Monday 9th July 2018 Weyregg to Hessdorf.
Time to head home!
Got up, showered and dressed, spent about 5 minutes packing my case and returning my shirts to my overnight bag after being hung up all week in the wardrobe.
Downstairs for a good breakfast and Tea of course, and brought the car up to the back door of the Hotel from the Carpark, and started the up – down up – down routine of bringing the Cases, Computer case, Map and tourist book bags and then the Holdall overnight bags and the Tea, mugs, milk and kettle bag, then back up to check we’d cleared the room. Yes, all clear.
Down to reception, nobody there so rang the bell and the Owner and his wife both came out to let me pay and say goodbye! “But I thought you were here for a full week,” said Anna, “Well, we’ve been here 7 nights,” said Julie so I gave Thomas my Credit card and paid for the room. €626 for 2 people 7 Nights Bed and Breakfast, Not bad at all.
Out to the Car after a hug and handshakes and set the Satnav to go to our next stop of Hessdorf at The Aurora Motel.
Incident free drive up and past Nuremberg and off the Autobahn at Hessdorf, called in at the Rewe shop to get another bottle of milk and discovered they have a Coffee Shop in their Bake-off area, so of course, we had to try it and the quality of the cakes as well! The cakes were so good (This is late afternoon) that we went back up to the counter and got some different ones for our Supper. On round to the Aurora Hotel, booked in, 1 st floor again and overlooking the car in the carpark. Blimey, it’s hot! turned on the air conditioning, and changed into our PJs as they’re cool and dry! After a few Hours Kindling, sat up in the Hotel Chairs to eat our Cakes with a cup of Tea and the room door opened! (Good job I wear my PJ Shorts in hotels, I’d already shed my Tshirt) There stood a German Couple as amazed to find us in their room as we were to find them with a key card that opened ours! Both couples had Room 108. They went off to remonstrate with reception, and I put the chain on the door and slid across the deadlock. Never had that happen before!
Tuesday 10th July 2018 Hessdorf to Cologne.
Went up for breakfast ok, we managed to find a really quiet time so it was a relaxing meal, and back to the room to pack up. Err the room card doesn’t work! Took it down to reception, “Ah Yes, we cancelled both cards” And you didn’t think to tell us? Just reprogram the thing so we can leave PLEASE. went back up and packed, back down to pay and it turns out that they originally allocated us a twin room, then noticed that I booked a double and changed our room, unfortunately, they forgot to change the other couples room and didn’t notice when they checked in that the room was already occupied on their computer software! The receptionist was totally at ease with all this but I wanted to remain calm, I’ve still got 2 days driving ahead!
Left Hessdorf and headed up the A3 to Porz-Wahn and the Karsten Airport Hotel.
On the way, Julie worked out where the services were that we have used before and liked as She normally does on these journeys, the Lunchtime one very good again.
The Late afternoon one isn’t there! Nadda, Zilch, definitely not where we had it marked! So we arrived in Wahnheide earlier than anticipated and hungry! Couldn’t find anywhere to park in the village near an eatery, so rejoined the A59 North as the map shows services just north of here and we saw it on our way down! Called in at the said service station with a little trepidation as it’s a Shell Fuel station with a Deli-to-go, but with quite a few tables. I got us a Hot Bratwurst and a warm bread roll each and of course Tea, and very nice it was too, now marked on the map!
Continued up the dual carriageway and turned back south at the next exit, returning to Wahnheide and pulling up at the Karsten and parking right next to the front door, to quote my Facebook post;
‘You know that feeling when you walk into the reception at a hotel to be met by the owners adult daughter saying Aanndy, it’s so nice to see you again! then runs around the desk to give you a hug? Yup, been here a few times! after She also gave Julie a hug, we were offered PG Tips T Bags to take up to our room, because they get them from the English Shop in Cologne for their British Guests! Now that is what I call Service.’
That was Melanie, one of the Owner Anne’s Daughters, Her Sister Stefanie had greeted us with a hug last week! Booked into our favourite room here and ‘set up camp’ again for the last time this trip, left the key inside the lock inside the room, can’t think why! During the evening we managed to force down a cake each that we bought in Rewe in Hessdorf this morning as a consolation prize for not exploding in the reception at the Aurora!
Wednesday 11th July 2018 Cologne to Basingstoke.
