Joined December 2018 Message
  • May22

    Day 3 of cruise Tallinn Estonia - day 41

    May 22, 2019 in Estonia ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Lovely day – 26 degrees and pretty hot

    We had decided not to try and be first off the boat today as we had all day ashore, and didn’t want to fight through all the people. So we got off shortly after everyone else at 10am. We had thought we would hire bikes from near the ship, but the guy we had been told about wasn’t there so we decided to walk into town instead. Walking took a while but it was a lovely day so that didn’t matter. There were such lovely craft shops everywhere in Tallinn – amazing hats, so many hats of every variety you could imagine which we had fun trying on. So many clothes, linen, wool, lots and lots of felted anything – shoes, slippers, jackets, toys, hats, pot warmers. And many many amber shops. Lots of different souvenir shops as well with many of the standard things, but also some cute different items common to the region. I had packed a wee lunch for us from the breakfast buffet, so we ate that as well as trying some small pancakes. It was so hot that Jody had a beer in the afternoon, but we didn’t need to try any other eating places. We walked to a few of the major attractions and took photos at the 2 panoramic viewing points. We also got silly with a few pics – haven’t done that for a few days, so have been missing it. Then it was around time to start back to the ship.

    We were due back at 5pm, and it was 3.30 when we started back. Jody distracted me in a shoe shop. I had bought 2 pairs of Reiker shoes in Freiburg and had dithered about a 3rd pair. So of course, that 3rd pair was available in Tallinn, and will have to fit in my suitcase (along with the top, and hat that I bought today). We thought it was just over 30 mins walk back to the ship, and when I saw a taxi, I thought we could just catch that. But it was still a lovely day so we thought we would walk. Hmmmm, taxi might have been a good idea! So, after walking for quite a while, thinking we knew where we were and then realising we didn’t, then asking a policeman for directions, both starting to panic quietly inside, we arrived at 4.59! From time to time I started singing the theme song to Chariots of Fire just to egg us on a bit (I’m not sure that Jody found that amusing at the time!). We had laughed the day before about the runners at the last minute and were sure that wouldn’t happen to us. It wasn’t too bad as one of the buses was also late arriving at 5.10, but we really don’t want to do that again! Later on, when I checked the map I realised where we had gone wrong. Both of us sort of need glasses to read the fine print. I knew we needed to be on a street starting with V. Of course there was a Vene St and a Viru St which were perpendicular to each other, and I presumed the one that we were on was the one that we wanted so we had walked quite a way in the wrong direction. Maybe glasses next time…

    So back on the boat we had an early dinner as I was pretty hungry. Then we watched the 7pm show – The Barricade boys, and they were really fantastic. They were 4 singers who had starred in various Les Miserables shows and got together to perform their own show on cruise ships, and also on tour. They mixed up serious songs from Les Mis, with a set from the Jersey Boys, Motown and finished off with Bohemian Rhapsody. The 4 were all great singers, but they also had really snappy dancy moves which were a bit corny and showed a humorous side. They were so great that we went back for the 9pm show as well and sat in the front row. We heard that they are supposed to be back in a couple of nights, so we will be watching out for that.

    So tomorrow we are off to St Petersburg in Russia. This was the original name, but has also been known as Petrograd and Leningrad before being returned to the original name in the 90’s. We have organised a private tour guide just for the 2 of us for the day to make the most of the opportunity, so have our fingers crossed for a great day.
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  • May21

    Day 2 of cruise Stockholm - day 40

    May 21, 2019 in Sweden ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    Lovely day of 23 degrees

    We got up early ready to get off the boat as soon as we could. Well that wasn’t fun. Queued up with a lot of people in the stairwells waiting to burst out. Jody was quite excited as we were meeting up with Anton. Anton is the brother of Jody’s previous Swedish exchange student (Tova) who she has kept in touch with over the years and now has a 7 month old daughter Charlie – I have been hearing a LOT about Charlie on this trip, and am quite good at remembering her name now. Tova’s partner is Jeff who is Jody’s part-time house mate when he is in NZ. Jeff and Tova live 6 hours north of Stockholm, so that was a long way to bring a baby so having Anton as a tour guide was the next best thing. Jeff had messaged me this morning to see where we were at. I thought this was a bit odd as I thought Jody would have been keeping him up to date. In fact it was because he was worried that their big surprise was going to be ruined if Jody was going to try and head off to see them – yep, the 3 of them had made the big trip down, and the Anton story was just a ruse. It was a rather tearful meeting as Jody was very very happy and excited to see all of them. So after everyone calmed down, Tova used her app to find us a bus, and we went off to one of the islands. They all went to a café for a coffee and catchup while I went to the Vasa museum.

