This month we finally had our honeymoon – you can read all about it here: Klaus and Helen’s Honeymoon Road Trip.
Because that is pretty much all that has happened in June 2022 this will be an unusually short blog!
One very important thing is that Poppy the dog turned 12! Here she is looking grey around the muzzle but she is still very happy and mostly well.
She has of course back and hip problems but this month has improved a little and has not been on painkillers for a month now. It’s obvious sometimes that she has some discomfort but it’s nothing too bad and we are building up her strength by longer walks. At the end of June in the very hot weather her back seemed much better. Happy Birthday to the Popster!
Here is the Wheel so you can see what I have done this month exercise-wise:
This is mixed in with all the honeymoon walks, but as you can see I had just 3 long cycle rides and then the red items at the end of the month (from about 10 o’clock to midnight on the wheel) are trike commutes to work as it was so hot.
One short ride at the beginning of the month was an early Sunday morning trip to Kempen for coffee and Windbeutel…
But the much longer ride was a Kempener Kuchenexpress ride to Büllhorsthof.
Kempener Kuchenexpress is the name of a Signal chat group that Klaus and I have with chums Kai and Dirk. Kai had some tyres for my Milan to hand over and we had said a month or so ago we should meet for cake. Eventually we found a date, also invited Dirk who invited a couple of other chaps too.
Everyone arrived at our house early on the bank holiday Monday of Pfingsten (Pentecost). Unfortunately just as Düssel was arriving in his shiny new Milan GT something went wrong with the pedals. He had had lots of teething problems with the Milan and as he was only 18km from Beyß, from whom he had bought it, he decided to ride to Beyß and deliver the Velomobile to him for repair. So Klaus agreed to collect him afterwards and they would go by car to meet us at Büllhorsthof.
So off we went, me cycling with 3 chaps who are all WAY faster than me, so I was giving it more gas than normal but still wasn’t very quick. The message below from Strada:
Anyway, we arrived and were surprised how few other people were there, although 12:30 was a little earlier than lots of Germans go for cake. I go for cake any time of the day!
I recommended to the others the Etagere. Three of us chose it.
The fourth, Kai, decided to go for two cakes at the same time! Mind you, he cycled from Neuss so definitely burned off the calories!
We had a lovely time sitting in the garden at Büllhorsthof although we had a few minutes of rain (we sheltered under the umbrellas for that).
Unfortunately Düssel and Klaus didn’t make it as Düssel had so many problems with his Milan that it took him more than an hour to travel about 10km and eventually, with about 5km to go, he abandoned his Milan by the side of the road and phoned Beyß to come and pick it up. He had, as the Germans say, “had the Schnauze voll.” Or as we would say, he was sick to the back teeth of it. As far as I understand Beyß collected it and it has been repaired but I don’t think Düssel will ever really repair his relationship with it.
So Klaus collected Düssel and then took him to the railway station in Nettetal to get the train home to Düsseldorf whilst we ate cake. I bought a take-away piece for Klaus and we all rode home.
Here was my route:
And here are my statistics.
The only other long rides I did were a trike ride with Klaus where we met Lara for cake. This was at the Auffelder Bauerncafé which is between Viersen and Kempen. We had had a not great experience there 6-7 years ago and hadn’t been back since but as Lara was going to cycle to meet us on an upright bike this was the best midpoint – and the Auffelder Bauerncafé was really good! We all chose the same cake, Pfirsich Maracuja. Very tasty!
And whilst I am mentioning cakes, after I returned from holiday I had to bring in something for my colleagues as I had had my birthday. In Germany when it’s your birthday you have to bring in the cake, your colleagues don’t do it for you. Which is weird but there you go. I made some scones as I had some Tiptree jam in the cupboard.
I’m not always sure my colleagues like my English cakes but most of the scones disappeared over two days.
Apart from the two weeks of honeymoon we haven’t done much this month as I have been working effectively full time. Part of my job when employed last August was to help integrate a new ERP system and the go-live date was 1 June. We weren’t really ready but couldn’t delay it as we would miss our slot with the programmers so we made the best of it.
Here you can see a usual day for me – lunch at my desk.
I was building up loads of overtime which meant I have booked off the two weeks around Christmas so can have a nice relax then (can’t take holiday between August and Christmas as it is our busy season). I will have some more overtime to take off early next year too. But as I really enjoy the job I didn’t mind doing the overtime, although my back complained a bit having to sit in the chair so long.
And a couple of days after we returned from Honeymoon Klaus had a business trip to Barcelona. He was a bit nervous about the flight as there were so many stories of cancelled flights, but in the end he made it there, albeit 2 hours later. Travelling with only hand luggage was a good move.
He had a lovely few days in Barcelona and got to eat some good food and see the sights as well.
Summer is really here now in Kempen. We have had a couple of dramatic storms but also some really hot days. The wheat is nearly ready to harvest and the fields are full of hares.
The local Asparagus place has now closed (they only open for a few months during the asparagus season), although they have a vending machine for strawberries.
We have events to look forward to in July too, so holiday season isn’t quite finished for us. But this is all I can really report for June. I hope you appreciated a succinct blog by me for once!
With Zuzanna the BMW Z3 convertible along the Romantic Road in Germany, then through Austria and the Alps to lake Garda in Italy, then across to lake Como, through the Swiss Alps via St Moritz and Davos, through Liechtenstein and arriving at Lake Constance (Bodensee) in Austria and finally driving through the Black Forest to Baden Baden before heading home via Mannheim. All to celebrate our wedding last August and my 51st birthday.
Please note that most of the photos in this blog are by Klaus (his photos are all square). The cake photos and any other landscape/portrait format photos are usually mine.
Day 1: Kempen to Aschaffenburg
Everything was packed (including my travel kettle and 140 teabags), our new luggage bags bought to fit in the Z3 boot were full with 8 days’ clothing, and we were off.
The first day would be mostly motorway driving so we kept the roof up. I had brought along some earplugs as I tend to suffer hearing loss when travelling in the Z3 but I found them very hard to fit properly. In the end I used my Apple AirPods with Noise Cancelling instead as I can get those to fit well.
Rather than driving straight to Aschaffenburg we decided to stop for lunch in Frankfurt am Main. We parked directly at the Hauptbahnhof where we seemed to have almost the whole car park to ourselves!
We went on foot to the Main river where we had a salad lunch at l’Osteria.
After lunch we walked beside the river towards the main part of town and visited the famous bridge. We wandered through the town, Klaus took lots of photos. Frankfurt is a rather lovely town!
We stopped for coffee and cake at a fab coffee shop with really unusual home-made cakes.
I asked for some cream with my cake and rather than the spray cream you usually get in Germany they whipped up some fresh for me – it was lovely!
We walked back through a slightly rougher bit of Frankfurt but passed this giant Euro sign with flags and messages supporting Ukraine (not visible on the photo).
In total we walked 4 km around Frankfurt.
