Felt quite sad to be leaving The Netherlands but the expanse of Germany awaited and we had been looking forward to exploring this country. Even so, we were unable to decide on a plan for the next few days. We thought we’d have had more free time for planning, but it hadn’t felt like we’d had much free time at all. Last minute decision we chose to drive across to Bremen as it sounded lovely and was only a couple of hours drive away. The sat-nav journey time didn’t seem to be decreasing very much and the kids were really unhappy passengers, so we stopped (Lidl shop stop!), regrouped and changed our minds back to the previous days plan of heading more into central Germany.
Matt found a free overnight parking place by lake Dümmer which mean’t only a short drive. Luckily we got to enjoy this and the lovely playground for an hour or so before it started to rain, and it didn’t really stop raining for the next few days. The next morning matt took the kids on a rain walk around the lake while I packed up the van. We had now ironed out our plan to start driving further south to the Harz mountains and then slowly back up North to the Baltic Coast. We won’t be able to have another chance to go into central Germany if we don’t do it now.
We made the most of the rainy day by travelling and we headed to an ACSI campsite that had a pool (we’d been promising a pool for our next stop!). A quick stop at our first German bakerai for some lovely bread. I’m going to enjoy the bread here!
This campsite was run by a very grumpy man who was almost annoyed that I was bothering him. Also the pool was closed due to bad weather… oh dear (how can a pool be closed for a bit of rain?!). We paid for 1 night and got all our washing done. We had lots of fun exploring the toilets and other facilities (in the rain) – this seems to keep the kids occupied for hours!
The next morning matt found a tick on his leg! This was quite scary as he was reading up on all the things that could go wrong. We packed up the van quickly and went to the local doctor while the kids and I wandered around the little town park. There always sees to be an interesting playground around every corner. Matt got some good advice and was looking a lot happier after seeing the very nice doctor. (and also a quick chat with Dr Dr Paul!) We continued with our plan and spent the afternoon at Externsteine. This is a collection of unusual vertical rock stacks in a national park. Had such a lovely walk in the woods, the kids loved it. But after just commenting on how much better Anna is at not falling over so much she had a really big fall and smacked her forehead on the stony ground. Poor girl… she hurt herself pretty badly. I carried her all the way back to the van where I could check she was OK. She was fine but had a big bump on her forehead and some other cuts. Matt took Aidan back to the stones and they paid to climb up to the top. It’s nice for Aidan to do some stuff without Anna sometimes.
I made dinner in the van in the beautiful car park and we stayed there all evening until closing time. These simple things seem to be the most enjoyable – and feels kinda strange still that we can just make food and do everything wherever we are! Pyjamas and teeth, then a night drive over to the Harz mountains. We stopped at another Stellplatz in the mountains and this one was also brilliant. Only 1 other camper in this huge carpark at the bottom of the pretty German town – Launtenthal.
Woke up to the sounds the river and had our breakfast on the grass and the kids rode their bikes all around. Discovered this village had some old mines and we went into the museum just opposite the carpark. Ended up here for a few hours as it had an underground boat experience and mine tour! The kids had a great time. Off we went to the next village where there was more going on, but the kids slept straightaway. We parked up unable to do anything so decided to take our chance with the sleeping children and just go straight to another campsite where we could hopefully stay a couple of days. Pool still needed to happen! It was a lovely campsite in Hohegeiß, but the pool was an extra cost. Luckily the next day was the summer party and free swimming all day! Bit dreading that, but turned out to be really nice. Had party music playing all day. The massive pool was on the edge of the woods and wasn’t busy at all. Matt and I both had lovely swims.
We had pretty much run out of food so went for a walk up to the town only to find the shop closed. There was no-one around and it didn’t seem like anything else to do. We were missing a town or some other life. We had a few hours of time that evening and it was nice to get a plan together for the next few days. We both felt like we were not settling into our first week in Germany. Not sure why, but a bit like we were missing out on things near by or not able to make the most of where we were (obviously can’t do long walks\biking in the mountains etc with kids and that can be frustrating at times). Anyway, we had a plan – onwards!
We left the campsite after 2 nights for the town of Wernigerode via Thale where there was a cable car to the top of the mountain and a toboggan ride up there. Brilliant fun!! We even bought the posed photos of us zooming around the track! Another Stellplatz stop in the town with views of the castle, window shopping, pizza in the main square, playground, bakery breakfast and a big supermarket shop. We were on our last rations! Choco Leibniz fully stocked up… happy 🙂