ArnsbergMay 8 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C
For a gravel patch behind Lidl the motorhome parking at Arnsberg is surprisingly scenic. Facing grassland, we glance up every now and then to watch Fieldfares, Starlings and Blackbirds hopping around in search of worms and bugs, engaging in an occasional territorial spat. A woodland corridor runs from left to right, concealing the River Ruhr; little more than a stream at this point in its journey.
There aren't any houses nearby so Will took advantage of the open space to play with Peggy the Drone. We've been mindful of the annoying buzz made by the blades when in flight; we don't want to make a nuisance of ourselves. It has a lot of automatic flight features such as active tracking of a subject and something called boomerang so it will take practice to unlock its potential.
We'd seen people cycling along the riverside, so on the first morning we set out on our tandem... only to come to the end of the cycleway within a few hundred metres. We hadn't planned our route, but looking at Maps.Me we saw that the track extended a long way in the opposite direction, so decided to aim for Niedereimer, a town 7km down the valley. The route chopped and changed between streets, grassland and woodland, crisscrossing the River Ruhr. However there was a comprehensive network of signs to keep us on course.
Nearing our destination we pulled up to discuss whether to take the pavement or road over a bridge (it isn't always clear). The person who'd been cycling behind stopped alongside and started up a conversation. They began telling us about their grandson, a student at St Andrews University who was cycling 10,000km from Cairo to Cape Town on a tandem, delivering solar powered devices that help diagnose blindness and deafness, to hospitals along the way. We spent a while chatting and discovered that this person was also planning to visit Lithuania in their campervan, a major difference being that they were actually born there back in 1943 when their town was owned by Germany, their family were forced to flee when Russian troops invaded. It was fascinating to discover this person's history and current family links, making us reflect on what stories lie behind the thousands of people we pass by as we travel.
Time was pushing on and it was too late to cycle back to the van for lunch, our new friend offered to make us something to eat but we thought this would be imposing too much so we continued on into Niedereimer in search of a quick bite. The bakers we'd looked out on the map had closed down but the Aldi opposite offered a vegan bulgar salad for Vicky and a sarnie for Will. Coincidence showed its face again and our friend, who also happened to be shopping, recommended Karl's Hof, a nearby café that did good coffee and cake, so after our hunger was sated we parked the tandem in the cute wooden bike rack and entered the large detached building in search of a sweet treat. The business was divided into three sections, a flower shop, a bar and a characterful tea room. The latter was made up of antique wooden tables and cushioned wooden chairs, some matching, some not. Each table had a fresh bloom in a beer glass and around the room were handmade nik naks and potted plants on sale from the flower shop. It was delightful and so were the generous portions of cherry sponge and buttercream mocha cake we ordered!
Back at the van and back to reality we called the company who were supposed to be supplying a replacement for our broken door handle. It had been over a week since we ordered it and there was still no progress. The international lines had been inexplicably closed yesterday and today it was impossible for Vicky to make herself understood to the Spanish telephonist so she ended up with an email address. The services of Google Translate came into play and later that day we were told that the handle was out of stock with no indication of when it might be back in stock. We couldn't wait indefinitely for our handle to arrive at a dropoff box in Germany so we cancelled the order.
Vicky got into research mode and discovered via a call to UK based Nova Leisure that the manufacturer (FAP) had stopped making our handle. Oh dear! We decided to look in motorhome shops as we travelled on through Germany and if we couldn't find one that would fit, try and order a compatible model online to be delivered to Lithuania if possible or to our home address for when we return in August. The highs and lows if vanlife eh?
Before leaving in the morning, Vicky hiked up the hill to Arnsberg old town for a little explore. The half timbered buildings on the mainstreet were interesting but what really captured her attention were the castle ruins that had been turned into a park and left open to the public. There were brilliant views of the surrounding area and staircases at the entrance arches, allowing you to climb up within the old walls. A really cool site for tourists like us!Read more