And then we headed onwards to Aschaffenburg. We stayed in the B&B hotel there which was situated 1 km from the centre but with a parking place. First item of importance was a cup of tea so my travel kettle got put into use (it folds up).
as you can see, I am organised with a plastic tub with Kaffeesahne (coffee cream) so that I could pack it deep within the suitcase to try to keep the heat off (it’s hot in the Z3 boot anyway, and with temperatures in the 30s on this holiday it would be tricky to keep the milk OK). I also brought two teaspoons (which turned out to be very handy when we bought ourselves yoghurt desserts in supermarkets) and had about 160 teabags with me – I only used about 100 of them in the 14 days so that was surprisingly few!
I also had cut a sponge block in half and used one to clean my mug and spoon each time (when you drink tea with Kaffeesahne it stains the mug, with milk it doesn’t – dunno why). I had a little plastic bag to put the wet sponge in, and after the first week I chucked away the first sponge half and used the second, which was then ceremonially thrown away on our last morning of the Road Trip. This is how British tea drinkers survive on the continent.
After a bit of a rest we went out wandering in Aschaffenburg.
I forgot to start my watch at the beginning of the walk so haven’t got it all, but what was shown here was 2.5 km.
We couldn’t decide where to eat but I had spotted a curry house and really fancied a curry so in the end we went there. I enjoyed it!
Estimated distance for the first day by car was 300 km, on foot 12.5 km according to my watch.
Day 2: Aschaffenburg to Dinkelsbühl
We neither of us slept brilliantly so were up fairly early. There was no breakfast in our room rate so we got on the road and planned to stop for breakfast cake somewhere.
We drove first to Wertheim where we picked up the Romantic road, which has regular-ish signs to help you follow the route. Although they were not always available so we were fortunate Klaus had pre-planned the route and we were following it on an iPhone app called GPS Viewer.
Here is Zuzanna and one of the brown signs.
And here are we – notice my new hat bought specially for this honeymoon. I kind of hoped it made me look like Grace Kelly.
Cake stop was planned for Bad Mergentheim. It was very hot so we were pleased to be able to park Zuzanna in an underground parking garage. We wandered into the town to find some cake.
We ate our cake in a standard bakery .
We then wandered some more… and found an area with more cafes and also a very impressive castle which is now used for all sorts of official buildings (Amtsgericht, Polizei, Finanzamt etc).
I loved these wonky windows!
We headed back to Zuzanna and set forth again, this time another shortish stretch until we reached Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This is one of three German towns which still has its complete city walls (the other two are Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen, both of which we would visit on this honeymoon).
Rothenburg was busy and was the first place where I heard American accents (tourists presumably) and also saw a small group of East Asian tourists.
We stopped for another salad lunch (and beer for Klaus).
We were interested that lots of shops were open even though it was a Sunday. Very unusual in Germany!
Then it was time to walk around the walls!
We learned very quickly not to wear our baseball hats/Grace Kelly hat when climbing the stairs to the wall walkway as Klaus bumped his head hard.
As we went round we could see through the slits in the wall for crossbows and saw Zuzanna baking in the sun in the car park.
And from Zuzanna’s viewpoint, this was our vantage point.
We did the complete wall circuit and then it was time for an ice cream.
And for Klaus an alcohol-free beer.
We walked 3 km in total.
We then headed off to our stop for the night in Dinkelsbühl.
I had booked a place with parking but this turned out to be valet parking (we have no idea where Zuzanna actually spent the night), so we emptied her of our luggage and one of the hotel workers drove her away. The hotel was slap bang in the middle of the pedestrianised area, although there were a surprising amount of cars coming through.
The hotel was very nice, an old building with lots of woodwork – but we had a Tablet in the room to order our breakfast on! (Our hotel is the red one to the right of the yellow/cream building).
We decided to eat at the restaurant attached to our hotel and this was a good idea as the food was great – we both chose traditional German food and Klaus started with a martini.
We then went for a walk around the walls and also saw two storks nests with storks on them right in the centre of Dinkelsbühl. There was a webcam on one nest too. It was great to see them!
What we found a bit disappointing about Dinkelsbühl was it seemed to be dying a bit as a town – a lot of the buildings were looking worse for wear and several hotels seemed permanently closed, and there was much less vibe here than at Rothenburg (and also the next day at Nördlingen). With no railway station serving the town anymore it all seemed a bit quiet.
Estimated distance by car for Day 2 was 220 km and on foot 9.2 km.
Day 3: Dinkelsbühl to Augsburg
We had our breakfast which was mostly what we had ordered. We had no hot food though (scrambled eggs or whatever) as the meal was brought to our table. After we had finished eating we discovered we could have ordered eggs but as no one had told us we didn’t do so. A shame for Klaus who tries to keep to a low-carb breakfast.
Our car was fetched for us and we were on our way shortly after nine.
We headed down the Romantische Straße route and soon found ourselves in Nördlingen, the third of the walled towns. Nördlingen is also interesting as it is in the centre of a meteorite impact zone which is 25km across. From the centre you can see the ring of hills encircling this area (called the Ries) from this massive event. Bits of rock from this area were flung as far as the Czech Republic.
Nördlingen was a lovely town, with much more vivacity and seeming life than Dinkelsbühl. The rules were clearly a bit more relaxed here as houses were allowed to have satellite dishes on the roof, and in fact there were some more modern buildings within the walls. Of course we walked the walls again.
We also saw another stork nest on a tall building right by the church.
We stopped for cake in a café run by the Lebenshilfe which is a Protestant organisation which employs people with learning disabilities. The coffee was freshly roasted and Klaus thought it was excellent, the cakes were good too, and it was good to see several people employed and playing their part in society through this café.
We then headed back on the road, this time to Augsburg. We didn’t know much about it but it was a large town and I planned to buy my sandals and also a summer rain jacket to prepare for the rest of the holiday. My old rain jacket was much too big so I didn’t bring it with me and Klaus has a thing about shoes and is always encouraging me to get more – and he is right, I did not have any pösh sandals.
Our hotel was 1.6 km from Augsburg centre but was the best option in terms of price and parking. And it turned out to be really good! The Leonardo Hotel had a car park underneath the building, the rooms were good and the breakfast the next morning was outstanding (I had a full English with baked beans!!!)
After a bit of a chill out we walked into Augsburg centre in search of a sports shop for my walking jacket and a shoe shop for my sandals. And found neither! We couldn’t believe the lack of shoe shops!
Google showed me there was a mini shopping centre further away which had a larger sports shop so we walked there. They didn’t have a jacket that I really liked but I did manage to get some nice sandals with the help of Klaus the shoe expert.
This was the only photo I took of Augsburg as we were more focussed on shopping!
We walked back again, getting a burger on the way and some dessert from a mini supermarket.
We walked 8.5 km in total around Augsburg and, as you can see, it was the same route out and back.
Estimated distance by car for Day 3 was 140 km and by foot 15.8 km.
Day 4: Augsburg to Füssen
The day started with the fantastic breakfast and then we headed south from Augsburg along the Via Claudia Augusta, the old Roman road (Augsburg was a Roman settlement).
Our stopping point after an hour or so was Landsberg am Lech, where we once again found an underground car park and Klaus did some more Zuzanna photography.
Landsberg was lovely but there were a lot of cars in the centre which definitely makes it less peaceful and relaxing.
