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2019 - Germany - October
We were off again in October, this time to southern Germany. We needed to visit the Carthago factory, where we had brought our Carthago back in 2013, to have some work carried out. We had also arranged to hire a Malibu camper van for a few days to find out whether we liked it and whether we felt that we could readily downsize to a much smaller camper.
On the journey down to Aulendorf, we had arranged to meet up with Kathy and Jochen Ladwig in Bad Duerrheim. This required two quite long days of driving to get there. Our first overnight stop was in Prum, which is just over the border into Germany from Belgium. As usual the Belgian roads were heavy traffic and it was wet and rainy. We have stopped in Prum several times in the past as it is a convenient distance from Calais. The campsite is a bit run down and has many long staying caravans which look a little scruffy. The facilities are fine. It is mainly grass pitches so, in the winter months the hard standing is a bit limited. OK for a stop over but would not recommend a longer period. By the next morning, the weather had improved and we travelled south through the beautiful scenery of Germany and France towards Bad Deurrheim. The map above shows the route we should have taken but the on-board SatNav had different ideas - arrrgh! The guidance took us right through the city centre of Saarbrucken (which was really busy with traffic) and then, later on, took us right through the city centre of Strasbourg - nightmare!! If she doesn’t buck up her route planning she will get the sack! Never mind we arrived safely in the end but it was quite a tiring day.
Bad Deurrheim, is a very popular, spa town and has a huge, hot spring pool. The motorhome stellplatz is located right alongside the swimming baths car park and the stellplatz is enormous!! (see photo below). To find out more, click on the logo (right). It is a German language video but it will give you a good impression of this very attractive area.
Kathy and Jochen Ladwig (fellow members of Carthago Owners) had arranged to meet up with us at the Stellplatz and had saved a space for us. Thank goodness they did because the park was virtually full. It was due to be a beautiful sunny weekend and everyone had decided to get away for the weekend! The saved space was only just big enough for us but we managed to wriggle in! We had a walk into town and it is delightful. We enjoyed a very good meal with Kathy and Jochen in a local restaurant.
(left upper) Jochen, Kathy and George (above) the beautiful park in Bad Deurrheim (left lower) This is a display of the traditional way of extracting the valued salts from the local hot springs. The water is dribbled over these high walls of twigs. The wind dries the water and leaves the salts behind on the twigs. Every so often, the salts are harvested from the twigs. You can see where the salts are beginning to collect in the greyer areas of the twig walls.
Jochen and Kathy are thinking about organising a Carthago Owners get together in Bad Deurrheim in spring 2021. We think it makes an excellent location. Plenty to see and lovely cafés and restaurants in the town.
We enjoyed our stopover and it was lovely weather. It was time to leave and drive two hours to the Carthago factory in Aulendorf. There is a stellplatz on site at Carthago. If you are booked into the workshop for work to be done then you get a free delivery of fresh rolls in the morning. The downside is that the workshop reception opens at 7:00am, so you have to be up and about pretty early!!! Our workshop visit was expected to take around 4 to 5 days. The job was to cure a bubble which appeared on the sidewall when the sun warmed it up and disappeared as the temperature cooled again. The adhesive, in a small area, had failed between the outer aluminium skin and the insulating, high-density foam layer. The fix was to inject new adhesive into the failed area and clamp it together. However, it then needed to cure for a few days before being driven. Rather than being stuck in a hotel for several days, we had rented a Malibu Van (made by Carthago) for four days. We had been thinking about downsizing and the rental was to assess whether we felt comfortable going down to a considerably smaller motorhome. We packed everything we needed for four days touring, clothes, wash kit, food, drink, cooking equipment, cutlery, crockery, bed linen and duvets, books, maps, etc. etc. into several large bags and then carried them to the van that would be our home for the rest of the week.
How did we get on ? We loved it! We were amazed at how much storage space was available. Of course, the inside area was much less but we soon got used to managing. The shower/toilet actually offers more space and comfort than in our larger motorhome. This rental van was not the largest in the range and there were two big disadvantages. One was the transverse bed which we did not like at all because it was difficult to get in and out of and also the person nearest the back had to climb over the other person if they needed to get upin the middle of the night. OK for youngsters but not for OAPs!.
The other downside was that the van cab had an overhead locker above the driving seats. Fine when you are seated but you are forever bashing your head when moving around! But not to worry because there are different models which offer lengthwise twin beds and have no overhead locker in the cab area. It took us a while to get everything stowed away and then we set off on our trial. First stop was at Camping Brunnen, just outside Fussen. We have stayed here before a couple of times. The scenery is simply beautiful and in autumn, the colours are amazing. (below) a few of the breathtaking views. (click to enlarge)
We discovered, early on, that we really liked the fact that there was only a shallow step down to the outside rather than the four fairly significant steps on our present motorhome. The similar levels brought the outside to the inside as if they were all one, whereas, on our existing motorhome you are either in or out and they are distinctly different areas. We planned to move on to visit Austria next day via the Fern Pass and to stay at Seefeld. It was a beautiful day and a delight to tour in the Tyrol. We discovered that in the smaller van we could actually overtake other vehicles whilst driving uphill - something that is impossible in the larger motorhome.
We also discovered that we can easily pull into Supermarket car parks and take up just one space instead of looking for a place where there are four adjacent spaces free. When we eventually arrived in Seefeld we were amazed to find that Camping Alpin had closed! It had a notice board saying that it was closed for refurbishment but it looked sadly neglected. A shame as it was a lovely site to visit. We had to move on and so we drove back into Germany and stopped at Alpen Caravan Park in Tennsee. This is just north of Mittenwald and of the Karwendel range of mountains that sit on the German/Austrian border.
We had stayed here before when it was covered in snow, when we had joined a Carthago organised winter event. In summer it is even more stunning. On site is a very nice, traditional alpine restaurant which serves very tasty food and well worth a visit. We opted to stay inside the campsite as it provides water and drainage on the pitch and has very high quality toilet/shower facilities. There is an option to stop on the stellplatz which is just outside the campsite entrance but this only offers hook up - no water.
(right) On-site, traditional style alpine restaurant at Alpen Caravan Park, Tennsee. Photo: Alan Rogers All around the campsite there are wonderful walks and cycle rides. A delightful location to spend sometime exploring and particularly so with the autumn colours. (see below) Click to enlarge
Click on logo to visit website
We strongly recommend a visit if you are in the area.