    This is supposedly the largest maritime museum in the world. The Vasa ship is enormous and totally reconstructed within the museum. It was quite a sad story as the ship was built in the 1600s and had an original design. The King decided he wanted it to be more ornate, and the masts to be longer etc etc, and the hull wasn’t designed for that. So, 20 mins into its maiden voyage it sank. It was in a canal which was 30m deep, and the masts were 50m high, so they were still sticking out. It was recovered in the 1900s at some stage and reconstructed in this museum. There were lots of interesting facts in the museum with one section devoted to how the women lived at the time. Then I went back to the others, and we headed off on a walk around the island where we ended up at a place for lunch. This was like a garden place where you could buy plants but had been converted into an amazing restaurant as well with lots of outdoor seating. The bread and butter were free and that was nearly as good as the rest of the meal. Interestingly when we finished, we packed up our own plates etc, and emptied them and then stacked them neatly in the appropriate receptacle. Apparently, that is a common thing to do in Sweden. After a bit more of a walk on the island we ended up at the ABBA museum. Jody and I went in to see this, and it was pretty wonderful.

    The first exhibit was devoted to the making of the mama mia movies with lots of different things like the cars, clothes, movies of the making of the movie etc. Then it went on to describe the early life of the 4 band members, how they met each other, their first hits etc etc. There were quite a few rooms of this with of course their music playing in lots of places. Then we also got to mix our own music, get a recording of us singing a song, and we also had a video made of the 2 of us singing with the band. Don’t worry, I don’t think any of those will be shared on fb when we return, but it was a lot of fun going with someone else who appreciated it.

    Then it was time to have an icecream and say goodbye which was a bit sad, but we had all had a lovely day. Jody and I took a taxi back to the ship. We had a curfew of 4.30 and were a bit nervous about missing it. We were back around 4.15 so had plenty of time. Some other people were just after 4.30, and it was fun being on the balcony encouraging them to RUN, RUN. The buses that had been out on the excursions all seemed to come back late, even later than these people, so they were ok. So, we were supposed to leave at 5pm, but just after that in the distance we saw more people walking, then running. They were so very very lucky that the ship didn’t leave without them as they didn’t get there until about 5.10. It is possibly 1 to 1.5kms from where the taxis dropped them off to where they could get on the ship, and we could see that whole way. It was rather amusing, and we thought we would never be in that situation (turn to tomorrow’s post!).

    So then it was time for dinner, then a show which was the standard Royal Carribean 4 singers and 8 dancers.
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  • May20

    Day 1 of cruise at sea - day 39

    May 20, 2019 in Sweden ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We have wifi on one device, and it is pretty crappy. So posting might be a bit variable for the next few days.

    Was funny when I woke up this morning as Jody was up and in the shower. I looked at my phone for the time and it was 7am. I thought that was a bit odd as she is never up that early unless we have to be. She was in there for a while, so I went off to the toilet elsewhere. I met a couple of people on the way and mentioned that it was early to be up. They gave me funny looks. When I got back, Jody mentioned that I was snoring when she got up, and it was actually after 9am! My phone must have reset the time to something overnight.

    We had a very casual day, eating, playing bingo, listening to music, watching a fairly average magician do a show in the evening. It was foggy for a lot of the day (the foghorn didn't wake me either this morning). The food is varied and plentiful, and very close to our suite which is in a great place on the ship.