We walked around for a while and then had a cuppa and shared a Quarkhörnchen as we weren’t that hungry. We did some more walking around and then headed back to the car for the next sector to Füssen.
We walked 2.6 km in total, including quite a hilly section!
At one point south of Schongau at Peiting we approached a major road division where one road goes to Füssen and the other to Garmisch Partenkirchen. The thing is, the road to Füssen was coned off as closed but there was no ‘Umleitung’ (diversion) sign. Klaus took the only other option at the roundabout, the road to Garmisch, but I was looking on my phone and saw no road that crossed back towards Füssen. Garmisch was the wrong direction, much too far East!
It’s not always easy to see on the phone screen but I was pretty sure Garmisch was a long, long diversion so we turned round and headed back to the roundabout. The road closure said ‘Open to Wieskirche’ so we thought we would take a look. Maybe that would be far enough to get us on a different road to Füssen.
It did, it we ended up going along a really narrow road which was probably the official bike route as there were loads of bikes. We weren’t the only car either, it seemed that others took this route. It was very scenic but not ideal as we were sharing it with so many bicycles. Eventually we arrived on the main road again, phew. Looking later I saw that there would have been a way across from the Garmisch road but it would have been a long detour. Dodgy signage for detours is something you often find in Germany.
But we made it to Füssen and stopped first at the Factory Outlet for Vaude, Schöffel and other sporting brands where I found a nice purple rain jacket and also a warm fleece. so my purchases for the holiday were complete.
We then drove to the hotel and were informed they didn’t have a parking place for us. Then the chap relented a bit and said we could park in one place after 19:30 and move to another before 07:30 the next morning and that would be ok. So we did, but it was a bit inconvenient.
The hotel itself was fine and it was a short walk to Füssen pedestrian zone. We walked across the Lech river and went to see the waterfall, which turned into a walk to Austria. We spent a minute or so in Austria and then walked back.
This walk ended up as 6.74 km and was lovely, albeit we had to outrun the mozzies a bit at the end!
Our evening meal was a salad from the salad bar at the local Spar with some chocolate pudding for dessert. We didn’t feel like we needed a restaurant meal. We had to buy (for 19 cents each) a wooden fork as I had only brought spoons with me.
The next day would be Austria and then Italy via the Timmelsjoch pass!
Estimated distance by car for Day 4 was 120 km and by foot 12.5 km.
Day 5: Füssen to San Leonardo in Passiria
This morning Klaus noticed, when about to put a pair of socks on, that they were not his! We soon discovered they were Rohallah’s (the foster son of our landlord and landlady) and somehow they had got into our washing pile. So we decided his socks would make the most of their trip around Europe and we would let them see some sights as he isn’t able to travel outside of Germany at the moment. He could travel vicariously through his socks!
Breakfast today was good and we checked out by 9am to head to Austria and then Italy.
We would be going over the Timmelsjoch pass which is 2500 metres so I wore my new fleece, plus a buff and a hat as it was cool when driving.
We had seen some thunderstorms forecasted so wanted to make progress so we weren’t going over the pass during them, so we pressed on, stopping briefly in the Ötztal for some cake.
We drove up the road to Sölden where there are loads of skiing places, and also past Obergurgl. Great name!
Then it was the climb up to Timmelsjoch, another very impressive example of Austrian road building. We stopped at the top to admire the view.
We were now in Italy – I had previously spent 3 hours in Italy in my whole life (a visit from Austria to Sterzing Vipiteno for pizza) so this was new territory for me.
We had a little walk around on the top – it was surprisingly cool.
I am not a very relaxed passenger for twisty roads with hairpin bends. Zuzanna has brilliant road holding and Klaus is an excellent driver but I still find it a bit stressful, so was relieved when we were down in The Valley of St Leonardo in Passiria.
Although this is in Italy it is Südtirol / South Tyrol and several houses had signs on saying they were Austrian, not Italian. This area had previously been part of Austria before being given to Italy after World War 2. Everyone was speaking German to us and the road signs were in both German and Italian.
We checked into our hotel which also had covered parking for Zuzanna.
We then went for a walk around to have our first experiences of Italy. Klaus had stayed here for a week many years previously but I found it a surprisingly small place to stay a week – turns out they used it as a base for day trips. But it was pretty, although there wasn’t that much going on.
We found an ice cream place!
We also decided to buy our evening meal from the supermarket too, so got some bread, olives, meat, tuna, salad, cheese and hummus which we ate on our little balcony, watching a lizard resting in the shade of our balcony.
We enjoy these random wanderings around in new places and Klaus always has an eye for a good photo.
We were both quite tired today so went to bed early. The stream right outside our room sounded just like my tinnitus so it helped me get to sleep – Klaus found it a bit disturbing.
Estimated distance by car for Day 5 was 170 km and by foot 5.7 km.
Day 6: San Leonardo in Passiria to Cles
We had a good breakfast and then packed up our things. Something had done a big poop on Zuzanna’s boot lid so Klaus decided we would take her to a car wash today.
We were heading to a small town called Cles but wanted to stop in Merano first. We found an underground car park and then headed on foot into this lovely town.
After window shopping for a bit we stopped for cake. I had this huge cream cake hedgehog thingie which was so big I couldn’t finish it (Klaus had the last 20%). it was lovely sitting outside watching the world go by.
Merano was a lovely town with myriad shoe shops (good for Klaus) and jewellery shops (good for me), as well as loads of boutiques, cafes and places selling pasta. We thought it would be a good place for a longer stay.
After this we went to the car wash and Klaus did his thing so Zuzanna looked much better, then we set off for some mountain roads to Cles.
I am impressed by the road building skills in Italy, we went through lots of tunnels like this one.
There were some more hairpins which I find a bit scary but it was a short distance today and so we soon arrived in Cles.
The B&B owner was waiting for us and he took us to an underground car park which was his own personal unit. He took his car out, we parked Zuzanna in there and he drove us and our luggage the two minute walk to the B&B, pointing out various restaurants, bars, cafes, things to visit etc.
Our room was great and after a chill out we went for a walk, visiting a viewpoint over the lake. This is man-made and was dammed in the 1950s:
Lake Santa Giustina is an artificial lake which was created by the dike on the creek Noce. The dam was completed in 1950, is 152 metres high and it was the highest dam in Europe at the time. The lake can contain up to about 180 million cubic metres of water, which feeds the turbines of the hydroelectric plant in Taio.
We decided on our way the next day to visit the dam wall.
We had planned to walk down to the lake but realised this was an awfully long way, with a mega climb to get back, so decided against it when we got a good look at what we would face. We sat at the village water fountain and watched four separate people stop at the fountain and wash their hands/faces, after presumably working in the apple orchards (this area is famous for golden delicious and red delicious apples). One guy picked his dog up and let it drink too. I realised I have never seen a village water fountain being used by normal people in this way.
There were lots of lovely streets with interesting houses so we had fun wandering around.
We also took Rohallah’s socks for the outing so they were photographed admiring the view.
We decided to have a coffee while we relaxed and watched the world go by and I also had a very tasty crepe.
A little later we went to a pizzeria for dinner and ate very well – Klaus had tiramisu for dessert and I had profiteroles.