We set off from The Karsten after a filling Breakfast and with fond wishes, we picked up the A59/A559 Northwards then the A4 West, retracing out Journey of 11 days ago.
The traffic was reasonably light for a Major East/West route through the Continent, changing to the A76, then A2(E314) and after about two Hours we stopped at Services near Heusden-Zolder in Belgium, Julie having a Glazed Ring Doughnut and I had a Muffin. Very fresh they both were too, absolutely delicious. I, as often in these Services had coffee, Julie only drinks Tea or Frappucino as the aroma up her nose is unpleasant, (not always the case, this is an ex Nurse who used to almost mainline coffee in the past, maybe her body is rebelling!) anyway it turned out that they couldn’t supply Milk (Despite there being a carton piped up to the coffee machine) so had given her Coffee Creamer GRrrr.
I bet they don’t put powdered coffee creamer on their muesli in the mornings, do they? When will these people learn that Milk goes in Tea, Cream in Coffee and the other stuff in the Bin? (Don’t try Clotted Cream in Coffee, it doesn’t work!)
At the end of this Motorway we ‘Turned Right’ onto the E40 towards Brussels and after a short time Stopped! All lanes stationary, I had seen it up ahead and got into lane 2 of 4. The TMC on my Sat Nav had warned of Hold ups and stationary traffic due to a traffic incident on the R0 Brussels Ring. It’s not a Ring as it doesn’t join up at the bottom in Motorway terms like the M25 does, you CAN use local roads to do this but I have been VERY strongly advised not to try this by people who have and we do not have any close scale maps of the area so as Mrs Satnav didn’t come up with an Avoid strategy we sat there. We were glad we’d stopped at the Services as it was approaching lunchtime though.
Whilst we sat there we saw about 8 Police vans go past in our direction, so we knew it had been a major incident of some sort. When the traffic cleared after about 3/4 Hour and we joined the R0, after a few Kilometres we saw some Police vans and staff on one of the overbridges looking down at the Central reservation, and that was all the clues we had to what had occurred. The R0 was absolutely packed especially after the hold-up and the fast lane held every speed freak in Europe each one up the bumper of the one in front! I’ve learnt not to stay in the slow lane of this 4 or 5 lane road so stayed in lane 2 most of the way round to exit A10 E40.
Almost Immediately West of the junction is the Services of Groot-Bijgaarden, and so we pulled in there for lunch. I had a Schnitzel of some sort with Fries and salad (with a very nice Balsamic dressing), and Julie had Soup of the Day and a roll. the next meal was to be in the UK.
After a good lunch and a rest, (The R0 really is the worst part of our travels in Europe, no worse than the M25 in Rush Hour, but I left that part of my life behind some 17 Years ago.) we rejoined the E40 Past Ghent, and Brugge and joined the A18 at the divergence for Oostende and the A16 at the French Border. These are still the E40. The further we went on this road, the lighter the traffic got and the number of British number plates grew the closer we got to Dunkirque and then Calais.
We didn’t see any signs of displaced people wanting to disrupt the traffic or climb into vehicles thank goodness, though a number of the Aires have been closed and there are signs warning you to keep your eyes open for problems. Reached the Eurotunnel complex in good time, having an hour to kill in the Terminal before the Train that was given to us only 1&1/2 Hours Earlier than I had booked!
Through the Tunnel on the Train, and out onto the M20 Northwards through Kent with good weather and busy but moving traffic, M26 then M25 Westwards Clockwise, then stopped at Cobham Services for our evening meal.
Phew, nearly home! (Well, Julie’s home, mine’s another 225 Miles further West.)
Harry Ramsdens for Tea, Julie had Cod and chips and I had a Steak Pie, chips and Gravy with Mushy Peas in a little pot, we both had proper Tea as well. Very Nice it was too, not cheap but part of the Holiday so it doesn’t matter!
Rejoined the M25, Where’s all the Traffic? Ah! World Cup Soccer, England are playing, kick off in a few minutes so the road is almost deserted! Good.
Up as far as the M3 then picked this up heading West, only a handful of cars and vans on the road, maybe I like Football after all, just don’t make me watch it!
Off at J6, Basingstoke and round to Julie’s place. Carted the Overnight bags and Julie’s case up to Her Flat and….. Relax!! Early night and Boy did I sleep well!
