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Monday, 23 July 2012

Obernai, France

Due to a poor weather forecast for up north we decided to head South and chase the sun for a while. Landed at Obernai which is near Strasbourg and stayed at http://www.obernai.fr/fr/Municipal-Campsite-182.html. On our arrival the campsite looked very good with a nice layout and well kept amenities. As we need a fairly large pitch they offered us the use of the volleyball court to park up! It was sold to us by the very nice site manager Julien as having water, electricity, waste and free salad leaves! We think they are weeds but we smiled graciously and said merci in our best French. The evening of our arrival was a live music and pizza night, result. When I enquired if they also did garlic bread the sweating and smiling baker looked me in the eye and said "garlic bread? Ahhh Peter Kay". Very funny but we didnt get any. The live music was a large band who played many funky tunes with more than a hint of reggae and rasta to accompany our al fresco meal under my rather chique candle-lit awning.  So nice to see Mr H relax again and recovering from his recent stresses laid out in his recliner under the awning with food, music and an ice cold beer.

Feeling right at home here so we decided to stay for ten days and chill out properly. We have discovered the secret of the sparkling clean amenities in the form of a very dedicated lady cleaner. Twice-daily closing for cleaning is policed in military fashion. If her signs and chains across the doorways fail to stop people braver than me from gaining access they are sent away with a stern verbal warning! I have learned to adopt the submissive approach with no direct eye contact when she wanted to close the laundry as I was filling the washing machine! The lady is dedicated to her job and deserves a medal for achieving such standards of cleanliness.  

Mr H has a definite spring in his step as the scooter is now in full working order, there are ample cycle tracks and the bus is on the level!!   


We have once again soaked up some sun and despite the odd shower have found plenty of places to see and explore nearby. To add to the ambiance we have an ever changing view of Mount Saint Odile from the front of the RV. We find ourselves running short of adjectives to describe the places we visit but Obernai is a very pretty Town with many wood-clad buildings, a beautiful church, a large park with a modern waterfall, more patisseries than you can shake a stick at and all surrounded by impressive ramparts.





We have visited Strasbourg, the capital of the EU on the scooter and generally managed to find our way around. Yet another stunning historic city geared up for tourism with a spectacular cathedral, traditional buildings and the picturesque River L'Ill.









We can't manage a guard dog so we've invested in a goldfish called KC - takes more upkeeping than MR H but I love him :))

Thursday, 12 July 2012

ARV Rally Luxembourg

After a very pleasant week in Germany the rally gang loaded everything up and we hit the road again for Luxembourg http://www.kengert.lu/indexframegb.html 

Once again beautiful surroundings at our location.  The site is just outside the town of Larochette on a mountain side surrounded by dense forest and wonderful fresh air that I wish we could bottle to take with us. Again we set about sorting life's essentials of water, electricity and the location of the bar and toilets!

Mr H's patience  has been freqently tested recently with a few snags in the new bus and an unusable scooter. He continued to suffer with an ear infection from hell that caused him great pain and partial deafness whilst leaking continuously.  Now some may be fooled by our inoccent appearance as ARV Club members but between us we carried enough prescription painkiller drugs to floor a miners donkey. Despite these poor Mr H continued to suffer. It was time for action on all fronts so we devised a cunning plan over a few beers. First we consulted the sacred oracle (also known as the lads from Signature) and I knew things were looking up when on their advice Mr H had cut a short length of hosepipe and was blowing in the water tank! Air block sorted! Fellow RV'rs guided Mr H in his attempt to level the bus but the sloping ground fought him all the way. We have come to accept that the internal doors won't shut and it's an uphill walk to the bathroom and bed this week!  Our immediate neighbours Chris and Chris were absolute stars as they helped us sort many niggles, thank you again and cheers me dears! We sought assistance at the site reception to locate a nearby garage that could repair the scooter and a medical center and Linda came up trumps!  Mr H returned to the bus with a map of how to get to a garage and a doctor.

We booked the scooter in at http://www.sunlux.lu/  and Mr H used the one start available to drive it there only to be told that the diagnostic computer refused to work. Plan B implemented without a flicker and he returned with a hire car having left the scooter at the garage. Mr H was on a mission now so after a light lunch he drove to see yet another doctor. Verdict? one motherf***er of an ear infection requiring brick-sized combination antibiotics. We were unsure if they were to be taken orally or anally due to the size of them but decided to read the leaflet much to Mr H's relief, phew!  

Feeling more organised we took a coach trip with the gang to visit Luxembourg City which was impressive with stunning views from the city walls across surrounding valleys.







We then called in to a local wine producer for a tour and a taste before travelling back alongside the river Moselle.

Walked down into the local town of Larochette. A lovely mixture of old and modern buildings with a stream running through it   





and whilst we had the car we managed to get out and about, visiting Ettelbruck on a sunny sunday where a large brass band played in the town square.


We took in Merch (good for shopping and stocking up), Remich (by the Moselle) and travelled back into Germany to visit Triere (reputedly the oldest city in Germany) with an awesome city centre, beautiful architecture and monuments.


The sun held out for a BBQ on Saturday and we enjoyed a farewell dinner on Monday night where Dougie & Anjie were duly thanked and presented with tokens of appreciation for organising a great rally.