Whilst having our meal we placed an order for a charging cable for Klaus’s Garmin Fenix watch as he realised he had brought the wrong cable. The host of our B&B the next day said we could get the cable delivered to him so we ordered it on Amazon.it, and despite it all being in Italian I am familiar enough with Amazon to understand how to place the order. We got an acknowledgement that the cable would be delivered the next day, we would wait and see!
We were tending now to go to bed a little later – normally when working we go to bed at 21:30 as the alarm goes at 05:45; on this honeymoon our waking time had shifted to 07:00 so we were now going to bed at 22:30 or so. It had only taken 6 days to relax!
Estimated distance by car for Day 6 was 80 km and by foot 10.4 km.
Day 7: Cles to Riva del Garda
In the morning we had our first real proper Italian breakfast – several sweet croissants, coffee, fruit juice and a couple of rolls.
And then I noticed the teabags he had in his box of tea – Twinings English Breakfast! So I gave one a go to see if it was the real thing and it was! Amazing! So Italy is not a desert for tea connoisseurs!
So as planned yesterday we did a minor detour at the beginning of our drive to visit the dam for the lake and also the bridge at Fiume Noce. It turns out that you have to walk along a busy road with a very narrow pavement to get a good photo of the bridge so we didn’t take long about it. We couldn’t actually see the dam from the road either.
Still the bridge was very impressive!
Klaus had plotted a different route than our original plan as it was on what would probably be quieter roads. We ended up going through a really big ski area called Madonna di Campiglio which was very impressive, even in summer when naturally there are far fewer things going on.
It was a very hot day and we had the roof down, our sun hats on and lots of sun cream too! We enjoyed the cool respite of the tunnels!
At Pinzolo we had a view of much more snow than we had seen so far – this is either looking at the peak Cima Tosa at 3.173 metres or Cima Presanella at 3.558 metres.
At Spiazzo we thought it was time for a loo break and a cake break. We found a patisserie which didn’t have a great choice and not many customers but the cake/pastry/tart thingie was nice enough!
We had a very entertaining time watching two guys fitting lamps to some light poles with the help of a crane.
The road eventually swooped down towards the Garda Lake and it all looked very lovely.
We had booked a rather nice apartment and the Host had contacted me a week before about out number plate as the apartment is in the pedestrian zone and he could apply for a special permit for us to drive into the pedestrian zone to unload the car (it would be parked elsewhere afterwards).
He (Alessandro) sent us written instructions, maps with arrows drawn on etc through WhatsApp so we knew where to go. We shared our location with him for the last 15 minutes and he was waiting for us as we arrived in the area where he said we should stop. He was an incredibly friendly and helpful chap, full of enthusiasm for Riva and all the things we could do.
One thing he had already done for us was allowed us to get an Amazon delivery sent to his shop. Klaus realised the night before that he had the wrong charging cable for his Garmin Fenix watch and so wouldn’t be able to track walks, stress etc as he would need to put it onto power saving mode. However, these cables are just 10 Euros or so, so whilst eating our evening meal in Cles we suddenly decided to see if we could get a cable delivered the next day to Riva by Amazon. It turned out we could! Alessandro gave us the address to which we should have it sent and when we walked into our apartment the next day just after midday the cable was there! Impressive!
The apartment had everything – air conditioning, kitchen with everything necessary (kettle of course), dishwasher, and – very important! – a washing machine! We unloaded everything from the car and then Alessandro hopped in and directed Klaus to the parking area which was about a 5 minute walk away.
This was an underground car park which was good in the heat, and to keep the bird poop off Zuzanna.
We set off the first of two loads of washing, once I had worked out what all the Italian terms on the washing machine meant. I didn’t get it 100% right as our whites were a bit off-white after the first wash but they were clean at least!
I was a little peckish so we went for short walk for me to find a sandwich, which I did. I also went to the supermarket to get some fresh milk for my tea.
I had told Alessandro that it was our honeymoon and also that it would be my Birthday the next day and he told us to look in the freezer…
An ice cream birthday cake! Which of course we did not eat the day we arrived as it was not yet my birthday. We booked at the local posh restaurant for a meal the next day and then decided we would make use of our Riva del Garda Welcome App thingie that Alessandro had told us about as it gave us free or reduced admission costs to various things.
He told us that we could get a free boat trip to Torbola and then could walk back. That sounded like a nice thing to do so we went to the harbour and eventually realised we had to get a ticket at the ticket office (even though we had the App – they scanned our QuickCode and then gave us a ticket).
So we hopped on the boat which turned out to be a paddle steamer.
It was very hot outside, around 33 degrees, but the breeze on the boat was lovely.
We arrived in Torbola and started to walk back, sharing the lakeside path with lots of bicycles and also walkers.
Rohallah’s socks came with us and had a view of Garda Lake.
The walk ended up at 5.3 km so that was a good bit of exercise which gave us an appetite for our evening meal.
We had a pasta dinner in the restaurant below our Apartment which Alessandro had said offered authentic Italian pasta. And then we went elsewhere for an ice cream sundae – which was also very good!
The city really came to life after 20:00, with people sitting around eating, drinking, chatting. It had a real energy and buzz and we loved it. We had a really good wander around and Klaus took lots of photos.
The heat was tiring so we went to bed at 10pm after hanging out our second lot of washing on the airer to dry.
Our estimated distance by car for Day 7 was 80 km and by foot 12.8 km.
Day 8: Riva del Garda
Today was not only the first rest day of our holiday but also my birthday. Not a round number birthday, that was last year, but still an excellent excuse to have some cake – not that I usually need an excuse.
The evening before I decided I would quite like to get a haircut as my hair was really hot now in this weather and I had to have it tied back the whole time. So when I woke up and hadn’t thought better of it I looked into the options.
Google showed me various hairdressing salons, most of which opened at nine in the morning but some at 8:30. Most had very good reviews so I thought I would take a look and see if I could find an appointment as a drop in.
We had decided to get breakfast somewhere but I thought I would go for the haircut first, so I set off to the first of the salons I had seen on Google and Klaus went out for a general wander and to do some photography.
I had no success at the first two salons (no space) and then waited till 8:30 am for the third and best reviewed to open, but by 8:40 am there was no sign of anyone so I gave up.
Walking back to our apartment I passed another salon and went in. It was very busy but she could give me an appointment at 11 and she spoke some German so that seemed like a good idea. That meant we had a while for breakfast.
The apartment host had given us a list of good restaurants for different meals and so we headed to the restaurant he had recommended for breakfast. However this place only seemed to do sweet options – crepes or pancakes – and I fancied a traditional cheese & ham roll kinda breakfast.
So we decided instead to go to the supermarket and pick up the makings of a cheese and ham roll and also some salad for our lunch. We wanted to eat a bit lighter today due to the probable onslaught of cakes later. Also we had booked a table at a nice restaurant this evening.
So we ate our cheese and ham rolls, followed by croissant although in the Italian style so with sugar on the outside. And also cups of tea.
Then it was time for me to go off to the hairdressing salon. Klaus stayed in the apartment to relax a bit as we were both feeling a little bit tired today, following our week of travel and excitement and lots of walking.
