Saturday 27 June 2015

Nürburgring and Eura Mobil: Travelling South Through Germany

France to Germany, 25th - 27th April 2015

Hello Everyone,

The second leg of our trip started nice and early in order to get the ferry into Calais, which got us across to the content around 10:30am (GMT+1).  From there, our first task was to take care of tracking down some very important, life-saving essentials.  Yes, of course I am talking about croissants—as if that was ever in dispute.  So after making our way to the
nearest supermarket to stock up on the above (as well as a baguette and a few pain au chocolat), we hit the road and made good progress.

We crossed four country borders during the course of the day (UK-France-Belgium-Netherlands-Germany), and other than a few slow sections on the Belgian motorways, we didn’t really experience any problems with traffic.  In Germany we found a good fairly empty stretch on one of the unrestricted speed sections of an autobahn, and so gave the van a quick run to see where it maxed out, which was somewhere around 145 km/h.

The Stellplatz at Rheinbach, Germany
We were pretty knackered at this point after a few sleep deprived nights leading up to our departure from England running various errands, including a several hour post-midnight trip from Yorkshire to the Lake District to pick up a windsurf board; apparently after a certain hour in Yorkshire you will start to count more rabbits than passing cars (I believe I counted 47).  We looked for somewhere to stop for the evening in the Camperstop book, and settled in for the evening at Rheinbach, Germany (Stellplatz / motorhome parking outside a sports complex, GPS N50.61883, E6.93262) for an early night.

The area surrounding Rheinbach appeared to be made up of lots of clean, tidy towns, with several cycle paths and flat terrain – my ideal kind of cycle terrain.  When the lazier of the two of us finally awoke from his thirteen hour slumber, we got the bikes out and went out for an hour cycling to break up the driving a little.

As we were in the area, we decided to indulge Matt’s petrol head personality by visiting the nearby Nürburgring as he deemed it essential to show me the sights.  We took some pictures from a viewpoint of a few vehicles going around the track, and if Crazy Daisy the SatNav is to be believed, we also took the van for a cheeky lap of the track.

Matt near the sign at the 'Ring entrance
Daisy has bad ideas of places to take a motorhome!
We travelled a little further until we were in motorhome manufacturing territory; many of the factories here had Aires to stay on, including one at Niesmann & Bischoff where we stopped for water (but couldn’t stay as the parking was already full).  We travelled further to the town of Sprendlingen, Germany, where we stayed for the night at another Aire (free, GPS N49.85441, E7.98554) nearby the factory for Eura Mobil.

The Aire at Sprendlingen, Germany
To Matt’s excitement and my eternal apathy, the Eura Mobil factory does free guided tours of the factory on working day.  Free entertainment?  Yes, sure.  Getting up and ready to be at a motorhome factory at 9am so I can pretend to understand German?  Well, I hear patience is a virtue, and so we got up and just made it in time to join the tour (with some dashing from reception to catch up to the tour group involved), where we saw how some of the flooring and furniture for the vans is made with CNC machinery, and how they are built from the inside out from the bare chassis to the finished product.  After the tour there was a Q&A session with the tour guide, and then we had a look around a few of the display vans before heading back along our way.

Eura Mobil factory, Sprendlingen
We continued south, stopping only once to visit our first Lidl of the trip, and so commencing a supermarket love affair to last through the ages.  Our overnight stop was in Ottobeuren (Aire, free, GPS N47.94907, E10.29649), which was a small section at the end of a sports park.

During the evening and well into the night we experienced a thunderstorm that puts most of the storms we’d experienced in the UK to shame.  In the UK, our experience tends to be limited to a few rumbles, maybe ten minutes of lightning and rain, and then you’re done.  On the continent?  Oh no; on the continent they have real storms.  The lightning started somewhere around sunset, with the kind of thunder that leaves hairs raised and ears ringing, and didn’t let up until some point between 1 and 2am.  Very cool, but not so great when you are trying to get a good night’s sleep in a vehicle where the slightest drizzle turns into a cacophony of noise thanks to a metal roof.

In the morning we got ready to get going again, and then we experienced The Wallet Incident.  But that is a story for another day, or at least another blog entry.

Signing off for now,

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