A bill for €93 for 3 nights!!! Now that IS what we expected in Germany – that was our most expensive campsite EVER and they still had the brass face to charge extra for using the shower! There was a charge for the pitch, for each person, for the tow vehicle, €10 per night for 4 dogs, for electricity (Strom) and for something else that we haven’t quite managed to translate.
We drove up the River Neckar through Dilsberg, which was just as beautiful as Heidelberg. We saw a lot of it, as it too had that seemingly unavoidable German feature – a traffic jam, which gave us plenty of time to peruse the sights! Unfortunately, the bridge we needed to cross the Neckar was closed, but due to another long traffic jam back the way we came, we decided to push on regardless.
I mean, how bad could it be?
The Sat Nav took us down a narrow little road then confidently instructed us to ‘Take the Ferry.’ We looked and all we could see was a few planks of wood strapped together with an engine at one end. The last time I saw a ferry like that, I had built it myself on an Outdoor Activity Course.
“If it doesn’t cost a fortune, it will be a laugh!” said Mark. “If it’s about a tenner, let’s do it, but if it’s, like, £30 we’ll not bother.” I walked down to ask the ferryman whether he thought it would be feasible to get Big Blue and Kismet aboard without sinking. I still couldn’t remember my word for ‘excuse me’ – ‘Entschuldigen’ – but luckily our man spoke English and seemed pretty sanguine about the idea of transporting us.
I remembered a priceless piece of travel advice from Chris de Burgh “Don’t pay the Ferryman – don’t even fix a price. Don’t pay the Ferryman, ‘til he gets you to the other side.” Still, when the ferryman said it would be €3.80 then knocked it down to €3.40, I had to ask. “3.40 Euros? Not €340?” I was incredulous. I think even Chris de Burgh might have coughed up that in advance!
I waved Mark down. We grounded out getting on the ferry and our caravan’s backside was hanging over the end, but the ferry, like our spirits, remained buoyant! “This is what independent travel is all about! A bit of adventure…!” We gloated. We had to ask the ferryman where we were, as we had no idea. We grounded out massively getting off the ferry; a small child chased us up the road brandishing a few bits of Kismet that had parted company on the dismount. Besides €3.40, it cost us a corner steady and a bit of a scrape to the undercarriage, but it helped us get en route in the right direction. We had been travelling for 1.5 hours, but as yet, were only 12 miles closer to our destination!
This wasn’t the end of our adventure, however. We went through some tiny villages and in Neckarberg, I had to get out and direct traffic! The single street through the village was so narrow that only one vehicle could pass. Big Blue had to drive virtually into someone’s garden and kiss the front door in order to let a bus pass by the other way. Needless to say, the cars behind got right up close and personal, so we couldn’t then reverse and I had to direct them past in order from the back of the queue!
We pitched up in Uffenheim after a stop for Diesel at €1.08 and a trip to Netto. (Food prices surprised us – they were very similar to the UK and unlike in Italy, you CAN buy mangoes!) Mark had dispatched me with a shopping list for the essentials; “Get biscuits, chocolate and weisbeer!” he commanded.
We had rather a lot of laundry to do, so we settled for a day of jobs and sitting in the sun. Our neighbours are lovely. A chap and his wife in a campervan chatted away – they really liked the dogs. A a German lady who spoke no English but had a little dog came over and demanded that our English-speaking neighbour translate to tell us about a really nice off-lead dog walk locally!
We were listening to the kids playing in the swimming pool next door. We had free access from the campsite – we had to collect a ticket from reception, I believe. They were all playing so harmoniously! It was really pleasant to listen to. I am sure that in England there would have been some Horrible Horace who would have jumped on someone’s head and tried to drown them. Every now and again we heard an announcement over the loudhailer in German. I realised that unfortunately, the only time that I have really heard German spoken, especially on a loudhailer, is on war films. Mark and I speculated as to whether the children were all being so good because they were being told that if they weren’t, they would be shot!
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