    Tomorrow we are in Stockholm for the day, and we have a friend of Jody's escorting us around so that should be fun.
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  • May19

    Copenhagen and cruise - day 38

    May 19, 2019 in Denmark ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    So after our tiring day yesterday, neither of us woke up early or had much inclination to get moving when we did. We had breakfast at the hotel, and then abandoned the idea of hiring bikes as we only have 2 hours by that stage. So we walked into the town again, might have shopped at Uniqlo and a jacket shop next to it and walked back again. At that stage I realised that I had left my cap and sunglasses behind, so I went for another walk to retrieve them while Jody chilled out. Then we caught a taxi to the port. There was a marathon on in town so we were advised not to take public transport, and we were very pleased we didn’t. There was a set price for the taxi which was great cos it took us a really long time as we went through the marathon runners about 4 times.

    The check into our cruise was very uneventful and didn’t take long. We put our bags on the conveyor bag, and expected them to arrive at some stage. Of course mine arrived but Jody’s didn’t. We both bought Victorinox knives at the factory, and both had them in those bags. Jody’s must have shown up while mine didn’t. So she had to go to security to get hers released, but they let her keep the knife which was good.

    Our cabin is super awesome. It feels so large after Nico and lovely having some decent chairs to sit on. We also have a balcony with a recliner chair. When we arrived, there was a double bed in here, but we asked for it to be separated. Then of course we moved it a bit further, so not sure what they will think of when they service the room in the morning and the beds are at opposite ends with a screen pulled between them. We had a nice spa before dinner at the buffet, and then investigated the ship finding lots of areas for entertainment. We also went to the live show which had a couple who did things with their hands in front of a big screen so the images looked like various dogs, rabbits, American presidents and entertainers. It was very good and very interesting. We also went to a quiz on songs which was a lot of fun and met some Australians who had just finished another cruise which went from Sydney to London and took 6 weeks. The centre of the ship has a space that goes up through the middle, so the entertainers on the 4th floor can be seen and heard on the 12th floor. The elevators go up that space as well. We have heard some great music so far – oh and an acoustic guitarist who was brilliant. So more entertainment that the other cruise that I was on by far. There are several different restaurants that you have to pay to go to, but there is always something open that you can get something to eat from – not sure that is a good thing at all!

    Tomorrow we have a day at sea, but we should be able to find a few things to do. There are table tennis tables, and a mini put golf course as well as a gym and the pool.
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  • May18

    Copenhagen - day 37

    May 18, 2019 in Denmark ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    Alarm went off at 4am and we were in our taxi and off at 4.45. Had a bit of an issue at the airport as my travel agent had spelt my name wrong just for this leg – I have an r at the end of Ferrar. So I couldn’t check in. But they managed to change it for me. I don’t normally use travel agents, and couldn’t check my details just for this flight. Then we also had the issue of the large kitchen knife in Jody’s carry on – who would have thought that was a problem? And in her other bag she had a can of coke. Obviously packing while tired wasn’t the best idea. But we were there in plenty of time and on our 7am flight early with a spare seat between us which was nice. The plane had lots of spare seats. I have flown British Airways once before and both times had spare seats.

    It was really foggy when we landed in Copenhagen so the plane was landed entirely on instruments rather than the pilot – they told us that twice so it must have been significant. Our hotel is quite nice and very near the centre which is good. We checked in and went off for a walk to the food market – there was no breakfast served on the plane, so we were a bit peckish by then. Oh my, the market was great. Lots of food options. We started with Chinese rice paper chicken wrap which was quite spicy. Then I found some watermelon which was very tasty and good for a very tired person. Then Jody stood in a queue forever for some Mexican tacos which were amazing while I searched for the shortest queue so I could go and sit down – quiche was rather nice tho. We had walked through a really nice park on the way there – lots of wacky backy smells from the people lounging around.

    We were really really tired by this stage and had 2 hours before our Segway tour, so just found a park to sit in and played games on our phone. Jody had been googling when we arrived and booked this tour then, but it was something we always had intended to do here. It was a wee walk to find the segways, but we had a paper map which made things easier than the electronic version. We had a trial ride in the building before we went off. Jody was a little bit unstable, and may have bumped into a few barrels, but once we were off she was just fine. I found it ok to ride, particularly once I moved around on it and worked out how it moved. They could go quite fast too which was fun. The only issue was standing up for 2 hours – I have rarely felt this tired! Lack of sleep coupled with a very tiring day driving yesterday wasn’t a good combination. The tour was great though, and we saw some lovely sights around the city. One lady fell off twice, and one man twice cos he wasn’t watching where he was going and ran into things – his partner thought it was hilarious.

