Sunday, 23 December 2012

Rheims & Bruges

We've visited the Champagne region many times and had all weathers
Coming in december is still a great experience, although the vineyards are bare you get to see the bare bones of the industry
The vineyards are still very busy with a posse of white vans, workers pruning and burning the clippings
I'm sure these offcuts are the stuff of summer barbecues and would sell a bundle on a UK market..

This will be a great Aire in summer with panoramic views of the vineyards

As it was, it was just us at minus 4 C

Some seriously nice Xmas beer this time in Rheims

Been here before but its still awesome
The Cathedral in Rheims 

French Xmas markets this time, again Rheims

These were taken in a small belgian village called Damme

We rounded off the trip with a visit to Bruges
It rained most of the day but no worries as the bars were open and a small restaurant provided one of the best fillet steaks I've ever had

Caught you!

Ok Its Trailersville but excellent value @ 15 Euro, full facilities, and 500 metre from Bruges centre..

Spot the tourist!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Schwarzwald & the Mosel

Checked in to this Spa hotel for our Anniversary here with the van outside at minus 5

2 nights forced lay up at Beerfelden due to heavy snow
We walked in to a gasthaus that was open, or so we thought, and enjoyed several beers
The landlady insisted we have Goulash soup with them and the rest of the "customers" who ofcourse turned out to be family gathered for their sunday dinner
Embarrassed doesn't cover it but they were all happy to have us and my German came on no end

Another town, another market and more creative Xmas cheer

We followed the Mosel for km after km in what became quite bad weather
Every scrap of suitable hillside given over to wine production but alas not a grape in sight
This would be some journey in late summer...

Zell in its night time glory
Note the tower turned in to a festive candle
I remember this place well as having had a curry cooked by a german-speaking Indian who ran an Italian restaurant
It tasted great, probably down to the enormous amount of ghee in the dish

Boat access only to this small vineyard 

We've just had several days of this and its not fun at all!
We are in France in the Champagne region, a favourite of ours and sat sipping a nice glass or two as I blog so all is well now, its even started raining which reminds us of home

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Austria, Vienna & Bavaria

Seems ages since my last post.
Its easy taking loads of photos and selecting which ones to blog with but impossible to predict where we'll have the all important Wi Fi, really need to look at alternative connections on our return to the UK at Xmas
The other excuse is that we've really just been enjoying ourselves immensely 
Touring in the van is really easy and is liberating to say the least, the freedom of movement, when and where to stay just opens doors every day
We really have not known where we would end up each day and that is the attraction we think of this lifestyle, any way on with the photos...

Oberammagau, close to the Austrian border, famed for its Passion Play once every 10yrs and its lack of tourists in November!

Nina took this candid shot of me after a brisk walk in the forest.....

The descent in to Innsbruck complete with several escape lanes

This was Hall, a very old village that looked stunning at night

At last, a shop with taste...
I secretly feared the shop manufactured Nina replacements..

Sell am See
Hotel was closed so could not laud it up

On a hike one day, now in deepest Austria, we discovered a Fitnessweg, numerous activity stations along the way that gave little excuse not to have a go

This guy is Herbert
A brief encounter in Laimbach, a small village, led to us being effectively kidnapped and taken for high tea at his home
Together with his lovely wife, Elizabeth, we enjoyed several hours sampling coffee and home made goodies
Their friendliness and welcome took us quite by surprise, many thanks you two

The first sight of the Donau

Vienna was a great day out for us, after having stayed near a Bahnhof overnight, we caught the immaculate train in to the immaculate city
Rose coloured glasses perhaps but I felt really comfortable here and enjoyed it in spite of being a bloke conditioned to not liking shopping

All these were high end shops that we did not go in to
Nina left her facemarks on most of the windows though
You know they are obscenely expensive when the doormen greet you wearing Armani suits
No price tags is another clue....

Just a few shots from probably a hundred that day


Vienna underground

Tiny village in the Tirol

This effectively is an ATM, how civilised

Shots one morning en route past Schliersee in Bavaria

Another Xmas market unfolded later this day involving more Gluhwein, hot sweet red wine, which everyone drinks around the stalls

Big trek one day around a huge lake and hills near Fall on the German / Austrian border

Same campsite, Via Claudia, we took in on our retraced path back across bavaria

The Erwin Hymer museum in Bad Waldsee

Beat this for an interior!

Freiburg Christmas markets, more beer, more sausages..