When I arrived at the hairdressers there was quite a wait, I think I waited about 25 minutes, but this was in fact useful time as the lady getting her haircut before me was having exactly the haircut that I thought would be suitable for me.
This made life much easier as the hairdresser was a Chinese lady who spoke a little German but no English. I basically pointed to her previous customer and said “I want hair like that.”
And that is what I got!
She cut a good 20cm off in some places so my head feels much lighter and also cooler! It’s easier to handle my hair now when travelling in a cabriolet car – it doesn’t get knotted or whack me in the face the whole time! Long hair is hot in summer, you have to tie it up really. I had just bought a bumper pack of quality scrunchies so they won’t get much use for a while now!
After some more relaxing (we are on holiday after all) we had our salad for lunch
We then had some of the cake that had been left by our apartment host. It was very tasty indeed, we had half at lunchtime.
We had the second half the next day at breakfast, as you do!
The plan in the afternoon was to go up the funicular railway to the viewing platform over Riva but when we got there it was temporarily closed. So option 2 was to go on another boat trip.
We bought our discounted tickets (11 Euros each for a day pass instead of 22 Euros) and just missed one boat so had to wait 25 minutes for the next, which we very nearly also missed because it docked in a different area. Fortunately Klaus spotted it. We were already quite late in the day and had our meal booked for 7pm so only had the chance to stop at one place and look around before taking the next boat back.
It was very windy on the boat and the sun was also strong so we went inside after half an hour.
We got off at Limone Sul Garda and had a short wander around. Klaus took more photographs and we window-shopped a bit.
We then decided to hop on the next ferry for a short trip across the lake to Malcesina as that same ferry would then turn round and go back to Riva. We had excellent seats right at the front.
We watched most people get off at Malcesina but stayed on ourselves. I was really hoping that my reading of the timetable was correct, that this boat would now go back to Riva via Limone and not sail off with us further down the lake. Fortunately I was indeed right!
We journeyed back on the water watching all the water sports (windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing etc) and arrived back in Riva in due course.
We then freshened up before dressing up for a posh birthday dinner at Ristorante al Volt, which was really good.
Here was one of our desserts, frozen fruit sorbets.
Followed by brownies…
We were nicely full when we finished our meal, having a short walk down to the harbour for another look at the lake before bed.
All in all it was a very enjoyable birthday. Since I spent my 29th birthday in hospital having a kidney biopsy I have vowed to be on holiday for my birthday if at all possible – I think I have only failed in this plan twice! It makes it a special day and much more relaxed. And finishing the day with a lovely meal courtesy of Klaus was also great!
We did not use the car at all on Day 8 but by foot walked 10.8 km.
Day 9: Riva del Garda to Monasterolo al Castello
We had a later start this morning as I went out to buy some rolls, croissants and cheese and ham for breakfast. Which was then supplemented by birthday ice cream cake!
It was a long walk to the car which was parked in a special underground parking place and it was already very hot so we were sweating by the time we got into the car. And the day just got hotter.
We had originally intended to take Zuzanna to a car wash again but there was some kind of bike race on, lots of road closures so we decided against it when we got a bit stuck.
We took the lakeside road south from Riva and it’s a very impressive road as large portions of it are built into the mountainside or are tunnels. No fun for any bicycles, of which we saw quite a few. We had occasional glimpses of the lake but seemed to spend more time inside tunnels than in the fresh air. At least they were cool, but smelled of car fumes.
The landscape changed at the south end of the lake with the hills falling away. It was hot hot hot and we needed fuel, which turned out to be a rather challenging self-service pump at 2.129 Euros per litre. About 5km further fuel was 2.059, but of course we didn’t know that at the time. We put the car roof down for more airflow but it was still really hot.
We drove round the outskirts of Brescia (not very attractive) and then had a bit more mountainous routing which was much nicer. We stopped in the town of Iseo on Lake Iseo for lunch – apple pie for me, caprese for Klaus.
A short wander around this lovely town and then it was back to the car – with the roof up now so we could have the air conditioning on. It was 31 degrees outside.
We arrived at our evening stop in Monasterolo al Castello which was a quiet town. There was nothing much there, just a decent B&B and some peace and quiet.
The B&B owner had given us the addresses of two car parks. The first was full, the second wasn’t ideal, but it was clear that hundreds of Italians were visiting to swim in the lake and that their cars would move on in the evening. We heard no German or English voices, it was all Italian.
We spent some time chilling in our room as it was too hot outside. We ventured out for dinner eventually, first moving Zuzanna to the nearer car park (it now had space) and then walking down to the lake where there was a large café. We each had pizzas and drinks and it was all perfectly decent food.
On our way back to the B&B we stopped for ice cream. The two ladies in the shop spoke no English or German but eventually we worked out what everything was and ordered our ice creams.
We had had a relaxing day but with the heat we need to take it easy. The next day would also be very hot, up to 33 degrees.
Estimated distance by car for Day 9 was 140 km and by foot just 6.8 km.
Day 10: Monasterolo al Castello to Griante (Lake Como)
We woke at 7:15 so went for breakfast at 8:00 as planned. The B&B just has three rooms and all three were occupied – and all three sets of guests came for breakfast at the same time!
A first for me – ring doughnut for breakfast!
We left by 9am, knowing it would be a hot day. We were heading to Lake Como today, to Villa la Collina which is where Konrad Adenauer used to take his holidays. It is now owned by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and you can stay in the main villa or the neighbouring guest house. We were booked for the Guest House as the villa was already full.
Our route ended up going over some mountains with a total height of 1340 metres. Unfortunately the route was on some narrow roads and I was finding it worse and worse to travel on these roads, I get scared that some idiot will come flying round the corner and hit us as lots of people drive too fast for the visibility. Klaus was driving really slowly and carefully for me, the Z3 is the ideal car for these kind of roads (size, handling, power) , but I felt stressed the whole time. Which Klaus could see but there wasn’t much we could do about it.
I have noticed that when the road is wide enough for a white line down the middle then I am less scared. If we are following another car I am less scared. If we are going downhill rather than uphill I am less scared. If we are travelling on roads with forest either side I am less scared. But today we had quite a lot of narrow roads (no white line) with hairpin bends with bad sight lines; we had no car in front so didn’t know what would be around the corner; and we had a huge drop at the edge of the road in some places, although almost all the sharp corners had crash barriers. Tja, it’s not entirely rational, but I cope less and less well with such roads. And we had two more days of this! Poor Klaus had a perfect car for the terrain and he was having to hold her back the whole time…
Anyway, we made it to the top of the hill, the final 500 metres extremely slow as we were following a chap herding his cows up the hill with the help of a pickup truck and an excellent dog.
Once we were over the top the downhill was a bit less terrifying as the road was wider, but it took a long time to get down into the valley, where we started going round Bergamo. We had a couple of occasions where we took the wrong road as it wasn’t always clear from the map on the phone but we always got back onto the right road quickly.
We had decided to stop in Como, even though it is apparently very pricey. This ended up as quite a long drive as we didn’t reach Como until 12:30. It was searingly hot so we were very happy to find a covered parking garage where we could put Zuzanna, and we put her roof back on as we knew the rest of today’s driving, another hour, would need to be with the roof up and the air conditioning on.
