Sunday, 1 January 2012

Into 2012, not in a castle

Today's first treat was shopping! We went past Frankfurrt then stopped at a HUGE out of town retail park and had a fun time selecting salamis, beer and chocolates for our dinner tonight and to take home. I was frustrated to find the McDonnald's wi fi doesn't seem to be working in Germany as I have days of blog to upload.

We headed on up to the Rhine Gorge between Bingen and Koblens- a reportedly beautiful stretch with two youth hostels in castels if we decided we wanted to stay there. The rain didn't enthuse me about exploring the gorge much on foot. so I'm afraid we did most of it from the car but it's a really lovely area ful of disgustingly well kept cute vilages with nicely decorated half timber buildings and pointy churches. The churches here are no longer the fiddly shape of Austria's ones but no nonsence stright and sharp and more colourfully embellished than those in the UK. THere were also grape vines lining the few bits of slope which were south facing when the river curved. I was staggered at how closely they were planted on JUST these areas, no matter how steap the drop- it seemed almost sheer in parts.

We found lots of nice parking up spots and lots of Youth Hostels. Although it was only 1pm we asked the availability in all of them including the gorgeous castle ones but they were all fully booked. We dithered whether there was enough to do in the gorge to fill up the time until the evening so we could use a parking up spot and go to a pub but we decided that actually the asthetic benefits of the area were only relivant in the day time and in this weather all we'd see at night was either the inside of the car or of a pub so we enjoyed the views and headed onwards in the general direction of Calais. We'd picked a national park on the German-Belguim border as a vauge area to try but came across a swimming pool car park on the outskirts of a small town that allowed caravan parking for up to three days before that. It was ok, it wan't lovely and certainly wasn't sociable like the hostels would have been but we'd be in the car and asleep by ten anyway. Alex coked a nice sausage based dinner and we played cards until bedtime.

At midnight , despite a heads up from my German friend, we were indeed woken by a far more widespread and long display of fireworks than I would have ever expected of such a small town. I watched some of it from within the car but it was all small, private displays and after the end of Edinburgh Festival fireworks, visable for miles around and choriagraphed to fit the accompanying classical orchestra it takes a lot for me to get excited by frreworks I so only watched a bit! Alex chose sleep. They went on for ages though- maybe fifteen minutes of solid bangs. The only other distrurbances were two groups of folk racing their cars about the car park-one when we first turned in and another at 4.30am. To be fair, the carpark is laid out like a race track amd there really was NOTHING else going on in town, (we took a drive through earlier), I'm only suprised there were so few of them!

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