13th August: We left Newquay at around 8am with the hope of arriving at our overnight campsite with plenty of time on our hands to explore the Kent coastline. Around six weeks ago, the National Trust opened the Dover Cliffs War Tunnels and we were keen to visit.
We checked into our campsite (I’ll come back to this in a minute) and then drove to the National Trust White Cliffs car park where we were to join the tour of the war tunnels. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the tickets properly. We arrived at the car park for the specified time on the ticket as opposed to the entrance to the tunnels which was some 15 minutes walk away along the clifftops. Oops.
With our tails between our legs, we then drove back to the Kingsdown International Camping Centre to pitch up for the night. The campsite is very affordable and is open from March to November each year. They do not charge for extras apart from “fire baskets” to make campfires if you want to put your inner-neanderthal fire making traits to the test. We met the owner of the campsite who was only too happy to give us some information on walks nearby and the best pubs to go for some grub. The campsite is situated in the village of Kingsdown which is only 5 minutes east of Dover ferry terminal and sits above a shingle beach that visitors can access directly from the grounds. Perfect.
The weather was less than ideal for this time of the year and we had rain for the entire afternoon and evening. However, being used to Cornish summers, it didn’t stop us wanting to explore!
After an afternoon of walking along beaches and jumping into pubs for a beer, we were back at the van having a bite to eat before bed. The next day would involve a lot of travelling and we needed an early night.
14th August: 6am. Whistle kettle screaming its head off meaning only one thing. Cuppa before putting the bed away and heading to the ferry terminal. Our trip has truly begun! With the anticipation and excitement of what’s ahead, we both practically bounced out of bed and we were cleared up, washed up and ready to roll in about 7 minutes.
We boarded our ferry without any problems and were soon waving goodbye to Dover and itching to get on our way. The ferry took just under an hour to arrive at Calais. We drove off the ramp, turned the sat-nav on to type a nearby location to the Black Forest in (this is where we were planning to find somewhere off the beaten track to camp for the night) only to discover that our device didn’t include Germany in its “Western Europe” package. Great.
Luckily, we didn’t expect to solely rely on our TomTom and soon enough, we had refocused our eyes to read the tiny small print that can be found in the Michelin A4 spiral Europe road atlas. We managed to navigate our way through Belgium – which by the way, wasn’t particularly stunning; very flat and grey and not much to look at – using the sat-nav. By the time we reached the black spot in our navigation system (aka Germany) or indeed “Eastern Europe” according to TomTom, we found the motorway we were travelling down on the map. From that point on, I was relying entirely on my wife’s navigation skills..gulp.
After a couple of arguments and dodgy pulling-over techniques to avoid missing exits, we reached the foothills of the beautiful Black Forest which is sandwiched east of the city of Stuttgart and west of Strasbourg. We went through Baden-Baden and journeyed towards the village of Bad Wildbad purely because we liked the name. From there, we drove up the hills looking for a quiet place to park up for the night. We were successful. Not only that, but we had a stunning view across the mountainous area that surrounded our location along with an peaceful and uninterrupted sleep. This was well-needed after a 10 hour drive.
15th August: This morning, we drove along our route through some incredible mountain villages. From one breathtaking view to another; it felt as though we had woken up and resumed our adventure in a different world. There were numerous ski lifts that were lying dormant during the summer months, swinging in the morning breeze with unbelievable backdrops of peak after peak of forest-covered mountains. After driving along the pass, we then made our descent back down to the lower levels and began our final approach towards our final destination of this part of the trip; Camping Hopfensee, near Füssen – “Germany’s highest town.”
We have finally arrived to what seems to be an amazing campsite in terms of both location and facilities. It certainly feels as though we have done some serious miles to get down to Bavaria in just over 24 hours from Cornwall. Weather doesn’t look too good but we’re in a new place with lots of places to discover and explore. It is now time for some rest and also a chance to see what Germany has to offer.
Auf Wiedersehen für jetzt (goodbye for now).
Over and out.