Over breakfast this morning we decided upon a new way of going to Vienna. So, instead of driving to Lake Konstanz, staying a night, then driving to Munich and staying a night before getting our train to Vienna, we went for the easy option. That would involve just staying another night with Marc and Jud (if they could put up with me!) then buying another of those Quer-Durchs-Land Tickets we found so cheap for getting to Berlin, 6 hours in the train to Munich where a budget hotel awaited, all thanks to Deutsche Bahn’s online ticket service.

Before I had finished my third cup of tea (Jud only drinks Scottish Blend) we were all booked up for 100 euros which was less than the petrol there and back! Only thing left to do was take the Magic Caravan back to the campsite we didn’t use yesterday and check it in for looking after for a week. The French call this service “Garage Mort” and at this particular site we were charged 3 euros a night which is ridiculously cheap, don’t you think? As an added bonus we had the rest of the day with our hosts who were quick to take us out to walk some of the nicest villages in that area of Alsace.

How beautiful! And so are the houses!

 

Listen folks, you all really need to think again about where to spend your foreign holidays. After 8 weeks around different parts of Germany and Alsace we have to say that other more popular destinations have nothing to offer compared to what we’ve seen. I had no idea, I must admit, of the beauty of this place and my preconceived ideas of the places and even the people were appallingly misdirected. If you think of Scotland but add good weather, really welcoming people, cheaper prices and a fantastic transport system then you are getting close to what it’s like here. Above all, the scenery is quite breathtaking and leaves you salivating for more. Wait for it there’s more! If you cross the Rhein into France you can shop at THE king of supermarkets Leclerc where you really can get just about anything you want. Aldi and Lidl quickly disappear.

Back in Andolsheim, Marc drove past his house and pulled up in front of an old church on the very top of whose spire was a huge nest with 2 Storks at home. Having mislaid my camera I begged marc to take a few snaps with his “real” camera and zoom lenses and thankfully he obliged. He had pointed out a couple of nests in the villages we had passed through and 2 storks had even flown low over the car as we returned, but to get Mum and Dad Stork on the nest (if you’ll excuse the expression) was a definite highlight for us. Take a look. The base plate is put there by the local council, not the storks.

Can you tell it from butter?

As you do, Jud had rustled up a lovely curry for tea and we then did the French thing of sitting at table for 3 or 4 hours catching up on each others’ adventures. Let’s not forget 18 year-old Jonathan (or Jo or any of the other names his parents call him) who sat through it all martyr-like and smiled appropriately when expected. That young man left a very good impression on us with his mature attitude to life, his quick mind and his endearing character. This bilingual, guitar-playing, Top Gear loving Strasbourg University student has a bright future ahead of him, mark my words. As for Laura, well she popped off to Dundee on a flight from Basel to Edinburgh and before we got back from dropping off the caravan she called to say she was having a cup of tea with her grandparents on Dalkeith Road! How small is this planet getting? Here we all are, from left to right, Laura (Lo-Lo), Guillaume, some fat git, Mary, Jud, Jonathan or whatever, Chip. Marc is of course behind the lens.

A votre santé

We go to bed tonight full of the magic of this region and overwhelmed by the generosity of our hosts Jud & Marc. There, I finally got their names the right way round.

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