    Then we walked back to the hotel seeing interesting shops. Had a gourmet burger for tea as we just needed to eat something and topple into our beds. It was really nice to finally do that! Impressions of Copenhagen –a city that it would be nice to see more, bikes absolutely rule (apparently more than in Amsterdam), and it is really really expensive.
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  • May17

    London - day 36

    May 17, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    Well it would be fair to say that today was not a fantastic day but we got through it. Got up rather early to get our stuff into bags and clean Nico. That seemed to take a long time and many bags went in the rubbish for odd items of food that we had collected. I think it was nearly 4 hours from getting up until we left. Next stop was a shop to sell our bikes in Brighton. That was a lot of narrow one-way streets, but finally managed it. Next stop was our hotel near Heathrow, by golly I am sick of narrow windy English roads by now. After 2hours of driving we stopped at a petrol station for gas and a steak pie thingey. It took ages as we were on a more main road, and then googlemaps took us off that road onto a smaller road - and that one had 12 mins of traffic holdups. Hmmm, slight road rage might have been building, so I whizzed up a side road, did a you turn in my mini and took off in the other direction. I said to Jody I just didn’t want to be driving up that road. I mean surely there was a main road to Heathrow from the south? We never found it! Also needed the loo as we couldn’t use Nico again as he was all cleaned out. Finally we got to our hotel and there was nowhere to park. So we found an area, and got our bags out. Then a man told us we couldn’t park there. After a few minutes of trying to explain that we just wanted to check in and leave again he then removed some road cones, I drove around the block again and he found us a special bus park. Checking in was easy and then we were off again.

    So driving got easy, and we got on the M1 and thought yes plain sailing to the depot. Hmmm not, thanks googlemaps. More traffic holdup, and at an interchange, googlemaps took us off again. We had intended to drop off around 1pm, and the final time was 4pm. By this stage the bitch said we would be there around 3.30, and we still had to stop and fill up on petrol and LPG. Driving around more country roads I was getting a bit stressed. We had to drop off today as we are flying out at 7am tomorrow. So my mini was doing an awesome job hooning around the corners while my headache got worse! Jody then did a great job of navigating us back on the M1, and we found the nearby petrol station where of course their LPG wouldn’t fill us up. It was the station that I had used with Bob, but with the time ticking we decided just to go. And we arrived at Just Go with minutes to spare. Dropping off all went fine. We checked out another model which looks like a great design for a future trip, and then got a lift to the train – phew!

    We had wanted to check out London a bit, but were pretty tired, had an early flight and had to organise our bags. So we took a train to Picadilly Circus, walked up to Regent St, checked out Uniqlo (I bought a pair of trousers that I am wearing all the time, and want another pair), then went to Wholefoods for dinner. I was disappointed as we visited the M &M shop to visit the toilets, but they were out of order. No other reason to be visiting that shop! Then we got back on the train to go to our motel near Heathrow, and got there around 8.30.

    Oh my golly, then the bag packing began. We could have 23 kgs on our carryon, but they still had to be within the size. My bag expanded so I needed to be careful with that. I think my purchase tally ended up at 23 kgs, but little bags only around 8kgs. We didn’t go to bed until around midnight so it took a while! Alarm was set for 4am – yeeha!
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  • May16

    Dover and Rye - day 35

    May 16, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    So we got up as planned and were on the road by 6.30. We needed to be in Calais by 9am to check in for our 9.50am ferry, so were leaving extra time. In fact the journey went so well that we were there early and they put us on the 8.40am ferry. The journey went well – beautiful day with a calm crossing. England is an hour behind, so we arrived at the same time that we had left. Then I parked in a loading zone in Dover while Jody had a second approach at sorting out SIM cards – fingers crossed for this time! My 12gb card that I got for 30 days expires tomorrow, and I still have lots of data. Jody has gone through an 8gb and 12gb card – must be something on her phone eating the data. I got a few looks from courier drivers, but ignored them – where else could I park Nico for that long?

