We stayed with Margarete and Philipp in their newly reconstructed house and the weather stayed good for the week we were there. They are a short walk away from the centre of Scwetzingen and it’s amazing castle and vast and beautiful gardens. Maurice’s daughter in law Yuko and her parents were also visiting Heidelberg (only 20minutes away) so we picked them up and had a lovely day together. We had a brunch in Huben and Maurice and I ate for two days running at a Turkish place which had the freshest and tastiest food.

We again took secondary roads over to Claudia and Niels in the tiny but gorgeous town of Gappenach west of Koblenz. We met Claudia at the Ayurvedic centre in Kerala with her friend Melanie so she joined us for dinner one night. Claudia is a photographer but she and Niels open their Cafe-Kostbar on weekends and the odd other days for special functions. I was able to help out with a spot of waitressing when she had twenty ladies from the next village come for coffee/cake and drinks on the Monday. Claudia makes wonderful cakes, food and desserts and they have a lot of repeat customers from all over the place to sample her cooking.
Claudia took us also to an area where we left the car and walked for a couple of kilometres to come upon Bad Eltz, an 850 year old castle which still belongs to the same family. Unlike most Schlosses it lies in a valley surrounded by mountains and is a spectacular sight
when rounding the corner down below.

The long evenings were perfect and we could sit out in the cafe until after 10.30pm when it got dark. Sebastian, a very energetic Spanish neighbour kindly let us use a field next to the barn he was reconstructing to park the van and supplied us with electricity.
We met a very interesting character – Hartmut Wiesner an artist from Wilhelmshaven who was going to go with Niels to cycle around Belgium for four days. He is 73 years old with an 8year old and 3year old child as well as two older sons from another marriage.
He had fascinating stories from his travels all over the world.

The countryside around the whole area was undulating hills covered a patchwork of crops and forests. It looked all the more beautiful in the sunshine when we took all day to drive up to Celle where we camped for the night after the tom tom got us a little lost down another goat track. This time there were two very vicious dogs to greet me (on the other side of the fence) until their owner came and gave us directions to the campsite. In the morning we went into the old town of Celle which was full of nicely restored houses from the 1600’s. Maurice had a slight altercation with a rude woman who was parke behind the van who thought we should not be allowed into the town because of our size. Very timely a large semi trailer went by which doused her argument slightly but she made Maurice move the van so that she could leave – she had plenty of room and Maurice did ask her whether she had a driving licence as there was more than ample room for her to move her car. He always seems to encounter problems when I’m not around.

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