/ Europe2011

Sometimes I wish we had a bog-standard VW van conversion

Two days of Friedrichshafen was wearying on the feet and we didn't think there were enough bargains in the flea market to stay and haggle closing down prices, so Sunday morning we set off for home. A ruler drawn between Friedrichshafen and Calais would suggest setting course for Luxembourg or Metz which was our original plan. Yet both Google Maps and Tomtom suggested the fastest route would be almost directly north, up through Germany and then turn left at Aachen and head east via Brussels. So plan B, stick Luxembourg off the list of countries to visit and replace with The Netherlands and Belgium.

The reason Tomtom suggests this route is that once off the Bodensee roads we are straight into the excellent German autobahn system of good, toll-free motorways. Now me might not be capable of the speeds some of the larger Mercs and BMWs but we could trundle at 70mph+ and make the 385 miles to the campsite just outside Aachen in around the 6 hours that Tomtom suggested. Apart from 3 stops and a minor hold-up that Tomtom did her best to skirt us past we probably wouldn't have been far off that time but with the stops we have been on the road just short of 8 hours before arriving at Gulpenerburg. This site with 300 touring spaces, is FULL, on a Sunday evening in the middle of school term. Hell!

We are hot and tired, it's been a long day and the last thing we need is a full campsite with no plan B - it seemed so huge we thought there'd be plenty of spaces. Actually the last thing we needed sitting in a hot van ( it's close to 30°C outside) trying to find a site as close as possible, was to hear that familiar call "Zis is I nice mikro-camper, I zink". One can't be rude but now is definitely not the best time to have to conduct a tour of the Roma!

Our new guest assures us that there are lots of campsites in the area but doesn't know where any are! Great help! Then we remember that Tomtom is new and still has a live services licence. Fire it up, search for "Places close to me", "Campsite" and it comes up with Camping Osebos just a few miles down the road outside Gulpen. A hasty journey, over several single track roads soon gets us to the main Gulpen road and onto the campsite.

Once the van is parked it is definitely beer-o-clock! Been a long day.