    Then we were off to the white cliffs of Dover. Parking was 7 euros cash for the day for a motorhome which we managed to find between us, and was great. We only had time for a shortish walk, but on such a sunny day the view was spectacular. We walked for around 1.5 hours, and took some nice pics. Then it was off in Nico to pick my step sister Morgan up from the train station. Googlemaps failed again, she told us that we were there, but we couldn’t see the station. So then did a you turn, saw some policemen, Jody got out to ask them where it was and we got directions. When we drove back, Morgan was standing on the pavement, so we stopped and she got in the side door. Then a man knocked at the window and had noticed us doing a u turn, talking to the police, and then stopped so asked us if we were lost. We said we were picking someone up, so he started giving us detailed directions to the station. We had to shut him up to say that she was already in Nico, and we were ready to go. Very nice of him to take the effort though. So then we had a 1.5 hour drive to Rye which is a little town in the south of England. Morgan had wanted to visit there, so it sounded good to us.

    We had a very nice lunch at a pub there, and then visited a few shops. What a cute little town this was. Lots of really cute nick nack shops with some interesting things we hadn’t seen before. It was rather surprising, but neither Jody or I bought anything today – maybe we are a bit nervous about packing our bags tomorrow? We walked around the town for several hours and it was lovely to catch up with Morgan who lives in London and I have visited her there in the past. This is the first time I have seen anywhere other than London while I have been in the UK. I had always wanted to drive through some more of the English countryside and I really got my wish today. I decided to drop Morgan off at a train station nearer to London – Royal Tunbridge Wells, and that driving really was an experience. Lots of traffic on fairly narrow roads with some pretty manic drivers. It was a bit hard to adjust to driving on the left hand side of the road, and I caused Jody a bit of panic when I tried to turn into the wrong lane at one stage – it took me a while to respond to her no No NOOOOO and hand waving, but luckily there wasn’t any cars coming, and the correction was fairly easy.

    Once we dropped Morgan off, we thought we would head for Brighton as that is where we can sell our bikes in the morning, and I had been interested in going there. So we kept on driving until about 8pm and finally got to the campground. Jody got out to check in as per normal, and got a very gruff response – have you booked? No. We’re full! So she got back in Nico, we drove around the corner and tried to find somewhere else. We are dropping Nico off tomorrow, so really wanted to empty our water, etc as we need to have Nico clean, and empty of some things, and full of others before he is returned. One place I rang was lovely, the lady thought if we were desperate, then she could have fun negotiating the price. But turns out that they didn’t have full disposal facilities so that wouldn’t work. So then the guy came back to close the gate, so I thought I would ask him again. I said we only wanted to stay until morning and use the facilities, could we stay where we were parked, use the facilities and pay for that. He ended up finding a site for us which was booked, but the people hadn’t arrived and once he had closed the gate they wouldn’t be able to get in anyway. I caused Jody some great hilarity when she asked how I got him to change his mind, and I said I had offered him some special favours – as if!

    So we then had to finish off the wine (full bottle for Jody), and limoncello (just a big glass for me). Then Jody started packing which seems like it is going to take a long time! In the morning we are dropping our bags off at a hotel, then dropping Nico off, then visiting London before getting back to the hotel. My plan is to sort out my bag at that stage rather than tonight. We got up at 5.45am, and it is now 12.15am on Bruges time, so well and truly time to go to bed!

