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  • mbwatts

Euro campervan trip 2023 - stage 10: jogging home

It's now been four weeks away from home. I'm missing home and so is Mrs W.. Reggie loves being in the van and his vote is just to carry on!

While I was at my eye checkup Mrs NHSontheRun took Reg to the vet in Wels Austria, for his homeward bound check up and worming. The paperwork, and vaccine in the UK, lasting four months only, was about £350. The vet in Austria efficiently completed worming, repeated rabies vaccination and issued a life long pet passport for 70€. The mark up on dental and vet services in the UK is inexplicably high.

Those of you who've read the journey to date, know I'm nursing a poorly eye and Louise is doing all the driving.

Nessa is an ex-minibus, and as such has a speed limiter fitted, which stops us from driving at more than 65 mph. So progress is slow, but steady.

Leaving Austria we aim for Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Germany. Chosen because we had originally planned leisurely travel through the German Romantische Strasse. A well established route through the prettiest German towns. And of those, R-o-d-T looks the prettiest, Instagram town, and if we can't do the route the slow way, we might as well see the best bit for a short while.

By early evening we were there. The other decision we have made is that we deserve a couple of nights in hotels. We found Mittermeiers Alter Ego, fabulous boutique hotel on the outskirts. Luxury at last,

The town itself doesn't disappoint. Ancient northern Bavarian town with stunning medieval half timbered colourful buildings. Louise could be seen playfully dancing and beckoning in doorways encouraging children to give themselves up to the child-catcher.

We agree we need to come back another time to complete this journey properly. We found a Gasthof for a delicious traditional German meal of local chanterelle omelette, followed by regional Bratwurst and sauerkraut, while I had Pork shin with potato dumplings. Helpful explanation of the menu made the meal all the more enjoyable. The waitress overheard my poor translation, and helpfully turned the page for me to the English version of the menu.

Washed down with local beer and excellent German red, big fruity and delicious for 5€ a large glass.

Few photos in the morning, followed by coffee accompanied by Apfelstrudel and a local delicacy called a Schneeball. Expecting a soft marshmallow centre and chocolate coating to my snowball was perhaps expecting too much. The seven miles of short crust pastry deeply baked and crumpled into a ball coated with icing sugar, was a thing of no great beauty or flavour. It would however make a suitable challenge for the Great Bavarian Bake Off. And certainly challenged both my teeth and the inside lining of my mouth.

We set off again rather hoping to get close enough to Dunkirk to make the ferry home on Sunday.

So for our final night we found ourselves in our ninth country of the trip. We stumbled upon a small modern hotel in a Belgian pear growing village called Piringen. They boasted the finest local produce in their restaurant and squeezed us in despite being fully booked. My fresh and crispy tempura prawns followed by delicious Fillet steak with skinny fries could only have been improved if they had the 2020's equivalent of a black forest gateaux for dessert. Sadly not. The Albariño and glass of Puglian red made our last supper of this extraordinary adventure really memorable.

Next day we stupidly decided to go for a dog walk before setting off for our final days slog home.

It was drizzling as we left the hotel. By the time we started the country loop through corn fields, raspberry plantations and pear orchards it was raining. By the time we looped back to Peringen the rains were of biblical proportion and the muddy waters ran off the fields in a flash flood. We waded home with the waters above the tops of our hiking boots.

I must give particular mention to Nurse W who steered Nessa home superbly to the ringing accompaniment of my terrible navigation and constant and unhelpful driving commentary. I was aware I was doing it. I am a despicable human. Sorry. Surely no driving holiday scenario is complete without the carping husband undermining the hugely competent skills of his wife? She did threaten to poke me firmly in the remaining good eye if I said another word before Dunkirk. Very fair. I stayed silent.

We made the 4pm ferry with a couple of hours to spare. We slept on the crossing, headed for a MaccyD as soon as we disembarked and then slid round the M25 to be home by 8.30pm..

Despite having briefly anecdotalised our 3000 mile and twenty nine day road trip into 10 short sections, we have had an epic adventure. Electrical failures, water tank disasters, solar outages, biblical weather conditions, plagues of flies, terrible campsites, lost crowns, temporary partial blindness, and major surgery all fade when compared to the incredible upsides of our lake experiences, the fabulous mountains and the joy of the road.

Thanks again to Mrs W who last night when recalling the highlights to Fred, did say that it was great to be on holiday with me, although she could count on one hand the times she saw me when I wasn't tapping away at the blog.


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