Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Luxembourg - Spring '15

The start of our second European adventure! We will be meandering all over this time so instead of trying to break down entries by country let's just call this, "Spring 2015".

After much deliberation I managed to talk Pratiwi into trying to live for many months - let's not tell her, "years" wink - in a motorhome. Neither of us have tried this before, but lots of people are doing it - just search the web for more useful blogs than mine regarding the subject - so how hard can it be? wink

Of course the first challenge is to actually acquire said vehicle for everyday living. A little trickier than you'd think, but after much research this saw us land in Frankfurt, Germany after the usual long flight from Sydney. We are so lucky that Pratiwi has friends in the area we can catch up with and get local advice from so that's a bonus.

We started by renting a car for just a week. The plan being to visit local dealers and line up the motorhome in this time. Fortunately this worked out well and we soon decided on the model we'd like that was in stock nearby. Sadly though, things aren't quiet as efficient in Germany as you might think paperwork along with other preparations would take a further two weeks. Doh!

Not to worry, we extended the car rental by this time (or rather, were forced to return the car we had and take another one for some unknown reason) so took the opportunity to venture to Holland and see this year's Amstel Gold Race, enjoying mostly German countryside along the way.

Once we took delivery of our new 'home' the choices seemed to be, head South for some sun or take a trip to the UK to visit family & collect a few things that had been left for safekeeping in 2012. Sadly, or happily - take your pick - the later won wink

Once in the UK it would have been rude not to see a little of the more picturesque parts (& a much hyped bike race there) so wondered around Yorkshire and up to the Lake District. Lovely but the weather reminded me why I moved to Australia rather quickly! Brrrrrr!

This was the cue to return to the continent. Our motorhome needed a little more work too so we did that and stayed close to 'base' to enable a quick return for parts fitting when they arrived. Not that this was a hardship - we've visited some beautiful parts of Germany while waiting.

15:15

Nice view of the city & 'burbs after takeoff. See you around Sydney! And some crazy top end storm a few hours later.

15:35

Quick look at Neustadt today. Good looking place for lunch, but we have already eaten. Doh! Let us remedy that soon!

12:10

Rhein valley in spring & fruit trees by vineyards are in blossom. We took a short walk near Gimmeldingen to enjoy smile

13:50

Remember Neustadt square we vowed to luncheon in? wink German's aren't much on presentation, but it was so tasty! Yum!

13:10

Dropped by Landau for lunch. Ended up in town square with lots of blossom on the trees this time of year. Very nice.

15:20

Driving around German countryside. Vines looking a bit bare, but still lovely here. This is just above Birkweiler.

15:40

Small cafe/beer garden near Birkweiler. Been ill last few days but now this is beginning to feel like a holiday! grin

12:35

Passing through Speyer so stopped for quick walk. There's a huge Cathedral here but it's quite plain inside.

16:35

Grey day in Heidelberg. Very busy main street but some quiet spots to be found. Left a good impression. Will return!

19:50

Messing about in a German Ikea. Could we live in a 55m² apartment? Yes, as long as we don't have too many pillows! wink

18:05

Dinner at Greek restaurant in Germany. Confused & didn't know what we were ordering but was tasty when it arrived! tongue

13:30

Lunch stop by the Rhine. Hearty German food all round - dumplings & stew. Very quiet here off season, nice for us smile

14:20

Driving along the Rhine, castle spotting. It's pretty easy as are frequently dotted along the banks. Great history.

16:25

Afternoon team in Sankt Goar. Had to put up with apple strudel in lieu of scones. It's Germany after all wink Yum! tongue

18:20

By evening we find ourselves by the banks of the Mosel. Suddenly vineyards & pretty little villages everywhere.

13:45

Great to be back on the bike in the sunny Mosel smile But 6 wks of travel, 1 of gastro & 1 of flu has left zero form sad

18:05

Messing about by the river wink Evening walk along the Mosel from a small weingut we are staying at in Ediger-Eller.

10:50

Eltz castle, hiding in the hills. Walking down to it has one pondering how many came before in it's 850 year history.

12:45

Sightseeing in Cochem. Beautiful little village in the heart of the Mosel.

13:05

Currywurst for lunch. It's only sausage & chips covered in spicy (not by our standards, mind) ketchup but still yum!