We found ourselves a café for a panini for lunch and then walked around a bit more, including visiting the lakefront which was having major building works so was not so scenic.
Rohallah’s socks had a photo beside the lake too.
My Mum had given me some money for my birthday and I wanted to buy some earrings with the money to remember the holiday but it seemed that most of the shops were closed, presumably as this was a Monday. So I didn’t get the earrings but we had an ice cream instead.
We both much preferred Riva del Garda over Como but it was good to visit and the parking charge of 1€ per hour was very fair.
We set off in Zuzanna with the roof still on and the air conditioning blasting out as it was 32 degrees. We drove for almost an hour beside the lake through various villages and hamlets before arriving at Villa la Collina. This was the Konrad Adenauer Guest House building and we had a lovely corner room with a balcony on two sides. Interestingly the water there was not potable so they provided bottled water. I needed my tea so used some warm water from a bottle that had been in the car boot for my kettle, in case we had to pay for the bottled water (I can be a cheapskate!).
It turned out there was a pool so we put on our swimming gear and went to take a swim. It was lovely!!!
After 15 minutes or so in the pool we sat on some loungers to admire the view and then returned to our room where we chilled out before the evening meal (we had half board). We also had a look in the main building which was very lovely.
For Klaus, who is interested in history, this was a great place to visit. I did know who Konrad Adenauer is but when we asked an 18 year old they just knew him as a name for airports/roads/bridges.
Our evening meal was very good and Klaus enjoyed a martini and two glasses of wine. We watched the lizards scurrying around and heard the noisy insects, we were very much away from traffic noise. We had a lovely relaxing evening for our last full day in Italy, looking over a Boccia pit whilst relaxing after our meal.
Estimated distance by car for Day 10 was 150 km and by foot 6.5 km.
Day 11: Griante (Lake Como) to Davos
After a good breakfast we got ready to drive to Switzerland. We would be leaving Italy for this trip.
In the night Zuzanna had been pooped on by a large bird, plus she also had cat paw prints on her roof. We wiped off the bird poo and set off…
Only to get stuck at the gate to the property which did not open to let us out.
I had a look and there were two sensors by the gate which I triggered but nothing happened. I couldn’t see any other switch or button or anything, so Klaus phoned the hotel. They put him on hold for several minutes before finally speaking to him and saying there was a button for the gate (which we could not find/see). They opened it for us anyway. The phone call cost 5,99€!!!
Anyway, we set off along the coast road for lake Como which, like the road from Garda, had lots of tunnels. I am impressed by the road-building of the Italians.
we knew we would come to Switzerland fairly soon so wanted to buy fuel in Italy first, although Zuzanna still had half a tank. We stopped at a filling station after 20km and were rather amazed to discover that there were two chaps working there to pump the fuel. It was like the old days. Although cost much more per litre!
Today involved going over two mountain passes, the Malojapass at 1,815 metres and the Flüelapass at 2,383 metres. I was obviously a bit nervous about this due to my fear when going up the mountains yesterday but today’s roads were much wider so I found it OK although a few bits of the Flüelapass were a little scary.
The Malojapass has some very scenic (!!) switchbacks on the way up.
We were waiting at some roadworks traffic lights almost at the top when it started to rain so we quickly put up the hood, which involved me reaching round to get the towel we use to protect the back screen, and of course the lights changed before we could get the roof properly closed. But we managed it and then stopped at the top of the pass for a look down – and the obligatory Zuzanna photos for Klaus’s instagram feed.
From here it was a good fast road through lovely alpine scenery with some posh buildings in evidence, plus some snow on the far mountains.
Our next stop was St Moritz where we planned to stop for lunch cake. We had been driving 3 hours or so by now.
We found a good underground parking garage and had a short wander around, seeing some expensive shops (I saw a nice bracelet for 44,000 Swiss Francs, for example). There was a Rolls Royce parked outside a hotel and a row of posh shops.
Rohalla’s socks did some window-shopping too.
The only shopping we did was cake-purchasing, at about double the price we would expect in Germany. They tasted good though. And I actually chose a Black Forest Gateau as I fancied it, although it didn’t taste like a normal German one (less chocolate sponge, the brown layer was different). Klaus pointed out that we would be going through the Black Forest in a few days’ time so maybe I should eat it then – no reason not to have one now and one then, I thought!
Here is where we walked in St Moritz.
We returned to the car and only had to pay 2,50 Francs for the parking which wasn’t bad (CHF and EUR are almost at parity so it makes for easy maths). And then we headed off towards Davos, getting rained on quite heavily just after leaving St Moritz. The rain had stopped by the time we were heading over the Flüelapass where we again stopped at the top for photos. It was quite cold up there!
Here are Rohallah’s socks enjoying the view down the Flüelapass.
We arrived in Davos and were surprised what a large town it was. Our B&B was a bit run-down looking but the room was spacious, we had a balcony and it was within walking distance of a supermarket where we planned to buy a salad dinner.
But I made a disastrous discovery… the Swiss power sockets don’t take German kettle plugs!!! The sockets take our two-pin charging adapters for phones etc but not the chunky plugs.
So we had to go out for me to have a restorative cuppa – and also another cake.
whilst arriving at a suitable café we heard a car with a megaphone approaching – the women’s Tour de Suisse cycle race would come through in ten minutes. And indeed it did!
After this excitement we had our cake and drink. The cakes were about 6 Euros each, the two drinks came to 7,50.
After some window shopping we went to the Coop and bought our salad – which cost almost 30€ (with some protein puddings for dessert and some chocolate).
I also spotted an adapter for EU plugs for 6,50€ so went back to get it later as it was worth it for me to have cups of tea!
Here was where we walked in Davos.
We ate the salad on the balcony whilst a rainstorm came through.
Then chilled out with tea and photo editing. Davos was a Little disappointing, as was St Moritz, as lots seemed to be closed, there was lots of through traffic and the prices were all so high – a 130 square metre flat was selling for over two million in a local estate agent!
Estimated distance by car for Day 11 was 160 km and by foot 10.2 km.
Day 12: Davos to Lindau (Bodensee)
Our hotel had been very quiet overnight and when we went down to breakfast the buffet had two of everything – boiled eggs, croissants, white rolls, wholemeal rolls… I wondered if we were the only guests.
A lady came to take our tea/coffee order and she was the first member of staff that we had seen (we had picked up our room keys from a key safe). After breakfast she completed our payment formalities and I noticed what looked like all the room keys hanging on their hooks. So perhaps we were the only guests, which explained why the hot water took ages to come through in the shower this morning.
We were both slightly underwhelmed by Davos, as we had been by St Moritz. These are winter ski places so perhaps not at their best in summer, but Saalfelden in Austria which we visited last June was still alive with plenty to do.
Anyway, we headed off in Zuzanna keeping the roof up as rain was forecasted for the day. The route through the valley was very scenic and there were lots of tunnels again – these are very noisy in Zuzanna with the roof up and the windows down.
We drove first to Vaduz in Liechtenstein, my first visit to that country/principality. It’s only 120 square kilometres with fewer than 40,000 inhabitants so tiny – but rich.
