Although we had no fixed plans when we crossed over to Holland at the start of May, we had stayed in Holland a lot longer than either of us would have initially anticipated. For several reasons our stay had been extended but now finally on June 13th, one day later than we had set off last year. With the final thing packed, time for one final walk to the beach at Kijkduin.
Then it was off one last time to Oma's where we enjoyed a smoothie (something which had become our regular 'tipple' to enjoy together) before Oma walked with us to the car park to wave us off. It was an emotional time for me saying goodbye. Having had the experience of living around the corner for the past 5 weeks and being able to pop in at Oma's whenever, had been wonderful. But I reminded myself that just like last I could always take a flight back and of course the motorhome does actually move!
So we were 'on the road again.....'. At the last minute, we had once again decided to set our course 'due south'; this time with the vague plan of heading towards Germany and Austria. But being about 4pm we settled on crossing into Belguim and getting somewhere south of Antwerp. Just as we were driving out of Wateringen, the sun came out as if also to send us off on our way. We took our first stop on the southern outskirts of Antwerp, which just happened to be by a BioPlanet. As Dan rested, I took the opportunity to top up our fruit and veggie supplies. With the late evening sunlight we decided to push on a little further, enjoying the easy driving on the larger roads through the rolling green countryside. We pulled off the motorway and headed through a deep forest to come to the small picturesque village of Redu which provided a free motorhome aire. Happy to see other motorhomers, we took a short pause to enjoy the evening light before climbing our metal steps to bed.
The next morning we were greeted by a warm sunlight and took the time to not rush our morning breakfast juice and sat outside enjoying our new chairs. We had no fixed plan but a few tasks to see to. First was to get to Luxembourg to fill up with the much cheaper fuel. Having visited Luxembourg City last year on our trip south we decided that we'd push on through and within 45mins we had crossed another border and were back in France. The task now was to refill our french gas, something we quickly realised was going to be tough to do on a Sunday. A couple of open petrol stations near Metz provided a glimmer of hope, but sadly none had our particular gas in stock. After a quick lunch stop and getting out the maps to start to making some much needed plans on our onward route, we decided we were tired and that Metz looked like a nice city to stop the night. It had the added bonus of having a free motorhome aire by the river, where we took some time to sit and relax before an evening stroll around the old town as the sun was setting.
From Metz, we set course for the Austrian Alps, picking out a route through Germany to make use of the German Autobahns. Dan did a few long stints behind the wheel. After taking a couple of pit stops we pulled off the motorway to find a permitted Stellplatz at a Fossil and Dinosaur museum near Holzmaden. We had an evening walk to unwind from the driving and Dan got attacked by a plastic sea monster.
We set off early the next morning and ended up making a few unexpected stops - fixing Esther's road bike with the help of a very friendly German bike shop owner - posting fathers' day cards (despite the officious sizing guideline's which required some last minute scissor work!) and best of all picking our own strawberries. We came away with over 5kgs!
After that things ended up a little bit complicated. We bought our Austrian vingette and headed across the border into Bregenz on the Bodensee which our Camperstop guide unreliably informed us there was a permissible overnight parking. There wasn't and according to the tourist info lady, never had been. So as the evening was drawing in quickly, we headed back over to Germany and Lindau (about 10km). Arriving so late at night at such a popular destination made it difficult to find anywhere to park at all. By the time we did find somewhere and had a quick bite to eat, the sun was setting. After a quick stroll to the lake, two very tired people were off to bed realising that they would need to make some slightly more fixed plans to avoid this stress in the future.