesting if difficult history. After the bus tour we dropped off at the river for the boat tour. The river has a great view of some of the more interesting parts of Prague but is restricted in how far we can go as the river has locks and weirs. We spend most of the trip below deck, getting a bit fed up of being in the sun all day.
It’s getting late in the day and we are getting hungry. We want to eat all local stuff so we find a restaurant that does just that. Czech goulash with various types of bread dumplings for Del, while Hayley has a Czech platter – a massive plate of meats various and dumplings and sauerkraut.
Both help each other out as there is so much. It’s washed down with a small local beer and finally a local digestive liquor called Becherovka. A wonderful dinner. We are full but content.
While watching YouTube videos about what to do in Prague, Hayley finds a place called the Joystick bar. It’s a retro video arcade games bar. After dinner we thought we would try it out. It’s a dark, graffiti ridden grungy bar but is full of old working 1980s video gaming machines and pinball machines.
Brilliant! For 40p each you can play Space Invaders, PacMan, Street Fighter as well as the old Sega car and bike racing games. We have one drink each and spend the next hour on the games.
A great way to end the day before walking back to get the tram and back to Jess. We are truly exhausted but we can say that we have seen Prague and we liked it… Highly recommended.
Thursday 16th June 2022
Early up this morning, we need to check out at 10am, the guy that runs the camp is very laid back and tells us to take our time. We do a quick service on the van, water fill up and toilet clean. Soon we are off and on our way driving through busy suburban traffic onto a quieter motorway. Today we are only driving 1 hour south to Pliskovice to a small campsite run by a nice Dutch couple. It’s only small and very popular so hopefully there will be a small space for us!
We are half full on the diesel but we like to stay topped up. 75 euros later we have a full tank and on our way again. The cost of fuel is eye watering…
At around midday we arrive at the site in Pliskovice and indeed we are greeted by a very friendly Dutch lady who shows us to our pitch in an empty campsite followed by the offer of a coffee or tea. How nice is that? She tells us to take our time and sign in when we are settled in. An over excited dog welcomes us when we eventually go to sign in.
We meet the husband and after while you feel more like a guest at someone’s house rather than a customer. The husband likes to cook and prepares a menu especially for guests. We can’t refuse and have settled on dinner tonight at 6:30
It s lovely peaceful place here there are only two campers here and we are one of them. There are some cabins which have some German bikers as guests. We relax and just witter all afternoon, the day has gone quick and dinner is soon upon us when suddenly the heavens open with a heavy, but real heavy down pour.
It had been threatening to do so for most of the afternoon but didn’t really come to much apart from a spit of rain and the odd rumble of thunder. Ten minutes before dinner our host turns up with an umbrella and leaves it with us. How kind and thoughtful is that? Where else would that happen?
Dinner is butterflied pork fried in pine nuts, rosemary and garlic. Wow!
Served with green beans mixed with small pieces of local sausage, salad and fries, it really was a wonderful dinner joined by our hosts and the three German bikers who were all great company while the rain just hammered down. Not seen rain like this in a long time. After dinner our Dutch host presented us with a local drink of elderflower and something else that we can’t remember a great end to a fine day.
Three European countries all together enjoying each others company.
Friday 17th June 2022
We are up at half 8 and get ready for breakfast outside. It’s hot already, everything has already dried out after the heavy rain. Today we are going to a lakeside campsite in Czech just before the Austrian border. We set off and say our good byes to a smashing bunch of people and set off. We need some shopping so after 40 minutes or so we stop at a supermarket, get some groceries and Hayley buy some new trainers.
Stocked up we are off again, after what seems a long time we arrive at the lakeside site. It’s busy, very busy and after a long time in reception we are given a place and pay our fee. The pitch was on too much of a slope for us. We have levelling ramps but the incline was too much. There was a dispute with neighbours about where the pitches started and ended so we thought that this was not the place for us. It was a bit of a shocker after our stay last night. We get a refund and set off deciding to continue straight to Austria. The countryside in this part of Cezch is quite stunning, with rolling hills and tall trees.
We like the Cezch Republic. It’s a nice place and although we were not there for long we found the people very pleasant and we would definitely like to go there again. We liked it very much but it does require more time.
After another longish drive and a bridge that we thought we wouldn’t get under, but did, we get over the border. The only thing that changes is the roads in Austria become wider and smoother.
Finally at about 4pm we arrive at Camping Freistadt. There are only half a dozen vans here on the beautifully manicured grass.
What a lovely place, set just outside the old town. We get talking to another couple of campers who advise us that the old town is a must so after we get fully settled in we pay our bill for the night and set off for the old town and for a traditional Austrian dinner. The couple we spoke to told us that the town has a commune brewery and the brewery is in the middle of town. The walk around the old town is quite delightful. It’s clean tidy and old and we dine at the chic beer garden belonging to the brewery and have a wiener schnitzel, potatoes and a salad washed down with the local beer.
Fantastic. We walk back to Jess full but content. We will be in Austria for about a week and so far so good.