Our first post from Munchen!
Leaving Groesbeek was more of a wrench than we anticipated for lots of reasons. A long overdue reunion with our friends, Andy, Anya and their daughter, Anouk, super hosts, Tonia and Andre, wonderful accommodation and such beautiful countryside literally outside the front door of our Garden Room. We settled into a rhythm of life there that suited us so well and is what this change of lifestyle is all about.
Prior to our departure, we were invited to a “last supper” at he Briggs homestead. We were made as welcome as ever and were entertained by Anouk leaping around the garden with a hose. Remarkably we stayed dry, although I think Mum was monitoring the water supply from the kitchen window. It has definitely been leaping around with a hose weather for both us and everyone across Europe. So it was with sadness we said our farewells for the moment. We always prefer to have another date penciled in with friends to get together but this time it is not possible due to our flexible program for the next year or so. One thing is for sure, and that is that we WILL be getting together sooner than the last time. (That was famous last words because before we left Andy arrived for coffee and a quick look around our place that he had heard so much about. So another goodbye but perhaps only a long au revoir!)
On Monday, we had breakfast with some walkers, Marius and Heidi. Marius was a long distance walker and had completed a couple of the pilgrim routes of Santiago de Compostela which lead through Spain and France to end up in Northern Spain at Santiago. He had hand carved a stick to carry with him when he walked. He had carved his children’s and grandchildren’s names on it and it had a eagles head as the handle to keep an eye on the road ahead. He had walked around 18ookm in the last couple of years. A pro!
Despite the temperature creeping up, we decided we needed one last cycle adventure so we set off for Plasmolen. We had been before but liked the contrast along the route. Village followed by the wide openness of Klein Amerika (if you have read earlier posts it is where the some of the American gliders landed for Operation Market Garden). Then a path down through the woods to the harbour area of Plasmolen. We spent some time comparing the dingys up to the much larger pleasurer cruisers but decided we preferred our bikes! We stopped off for a while being nosey at the camping and caravan site on the opposite side of the inlet we were on. Once again they varied from simple tents right through to massive static vans with decking, gazebos, hot tubs, boat, jet skis. Still wouldn’t swap for the bikes though!
We took a different route home and stopped off at Cafe Dolpin on the river for a few light refreshments. It was a perfect shady spot to watch the world go by.
Tuesday was packing day. Easy really when you basically just have to pack everything you see. I had bought a few craft things which took up a bit of space and the plan of wearing our heavier clothes while travelling to save space was going to be a pain with the temperature so high. Jon managed to be in shorts but space was just too tight in my little bag so Jeans it was. I thought it might work like a body wrap and I would end up with skinnier, trimmer legs by the after our 9 hour train journey. You have to look at the positives!
As this was our last evening, Tonia and Andre arrived at our Garden Room with a farewell beer and wine. It was a beautiful balmy evening and we just chatted away. No one wanting to say the final goodbye. We eventually did around 11.30pm. The alarm clock was set for the ridiculous time of 6am – not seen that time of the day properly since May!
The epic journey south started with a bus a 7am to Nijmegen Central Station followed by:
- Train to Arnhem (20 mins)
- Train to Dûsseldorf ( 1 hour 10 mins) – supposedly super fast ICE train (Inter City Express) but not that fast!
- Train to Mannheim (3 hours) – local train that took us winding along the edge of the Rhein. Stunning scenery of the river and the many many vineyards and castles towering over the river. The train arrived late at Mannheim. Very unprofessional for the Deutsches Bundesbahn! So we missed our connection but only had to wait 30 mins – just enough time to get to the bakers on the station and buy some rolls. Evidently there was a bit of bun fight (excuse the pun) for water in the cooling cabinets but we had taken large bottles with us, so no bun fight or expensive water was needed.
- Train to Munchen (3 hours) – ICE train – this time it was fast! Don ‘t be fooled by the name though- not as air conditioned as you would think.
- Train to Zorneding (30 mins) – S bahn – half underground half overground
We arrived about 7pm. Considering the distance and the heat we felt OK but the last hot walk (about 20mins) was tough but I suppose the last bit is always the worst when you know you are nearly there.
After a few phone signal problems, we managed to get hold of our host, Monika, and get keys. The apartment is very well laid out and has everything we need. It is on the third floor of a refurbished large, typically Bavarian building. We are in the roof space so have sloping ceilings in the living room and bedroom. At last an advantage to being a Hobbit (as the family call me). Jon keeps bumping his head!
As we had been couped up all day, we had a quick shower and headed out for a walk to get our bearings and ended up eating in the beergarten of a local guesthouse. It was lovely to be in the air and were hungrier than we thought.
So another location and another lot of exploring to do. Once again we have the use of bikes so will hit the road again once the temperature drops a little. I think it is peaking this weekend at 37 degrees.
Having caught up with our boys and their girls, here is a quick update:
- Shaun and Katie – Katie has a got a new job in Welwyn Garden City for a Community Health Trust so a move is on the cards for them.
- Sam and Tabitha – Sam has had a bad week to say the least! He fell off a Boris bike and landed on his face so he has some grazes. Then he the mains water went for 2 days due to a problem in the road. Finally he turned his ankle walking along at school and has two hairline fractures and torn ligaments. All the antics he got up to as a youngster and nothing and then something so simple and this happens. It is swollen and very painful but we are all hoping that a cast will not be required. Tabitha returns from a work trip to India today so he will have some TLC. In the meantime, I think lots of people have been rallying around to help him as he has a second floor apartment (with no lift). Poor Sam.
- Ryan and Ella – busy as ever flying all over Europe getting all us types where they need to go. Ryan is joining us in Munchen for a few days next week. That young man will go to any lengths to get a stein of beer and a pretzel! It will be great to see him. Ella’s flight schedule means she cannot come with him but may make a separate trip.
So now you are up to date with our news. As always a longer post than intended. Not too good at summarising am I?
Auf wiedersen for now.