14:15

Short stroll up the hill above Cochem yields a great view smile

15:35

Pratiwi suggested coffee & cake, but this is Germany so... Bitburger with our Blackforest Gateaux grin tongue

17:24

Short morning stroll to the bakery. And the prize... currant bun & some rhubarb thing. €2. Bargain! grin

05:38

Bar 300m from 1st Belgium stop! Didn't order last menu item as feel that is cheating. One must call the beer line! wink

15:46

Today's ride in Belgium. Bit of pavé, bit of gravel. Cold (despite the sun) & bloody windy. Who'd have thought?! wink

16:55

Short afternoon stroll around Diest. Chose to stay completely at random but turned out to be very pleasant. Lucky! smile

10:12

Plenty of freehub clicking in corridors then this at hotel reception this morning. Love how every guest has a bike smile

16:31

Back from great ride round 50ish km of yesterday's Amstel Gold course. Lovely bergs. Sorry, no pics but imagine green hills & sunny skies smile

19:00

Dinner at Wen Chow in Maastricht. OMG! Best crispy roast pork ever! smile tongue

08:40

Travelling by car this part of the journey. Getting quite good at packing in all the gear smile

10:35

Guess who found an Asian supermarket? Indomie noodles by the case... & other goodies! grin Yum! tongue

10:45

Morning stroll in the hotel grounds. Lovely place, soooo comfortable. Don't worry - we got a great rate wink

18:35

Arriving at Mertloch in the evening sunshine, spotted a church off in the distance. Just random German countryside.

18:50

Can't beat showing up at accommodation to a wonderful welcome & place... & local beer chilling in the fridge. Cheers!

17:01

Pratiwi: "Want any sunscreen?" Me: "Where am I not covered?!" Arctic gales on today's ride, but still fun #Painful wink

11:15

Short stop in Koblenz. Here's a few sights we glimpsed on a quick walk. Love the spring flowers here! #OrrrrPretty

12:30

Lunch stop in Montabaur. So.. you know wink Great kebab, BTW, & the castle looking thing is actually a business school!

12:50

We've been spoilt rotten by our generous hosts here in Germany. Final lunch from the BBQ. Yum! Thank you so much smile

09:46

Pratiwi: "Are you going cycling today?" Me: [checks weather] "F*ck that!" cry Hmmmmm... any nice pubs around here? wink

14:00

Messing about by the windmills in Brugge smile

14:30

The church of St Anne (or Anna?) in Brugge. Just passing by on our walk into the centre of town but still impressive.

14:50

More random Brugges snaps. Love this place. Do you see why? grin ... so why is the rest of Belgium so dull? wink

16:00

Late lunch/early dinner in Brugge. Flemish Stew & trappist beer. Yum! tongue Oh... and some of Pratiwi's moule frites wink

17:15

Dessert from the restaurant? Nooooo... from a counter on the street. Waffle & ice cream of course! tongue

13:55

Me: Let's go on deck & take silly pictures by the white cliffs of Dover.
Pratiwi: I'd rather not!
Can't think why! wink

14:45

Sutton Bank claims to have the 'Finest View in England'. Well, it is nice, but I wouldn't go that far! tongue

09:05

Morning stroll by the lake shore next to Castle Howard. Saying hello to some of the locals along the way... quack!

11:57

Few Tour de Yorkshire pics. I said to local reporter (asking about Aussie connection) it's not the Tour de France! sad

19:13

Bluebells & wild garlic in Quibell woods. I grew up 3km from here & never knew! Appreciate different things when old!

10:26

Out walking with the olds on a typical spring day in England: cold & wet! Lots of bluebells in the woods though smile

17:40

Chef Pratiwi hard at work in our motorhome kitchen. Bacon is on the menu. Yum! smile tongue

17:59

View from the front door & kitchen window this evening. Can't complain at this spot smile

18:33

Walk into town deserves a treat, right? Beers & dinner in the White Lion, Ambleside. Challenging, but I managed wink tongue

13:18

Hiking on Loughrigg Fell. Challenging light for pics. Flat as a pancake... unlike the hike. Was blowing a gale too!

15:31

Last bridge into town after our windswept outing on Loughrigg Fell. Happy days!

19:02

Walking home after dinner. Some great light here... although it lasted but a second.

19:11

Bridge over river Brathay on the way home. Pretty down by the water too. Turned out to be a lovely evening.

19:22

Bluebells in the woods off Bog Lane... which didn't live up to it's name. Not boggy at all, despite all the rain! wink

19:35

Almost home. Quite surreal light as the sun makes one final effort to break through & is thwarted.

11:35

Red Screes hike. Views almost to the coast, down to Ambleside & lake Windermere. Think we were bit lucky to stay dry!

10:12

Us city slickers are amused by the most mundane country stuff: feeding chickens at Howgill Lodge campsite.

