Well to say Brian was in his element these past two day’s is really an understatment.
Stuttgart is home to both Porsche and Mercedes museum’s and we spent the best part of a day at each of them.
The cars were very impressive, but I have to say architecturally the Mercedes building was the standout for us both. Eight levels of off form concrete in curves, ramps and with the best finish Brian has ever seen. Pod like elevators that showed short car videos on the opposite wall took you up to the top level, and from there ramps gently bought you from floor to floor, all with a very impressive collection of cars.
The city of Stuttgart was also lovely, and was much more than we expected from a huge automobile manufacturing centre. Huge parks, a great transit system of street cars and trains, a fantastic old palace and the best museum of History we have seen in a long time.
Our good friends, Gisela and Werner live in Bavaria, Germany in a lovely town called Kaufering just east of Munich.
We first met the Wendl’s in 2009 in Morocco. At that time they were travelling in their caravan with Leonie (5) and Felix (3), and Lea was just the size of a peanut, and we have kept in contact with Skype and visits regularly since then. We travelled together in Morocco and had great adventures in Marrakesh, then trip into the Sahara by camel staying overnight in a Bedouin tents, and so much more.
Werner, like our friend Georges in France, makes sure that Brian tastes all the local beers, and other local delicacies like Leberkase, literally ‘liver cheese’, although there is not a speck of cheese in it. It’s actually a mix of finely ground corned beef, pork and bacon baked as a loaf in a pan, then you eat with sweet Bavarian mustard, a pretzel or on a semmel (bread roll). It’s filling, and not for the faint hearted, a good workers lunch that is usually accompanied by a beer. I like the pretzel.
Kaufering is very close to the Romantic Road, a 350km route through quintessentially German towns and scenery with castles, which was a medieval trade route that linked towns. A great drive if you ever visit Germany.
There was an event in Landsberg, just down the road, for Hymermobiles built before 1983, so sadly Hermione didn’t qualify, but we did go and check out all the old Wohnmoblies. I would have loved to look inside some of them.
It has been lovely to visit the Wendl’s this week, and we plan on meeting up during the summer in France for more Hijinks in a Hymer.
Located in the north eastern region of France, and bordering Germany and Switzerland the Alsace region reflects a real mix of culture and is dotted throughout with fairy-tale villages.
It also has one of the largest wine areas in France producing an excellent dry Riesling, with a delicate smell of peach.
We followed along it’s wine route for a few days, visiting it’s fairy tale towns like Riquewihr, Kayserberg and Ribeauville, and coming away with some lovely memories, and more importantly a few bottles of wine.
One of the departure points in France for the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, and also a UNESCO World Heritage site Vezelay was a must see in Burgundy for us.
Perched high on top of a hill and once fortified with most of it’s walls still intact, and a most magnificent 11th century Basilica Saint Mary Magdalene with reliques, or physical remains said to be Mary Magdalene.
The Morvan Region is an unspoilt area in central France with vast forests, large lakes, clean rivers and in the spring vast areas of blossoms that had me reaching for my anti-histamines.
Mor comes from the Celtic word for black and Vand – mountains.
This is a fascinating project in the Burgundy region of France, a 12th century chateau fort being built from scratch, using only tools and equipment from the Middle Ages.
Fifty master builders have taken on this extraordinary challenge in a disused quarry, in the heart of France, surrounded by all the natural materials required for the construction – stone, wood, sand and clay.
Quarrymen, stonemasons, carpenters, blacksmiths, tile and rope makers, are building this castle from scratch, and it was an amazing site to visit.
Brian is always intrigued on how in the Middle Ages workers managed to build these impressive structures, and Guedelon answered many of his questions.
Started in 1997, it’s due to be completed sometime in 2020.
Another lovely stay with our good friends Manuela and Georges in Kerevy.
Georges had our visit planned with a walk along the canal at Malestroit during the day, then dinner at their favourite pizza restaurant in Vannes, followed by a walk around the lovely city to view a photo exhibit.
Lorient was at the heart of the Battle of the Atlantic, and Brian was very interested in visiting the site of the German submarine base that after intensive bombing by the British and US, and thousands of bombs dropped, was hardly damaged and is still standing today. And was actually used by the French Navy after liberation, until 1997.
Between Feb 1941 and Jan 1943, 15,000 workers built three enormous concrete bunkers from one million cubic meters of concrete.
The bunkers were each over 500 feet long, 400 feet wide and 67 feet high and could house up to 15 submarines each, and housed 1000 sub-mariners, and they were impenetrable, with a roof thickness of 25 feet!
Brian was in awe of these bunkers, the complexity of the structures, and that they were built in such a short time.