We stopped in Vaduz and spent some time wrestling with the parking ticket machine. The machine was out of order but it advertised an App which you could use to pay so I downloaded that, did the whole registration thing, added our number plate and started the parking. I had no idea how much it would cost, but Liechtenstein uses Swiss Francs so the guess was a lot.
We had a bit of a walk around but it was too early for cake (yes, really, just an hour after a large breakfast) and there wasn’t that much to see – except lots of sculptures and other artworks, including Liechtenstein’s stamps printed large on the pavement.
The yellow building in the photos below is their parliament building, and the Prince of Liechtenstein lived just up the hill in a castle we could see.
I found it interesting that the number plates for Liechtenstein were all in black.
And also they had a maximum 99,999 owners of cars that could be registered!
Vehicle registration plates of the Principality of Liechtenstein are composed of the letters FL, followed by a small version of the coat of arms of Liechtenstein and up to five digits. The letters FL stand for FürstentumLiechtenstein. Standard plates have white writing on a black background, using the same type of font as Swisslicense plates. Liechtenstein license plates are assigned to the vehicle owner, not to the vehicle. The numbers are usually assigned in ascending order. Due to the small size of the country (approx. 39,400 inhabitants), no geographical distinguishing codes are necessary. The system was introduced in 1920. On 30 June 2021, a total of 36,494 motor vehicles, 4,936 motorcycles and 4,192 trailers were registered in Liechtenstein.
We took a couple of pictures with Rohallah’s socks as part of their European tour. Spot the sock in this one!
It was a very short walk around Vaduz centre as it’s pretty small.
We decided to go back to the car and continue on to Bregenz. We were actually only parked for 21 minutes and it seems from my parking App that the parking was free!
We drove on with the roof still up due to occasional rain. The original planned route included some Autobahn/Motorway so Klaus chose a different route which was more scenic.
We arrived in Bregenz after an hour and found the main parking area near the station. We had a bit of a wander around and found ourselves some Austrian cake in a café.
We were reminded of the different customer service concept in Austria/Germany than Italy. We had both remarked how helpful and friendly the Italians are who served us food and drink, the Germans always seem a bit sour and that you are asking too much of them. The Swiss were somewhere in between. We noticed it with the German receptionist at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung too, she seemed a bit aloof and unfriendly. Such a contrast with the many helpful, friendly and positive Italians we interacted with, and we were in Italy at the time!
Anyway, the cake was good (of course) and although it was raining a bit we went for more of a walk afterwards, heading to the lake Bodensee/Constance and taking a photo of Rohallah’s socks admiring the view.
We walked 3km or so in total
We then went back to the car for the final 15 minutes to our hotel in Lindau, which was not on Lindau island but a few kilometres away on the mainland.
When we got to Hotel Nagel they said we could not check in until 15:00, the first time this has happened on our whole tour (we arrive before official check-in time but it has never been a problem). So we left our luggage there (as we had already extracted it from the car) and as we had an hour and a half we drove to Lindau island and wandered around there for a couple of hours.
Klaus had seen a Kaffeerösterei but unfortunately it was closed on Wednesdays. It was up an extremely narrow passageway!
So we found a different café and Although I fancied a pastry they didn’t have many so I ended up with a banana cake, which was really good. Klaus had an Apfelstreusel.
We enjoyed walking around Lindau which has large pedestrianised areas. We watched a huge tour boat leave the harbour and looked at the normal boats too. In a previous life I had a yacht and sailed; I don’t miss it but I do like to look at different yachts in harbours/marinas and reminisce.
What I also noticed is that German boats can have male names – the boat here is called “Lord Gooseberry”.
We drove back to our hotel and checked into our room. I then went for a swim in the outdoor pool – I was in for 10 minutes but my app only awarded me 14 metres swum. Which is definitely not true!
We chilled out for a while as we had earlier made plans to visit chum TimB, with whom we stayed on our Bodensee Velomobile Tour (and who rode with us for a couple of days on that tour). He lives in Tettnang which was 30 minutes away so in due course we headed off.
We passed a road sign to Kempten. I cannot tell you how often when giving my address people think it is Kempten and not Kempen.
Last time we visited Tim he wanted to make Spätzle for us but didn’t have them at home (in my blog https://www.auntiehelen.co.uk/bodensee-2019-day-8-konstanz-to-tettnang/ I wrote “The plan was to have Käzespätzle but Tim discovered he didn’t have any Spätzle at home so instead we had chow mein noodles with cheese and onions.”) so this time he arranged everything and we were served some real Spätzle as well as salad, pea soup and drinks. Tim had recently returned from a velomobile tour of Italy, including some of the places we had been by car, so it was interesting to hear about that and just to generally catch up. We haven’t seen lots of our friends for several years due to covid.
We sat on Tim’s balcony to eat our dinner and watched some thunderclouds getting closer – and to let Rohallah’s socks experience the view.
Klaus looking a bit startled that Zuzanna will get rained on soon!
Eventually the lightning started, as did the rain, and it started to get dark so as I was driving (Klaus had had some beer) we said goodbye to Tim and headed back to our hotel. It was raining quite hard and had got darker earlier than I expected so it wasn’t the easiest drive back as I tend to struggle to see road markings in the dark and rain and I hadn’t driven this way before. So we drove back very slowly and made it back in one piece!
Estimated distance by car for Day 12 was 140 km and by foot 9.4 km.
Day 13: Lindau to Baden Baden
Today’s photos are all by me as Klaus didn’t take any.
Tonight would be our last night in a hotel as we would have a longer day in the car tomorrow to get home. Klaus had prebooked a B&B Hotels chain hotel at Baden Baden airport as it was in a convenient location. We wanted to visit his father in Mannheim the next day on our way home.
The breakfast in Hotel Nagel in Lindau was very good. Not only did they have croissants but also Laugenbrezel, scrambled eggs and bacon, pancakes and lots of cheese, ham, fresh fruit, cereals and more. I thought the hotel had been very good value. Particularly as it had the really nice swimming pool area and I had enjoyed my dip.
We set off just after nine, knowing we had a longer distance today. Our first task was to give Zuzanna a wash as she was very dusty. We kept the roof up afterwards until it had dried out, then we enjoyed the blue sky and sunshine. This included seeing an airship near Friedrichshafen which has lots of Zeppelin history.
The route took us up the eastern side of Bodensee but on the fast road that was set somewhat back from the lake so we didn’t get that many glimpses of it. Klaus realised that some of the route was also on motorways and we decided that was much too boring so got Apple Maps and Google Maps to recalculate a route for us avoiding motorways. We decided we would stop for cake at St Georgen im Schwarzwald so plotted a route there, which turned out to be on some lovely roads. We had some fast open sections and lots of winding, twisty roads along rivers and valleys in the Schwarzwald.
We arrived at St Georgen and parked the car in an underground car park which was free for 2 hours. The plan was to eat a slice of Black Forest Gateau but we struggled to find a decent bakery/café where we could sit to eat. In the end we found one but they had no Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte! So we shared a large slice of Streusel and had a drink.