We had to wait for a new part to be delivered for the scooter so we ended up staying on this site for a few more days whilst everyone else had packed up and gone. It felt a bit eerie initially as RV city had turned into a ghost town but we soon got used to the relative peace and quiet :)


Apparantly the scooter problem was a broken pin in the transponder and they fixed it under warranty.  Good job as the car cost a fortune!   So we're off again chasing the sun but not quite sure where next!!!

PS Serves us right for travelling on Friday 13th but we managed to get stuck in the mud on our way out. However, thanks to Marco and his fabulous tractor skills we were towed out backwards on to a back road and were able to continue after a short delay.


Thank you once again team Auf Kengert!!!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

ARV Rally Germany

Took the P&O ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge and what a difference to our last crossing. Sea like a mill pond, large 4-berth club cabin complete with complementary toiletries and fruit all to ourselves. All you can eat (and keep down) dinner and breakfast included. Only complaint was the droves of excitable school kids who decided to play football in the cabin above ours! Oh the joys of a carefree youth and a total lack of awareness of the noise an innocent activity can create. Mr H eventually involved the duty steward in resolving the matter who reassured us that at 10.00pm the accompanying teachers would police the cabin noise with military force and they did just that.  

After Mr H negotiated the tricky manoeuvres involved in getting the RV and trailer off the ferry in one piece (or so we thought) the plan was to meet with fellow rally members at a pre-determined service station near Liege. As planned, the rally leaders, Dynamo Dougie Daybreak & Anjie arrived with their side-kicks Wise Bob Redsox and Hilary and we proceeded in perfectly polished and synchronised convoy only to discover that the  LPG gas pumps were empty so we had to travel on to another station so we could fill up and enjoy a currywurst!


Thanks to Dougie's ability to create numerous overtaking opportunities we left the lorries eating our dust, picked up Chris and Chris on the way and made good time despite a dramatic blow out in one of Bob's RV tyres. How did we cope with this set back? We drove on in perfect formation to the nearest service station, Anjie made tea and the lads (well mainly Bob) pulled off a perfect tyre change complete with jolly banter, sweating brows and extra filthy hands. Custard creams all round to celebrate! The last leg to our campsite included a tight squeeze onto a ferry to cross the Rhein


and landed at http://www.campingplatz-ruedesheim.de/index-en.htm in very good time to join the rally gang already there and commenced the following rituals;
1.  ensure all smaller caravans and motorhomes have full view of our convoy of fabulous american vehicles
2. claim a space/pitch after swiftly identifying the location of water and electric supplies
3.  make a tidy job of all relating cables, connections and hoses and attempt to level our motorhomes
4  outside essentials of tables and chairs positioned facing the sun.
Sorted!

A very welcome late supper and beer was provided for us all and we shared our tales of blow outs, failing engines, smoking brakes and unplanned diversions up mountains resulting in two motorhomes spending the night there!  A great bunch of people, welcoming and friendly as we got to know them a little better so thanks to Derek & Jenny, Karen & Andrea, Doug & Chris, Ron & Carol, Denis & Davina, Colin & Hazell, John & Jane, Roy & Margaret, Jim & Anne, John & Maggie, Terry & Jean and Derek & Rose. The site is in a beautiful setting on the banks of the Rhein and we were well looked after by Oliver and his team. 






We all spent a wonderful day going up this mountain in a cable car, then a short walk through a lovely forest, down the other side in a ski-lift followed by a scenic cruise back to the site.








However, by this time Mr H had developed a particularly nasty ear infection, we then discovered the jockey wheel on the trailer got mangled, must have been whilst coming off the ferry.  MR H's TRAVEL TIP No2 - ALWAYS REMOVE THE JOCKEY WHEEL WHEN TRAVELLING . Then to cap it all our new scooter turned tempramental, started ok, drove to shops and wouldn't restart, had to push it back to site where after a few hours it would start again. This happened 4 times!!! So Mr H took a trip to the Doctors for anti-biotics and managed to find a jockey wheel shop so the trailer is mobile again but not the scooter.

Despite these mishaps we had a great time exploring the area. We cycled along the quiet riverside paths and enjoyed watching the ever changing Rhine and its various ships, cruisers and cargoes. The rally enjoyed a day's river cruise along the Rhine in the sunshine and showers, endless photo opportunities and so many lovely sights to be seen along the way.













A number of us visited a packed local 'Scottish' pub to watch the Italy v Germany semi-final. One very happy Italian local celebrated with cheers, tears, handshakes and lots of Italian flag kissing. A procession of cars with horns blasting and Italian flags blowing paraded the streets in celebration. We also watched the final between Italy and Spain sat in the beer garden just outside the camp gates. A great night of football banter, excellent chilled bottled beer and a variety of shared nibbles to boot!

Finally, on an excursion into Rhudesheim for a meal with the group Mr H became a little adventurous! It may have been a combination of multiple anti-biotics, alcohol and oompah music that influenced his choice of snails as a starter! He enjoyed them but I couldn't look let alone try one. Laughing, dancing, eating and drinking was the theme of the night enjoyed by all.
Luxembourg next!!