We left Trier behind with the sun once again beaming down but as we travelled onward towards our next destination, Frankfurt, the clouds started to close in again.
We had planned this visit to Frankfurt as soon as the decision had been made to tour Europe. During our 2009-2010 drive down East Africa, we had spent a couple of months with Anja and Jeorg touring overland, in our Land Rover and Land Cruiser respectively from Addis Abba in Ethiopia to Kampala in Uganda. Despite the years that have passed and the relatively little actual contact we have (although we still keep in touch with newsy emails), we have remained very firm friends. Sharing such an intense time of our lives with such incredible shared memories of Africa has certainly forged a very strong bond between all of us.
This will be our second visit to Frankfurt as we were last here for Anja and Jeorg’s wedding in August 2013. Since then they have been joined by their amazing little boy, Emil, who we met when they came over to us for a visit in September 2015 before their world tour – we were their very willing guinea pigs for Emil’s “flying tour test”. We were so looking forward to seeing their little ”wurst” again!
But first we had some spending to do. If you’ve been following our blogs you will have noticed that the weather is alternating between sun and rain quite regularly. In fact, I have been very British and have been reporting this religiously to you!!!. During the sunny periods, the temperature in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, whether it is down by the sea, on the plains near a lake or up in the mountains is hovering between 28degC and 38degC – I kid you not! Suffice it to say that we are now looking much healthier and have changed to a dark, red-dish shade of beige instead of our usual shade of blue/white!!! But what this does mean is a stifling night of half-sleep in Kaya. We bought a fantastic fan before we left but this, we have discovered, is great when we have electric hookup but not so great when we’re on batteries. So, we’re on the hunt for a suitable fan. I had no doubt that we would find one in Germany, and so we have. Hence the need to spend money as we make our way to a camping store on the outskirts of Frankfurt. Said fan purchased, along with another €100 of stuff – this is like going to Ikea for 4 screws and coming home with a lounge suite and 4 bedroom cupboards!! And then getting home with a sinking feeling of dread mixed with mild excitement to realise that you forgot the 4 screws and need to go back….
Anyhoo, said fan purchased (and other swag!) we were back on the road again and heading for our next stop at a campsite just outside Frankfurt for 1 night before heading for Anja and Jeorg’s the next day. Arriving at the chosen campsite, we were both a little uneasy with the surroundings. Although it was very secure and ostensibly a nice campsite (at €30 per night it should have been!), we couldn’t quite put our finger on what was causing our lizard brains to trigger, so we set off again to find another suitable spot to camp and headed in the direction of Hunge, just a little north east of Frankfurt for a night’s free camping that had rave reviews.
We had agreed before our trip started that if either one of us had some misgivings about our overnight spot, then without question we would leave. Sometimes you just have to go on instinct (or lizard brain – that spot so deep in your ancient brain that protects you in times of danger) and this was one of those times.
On the way to Hunge the heavens opened and the rain came down and the floods came up (there’s a song in there somewhere LOL) and the traffic on the motorway slowed to crawl as the windscreen wipers on full were totally overwhelmed and ineffectual. It was positively biblical!
When we finally got to the motorway exit, I think I was a little heady with relief because suddenly the motorway exits signs that we had been passing had me giggling like a 6 year old… Ausfarht (go on, say it out loud!)…pretty appropriate for “exit”
But the deluge passed and we rocked up to our parking spot for the night. Both feeling totally relaxed about it, we got ourselves set up, locked Kaya up and went for a walk. Google Maps told us that there was a lake about 300m from us. So, like the intrepid adventurers that we are, we set off and not very much later fell into a wonderful lake side pub ready for a local German beer (having now left the wine region, beer is very much de rigueur!!!) to watch the rain finally give up and the clouds start to clear.
And did I mention that we came across the tallest weeping willow that we had ever seen?
After a very restful night, we woke up……you’ve got it, to bright sunshine, packed Kaya up and we were off to see our friends.