Monday, 2 March 2009

Bruges to Dierdorf to Salzburg

We escaped the hostel early the next morning, much to the delight of the people staying in our dorm (that'll teach them for snoring through most of the night!) and got on the road. Despite all these countries being next to each other on the continent, some of them, especially Germany and France, are massive and take some time to drive through. We stopped in Tournai, (still in Belgium) which used to be the capital of Gaul. I think Kent was hoping there would be some kind of memorial to Asterix there, and he was a bit disappointed when not only was there nothing about him there (I have suggested this is due to his being a fictional comic book character, but Kent was having none of it), but nothing much was open, as this part of Europe pretty much shuts up shop from 12 -2pm. Bugger.
Over the border into Germany, our next stop was Dierdorf, about halfway between Köln and Frankfurt, to stay with Patrick, an exchange student I went to school with, and Denise, his girlfriend. They’re both fairly outdoorsy, so it wasn’t a big surprise to us that they’d lined up a walk in the Rhine Valley for the next day… although the distance was a bit of a shock to my legs – 22km. Fortunately, most of the way the weather was lovely, warm enough for just a tshirt, and enough sun to give us a bit of a pink tinge. The scenery was just amazing, as we were on the top of the valley for a lot of the walk, and passed a number of beautiful castles, so Kent was in his element.

Patrick’s aunt wasn’t very well the next day, so they went to visit her the next morning, leaving us with some recommendations: the Westerwald Open Air Museum, which was all in German, but gave us a good idea of some of the local history; Schloss Stolzenfels, a very pretty castle on the banks of the Rhine; and Deutsches Eck (German Corner) in Koblenz, where the Rhine and Mosel rivers meet… all of which we enjoyed, even without our escorts.
Denise saw us off the next morning as Patrick had left for Berlin for work, and we hit the road, in yet more rain, towards Austria, calling past Eichstatt, a gorgeous old medieval town, which we would have spent more time in, had it not been raining and mostly closed for winter! We also went in search of one of ‘Mad’ King Ludwig’s castles, near Prien, but failed miserably as it’s on an island in a lake and we couldn’t see it for the fog!
By the time we arrived in Salzburg, we were both a bit frayed by the constant weather, so it was really helpful that there are two streets named Bergstrasse in the area, and we chose the one right in the middle of town to look for our accommodation – of course, it was actually the one on the outskirts… but we got there in the end! It was a room in a woman’s house – she was lovely, very welcoming, and the house was toasty warm, although slightly creepy as most of the downstairs walls were covered in antlers from deer, thar and chamois...hmmm.
Adventures to be continued...
K & E x

No comments: