Arrrrrghhhh, getting a bit behind on this blog malarky! In this easy going life, we’re feeling the pressure! We are now in Italy, so this update was soooooo 2 countries ago! Anyway, where are we? Ahhh yes, STILL in Germany. I say “still” as we’ve spent more time here than previously planned (not that there is a big plan) but this is the final leg of what has been an amazing tour of this lovely country. They have made it too easy and fun for us to want to leave! But Austria awaits and we have a rough date of meeting up with Grandma and Grandad Seppings somewhere near Salzburg in about 2 weeks. We need to move along the German/Austrian border to Salzburg quite quickly. We’ve been relatively still for two weeks in the Black Forest so should be ok for some bigger driving days. Life is now focusing on Lakes, and wow, what a collection of lakes we have seen!
Lake 1 – Lake Titisee
I had a good recovery overnight here in our quiet corner of a large carpark in Titisee and was up for a little meander into the very touristy town. The lake is really very pretty and would have been much nicer to have walked/cycled around it, but we embraced our situation and wandered around the tat shops, watched the huge steam train manoeuvring at the station, hired a pedalo and ate our packed lunch on the lake. I even invested in some Nordic style slipper socks as the cold mountain air that morning had made realise things could be getting chillier in the hills. Fab short day trip, and now a drive to; Lake 2 –Lake Constance
Oh my, what a stunning view of this lake as we drove over the last hill. It’s huge and has the snow caped mountains of Switzerland on the south side. We stayed 2 nights at a small campsite on the side of the lake. We didn’t really do much, just pottered around and enjoyed the warmish weather and the amazing view of the lake. See pics!
We packed up and set off early for our drive to Fussen where we chose a small car park stop on the edge of town. It wasn’t great but served a purpose and we had a brilliant afternoon/evening exploring this beautiful town right on the edge of the Bavarian Alps. We worked out a long walk along the river back to the van (luckily I had the sling for Anna) and there was a really interesting dam where you could get up close to the water pounding through the open sections – pretty amazing. Then we stumbled on a lovely playground at the edge of Lake Forggensee (Lake 3!!), Matt and I had a take away drink and sat in the sun while the kids played and it was nice to be among local families who were doing the same thing.
The next day we drove the short distance to the famous Neuschwanstein castle – it’s the one that the Disney castle is based on. We did have a really fun day here, with a castle tour, horse and cart ride back down the hill and some drinks and chips at a traditional beer hall. Oh and another lake. Lake 4 – Lake Alpsee. Such beautiful scenery, just a few too many people!
We didn’t have a plan for the next few nights but thought it was best not to drive too far so we could make an early dinner and get the kids asleep in good time. We opted for the nearby Garmisch – Partenkiche which is a town at the foot of Germany’s highest peak. But underestimating the slower roads it took longer than we’d hoped and even included a hop into Austria for the quickest route. Tired and hungry we found our next car park and made dinner. Turns out this was the car park for a cable car. So that’s what we did the following morning, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. But I have to now inform you of the slightly funny name of this, which Matt obviously thought was hilarious – Mount Wank. The cable car is called the Wank Bahn, and the beautiful chalet restaurant at the top is the Wank Haus! smirk! Anyway, it was a lovely clear morning, but quite cold up at the top. We had delicious hot chocolates and managed to run inside the clouds as the weather changed which the kids thought was amazing. Well actually it is amazing for all of us. Matt and I were now really looking forward to our summer in the mountains that we had planned for this trip – even though we need more layers on!
That afternoon we wanted to do a long drive and see if we could get close to the to Austrian border. Another cheap camperstop would be perfect. We made good time (with the kids asleep) and got to the supermarket at Lake 5 – Lake Cheimsee. We stocked up (spending a bit too much at the bio markt shop as usual) I found a 4 euro stop another 20 mins away so we headed there. It was a car park for another cable car. There was only one other camper and we had a great meal outside our van in a nice bit of evening sun. Then we did a night walk with head torches for a little bit along the walking path. Lovely! We got to see the old style cable car start up the next morning, but we had to be out by 10am. A shame to move on so quickly with such great walking paths by us! Half and hour later we were at the border and buying our Vignette pass to use the roads in Austria. That was it… Goodbye Germany, hello Austria!