Thursday 12th July 2018 Rest day
Got up, thought about cooking myself a Breakfast when Julie suggested we go out and get one instead, well we are still on holiday, sort of? We went over to a place just off the M3 J5, https://www.newlyns-farmshop.co.uk/cafe-shop/ though we took the A30 instead, I’ve had enough of Motorways this week, and a tree has fallen onto the motorway closing two lanes Eastbound with an 8-mile tailback, I think most of them were trying to get onto the A30 instead! So we queued for a while, ok all 4 Miles we were on it but we were moving so not too stressful, but by the time we got to the Farm Shop and Cafe my tummy was rumbling! Very nice staff, VERY nice full English Breakfast, if expensive! (£10.99)
Returned to Basingstoke on the Motorway to rubberneck at this tree, the workers using Cherrypickers to cut back the branches of a VERY large tree that had made a right mess as well. Returned to the Flat and caught up a little with this Blog for a while, and took my Case over to my Van parked outside the Eldest Daughter’s place as we’re going shopping tomorrow and the boot of the car is wanted for that! Julie meantime started washing Her clothing and my stuff from my overnight bag got done at the same time. (No, I didn’t ask, it was Her Idea.) I’ll wash my Stuff from my case when I’m back in Cornwall next week. We saw Jake our Grandson and Sue his Mum (Eldest Daughter) in the afternoon, then back to the flat and Zonked out.
Friday 13th July 2018 Shopping and rest day
“While we (Julie and Sue) are shopping at Sainsbury’s why you go into their cafe and have a breakfast?” Now that’s a lot safer than me using a Gas cooker on Friday the 13th!
So that’s what we did, the Ladies went grocery shopping, I sat and had breakfast, very civilised. I usually go round with them when I’m up here, I don’t mind shopping, in fact, I like it more than Julie does. We got the car washed by the Immigrants in the Carpark, £13? it’s a Fiver at home! then back to drop Sue’s shopping off and back up to the Flat for Tea and Cake.
Saturday 14th July 2018
That’s about it really!
Sunday 15th July 2018 Go West Old Man!
Got up, cooked myself a breakfast then off to Tesco for my week’s shopping!
Got it all, and some Baking Spuds for Sue and returned to the Flat, loading the rest of my bits into the van and got ready to leave the Love of my life yet again.
After a Sad Farewell, walked over to Sue’s, started the van for the first time in 17 Days and regretfully left my Family behind and headed West. I hate this drive on my own, it’s hard to see where you’re driving through Tears and Tissues!
The traffic down was thankfully light, though I didn’t stop halfway as I had planned, the American Diner Route 303 car park was full, and Starbucks Honiton had some kids playing in the car park, and my Boss wouldn’t like blood all over the front of the new van! So I stopped at about 2/3rd way instead, at The Hog and Hedge cafe at Whiddon Down on the A30 at the top of Dartmoor http://hogandhedge.co.uk/ and had a delicious coffee, Toasted Bacon, Brie and Cranberry Sarnie and flapjack and a good rest. The ethos of this place is just about right in my view, as well as the main cafe indoors, they’ve got an enclosed garden area with play equipment, a dog walking area, Baby changing rooms and Nursing Mother chairs. Oh and an area for meeting mates or family with comfy chairs etc and Free WiFi throughout. It’s a shame they are 80 miles from my place really, I’d be in here a lot more.
Continued on home and got here late tea time. Shovelled up the Junk Mail and Statements, bills etc, dragged my case and overnight bag in and got my Company Uniform out for back to work tomorrow. Rang Julie at 9pm as usual and had an early night. Couldn’t get to sleep for ages, I don’t want to be here on my own, never did it’s just that life and death gets in the way.
We had a fantastic time on Holiday in Austria, I still find it strange just how few Brits visit out of Ski Season as it is a stunningly beautiful country, lightly populated with caring helpful folk who are eager to show you their history and culture but will not shove it down your throat and do not shy away from nor promote the fact that Hitler was from there, his home city was Linz though his family moved around quite a bit in the region.
I don’t know when we will go back, if ever, but I hope we do. We will almost certainly be going back to The Karsten in Cologne, possibly for the Christmas Markets again.
My next project for this Blog is to try and find my Travelogue of our first trip to Weyregg some six or 8 Years ago and slot it in somewhere! It wasn’t published as a Blog and I can’t seem to find it on this Laptop so could have been on my old dead one, or may be able to find it amongst old Emails? If you’ve by chance got a copy of ‘Andy and Julie’s big adventure’ send it back, please!