Unfortunately this café didn’t have a loo but the lady told me there was one in the Rathaus, which there was. I asked for two forks to eat the Streusel with and she charged me 5 cents for the washing up! Still, the whole bill for a coffee, tea and Streuselkuchen came to 5,05 € so it wasn’t exactly a rip-off.
But we hadn’t managed our Black Forest Gateau. So we decided to drive onward to Freudenstadt which wasn’t on our original route but is somewhere that friend Uli visits annually as part of his Kur and it seemed a nice place.
Which it was! We found another underground car park which was good as it was now 31 degrees outside. We would have the roof up for the remainder of the journey for shade. We also found a decent café which had the required cakes!
We both felt a bit over-caked having two cakes within an hour and a half but we had to have the Schwarzwälder, as I am sure you can imagine!
Freudenstadt was really lovely and we had a short walk around.
We saw a British-registered motorbike with a chap sorting out some luggage on it so had a chat with him. He was Scottish so Klaus only understood about 25% of what he said because of the accent, but he said they had ridden down from Amsterdam to Freiburg in one day and were based at a hotel there and doing day excursions. We chatted a bit about places we had visited – they had also done Davos and St Moritz previously. It was getting hot so we left him to it and retreated to the coolness of the underground garage – once we found Zuzanna. We hadn’t realised we had parked on the second level down and wandered around the first level looking for our car. We found her in the end!
We then had a drive of about an hour and a half to Baden Baden. The route went through the town as we were actually staying at the airport, formerly a Canadian Air Force base (so the street names on the Airport complex were named for Canadian cities). It was a B&B Hotel again so simple but good value. Our room had air conditioning which was very nice on such a hot day!
We wandered into the Airport Terminal to see if anything was happening – er, no.
We watched a Ryanair plane take off, the last of the day (I think they probably have less than 10 flights a day from Baden Baden).
Then we went to the only available restaurant, an Italian which was actually pretty decent. Klaus enjoyed some alcohol after all his driving today!
We had a lovely shared starter and then a pizza each and were feeling pretty stuffed by the end. So we went back to the hotel and I had my penultimate cup of tea as I only had one Kaffeesahne left – which would be for early the next morning. We also shared a pack of Ritter Sport Alpenmilch from the vending machine – at 2 € it was a bit of a rip-off but, well, chocolate…
And that was it, our last full day on our Honeymoon. Spending it at an airport but with no need to catch a plane!
Estimated distance by car for Day 13 was 250 km and by foot 5.8 km.
Day 14: Baden Baden to Kempen
Today’s photos are all by me as Klaus didn’t take any pics of note.
There had been an electrical storm the night before but we were asleep for most of it so just saw lots of wet cars in the car park in the morning. You can see the evidence of the previous usage as an airfield with the large hangars covered in grass.
We went down to breakfast which was a little disappointing as they had run out of some items and not topped them up. But I had some Müsli and a couple of filled rolls and some tea – and managed to bagsie some more Kaffeesahne so I could have another cup of tea afterwards. This was useful as we both decided to do corona tests before leaving as we planned to see Klaus’s father for lunch, so we had more time for tea.
So whilst my corona test was proving I had my final cuppa and then threw away the second sponge. I had cut one sponge into two and used the first half for the first week and now the second half had finished its duty and was in the bin. I kept the plastic spoons though as they are always useful!
We set off for Mannheim but had plenty of time so decided to pop across the Rhein to France so that Rohallah’s socks could experience another country. We found ourselves in the village of Lauterbourg and found an open patisserie where we could have coffee and, in my case, cake.
Klaus took a socks photo for Rohallah which he sent to him – the socks looking at a menu in French.
I enjoyed a cake, sent a photo of it to my sister and she asked which was the best country for cake. My answer: “Good question. I think Germany, Austria and Switzerland are all excellent but they cost double in Switzerland. Italy good but not so many cream cakes. This French one was ok but not as good as German.” But it is not just about the taste of the cake but also about the customer service and the French lady was lovely, especially as I just couldn’t remember any French. She spoke to me in both English and German and was very smiley and happy – you don’t see that much in Germany!
We then decided not to take the motorway to Mannheim as we still had a bit of time, we would prefer to take country roads, so we got Apple Maps to find us a route without motorways and off we went.
We met Klaus’s father at his favourite Italian restaurant and enjoyed lunch together and a good chat, then it was time for us to do the final 300 km home. Once again we didn’t want to do just motorways as that’s a bit boring in Zuzanna so we decided to do the Rhine Valley the scenic route and take the motorway from Koblenz.
I got a socks photo approaching Worms over the bridge.
It was a hot day again so we had the roof down – we would put it up for the motorway section so it was not too loud.
Driving past Bingen and then along the Rhine valley takes quite a while so time was marching on when we stopped at Loreley in St Goar for our tea break – Klaus had a slice of cheesecake and I had an ice cream.
And of course the socks were in the photo for Rohallah.
It was now nearly five and we had a good two hours still to drive so headed directly onto the A61 motorway and made our way home. As the car is loud at motorway speeds I put in my AirPods with noise cancelling and listened to some podcasts whilst Klaus drove, sometimes through quite heavy rain.
We arrived home just after 7pm and Poppy the dog was there to welcome us. It was lovely to see her again! We unpacked and got the first batch of washing on and everything in the flat was back to normal in about an hour. We are impressed with our packing and unpacking efficiency, although there will be another two loads of washing tomorrow.
Here is the Wheel of all the places I have walked whilst on this holiday (small green dots). With a total of 71 km on specific walks recorded on my Apple Watch. As you saw from the information earlier on my distances per day, I had actually walked 131.1 km over these two weeks.
We were also very impressed by Zuzanna’s fuel consumption. We understood that the Z3 with the 2.8 litre straight six engine needs about 10 litres per 100km (28 mpg) but Zuzanna performed better than that at almost every fill up. As you can see from the screenshot below, our journey yesterday and today until we filled up at Bingen was 8.24 litres per 100km (34 mpg).
Fuel costs are very high at the moment but we spent less than we thought for the whole trip, which was 2.553 km. Our estimated distance by car for Day 14 was 480 km and by foot 2.2 km.
And as for all the food and cake, when I stood on the scales after returning to Kempen I was 5 kg up. However, much of this is water (when you eat carbs your body retains more water) and after the first day home eating normally again (low carb) I had dropped 1.2 kg. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for me to regain my pre-holiday weight, but the trousers still fit so I am relaxed about it!
So the honeymoon is over but we had a wonderful time. Zuzanna performed brilliantly, the boot fits more in it than we expected, and we are already planning our road trip for next summer – perhaps Scotland and the Lake District and Wales, or perhaps some other plan. Who knows!
And at the end I presented Rohallah a certificate for the travels of his socks:
Here he is, the proud owner of some well-travelled and as yet unwashed socks!
We hope you have enjoyed reading about our travels and perhaps it has given you some ideas of places to visit. We definitely want to go to Riva del Garda again, it was our favourite place on the whole trip.
We are having a short break from our monthly honeymoon weekends now (have to save up a bit after this big trip!) but will be away again for our first wedding anniversary on Honeymoon #10 in August.