Just got back from the Euro tour!

Discussion in 'Europe' started by jonspadge, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. Hello all, just got back this evening. 2000+ miles on the clock and the only problem was an indicator bulb that blew on the way down to the Eurotunnel on the first day. Seems a lot happened while I was away, TLB goes down and London burns. Will post the pics and all the background on the trip shortly.
     
  2. We're blaiming you for the troubles... Don't go away again...

    But gald you had a good time.. PICTURES PLEASE
     
  3. OK - here goes. First of all, I'm probably going to have to do this in three batches. I took over 500 pictures and my Mrs probably another 200 but I've distilled this down to a small number. We set off on Sunday July 31st for a 09:00 Eurotunnel train with the intention of getting down to the Champagne region for an overnight stop. Apart from an indicator bulb blowing on the M20 this element of the trip was pretty uneventful and we made good time arriving at our hotel by 16:00. We were able to enjoy the pool, have a nice meal and early night.


    Next day we set off early and crossed into Germany near Strasbourg for 3 nights at the Campingplatz Kinzigtal (which means camping place in the Kinzig valley). They gave us the worst pitch on the site (next to the bins and toilets and kids disco). Was not pleased but the site was packed and we were grateful we'd booked. Complained though and they agreed to waive the fee for the pitch - have to say everyone was very very welcoming and friendly. We set up camp and then spent a couple of days enjoying the local area. Paid a visit to some nice villages and went to see the largest model railway in Europe.
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  4. After our day out I returned to find a Dutch guy looking over the bus. He had a 1976 Westie parked on the other side of the site and had spotted us when he was washing up. The bus got a lot of comments in Germany, more than anywhere else on the trip. Later that day I climbed the hill above the site to take a few shots. first - our terrible pitch:
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    Next - can you spot the Dutch Westie in this pic?
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    Finally - I took 8 pictures and stitched them together to show the Kinzig valley
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    We spent the next day at the local open air pool which was excellent and had the obligitory bar be que and I sampled the Kirsch Wasser (Cherry Schnapps) - along with some Honey Schnapps from next doors farm (we bought a bottle).
    Following day we took a trip out to Triberg to see Germany's highest waterfalls.
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    And that was Germany. Suprisingly cheap I have to say - three course meal for 6 euros and cheap beer - mainly the Weiss (White) beer from Bavaria which was pretty nice. No black forest gateux though which seemed strange. Lots of overpriced cuckoo clocks to buy - we resisted.
     
  5. Following Germany we headed South and drove about 250 miles into Switzerland. We crossed the border at Basel and because we bought our Motorway Vignette at the services in Germany were able to sail through without stopping. everyone else had to queue - so bear that in mind if you ever go down that way. We arrived at our site which was called Camping aaregg. Its on a promentary jutting out onto the Brienzersee which is a massive lake in the Berner Oberland. We couldn't get a lakefront pitch as these had all been reserved but got the one overlooking the swimming spot which meant no one was parked in front of us. Here was the view from the pop top.
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    Later that night we ate in the camp restaurant and then I took a few pictures over the lake as the sun went down.
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  6. hailfrank

    hailfrank Admin esq.

    stunning pics in here :)
     
  7. Next morning we got up early and began a bit of a morning tradition - drinking our morning cuppa by the lake.
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    We decided to walk into Brienz which was only three quarters of a mile away. We planned to climb the Rothorn!!!
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    But not like that! We were going to get the steam cog railway up the top. Before we did that though we spotted one of the original steam paddleships that you can get across the lake.
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    Anyway - back to the tale - we took the cog railway (EXPLETIVE EXPENSIVE!!!!) up the mountain.
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    These are just a few of the shots as every bend seemed to bring another amazing vista.
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    Stopping half way for more water.
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  8. Well - we got to the top of the mountain but it was a touch cloudy. We ha d nice meal up there and I persuaded my 7 year old son to walk the last 30 metres to the summit. He got a bit stubborn all of a sudden!!
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    Took a few pics of flowers and some high altitude cows complete with kitch Swiss cowbells. I kid you not these things were almost at the summit which was the best part of 7000 feet up!
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    And i took one more of the way back down - its some feat of engineering this railway - and the Swiss have literally dozens of these all over the region. Clever folks.
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    And on the way back down I took one of the campsite - can you spot our bus Marnie? I'll give you a clue - blue bus near the waters edge by the patch of grass.
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    Took a few more of the boats on the lake and local church.
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  9. And to round of the day in Brienz we went to see their famous street which apparently was voted prettiest in europe some time ago (has since lost this title!). I indulged in my guilty pleasure of HDR pics while the family were in the tourist tat shops.
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    Then a barbeque back at the bus. Bed.
    Next day we decided to get a boat to Interlaken but we wanted to stop off at the Giessbach falls first. I'd heard about these some time ago and knew that it was also the site of the oldest funicular railway in Europe.
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    At the falls my family went ahead and took the bridge that allowed you to walk behind the upper falls
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    I then took one of my arty farty shots of the waterfall - 30 second long exposure with 10 stop filter (in case any of you are interested).
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    Then we got ice creams and went back down to catch the connecting boat to Interlaken. We planned ahead and our connecting boat was one of the steam paddleships:
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    Included in the price of your ticket - open viewing platform of the steam engine!!
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    Not much to say about Interlaken really. Expensive, lots of tat shops or designer ones. Nice view of the Jungfrau mountain and paragliders everywhere. We had cakes and left as soon as the return boat turned up.
     
