Thursday 1st September
I said it would be too good to be true that Lucy has turned over a new leaf, it was 9.30 before she opened her weary eyes but to be fair we are on Central European time and she still needs to acclimatise.
The night was very quiet the only sounds were ducks squabbling in the morning and the occasional whoosh as another cyclist goes flying past. One nearly got me but using my ninja like skills I only had to shout dumkopf to his back.
We decided to travel across country today so that we just have a short drive tomorrow. Other than the traffic, cyclists and featureless countryside I’m starting to like Belguim. Get off the motorway and look at the houses, they are so picture perfect they actually look like computer generated models. There is a large selection of building styles, beautiful gardens and no rubbish, everything just seems immaculate, as if it has only just been built. If we were looking for somewhere to live Belguim would be pretty high on the list but I haven’t looked at house prices yet.
I didn’t realise (forgot actually) that you have to download the offline maps for Camper Contact to work properly, if I had done that we would have been given hundreds of more stopping places that the “All the Aires” book gives us. Our fist stop looked lovely, by the banks of a canal, the book cover photo is of this site but when we arrive about 1pm it is full up. Three of the bays have been shut off with flower boxes reducing it down to seven bays. Looked very nice with free electric and water for €6 per night. Never mind, there is another aire just down the canal. Again full up and #7.50 per night. I’m starting to feel the pressure but aire number three which was just another 5 miles away (in the right direction) came up trumps.
We are facing another canal with a very busy cycle track in front of us, there is water and electric point (and for some reason it is giving out free water and electric) and a bar 50m away.
Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it Clive? A selection of very local beers and for lunch cheese and ham baguettes with vegetables, we weren’t sure what we were getting but vegetables includes lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, pasta and boiled eggs.
As you can see it is a bikers cafe. Dozens of electric bikes, lots of lycra, lots of sun and very relaxing. We are now chilling out, a bike ride has been planned for the morning.
If you are travelling to Germany and plan to visit any of the larger cities you will need a feinstaubplakette (no idea if that is spelt correct) which is placed in the front windscreen and shows your environmental class. I’ve seen a lot of confusion about getting this sticker but found that it was very easy. Just take a digital photo of your log book, log onto this website https://www.berlin.de/labo/mobilitaet/kfz-zulassung/feinstaubplakette/shop.86595.en.php (bookmark the site before you lose it) and fill in the form. Just download your photo and make a payment of €6 (easy with Paypal) allowing two weeks for the sticker to come back to you. I have heard of people paying £40 by going on the wrong website!