June - July 2016
  • Day34

    Hamburg

    July 18, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Slow day today... Drove into Hamburg for lunch and a bumble through part of the city.

    Churches, statues, new and old buildings, a large harbour and a coffee shop with a rather unfortunate name 😊

  • Day33

    Quickborn

    July 17, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    The sun wasn't shining when we got up this morning, but it did poke through the clouds a couple of times. But it also didn't rain at all today. Apparently, this was fairly good going seeing that Summer was on Tuesday 2 weeks ago 😆

    Farmer Rich Shelton, really knows how to grow veggies. Lettuce, cabbage and sugarsnap peas from the garden went into the salad for our braai.

    Matt and Claire and Louise and Henry came over for lunch - a family affair 😊
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  • Day32

    Thuringer Wald to Quickborn Hamburg

    July 16, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    After breakfast we took a drive through part of the Thuringer Walt area.

    Travelling through the area, it's noticeable that this was part of East Germany until the reunification in 1990. The towns and villages look old and in places appear quite shabby.

    After a quick coffee stop, we headed for the Autobahn thinking we'd be in Hamburg in time for afternoon coffee......or NOT 😨

    Unmanned Stop-Go's and traffic jams were the order of the day, and we finally arrived at about 18h00.
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  • Day31

    Munich to Thuringer Wald

    July 15, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We left Munich and headed north for Hamburg asking the Romantic Road, 350 kilometres of highway between Würzburg and Füssen in southern Germany, specifically in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, linking a number of picturesque towns and castles. In medieval times it was a trade route that connected the center of Germany with the south.

    We drove through Dachau. The town is known for its proximity to the infamous Dachau concentration camp built in 1933 by the Nazis, in which tens of thousands of prisoners died.

    Soon we were in the German countryside, once again enjoying views of little villages and farms.

    Today, many farmers make use of solar power. Some install in rows in their fields, while others cover the roof of every building with panels 😃

    Another form of power generation are the wind turbines scattered around the countryside. These generate as much as 7MW of power, with rotor diameters of over 125m and tower heights around 115m. We were lucky enough to see one of the blades being transported on a truck, and they are ENORMOUS. I'm glad I wasn't driving the truck!

    Driving through Hohenaltheim, we came upon some creatures which looked very out of place....we found some Ostriches, yes strange but true 😆

    Tomorrow we head for Hamburg.
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  • Day30

    Ingolstadt

    July 14, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Still raining this morning, so we decided that some retail therapy was in order.

    Paul, Elke and I took a drive to Ingolstadt, about an hour away from Munich. We witnessed what bad "Stau" (traffic jam) is really like.... Fortunately it was on the opposite side of the highway. A huge truck had somehow landed up on top of the concrete barrier which was in place to provide temporary lanes due to roadworks. The traffic travelling in the direction of Munich was backed up for over 12km 😨😨😨. I'll remember this next time I complain about the Joburg traffic.

    There's an Outlet Village in Ingolstadt which hosts all the major brands, including Gucci, Porsche, Guess etc. With all those shops, we did get some retail therapy 😊

    On the way to and from Ingolstadt, we passed huge field of hops and mielies. In total, there are approximately 1,300 breweries in Germany producing over 5,000 brands of beer. The highest density of breweries in the world is found in Aufseß near the city of Bamberg, in the Franconia region of Bavaria with four breweries and only 1,352 citizens!

    This evening we had dinner with friends of Elke and Dieter, who last saw Paul when he was about 10. It just so happens that Heida worked at Siemens when I was there .... Talk about a small world 😀
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  • Day29

    Sölden to Munich

    July 13, 2016 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Still raining and 14 degrees when we got up this morning...oh well I guess that's what Summer in Europe is like 😕

    We passed many beautiful waterfalls, especially after the heavy rain last night and the Fernsteinsee Schloss, where scuba diving was offered in the Fernsteinsee... Who'd have guessed? Maybe next trip we'll have to bring along the dive gear .... 😨

    We travelled along the Plansee in the hope of getting a glimpse of the Zugspitze, but the low cloud made this impossible.

    Painted buildings are in abundance in this area, especially in Oberammergau, which boasts many scenes from Fairy tales and Christian events.

    Our last stop for the day was at the Andechs Abbey. It is famed for its flamboyant Baroque church (1712) and its brewery. The Abbey is the oldest place of pilgrimage in Bavaria and has been in the possession of the Abbey of St Boniface in Munich since 1850. The church has the most beautiful interior and the alter and ceiling paintings are amazing to see.

    Despite the rain, another good day of driving and sightseeing.
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  • Day28

    Geselhaus to Sölden

    July 12, 2016 in Austria ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    After 3 weeks of good weather (apart from our 1st day of cycling) the weather has turned against us 😮. After a good thunderstorm last night, we left Geselhaus for the Grossglockner with partly cloudy skies and fingers crossed....

    Unfortunately, today the gods were against us. Shortly after climbing up to the entrance of the Grossglockner National Park, the weather closed in on us. This made it fairly pointless to travel down the pass, as we wouldn't have been able to see further than the front of the car 😕 So we headed back down to Grosskirchheim for coffee and cake. I guess that Paul will have to do the Grossglockner pass on 2 wheels sometime?

    The weather on our travels today went from soft rain, to mist, to bright sunshine, back to rain and then to a torrential downpour on the way to our overnight stop. All 4 seasons in a day, except for snow.... However, they are predicting snow on the Grossglockner on Thursday 😨. Perhaps we should have brought our ski gear?

    Tomorrow we head back to Munich until Friday, then we're off to Hamburg for some family time.
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  • Day27

    Aprica to Geselhaus (Italy to Austria)

    July 11, 2016 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Drove through more beautiful area's today and some rather scary passes. I was grateful for our SA driving experience, as the Italians drive in very similar fashion 😯

    Villages, orchards and vineyards in abundance. The Italian Dolamites were next. Completely different from the Swiss and Austrian Alps. Lighter in colour and not as jagged.

    Tomorrow we head for Grossglockner.
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  • Day26

    Lago Maggiore to Aprica

    July 10, 2016 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    The area around the lake is quaint and there are a couple of small island in the lake. On one of the small island is Rocca d'Angera, a medieval fortified stronghold.

    We stopped in Laveno to take the cable car to view Lago Maggiore from 1100m above. The cars are tiny and only hold a maximum of 2 people ... Oh and most of them are open 😊

    We then travelled back into Switzerland to Logano before once again crossing back into Italy. Fortunately the border crossings are easy... No getting into and out of the car at each one. Just simply drive through.

    We passed many old villages on the mountains on both sides of the road coming up to Aprica. More narrow winding roads and lots of tunnels. Needless to say, each and every one had a huge church.
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  • Day25

    Sarnen to Lago Maggiore

    July 9, 2016 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    There's something special about waking up to the sound of cow bells "clinging" 😊. This has been the case the last 2 days having stayed with Dani and Armando.

    After breakfast, we headed towards Italy and Lake Maggiore.

    The Italians are awesome. Feels like Africa in Europe. Nothing is a stress, but everything works ...in a fashion anyway 😊

    As we crossed the border between Switzerland and Italy, the roads got bumpier and more uneven, but were still usable. At times they narrowed to a single lane and I had to breath in so that we could get past another car in one piece.. But all good in the end, we made it to Hotel Restaurant Lago Maggiore in Lesa, on the lake.

    Tomorrow we'll be exploring more of the Italian countryside .... and popping back across the border into Switzerland, before spending another night in Italy.
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