11:19

Boot net v0.1. Looks ugly but does the job wink

14:53

Afternoon tea in Betty's, Harrogate.
"Some cream, sir?"
"Just a little"
Ends with more cream than cake! Tragic! wink tongue

18:47

Feeding ducklings at Naburn Lock campsite. The little fellas come running if they think you have food! Sooooo cute smile

11:47

Some sights of York before lunch by the river while entertained by local wildlife. Then short stroll on walls. Nice!

08:41

When one is in London, one must partake in dinner in Mayfair, darling. Pies & beer & silliness at The Windmill. Yum!

08:55

Good morning London! Sadly I think this is about as sunny as it's going to get. Brrrr.

12:31

Lunch at Royal China in Bayswater. Deep fried duck rolls. Say. No. More! Plus other goodies. Yuuuum! tongue :P tongue

16:16

Flying visit to the Natural History Museum. You know... because we're cultured, like!

12:10

Catching up in London. Sydney must be expensive now as the cost of a pint in poncy City bar seemed rather reasonable!

12:55

Roaming London like a couple of backpackers wink In past life I would walk through Liverpool St station daily. Surreal!

14:19

Lunch stop at Borough market. Lots of goodies on offer but think I chose poorly (no picture). Oh well... next time!

16:30

Menin Gate, Ypres. 54,896 names with unknown graves. And these are just the Commonwealth ones! #LestWeForget

16:46

A very quick, grey & chilly stroll in Ypres before dinner.

18:47

Belgium dinner: Trappist beer & Flemish Stew. Soooo good! Was absolutely stuffed after this... & half of Pratiwi's wink

19:42

Dusk remembrance ceremony at Menin Gate. Not a special date. A daily scene. Yet wars still rage. Why?! #LestWeForget

11:29

Poelcapelle British Cemetery. There simply are no words. #LestWeForget

12:21

Langemark German cemetery. 24,917 bodies lie in a mass grave here. Over 44,000 total. Incomprehensible. #LestWeForget

19:08

Had a short trundle into Tournai on the bikes. Pretty nice in the centre here. And I'd say busy for a Sunday night!

14:39

Typical post-ride chaos. Get some snacks, beer & tune in to whatever bike race is on at the time. Nice way to relax!

08:26

This morning we woke at this beautiful little spot right by the river in Hotton. So peaceful here.

15:27

Just relaxing in the lounge wink Love the comfy recliner chairs. My feet are up on the sofa but you can't see that grin

12:43

Just driving along enjoying views of the Luxembourg countryside. Here's a random sample, it's nice here!

13:21

Lunch stop in Vianden. Nice little village almost right on German border. So long Luxembourg!

12:16

Short walk to Irrel 'waterfalls'. Pretty little river in the woods but hardly a waterfall. Rapids maybe? Still nice.

14:23

Walked into the to centre of Trier. Really rather lovely here, although the outskirts we passed aren't much to see.

15:17

Trier Dom. Sort of 2 part cathedral & wow! Complete contrast to the utilitarian basilica (where I didn't take pics).

16:41

Pratiwi & I have an understanding post sightseeing: she gets coffee & cake & I get beer... & some of her cake! wink

17:37

Nestled between strip clubs & sex shops, Radsport Bebelaar in Trier seems everything a boutique bike shop should be!

00:00

At last! Blue skies & warm in Europe! No thermal required! Today's ride back in Mosel region a cracker. #GoodTimes smile

18:15

It's someone's birthday, so off to the bright lights of Bernkastel-Kues we go. Whole town seems out in celebration!

20:22

Sat by the Mosel at Bernkastel-Kues. Because it's a beautiful evening. And, you know, there's a free hotspot here wink

09:45

Couple of nice shots of this heron in next to our site today. It's always easy to entertain yourself with a camera.

18:12

Few random scenes from Bullay, by the Mosel. Soooo quiet here smile

13:51

Out riding in Germany it's hard to find tap in public, so had to stop at bakery & ask for water. Tragic, really wink tongue

16:55

More feathered friends! Gaggle of geese walk/doze right by our spot on the Rhine. Young still a tiny bit 'fluffy'.

14:40

Popped out to grab a six pack wink This place claims to have 1,300 beers to choose from & I can believe it. Cheers! grin

20:27

Great spot tonight, between the vines just South of Frankfurt. Lovely evening too so can see the city to the North.

14:14

Post ride beer. In a vineyard. Feels a little wrong, but, meh! tongue Top beer recommendation BTW. Lot of variety here smile

00:28

Today's ride was here in the Odenwald region of Germany. Lots of quiet roads & rolling hills. Beautiful stuff smile

18:15

Tonight we find ourselves in the beautiful courtyard of an old German weingut. I'm rather enjoying the randomness smile