After leaving Central Europe we took a very quick trip through Southern Germany stopping in the beautiful town of Rothenberg with its festive Christmas shops. It was a Sunday afternoon and the town was heaving with tourists. We have never seen it so busy so we took ourselves off the beaten track and walked around the base of the town’s walls, in and out through its gates, poking our noses into narrow passageways and alleys. We love Germany’s medieval walled towns with their cobbled lanes, painted houses and picture book quaintness.
We crossed the border into France and found ourselves camped along the banks of a canal that passes through the small town of Thaon-les-Vosges. There were a dozen other campers enjoying the same spot, mainly French and Dutch. It was a working canal so barges, heavily laden with what looked like building rubble, slowly chugged past plus quite a few pleasure craft. We were parked so close to the canals edge that Paul could sit on our van’s step and cast his line into the water. He fished all day, except for when he had his afternoon nap, and caught six roach which certainly made his day.
Our next stop was at a great camping aire on the Moselle River (the French part of the river Moselle) in the town of Pont-a-Mousson. The aire was right on the marina with fantastic free hot showers and free wifi. Paul could see a lot of fishy activity in the river; which he guessed was a hungry pike trying to catch its dinner so Paul spent the evening dangling his line. I am not sure if it was his good fishing skills or just pure luck but he managed to catch him. Of course he let him go so he could pursue the little fishes for another day.
We arrived in the small town of Stenay to find they had a musical evening happening in the town square. Everyone in the neighbourhood seemed to turn out, all kissing cheek to cheek saying hi to family, friends and neighbours. The town’s children had a fantastic time playing a giant game of tag, running in and out amongst the audience and around the band stand. As the music started we settled down to listen to some traditional French melodies performed by a small band consisting of a violin, two guitars, a piano and a clavichord while also enjoying a chilled bottle of the local wine and munching on freshly cooked, sugar dredged waffles. The next act was a trio of young men playing the music of today. They were fantastic and the audience certainly showed their appreciation clapping and stamping their feet. We liked them so much we brought their CD.
We stayed on for another night in Stenay as the following afternoon a full orchestra were playing in the grounds of the local beer museum. In the warmth of the late afternoon sun we sat in the old brewery’s courtyard, enjoying a glass of the locally brewed beer (8% proof, hic!) while the orchestra played tunes from musicals, TV themes, film scores and music from famous artists and bands like Tom Jones and ABBA. It was a lovely way to end a summers day.
We stopped in Catillon-sur-Sambre by yet another canal and could see the tow path was lined with dozens of fisherman surrounded by tons of fishing equipment, all with their super long roach poles angled out into the canal. It was a fishing competition and all the fisherman were taking it very seriously, concentrating on catching as many roach as they could in the time allowed. But the fisherman and the fish had to contend with a lot of noise as just behind the hedge was a motocross rally and the noise was deafening!
Having never seen Motocross we had to have a peek, so watched as motorbikes galore hurtled around a dirt track, racing up high mounds then flying over the top, their back wheels spraying dirt, dust and mud into the air, while the sound of their engines revving and the smell of exhaust fumes filled the air.
Back to fishing. We spent a night on a trout farm so Paul could do a bit of fly fishing. He had not one nibble, he was very disappointed. Good job I thought to make a chicken casserole otherwise we would have gone hungry!
Our 2nd European Adventure is nearly coming to an end. After catching the Euro Tunnel train we are now back in the UK and looking forward to seeing friends and family before we fly home
Hope everyone is well
Liz and Paul x