    So it might seem that after we drop Nico off tomorrow that we might be winging our way back to NZ. Well we are catching a flight on Saturday morning, but maybe not that far just yet…
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  • May15

    Bruges - day 34

    May 15, 2019 in Belgium ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    Had a lovely day today. So nice in the morning that I even went to the shower just in my nightie and jandals – has been way too cold for that for the last couple of weeks. We were off on our bikes around 10.30, and in the Orange store for a new SIM for Jody – her phone has been eating data. So we biked into the main square and it was such a change from last night – people everywhere! We locked our bikes up, and then went off walking. There was a main market in the square today, and we had not had breakfast on purpose. So we visited the meat vendor, and tried chicken, bacon, and some chicken sausage wrapped in bacon. I was surprised at the cost of the raspberries for 5 euro, then I realised it was 5 punnets for 3 euro. I really had to restrain myself to only buy 5 punnets, and not to buy any blueberries. I did get half a kg of cherries tho for 4 euro. I also had some small waffle things which came with a chocolate sauce. I put some of my raspberries on them which was much nicer. I tried to convince the shop owner that she was missing out on an opportunity adding fruit when it was so cheap but she w didn't think so. Then we went off to see the shops which were pretty cool – just so many chocolate shops, I bought something at about 5 of them. I also introduced Jody to a Kipling shop – she now has 2 more bags.

    After traipsing around for quite a long time, we decided to do a river cruise. This took 30 minutes, and we took some cool pics, as well as having the opportunity to sit down for a while! During the cruise Jody’s memory card on her camera was full, so we then went in search of another one. This took us to a different part of the city, and we saw a few more different shops – and chocolate shops. There was a really cool shop with lots of different figurines, some porcelain, lots of the 7 dwarves, and some really cool clocks. We also went into a shop that was just for tea, lots of lovely tea pots with unusual themes. We finally bought a tea strainer to try out our Dubai tea (the first one wasn’t very nice!).

    So then we were pretty tired, and had only had a late breakfast. We did want to try and proper big waffle, so went to a café and both had one. Mine had fruit, nuts, and chocolate sauce and was very nice. I did ruin it a bit by having a hot chocolate with creme. The creme was really cool, and I couldn’t cope with that so took it all out – it was still very sweet though and made me feel a bit sick. Then we picked up our bikes, and went for another ride around the city before going back to Nico. We have set alarms for 5.45 tomorrow, but still seem to have issues with going to bed before midnight.
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  • May14

    Bruges - day 33

    May 14, 2019 in Belgium ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    What a lovely day it was to wake up to. Rather cool with a slight frost, but beautiful clear skies. We got up earlish, did our dishes and had wonderful hot showers. The last 2 nights have been a bit grim as the showers have been luke warm which has been surprising as most are pretty good. But this morning it was bliss! We were on the road by 9, but got distracted on the way out by a supermarket. Got a lovely watermelon and more berries. Oh, and the bread here is amazing, so I got a bread roll and Jody had a pastry. We thought the road around Brussels might be a nightmare as we hadn’t heard good things, but it wasn’t too bad. So after about 2 hours we found ourselves in Ghent. This was a place that I had wanted to visit, but there were no campsites in town, so we would have had to park up out of town. So we decided just to drive through the middle. So that went pretty well, by golly there are a lot of wonderful buildings which Jody tried to take pics of while we were driving. There were a lot of tram lines, and it is always confusing as to what the road rules are around trams. We followed one for a while – another car was in front of us so we thought it was fine. Hmmm nek minit we are driving on the grass between the tram tracks, oops this one might only be for trams. That was confirmed by the tram driving towards us with the driver shaking his finger at us. So our options then were limited to reversing a long way, going the wrong way up a busy one way street, trying to get over a couple of kerbs to a road, or going straight ahead on the tram track and hoping we would fit through the 2 bollards at the end. Option 4 was for us, and thankfully we made it through. I really need to be a bit more onto it with my videoing. Yes this is a bit stressful for me as the driver, but I think it stresses Jody out more and her reactions to these situations are just so funny that it just makes me laugh and take it in my stride. We haven’t had a funny Nico story for a few days, I have been missing them!

