Sunday, 30 March 2014

From Amsterdam to Essen!

Thought it was about time I bought everyone up to date! This is an epic blog so grab a cuppa before reading! It is sometimes hard to get the internet connections and time, together in one place to write a blog!
After a lovely visit to Amsterdam we caught the fast train to Paris to pick up our hire car. We only spent one night in Paris as we are coming back at the end of our trip. It was a beautiful evening. We had dinner in a traditional French restaurant and then a walk by the Seine ....... not bad just to pick up a car!

The next morning it was hard to resist another quick taste of Paris so we headed out again for a coffee and another stroll.

Paris was magic in the spring sunshine but our car beckoned!

Where to, I said? I dunno, he said. Well, we have to go north, I said. Yes, he said? Belgium, I said? Been there, he said. Luxembourg,I said? Good idea, he said. Got the Tom Tom, I said? Yep, but it's not charged, he said. Uuuuuuuurrrrrrggggghhhhh, I said.

Heading out of an underground car park in the middle of Paris, without a working sat nav and driving on the right side (wrong for us) in an unfamiliar car was not our best moment! We only caused a minor traffic jam when the car stalled on the wrong side of the road, blocking a major entrance to the Gare Du Nord! After lots of tooting and hand waving, a not very nice French man, muttering under his breath, begrudgingly helped us start the car and we were away!

Luxembourg was the perfect destination. I had not been there for over 30 years and the beauty of the unchanged city hit me again as we drove in. Now world heritage listed, it is spectacular! Built around the rock gorge of the Petrusse Valley, it is a unique and truly elegant city!

That's me, standing on the Chemin del a Corniche, translated as "Europe's most beautiful balcony". Have to say I agree!

We decided to spend a day just wandering! The 2.5 hour self guided walking tour took us over 6 hours by the time we deviated down every little alleyway, window shopped and stopped for coffee.

Such a lovely place!
Our goal was to get to Essen in Germany, so off we went again! Next stop Bacharach!
Situated on the "Mittelrhein" (Middle Rhine) it is a lovely little German gem! It is a small walled town, right on the River Rhine, that boasts spectacular views of the river from it's castle, has it's own church ruins, hillsides of vineyards and a market platz with local caf├ęs and pubs. We stayed in a pensione for two nights and the local couple who owned it welcomed us! Not quite open for summer (most places open at Easter), they cooked just for us and pointed us in the right direction for good coffee, local wine and food, and sightseeing .
This area of the Rhine is gorgeous and the cruise boats sail right past to stop at the bigger centres!

Castles abound at every turn along this part of the Rhine!

Sorry about the quality of the pictures but I was taking them from a moving car as we made our way up the Rhine heading to Essen!
Hmmmmm Essen, modern, commercial, not very picture postcard but we are here for a very good reason. Top Gear is going to the biggest car show in Europe.......for three days and yes, he has bought me a ticket!
Day one, he went off by himself to get an overview. