France, Germany and Belgium

Discussion in 'Europe' started by woollywelshbloke, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Ok folks - so I am partly responsible for all the 'Stuck in France' posts so it seemed I should post about the actual holiday itself.

    We set off from Dover to Calais after a long drive from Southhampton. The weather was glorious in the UK when we left so we hoped it would continue.
    On the drive down to Dover i started to get nervous - I had breakdown but it suddenly dawned that this was the first real test of everything. She trundled all the to Dover without a problem so I hoped everything would be fine.

    Parked up in Dover at the front of a line she got plenty of attention - the ferry was delayed by 45 minutes so we had plenty of time to sort her out (lights etc).
    We laned in Calais and gunned it as far south as we could but as it got dark we took refuge in an Aire near Cambrai. A note about Aires: they are full of truck drivers who like to sit around their trucks at night and gamble so dont plan on getting much sleep!

    Anyway the next day it was bucketing down! We went across to the services which was heaving - their WIFI was not working so we went back to the van to consult the maps. The plan was to go to Nice but it seemed like a very long way! It started to dawn on us that the return trip would be a killer so we decided to see more of Europe and visit more of France and Germany - that hurricane was battering the west coast of France so we decided to head east.

    We headed for Frieburg in Germany as my girlfriends mate went there and said it was her favorite city in Europe - given she has traveled Europe extensively it seemed like a glowing review.

    We headed for Frieburg via Charleville Meziers - a really nice town with a big square surrounded by amazing buildings. It as=lso has a puppet museum with a freaky talking clocktower. Strangely it also had a big festival with some quite impressive names just in the middle of the square!
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    We left Charelville heading for Frieburg - then we had our first problem. The oil pressure switch had failed and oil was coming straight up through the sender itself. We were about 20 miles from Metz so we nursed her into town and parked up for the night in a car park.

    Next day I took a closer look and checked my oil levels - with that a friendly French man came out to look at the van and asked what the problem was. I explained as best I could and he rung a VW commercial garage about 10 miles away and told them that we would come and see them.

    Anyway after waiting for 2 hours! for their lunch break to finish the garage owner brought out a young mechanic who was a camper fan and took a look. He ordered the part and said it would be there the next morning and we headed back to the Municipal campsite in Metz.

    The site was amazing - super clean, free WIFI and about 5 mins walk from town right on the river. Metz itself was lovely - nice walking around city. We went out for a wander then went back to the site for a few drinks - then back out for dinner. Metz is a nice city in the dark as the churches are all lit up - looks amazing!

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    Next day we got to the garage and within 30 minutes the mechanic had whipped out the old sender and fitted a nice shiny new one - he wouldnt take any payment either! And with that we were off!


    Onward to Frieburg - which was about 2.5 hours away. Frieburg is lovely - in the foothills of the Black Forest and just over the German border. On the way there I started having problems with me reverse gear so after pushing the van into its final camping spot I got on the beers to help me chill out.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  2. The campsite was a 20 minute walk from town - they pack them in and we got the last spot - the German owner said it would be an honour to have the van on his site (which was nice!). It was about 26 Euro a night with hookup. Absolutely spotless and next to a great bar and restaurant with huge 'Biergarten'.

    Frieburg is a really cool city - its oldy worldy German with a big university so its got a trendy scene with cool bars and restaurants. Its also got some nice walks.

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    The other good thing about Frieburg is that its near Europa Park! A huge 'Europe themed' theme park! Its amazing! I was soooo surprised how good it was considering I had never heard of it!

    Also whilst on site we met another young couple with a camper who had just done the Romantic Road - after raving about it we penciled it in as an option. They didnt have hook up and had run their fridge full time so were cooking in the dark! It tickled me but i did show them how to install a hookup system.

    After three days we shot off to Lake Constance via the Black Forest - the van performed effortlessly and pulled brilliantly up the hills. Obviously stopped to get a few photos:

    More to follow...
    vdub brvs, Hearny, Flying Pig and 5 others like this.

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