/ Europe2017

Free beer!

Or possibly today's title should be "Bus pass at last!" More about this later.

Not the best of days from a stress viewpoint. Driving was unpleasant for a few periods during the day.

We left the campsite and decided to head North out of the city temporarily to  the largest supermarket we could find in Freiburg on Google maps. Shouldn't be too much effort. Wouldn't have been had they not been digging up Freiburg and the junction to the main road to the supermarket is currently closed. Satnav took us an interesting diversion including a left turn down a small road which I missed. I think we must have slowly spiralled in on Kaufland. Still got there in the end - only to find no parking other than a multi-storey!! Grrr! Double Grrr! because Freiburg is definitely not a town to be driving around without knowing where you are going, there are far too many cyclists zipping along on either side of you to make a mistake!

Still we'd passed a Lidl not too far back so a couple of U-turns later we pulled into Lidl's car park and hopefully didn't incur a charge as I have no idea what the parking signs meant. Also being Lidl's there was no hope of local food and drink. 

Still Liz picked up a nice top and we got the essentials of milk, cereal and orange juice. But no local beers though ☹️

On to Furtwangen, to the German Clock Museum. More driving fun, Liz is navigating rather than Satnav but hadn't told me to turn where the sign to the museum is pointing (she had found a different route). I follow the signs, Liz is now working out where on the map we are so we both miss the next sign. Fortunately half a mile further on there's a Lidl's so we can take stock and U-turn. Eventually after some narrow streets we find the clock museum and discover it has no car park, metered on street parking only, which we have just passed! Once again a complete circumnavigation of the town to arrive at the museum so we can park.

I really wasn't in the mood for the museum. I'd struggled with the parking meter and after feeding it money spotted the small Union Flag symbol that would have given me instructions in English. I had done too many u-turns against traffic and at least twice indicated to take turnings which at the last moment either Liz or Satnav persuaded me not to.

The museum was supposed to have good English but the main text was German only. The museum WiFi didn't seem to want to connect to the internet and I decided not to track their website via a phone connection, so it wasn't a great experience for English speakers. Mind you, I wasn't in the mood. The stress of driving had given me a headache and seeing the size of the museum I wasn't sure I'd put enough time on the meter. Could have been better! Consequently I didn't really take any photos, the couple I did take are too poor to include in the blog.

Still the museum did have some tourist literature including a map of our next destination which showed a car park, even with a motorhome symbol. Easy.

Well it would have been had Satnav not wanted to take us out of town a way that was totally contrary to Liz's understanding of the roads we needed to go on. So following Liz I did yet another circumnavigation of Furtwangen.

Just out of town they were the inevitable road works. Not just a 3 way stop but also a further stop whilst the bucket digger coming across the road dropped stones into the road works hole. I decide not to rush an amber light and stop a little way back from the stop light. An angry peep from a bus behind me moved me parallel to the light. Despite little traffic it is a long change and when eventually the light turns green; as I'm reaching for the gear stick another angry toot reminds me that 2 nanoseconds have passed since the colour change. It's been a long time since I raised 2 fingers at a driver.

Triberg has the highest waterfall in Germany. Just before the town there's a sign to a small rough parking place. So rough I ground the van a couple of times even drivng at about 2mph. We park up and realise we are at a trail head and it's about a 1 hour hike to the waterfall, despite the fact it's just a 5 minute walk from in town. Yet another U-turn!

It turns out that the waterfall is a few Euros to visit and, neither of us were in the mood. We mooched around the town, one to end of which has several tourist shops, most selling Cuckoo clocks. To be fair most of the clocks were made in Germany and a very good percentage bore a Schwarzwald sticker. Lots of different designs, including some modern ones, and a huge range of sizes and prices. For something very bottom of the range we were looking at about €100 and probably twice that for something really nice. I was tempted, but, as Liz pointed out, they do seem to attract dust. Who knows, if we see one later in the week ...
One final twist on the driving tale, leaving Triberg Liz hadn't anticipated a turn they Satnav suggested (to be fair this was a long way from when we had decided vaguely on the route back over breakfast in Freiburg). I needed to pull over just to check, oh, there's a convenient Lidl's, the third of the day!

To balance all the shitty and stressful driving the open roads were delightful. Glorious mountain countryside with passes full of sweeping bends and the occasionally horseshoe to test the brakes. Traffic, but not much, so most of the time speed is governed by the van's handling, my skill, or, just a little too often, the speed limits. Farmhouses and huge panoramic vistas were picturesque in the extreme. A total delight.

And to help me put the stress of the morning behind me, the campsite at Alpirsbach. Not especially cheap at €19 (plus taxes) a night but part of their welcome package is a free beer each! Then we get given a Swarzwald Guest card which gives us free bus and train transport in the entire Black Forest region. That's over 2000 square miles (it's at least 130 miles top bottom), one heck of a free transport card. Our original plan was to stay here a couple of nights and move on but if buses and trains work we may stay here for a week and tour. Especially since the site is well stocked with the local beer!