On Tuesday the 6th August we drove about 8hours to Plankstadt near Heidelberg (detouring to get our air conditioner checked near Munich where the “Truma” staff were most helpful) to meet Maurice’s cousin Margarete and her husband Philip and two of their children Alice who is due to be married in a week’s time and Olivia who is at university. They are a lovely family and made us very welcome. The weather was particularly humid with a bit of rain but not cold. we had a nice BBQ and managed to sit outside for the evening.
The next day Maurice and I went into Heidelberg and walked around a lot and went up the funicular to the very
impressive castle there. Heidelberg was teeming with tourists and local shoppers. It was hot and humid but had cooled down a bit by the time we left the city.
We had a bit of trouble getting Van Mauriceson into a parking area but the parking men there were extremely
helpful and we managed it.
We were able to meet Margarete’s mother Anne (who sadly suffers from dementia and cannot speak).
We had a nice meal inside that night with Margarete and Philip and chatted to Margarete the next morning after Philip left for work. We left them on the Wednesday for a leisurely drive north east to the Thuringen Forest. The scenery was again quite differnt travelling through the old “east Germany” where the houses were more simple (even though many had been painted) and there was a lot of grain and hay cultivation along the way. We even saw a few old remnants of the old days with semi destroyed watch towers and barracks. I suppose it is a good reminder to keep some of them.
We stopped at a large camping and caravan shop along the way and bought some necessary items for the van – some levelling wedges for under the wheels which is makes sleeping much nicer rather than feeling that you will roll out of bed or have your head lower than the rest of you! We also bought an umbrella for when we sit outdoors. We were considering a pull out alcove which was going to
be over 900 pounds but we saw a few instances of where people had them extended but they still sat in the sun underneath them because of where they had to park their van. We therefore decided on an umbrella which we can put up anywhere and angle it to where it will create the most shade would be more useful and for 30euros we thought it much cheaper and a better option all together.
We stayed in the beautiful camping ground for the night in the Thuringen Forest and had a delicious meal with two
bottles of wine (one to take away!) all for 40euros.
On Friday the 9th August we drove first to Bad Langensalza to see the lovely old town and the rose garden and Japanese garden. We then went on to the historic city of Eisenach where we visited the Luther house, Bach house and the old part of the city and had a typical meal of Thuringer Bratwurst, Sauerkraut and potato salad. Germany is full of road works during Summer and there are a lot of
detours which make navigating interesting especially when
the tom tom gets lost.
One village we drove through was like solar panel city – nearly every house roof was covered with solar panels. It did look a bit strange.
We arrived at Steinbach-Hallenberg to a great welcome by Winfried and Sonja (friends of our friends Tony and Michelle) who we had met in Perth 14years ago! They even had the Australian flag hanging from their window for our arrival!
They live in a beautiful part of Thuringen. We had coffee and cake and later with them and two of their children and their children more wonderful Thuringer Bratwurst and many salads followed by “Rote Grutze” a wonderful mixture of berries. After dinner Winfried took us up to their old castle where we had a lovely view of the town in the twilight.
We stayed in the campervan outside their door that night and had a leisurely breakfast with them in the morning before heading off via Oberhof to see the next historic town of Erfurt which is a very picturesque old town.
After lunch there we drove on the Autobahn in rain (we saw two accidents) to Dresden and landed at another very good camping site only 13minutes by bus from right outside the camping ground to the centre of Dresden.

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