What were we sinking?
I suppose it's about time that I actually updated you, dear reader, on our whereabouts since we left Oensel Minicamping. An eminently sensible plan; unfortunately I don't know where we are, so I can't tell you where we are - but I can tell you where we've been. Which, when you sink about it, is nearly as good, if not even better.
Once upon a time (last Thursday), I was looking up decent but unusual campsites to visit - and the plan at that time was to head up through northern Germany to Denmark - and I came across this place: somewhere up near Arnhem. A cool campsite on a river, where you can swim. Perfect.
I also wanted to have a decent run out (i.e. more than the 10 km we'd managed the night before) to 'shake the camper down'. A sea trial, without the sea, if you will. More like a road test, actually...[ed: shut up. Now]
All right. So the day dawned pretty average, and we set off on the backroads up to the campsite. It was only 160 km or so via the shortest route, but in an effort to take our time (certainly succeeded) and see how the unit drove, we managed to make it into a 250 km drive. Just to prove how adventurous and continental we are, I should also point out that we crossed four borders on the way! No, way? Yes, way. The Netherlands to Belgium, back to the Netherlands, then into Germany, and once more back to the Netherlands. Transcontinental almost.
By the time we arrived (and it was nowhere near Arnhem, apparently), at about 8 pm, the reception was closed, so we made camp in the forested field alongside the site (okay, so it was a glorified car park).
I spent the evening depleting Sarah's internet data bundle (oops) writing up the blog, and we turned in early. The next morning, we got onto the site, and found a cute little pitch just 50 m from the River Vetch.
A very pretty river, with swimming platforms along the bank.
A couple of swims up and down the length between the platforms counted in place of a shower for me, and we had a chillax kinda morning the next day before preparing to head off again.
By now, the weather forecast had changed, so instead of heading north as planned (all right, 'planned' is a massive exaggeration), we decided to head back south again, by way of east. You can see how this goes.
After a drive through rush-hour (really clever) including one half-hour period of stationary, engine-off, super-bored mode, we ended up at a little 'stellplatz' in Reken. Lovely place. For the massive price of 6 euros.
By this time it would be Saturday night. And we still didn't really know where we were heading! The forecast was bad, and we didn't have an emissions sticker for the major German cities, so we headed out on the autobahn, through the Ruhr metropolis. In a strange way, I love this place - echoes perhaps from 'Alice in the Cities'. The jumble of residential, industrial and agricultural land is oddly impressive.
The trip was slightly fraught - the weather was horrible. Full-scale thunderstorms overhead, and torrential rain, flooded roads. I'll post a video when I have decent internet access to illustrate just how much water descended!
Eventually we settled on a campsite at Remagen, on the Rhine. It had a 50 m open air swimming pool next door - which was closed ;( (Sunday).
Sarah somehow created another 'campervan cooking special', and, tired, we turned in - realising that if we'd driven directly from home, we could have been where we were that night in an hour!