Day 22: Netherlands, Maastricht – Germany, Dirmingen

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RouteMaastricht, Netherlands – Dirmingen, Germany
Route Details
Overnight stop 49.433201, 6.996480
Finkenrech
Overnight Costs£0
Parking (for access to gardens) with EHU, good 4G
Distance walked8km
Diesel / litre £1.10 (€1.24)
Exchange rate 1.13
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We are slowly heading towards Austria to meet up with Jane & John in Neustift im Stubaital in Austria but first we have a few places in Germany to visit.

We decided that instead of repeating the track that we had done in 2017, that we would try something new. It’s always a temptation to repeat something because it’s a known entity and easy to navigate whereas a new route always brings with it, it’s own issues and hurdles like finding new places to stop for a lunch break, then finding a new place to stopover for the night and where to find cheap fuel.

We knew that we were in Germany again, as the minute we crossed over from the Netherlands after leaving Maastricht, we hit our first umleitung or diversion. We noticed this the last couple of times we have been here that roadworks are extremely common and these come with road closures and re-routing. This one, thank goodness, didn’t affect our chosen route.

Onward and ever southward.

We also knew we were in Germany when the architecture of the houses started to change, precision hedges appeared alongside and we drove by beautiful long swathes of hills covered in trees just on the change (autumn not menopause!!)

We had talked about making our way to Bad Kreuznach as Jane had said that they might be going there for a visit and also we had loved our last visit to Bad Durkheim – they are both spa towns and have mineral baths and saltworks. But we decided instead to take a journey down to Saarbrucken as we had discovered (well, actually the gorgeous Mr T discovered it, it’s his spidey sense, you know!) that they are the home of the schwenke grill. Now, you know us, anything to do with food, especially new ways of cooking pork and we are there!

So we are now on the hunt for a marinaded pork neck fillet that is cooked over an open fire on a sort of tripod affair and the grill is swung gently over the fire to slowly cook the meat. Wish us luck!

We set off at around 10am and as we are back into eating just 2 meals a day, we decided to stop at Prűm in Germany. This meant a beautiful drive, a sort of gentle meander, along the border of Germany and Belgium through skiing country and would also allow us to pop into Luxembourg for a quick fill of very cheap fuel (€1.12 / £1.00 a litre!).

When we arrived in Prűm, turns out there a stellplatz or parking spot for motorhomes. So we took advantage and temporarily parked up there whilst we went shopping, jumpers on because although the weather is dry and we see the sun popping out every now and again (at least it’s dry!!!), it’s just on the edge of chilly.

First stop the local co-op or farmers outlet and it’s autumn so pumpkins abound – all manner of shapes and sizes. And as luck would have it, we found a basket full of gem squashes. This is a throwback to our days in SA. It a small, hard skinned squash, the flesh inside is slightly stringy but has the most glorious flavour. It’s steamed till it’s cooked and served with lashings of butter, salt and pepper and is absolutely sublime. We’re a bit addicted and at the first sign that they are around, anyone that has ever lived in South Africa will pounce on them. We pounced on them! Along with some sweet, lacto-fermented (naturally pickled in salt brine) gherkins.

Over to the butcher. Well, it was a lot more complicated than that because we missed it and walked passed it at least 4 times before we realised that it was inside the Netto shop. Not to worry, 5000 steps added to our daily quota!

The gorgeous Mr T honed in on the cooked ham shank which he had with German potato salad – this appears on his list of final meals. While I had mine with celeriac remoulade and sweet pickled carrots. Wow!

Several smoked sausages (Mettwurstchen) and slices of deli meat (Vierling – black pudding, brawn, leberkase and chopped pork in aspic/jelly) later to take back to Kaya for supper and we were set.

But not before passing by the backerei (bakery) and picking up some milschkaffee (milky coffee) and a laugenbrezel (salt pretzel) to share to give us some energy to get back to Kaya! Whilst in the bakery we spotted some palmiers – so basically this is puff pastry rolled into the middle from both sides, bake till crisp and dipped in chocolate. I got the fit of the giggles when I saw they were called Schweineohr or pigs ears. So much more fun and enjoyable in German!

Back on the road again as we decided that instead of driving (off route) into Luxembourg for fuel, that it seemed sensible just to fill up in Prűm at €1.24 (£1.10) a litre as the saving would be worth less than the time and extra fuel for a diversion. Still pretty cheap!

We found the stellplatz information in Park4Night and decided that it suited us to have a quiet night on a carpark next to ornamental gardens. We arrived, parked up, jumpers on again and took a brisk walk through the formally laid out gardens and orchards before returning to Kaya as the gorgeous Mr T’s snooze alarm had started to ring (this is becoming all too familiar!).

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