Carol started getting déjà vu as we pulled into the stellplatz at Wetzlar, and after getting out of the van for a quick look-see, she confirmed that we had stayed there previously. On checking the map on this blog, we did indeed stay there just over a year ago when we were fast-tracking from the Mosel Valley to Berlin.
I’ve been trying to make sure that we don’t revisit towns when route planning, but this one clearly slipped through the net. We decided to stay rather than risk moving on to another stellplatz and finding it full… a bird in the hand and all that.
With temperatures in the high 20’s – the last throes of summer – we stayed at the van all day, reading in the shade, and walked into the Altstadt after dinner when the temperature was cooler. The pretty old town all looked as we remembered it.
With just a handful of places on the stellplatz at Marburg, we needed to get there early. Despite the best efforts of Germany’s equivalent of the Highways Agency – closing the slip road onto the motorway – we reached Marburg in good time and had the pick of the spaces. As it was another scorcher we stayed at the van until late afternoon, and then walked into town.
The Altstadt is located halfway up a steep hill, with a castle perched at the top. Fortunately for us, there was a lift (a free one at that!) which took us from street level to the Altstadt. We explored the town with its timber buildings lining the cobbled lanes, and climbed up as far as the church, where there are great panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, but we didn’t make it to the the castle at the top. Instead we sat outside a bar by the Rathaus, and after going for another stroll we went for a lovely dinner at a traditional German restaurant.
The stellplatz at Bad Wildungen is rather popular, with its spacious pitches separated by hedges, and it was full when we arrived. Fortunately, one of the vans was just leaving, and so we quickly nabbed their space.
With the heatwave now over, we went for a walk around the Altstadt with our jumpers on and brollies up. Twinned with Saffron Walden, not far from where we live in the UK, it was another pretty town with a long high street lined with boutique style shops.
Amazingly we were still able to pick up the Freeview TV channels, and so were able to watch Pointless and Gogglebox in the evening.
The village of Großalmerode is in a rural area, so in terms of pretty timber buildings it was rather disappointing when compared with many of the towns we’d recently visited. It rather bizarrely bills itself as a ‘holiday town’, when there wasn’t enough to see or do there to keep us busy for an afternoon, never mind a whole week! On the plus side though, the stellplatz was free.
Winter is definitely on its way now, as the weather has turned much colder and we’ve had lots of rain. The drive to Bad Langensalza took us through some lovely countryside, with the leaves on the trees starting to change to their autumn colours.
It’s another traditional-looking Altstadt with a grand Rathaus and large cathedral (we’re not getting bored of these just yet!). We walked into town and had a quick look around, but the torrential rain stopped us from exploring the botanical gardens and the arboretum along the old city walls, which was a shame. After taking refuge in a café it was clear that the rain wasn’t going to stop anytime soon, so we went back to the van and spent the rest of the day drying out. With the weather forecast to get colder, the summer duvets were swapped for the winter ones.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the owner of the Erfurt stellplatz had once been a member of the Stasi as there were several CCTV cameras onsite, all displayed on two huge screens in his little office. I’d parked up in a free space, ignoring a sign to the contrary so as not to block the entrance, and the Fat Controller wasn’t happy. He had already seen that I was from the ‘Britischer womo’, and tutted and sighed as he grumbled at me in German, before allocating us a different space just to be awkward. As the stellplatz was less than five minutes walk from the tram stop, and a 15 minute ride to the Altstadt, I let it go. As the Fat Controller will most likely also be the Data Controller for GDPR purposes, I might just send him a Subject Access Request in a few months time to get my own back.
Erfurt is where Martin Luther went to university at the turn of the 16th century, and later ordained. After disagreeing with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and being excommunicated, he went on to establish the Lutheran Church. In translating the bible from Latin to German, he in effect standardised the German language.
The Altstadt was a pedestrianised shopping centre with buildings in the traditional timer style, and there were a few squares with restaurants and bars. The largest of the squares, the Domplatz (or Cathedral Square), had been taken over by the Erfurter Oktoberfest. We’d expected this to mean loads of beer tents, but it turned out to be a rather large funfair with a few beer stalls dotted around the perimeter. As it was a Monday afternoon the place wasn’t very busy at all, and so we didn’t hang around.
We did stop at Saturn, an electronics store, so that Carol could buy a new phone to replace her old one which had been playing up. Rather surprisingly it was nearly £30 cheaper than if she’d bought the exact same phone from Amazon back in the UK. We also called in at Hussel, my favourite chocolate store, to buy some of their delicious chocolate coffee beans.
After treating ourselves to a lovely dinner at a traditional German restaurant, we caught the tram back to the van at the stellplatz, most likely under the watchful gaze of the Fat Controller.
We’re now staying at an ACSI campsite near Oberhof, up in the mountains of Thüringa Wald. It’s at the end of a 6 km long no through road. The drive here took twice as long as it ought to have done, again thanks to the German Highways Agency closing a road.
The weather here is definitely autumnal – nice and warm when the sun’s out, but very cold when the sun goes in, so not the weather for sitting outside the van. Fortunately the campsite wifi is good (and free!) so Carol’s been able to install all the apps and updates on her new phone, and I’ve been able to edit and upload all of our recent photos and get this blog post uploaded.
Tomorrow we will continue on our way to Würzburg.