  10. The next day it was a bit rainy so we abandonded our original plans (more on them later) and headed instead for Ballenberg outdoor museum. There are over 300 buildings from all over Switzerland brought together to show what life used to be like. Lots to see and do for the kids and the bonus was it was only 4 miles from the campsite. Spent most of the day looking at working smithy's, dairies etc.
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    Went back to the campsite, the rain cleared so I took more pics.
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    Things were looking good for the next day - going up the Shilthorn.


    The Shilthorn (or Piz Gloria as the restaurant on the top is known) was made famous as Blofeldts base in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. You know, the one where George Lazenby gets out acted by the sets). I'd always wanted to go here so we set off early for the 30 mile drive to Schelenberg where we got the first of four cable cars to go to the summit. We arrived for breakfast and total whiteout and snow - no good views at all. We were bummed.
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    Got a few pics though.
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    Then we did a little shopping and bought trinkets, watched the 20 min James Bond film and then - THE CLOUDS LIFTED.!! We were rewarded with some views (admittedly not the very best) of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. These are the three peaks from lef tot right.
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    Took another of the Eiger behind the Birg cable car station:
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    Even though both Monch and Jundfrau are higher, everyone seems to be facinated by the Eiger because more people die trying to climb it and Clint Eastwood made a film on it.
    Making our way down the cars (scarier when the cloud had gone and you could see how high you really were) we decided to stop for lunch somewhere.
    We ended up parking at Lanterbrunnen and brewing up in a car park - have to say the view beats the one from my local NCP.
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  11. And then we left Switzerland for the monster drive back North to Luxembourg. 360 miles in a day - tough driving. Anyway we stayed for 3 nights on a campsite in Larochette and spent most of it using the amazing facilities (minigolf, pool, sauna etc. etc.) - mainly Dutch onsite but really laid back. To be honest I'd had enough of driving by this point and knew I had another big drive 2 days later to get home so we just took time out to chill.


    We left on the Friday mornign and made good time through Belgium and France back to Calais and the return train. Then up the M20 and home. I calculated the total mileage as 1577 door to door which was a little less than I thought I'd do. The bus as I said before performed perfectly - just drank a litre and a half of oil over the whole trip which I thought was pretty good and put down to generally being burned to keep cool.


    And the final verdict. Germany was fantastic, the campsite took the mick a little with the pitch but made amends and the facilities on the site were superb, weather was great, people super friendly and very cheap. Lots to see and the Black Forest is beautiful - we will probably go back for a longer stint as the journey there was not too bad.


    Switzerland was undeniably the highlight of the trip - absolutely stunning and a joy to be there. Second gear and 30 miles an hour up the Brunzig pass and seemingly shifting from third to second every 30 seconds was one memory among many. Campsite was the best I have ever been to as well. However - the big but and something for everyone to note - the prices. It has to be the most expensive place I have ever been to - right up there with Iceland price wise. My advice - do what the Dutch and Germans do and cross the border so loaded up that your wheels are rubbing on the archs. I watched them unload crates of beer and food and now I know why.


    Luxembourg - bit like a world cup group country. Made up the numbers and nice enough place to stop on the way back but nothing of note for us - hence no pics.


    Overall - a brilliant trip and we could have stayed longer. We just need to work out where to go net year.


    Hope you enjoyed reading this.
     
  12. Woodylubber

    Woodylubber Obsessive compulsive name changer

    WOW, what a trip and stunning pics ;D
     
  13. Wow what a brilliant review and your photos are amazing!!! I desperately want to go to Europe in our bus now and thanks to you we've got some great ideas of where to visit. Karma coming your way for this great read ;D
     
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  15. looks like you had a great trip the pics are fab, thanks for sharing, and well done to your camper..
     
  16. superb pics Jon, cheers for sharing with us! there is some stunning scenery
     
  17. Im utterly in awe and speechless

    I would hang a print of the arty farty long exposure waterfall on my wall its awesome
     
  18. Thanks for sharing.

    That just looks impossibly beautiful
     
  19. That brings back great memories as we did exactly the same through germany and switzerland trip in may!!! unfortunately we had to go in a honda crv and tent as the van wasn`t ready.


    i totally fell inlove with switzerland as well. absolutely stunning and lovely people and beautiful campsites around with lake and mountain views


    know what you mean about prices- we ate out once and it was 30 euros for one main course!!


    definitley going back next year!!
     

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