Sunday, 4 July 2010

July 1st 2010 – July 4th 2010

Thursday, we decide to move a short distance along the river, to a Stellplatz, we found whilst cycling along the Moselle.

We have arranged with Bryan and Joan, who are nearby, to meet at the Stellplatz.

Unfortunately, there is a little confusion, when we discover there are two Stellplatz in Longuich, and we have the sat-nav co-ordinates for the wrong one! The confusion is eventually sorted out, and we all arrive at the correct place at more of less the same time.

Longuich - Stellplatz – Feiten Weine & Edelbrande (Page 389)

As we arrive at the Stellplatz, a very helpful Welshman comes over and gives us a quick rundown of where everything is, who to pay etc.

It turns out he is called Phil and is here with his wife Lynne, in a campervan of course.

They have a tandem, and, very kindly offer Kathleen and myself a try at riding it. (photograph courtesy of Joan)

Kathleen is not happy because she is at the back and therefore not in control, but it is hilarious fun!

Bryan takes some video, which I will try and post at some point in the future, when I obtain a copy.

Phil makes matters worse, by pointing out that in cycling slang, the person at the back of the tandem is called "the Stoker", whilst the person at the front is called "the Captain". She does not like the idea of me being "the Captain".

As I said we have great fun mastering the technique of riding the thing, we have not laughed so much in ages, and entertain the whole place as we struggle to ride around in some kind of harmony.

We eventually get to be good enough to venture onto the cycle track, and manage to do a couple of miles without falling off, or crashing into anyone else.

On their way here, Bryan and Joan have found a source of cheap Grand Marnier, but Bryan has to hide their stash to prevent Joan from drinking all of it.

At this Stellplatz there are showers provided, so you do not have to use your van shower unless you particularly want to.

The cost of a shower is 1 Euro, but you get at least enough hot water for two showers, or of course to shower two people.

Kathleen’s notices that most people share a shower reducing the cost to 50 cents each.

A battle between her personal modesty and her legendary thrift ensues. Thrift wins.

I have great fun at her expense with suggestions such as the need to shower four times a day, at least, in such hot weather.

There is often a small queue to us the shower, typically two or four people, who sit on a convenient park bench near the shower, waiting their turn. To add to her discomfort I have succeeded in getting at least one squeal per shower out of her, much to her embarrassment, when we emerge from the shower, to the waiting people.

Friday, Bryan and Joan decide to cycle to Trier.

We have already done this, so we do not go with them. Kathleen succeeds in convincing them it is easier and shorter to cycle along this side of the river, rather than the other side (which we did).

Part of her convincing story is that since it is generally downhill on the way back, you can freewheel most of the way.

Needless to say, it turns out to be the same distance as our route (23 miles), with no freewheeling, I do not think Bryan will be taking advice on cycle routes from Kathleen again in the future.

While Bryan and Joan are cycling to Trier, we go in search of a church, since the weekend is approaching. We do a tour of the nearby towns and villages (12 miles) to determine which church offers a Mass at the most suitable time.

Those of you who are regular readers, may have noticed that in most if not all of the photographs in which Kathleen appears, she is wearing the same orange top.

Leaving aside her claims that she has no clothes etc etc, I took this quick photograph just to prove that it does get washed, daily.

Singing starts at 18:30, we are joined by a very lively German woman, who we had met earlier in the shower queue (with her husband, we assume).

I am not sure if she is naturally as lively, or if she is on something. She does not speak much English, and we do not know her name, Kathleen christens her “Mad Monica”. She joins in the singing with gusto. As far as we can understand her husband (or at least her shower partner) is a drummer in a band in Koln (Cologne).

Phil and Lynne join us and it emerges Phil is quite an accomplished singer, and Kathleen, Joan and Phil end up as a little trio, with the singing going on until about 23:00.

We have Dutch neighbours who act as an audience and it turns out their son is married to the daughter of the Technical Director of Newcastle United, he proudly shows us his Newcastle United shirt.

Of course Holland beat Brazil (2-1) so the Dutch are all in fine form, and not in the least concerned by their noisy English neighbours.

Saturday the hot weather continues without a break.

The four of us set off to cycle down river Moselle, towards Dhron Neumagen. Needless to say we stop after about 5 miles for a Radler (Shandy), Bryan and Joan opt to turn back at this point, since they want to do some shopping at the supermarket (perhaps Jaon has found the Grand Marnier stash?).

Refreshed, Kathleen and I cycle on to the next village (Thornich). It is unbearably hot, and we too decide to turn back at eight miles.

We come across a German couple, their bicycles laden with luggage walking along the cycle track. He has a puncture, and they do not have a tyre pump. He tells us his spare inner tube and tyre pump are in his car in Koln, obviously he was not a boy scout. We offer him the use of our tyre pump and one of our spare inner tubes. The inner tube is not the right size, but he is able to repair the puncture and get on his way.

We get back to the van, just in time, the inevitable end to the hot weather we have been having is a thunderstorm, and sure enough we get one.

It is spectacular, but it is all over in about an hour, and the sun is shining again, in time for the Germany v Argentina world cup match on TV in the bar at the Stellplatz, Germany thrash Argentina 4-0, so the Germans are absolutely ecstatic, mad Monica and her husband are shouting themselves hoarse.

Kathleen and I watch the match, in between waiting in the shower queue. This results in big embarassment for Bryan and Joan (well Joan is embarrased, I think Bryan just sees it as enhancing his "street cred"), who are in the shower when we arrive, to join the queue.

Kathleen and I knock on the door of the shower room, and shout for them them to hurry themselves up, since we are waiting our turn.

Of course we then wander off to watch the football, but Bryan and Joan think we are waiting outside, and put on a good show of teenage behaviour, by making suggestive noises and comments from within the shower room. When they emerge of course it is to see a queue of bemused strangers.

Well it is only fun, we may be pensioners, but we are not dead yet!

In the evening, there is food, wine and music, all outdoors, with temporary seating and pergolas to provide shade. You have to pay for the food and wine, but it is all very inexpensive. The "staff" are, we are told, all relations and friends of the owner, who do it just to help him out.

Sunday, Kathleen and Joan cycle off to church, whilst Bryan and I pack up our respective vans, ready to move on. We are heading to Luxembourg, where we duly arrive just after lunch time.

It is sad to leave Germany, we have had a wonderful time, I cannot understand why more British people do not come here on holiday.

1 comment:

  1. If I'd known you were going to write so nicely about my singing then I'd have tried harder!

    Good to see you enjoyed your last few days and made it home safely. The heat eased off briefly after you left (about 25) for a couple of days but then soon got back into the mid 30's. We had a couple more thunderstorms that helped to clear the air though.

    Perhaps we'll bump into each other sometime. Roll on retirement!

    Best wishes,

    Phil and Lynne