    So then it was onto Bruge (Brougha). We got there around 2pm on a stunning day though it was still only around 16 degrees. Our washing had been in the garage for 3 days, so it was nice to finally get that dried as well as doing a couple more loads. We won’t be doing anymore for a while so great to have a fine day. We then mucked around for a while just relaxing, and I started organising my packing. Around 7pm we finally got sorted to bike into the City. This is about 3kms away, and was really pretty. There are lots of waterways, and a big river with locks for the boats to go through, and bridges that go up to let boats through as well as turning in a circle to open up with the boats. Quite fascinating to watch. There were many big squares with churches. We ate dinner in one of those – Flemish stew which was wonderful and tender, and came with hot chips – weird! Then we biked back to Nico – it is getting dark just after 9pm which is great. Then another game of 500 – we must replace the cards as they got pretty sticky with limoncello! Tomorrow we will spend the day just cruising around Bruges for our last day on this side of the channel.
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  • May13

    Luxemburg - day 32

    May 13, 2019 in Belgium ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    We headed off around 9.30 without breakfast intending to eat somewhere on the way. We filled up with Diesel for about 1.1 euros – so much cheaper than anywhere else, think the cheapest was 1.4, but it was 1.7 in France. Our Justgo facebook page suggested filling up there, but we didn’t expect it to be that much cheaper. It was really lovely just driving around through countryside, forest and weird little towns which had about 3 buildings in them. We stopped just before 12, and had bacon eggs and tomatoes for breakfast beside the river. While we were there I was wondering what was over the other side of the river – odd little structures in a paddock. When we drove off, we realised it was a really long campground, and the structures were power hookups for motorhomes. There were really lovely campgrounds everywhere. We had bought some bread rolls yesterday but they were a bit disappointing – turns out they were chocolate brioch type of things which weren’t very nice. Then we drove a bit further and found the German border. We drove over a bridge into Germany just because we could, and the back to Luxemburg. We drove a bit further to Echtermach which looked so pretty that we took the bikes off, and went for a spin. Some of the shops were closed because it was Monday which saved us! We biked through the town, then on a path beside the river, and then found a bridge. So once again we went over the bridge to Germany just because we could. We hadn’t found any bakeries or supermarkets open in Luxemburg so we bought some bread and water in Germany. Of course when we went back to Luxemburg we found bakeries and supermarkets – never mind.

    So after biking back to Nico, we were off again. It was around 2pm by that stage and because Anke mentioned it, we headed to Viaden where there was supposed to be a great castle. There was a town every few kms, and every one had a campsite next to the river. Rather tempting to stop, but we didn’t. We got to Viaden and went up a narrow street – what fun, Jody was out again stopping traffic so I could do a you turn. We nearly gave up on the idea of visiting the spectacular looking castle, but then found a 3 hour parking spot for Nico. We walked to a chairlift which we thought would take us to the castle, but nope, it took us quite a bit higher. Jody had been keen to take pics on the way down on the chairlift, but after about 15 mins of walking down a very rocky steep path to get to the castle, we thought we wouldn’t try walking up it again. The castle was very interesting, and the tour round it was easy to follow. I found an art competition at the end really good – focus was on time and death by the looks of it, and many of the pics were quite thought provoking.

    Luxemburg really is a very lovely place. The country has a population of around 600,000. The main city has some great things to see, but the country is a bit like NZ in terms of there not being many people around, lots of farmland and forest and great mountain biking and tramping. Lots of the country roads had paved bike paths alongside them. It would be nice to spend a bit more time here, but Nico needs to be returned.

    After walking down the hill we got to Nico around 5.30, and headed off. We had no idea where were going to stay tonight, but just kept driving. We had no cell phone coverage, but googlemaps was great with the little blue dot, so we knew where we were. At one stage we intended to head for this town, but while travelling noticed the town name had a red line across it on street signs. Finally we got to a detour, so realised we couldn’t get there at all. So it was off to Germany again as that was somewhere we could go. We drove for quite a while on varying quality of roads. Around 7.30 we started looking for somewhere to stay, and have ended up at St Vith in Belgium. We couldn’t work out where the reception was for this campsite, or even where the entrance was. So after 2 u turns, an odd looking man turned up who didn’t speak english. We managed to make our wishes known, and for 16 euros have a pitch spot. We will be off earlyish tomorrow planning to make it to Ghent and maybe Bruges. Not long now until we have to give Nico back which will be a bit sad. What is more sad is the thought of having to pack bags – yikes that will be a mission and a half!
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