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Day 20

Calais – Luxembourg

After spending the night at the beach Motorhome stop over in Calais, we head off towards Luxembourg. Today we let “Sat Nav” take over and show us the way. The journey was pleasant and fairly quiet. The grey skies started to break up as we approached Luxembourg and a wintery sun warmed up the landscape. We bypassed the city of Luxembourg and headed towards the border town of Remich.

Remich lies on the border with Germany, it is a small but a bustling town, quiter in the winter but very busy in the summer. Along the front, overlooking the Mosel River there are several large hotels. It is also well worth filling up as it is significately cheaper than the rest of Europe. The hills surrounding Remich are filled with Vines, all brown and sleeping at the moment, but in a few weeksthey will start to sprout and flourish once more as the summer sun grows hotter. On the opposite side of the bridge that crosses the River Mosel, and once acted as the border, lies Germany, and there is a lovely campsite looking towards Luxembourg and the town of Remich. For hot air balloon inthusiats, this is the place to head towards in summer. Rides along the river and the surrounding areas are very popular here. It is not unusual to see 10 or more ballons passing overhead, all with different colours and shapes. It must be a lovely site from up there but i am too much of a wimp to try it! We spend the night with the town lights reflecting on the water and the heavily laden barges chugging along.

Morning brings clear views of the river, ducks quacking and proud swans swiming by with their held high, all in all a lovely sight to wake up to. We park in the car park next to the cruise ship mooring and opposite the cafes and hotels that line the front of the town, and walk across the main road towards the town.

Narrow streets house small shops and renovated houses. The town is built on a steep hill and the side streets rise quite steeply which bring wonderful views of the river and vineyards, it is well worth the climb. At the top is a church of St Stephanus. On entering you get the feeling that someone is standing next to you, but on closer inspection their is four life size statues of Saints. These are just some of the many wonderful statues that once filled the church, unfortunately many have gone now. The high alter stands a huge stone cross, which once stood outside in the neighbouring cemetry which is now a beautifully kept quiet garden for reflection. The church has been renovated over the last 20-30 years and the beatiful gold gilted cherubs smile cheekily down fromt heir high alter and two smaller alters with the statuesof St Stephanus and St Kunibert. St Kunibert is the patron saint of Remich and was birn here. He later become Bishop of Cologne in 623 and the chirch bearing his name is situated only a short walk from the Dome in Cologne. It also contains his remains. On the alter there is a statue of Madonna and child of Luxembourg. This Madonna is dressed in wonderfully ornate clothes and baby Jesus is equally dressed. The clothes are changed throughout the year and are the colours of the liturgy. These clothes date back to around 1910 and are hand stitched. We were lucky enough to meet a chirch minister who took us around the church explaining the history and showed us the twelve sets of clothes belonging to the Madonna and Child. He also explained that the Tower next to the church dates back to Norman times (approx 1002) and has been greatly renovated. On leaving the church he said we should walk back down to the bottom town by tuhsrning right and follow the road down past St Josephs old people home where thier is a lovely grotto dedicated to our Lady of Lourdes and through the park this completed a circle of the town. Once down we could not resist calling into the Patissrie Masella, which has been there since 1954, and buying a couple of cakes to have with our coffee, they also have a cafe at the front from which you can get a good view of the river and the boats. Back to the van, a cup of coffee and we are ready to head off over the bridge and into Germany.

We have a few days before we have to be in Memmingen so we will take our time and enjoy the views, especially if the weather stays as lovely as it is today. After Crossing the bridge the oad takes us along the side of the MOsel and past hill sides full of vine yards. In the fields many of the old apple trees are totally aken over with huge amounts of Mistletoe. We join the motorway ( E29 ) which climbs steeply offering views across the forested landscape. THis areaalso houses several Roman Villas and remains. The drive along this piece of Motorway is really pleasant as the views are very far reaching and over wonderful views over the Saarland. We follow the motorway all the way to Landauib der Pfalz where we stop off for a bite to eat beofre rejoining the Motorway to Baden Baden, where we will spend the night.

Day 21

Luxembourg -> Singen

Daybreak, and the mists from the previous evening have lifted although the warm sunshine of yesterday in Luxembourg was nowhere to be seen. We decide to head towards Switzerland and the Rheinfall, putting the instructions into our trusty ‘Sat Nav’, we leave the motorway at Offenburg and drive along a really pretty, quiet road along a valley with a river meandering alongside us. By now the sunshine has re-appeared and it warms up the scenery and catches the ripples in the flowing waters of the river making it sparkle as it travels on its way. We pass several small villages whose church spires rise above the roofs of the houses huddled around. In the fields we pass deers grazing, totally undisturbed by our prescence, also a large variety of herons, geese and other varieties of birds. There are large farmhouses with their winter supplies of logs stacked neatly against the outside walls and protected by the large overhang of the roof. As the river widens and the traffic gets a little heavier near the town of Haslach, the mountains get higher. Passing through Haslach on the 33, we keep following Villingen and Schwenningen. Haslach looks too pretty to pass by so we decide to park up and take a walk through the historic old town. Many of the old, half-timbered houses have been lovingly restored and the walls are adorned with colourful paintings depicting traditional costumes of the region or the historic origins of the building. In the centre of town is the church of St. Sebastian, with it’s tower rising high above the neighbouring houses, as we approach the bells ring out filling the air with their sweet sound. Inside the church the priest is instructing a group of excited children about their forthcoming Holy Communion, and they practise their words and hymns. Once out again in the warm spring sunshine, we wander through the winding cobbled streets and stop to take a photo of a bronze farmer watching over some playful young bronze piglets and their mother outside the Schwaldmetzgerei (Butchers) in the Hauptgasse. Further along is the old Stork Gasthaus (Hotel) with pictures of storks painted on all the wooden shutters at the windows. With the sun starting to set, we make our way back towards the motorhome again.

We continue along the 33 and shortly begin to climb, the temperature drops and pockets of ice and snow become more visible the higher we go. At Niederwasser we stop off at the House of Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks. A huge cuckoo clock stands outside with 20 moving lifesize figures. We have a mooch around the shop enjoying looking at the various cuckoo clocks and the cute Hummel figures. We carry on along the cuckoo clock road and pass by the House of 1000 Clocks and then on to Triberg with even more Cuckoo Clocks! and a lovely wood carving shop, some of the statues are really beautiful. The road climbs even higher and there is a wonderful sunset tinging the sky with a beautiful pinky hue. We pass through St.Georgen at the top in the dark and descend down through the forest lined road. Making for Singen where we find a Camperstop to spend the night before crossing into Switzerland tomorrow.

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