The weather was looking good for the next few days so we decided to explore the Austrian lakes first. We drove along Lake Mondsee (Lake 6) and stopped in a lakeside lay-by. Matt couldn’t resist a swim in the crystal clear water – it was very inviting. That’s the great thing about a camper – you can just get changed and have all your stuff with you!
We then drove on to Lake 7; Lake Wolfgangsee where we wanted to spend 3 nights in a campsite. Another stunning view as we descended into St Gilgen situated at the top end of the lake. Just amazing. We got a decent pitch and were very happy when we saw the lake edge – see pictures! We all had a swim and it was surprisingly warm. Another lazy couple of days here, but Matt did manage a nice trip out on his road bike. Only 50km…. so lame!
We packed up quickly after just 2 nights as the weather completely changed and we were a bit stuck for anything to do. It was windy, grey and drizzling so we drove on to Lake 8; Lake Attersee and ate lunch in another lakeside lay-by. Another stunner of a lake, and quite eerie as the clouds were coming and going. The air was chilly but Matt braved a swim and again the water was fairly warm! The weather cleared up nicely and we spent the afternoon in Mondsee doing not much in particular except visiting the church that was used in the sound of music. I’m not one for wandering around churches, but it was really lovely and decorative inside, and I got to tick it off my “sound of music locations” list… haha. Oh, and then a disappointing pizza… yuk. That night we found a fab camperstop that was in someones back garden over looking the hills of Mondsee! Perfect.
After using their lovely shower room and the kids enjoying their garden (before we wrecked their lawn a little bit getting the van off – ooops!) we headed to Salzburg via the supermarket and a packed lunch stop in the Mondsee layby again! We were killing time as the Bouldering centre we were heading to didn’t open until 2pm. I’ve never been climbing before and Matt is really into it, so this was a family introduction at the BoulderBar. Forget the pretty salzburg image… we were hanging out with the cool kids on an industrial estate! Good times!
Camping Nord-Sam is the Salzburg city campsite we chose and it’s the most expensive site we’ve been to so far – Even more than Crystal Palace! Unfortunately we had to do 2 nights here to get a whole day in the city. It rained that night and all the next day but we wandered around the city nontheless and just endured being really wet. Fair to say we didn’t see it at its best, but it is very beautiful and I enjoyed seeing some of the sound of music locations! Yep… I know, but it’s one of my favs!!! Oh also, we found a great veggie restaurant – always nice! The site of snowcapped mountains had made the kids want to do another cable car but this time find the snow. Matt did some research and found the Kitzsteinhorn glacier which is open all year. This would be our next move and lead us in the right direction south to Italy. We spent the morning in Salzburg again but parked the other side of the city where I could see the VonTrapp house and let the kids spend the rest of the morning in a fab playground. An hours drive later we arrived at the edge of Lake 9: Lake Zell am See. Another wow, and another packed lunch stop! After an afternoon in the town of ZellamSee (a bit upmarket and odd – but picture postcard beautiful) we got to a campsite. I loved it here, and we had a great pitch overlooking the fields with the mountains in the distance. We could even see the glacier we would be heading up. Dinner, Clothes Washing, decent shower (not on a timer!) trampoline, evening sunshine, what more could you want?! Am loving Austria, although it seems much more expensive than Germany. No more cheap bread and the kids have cost a lot in the campsites.
We wanted to stay another day here but were feeling like we needed to be moving on, oh also, I forgot to update you earlier that we now had firm plans with the Grandparents – we were meeting in Italy, hopefully Lake Garda, in a couple of days so we needed to crack on.
Sorry, this is turning into an epic blog post. Right, oh yes, our hunt for some snow!! You know what…. i’ll save that for next time 🙂 Peace out x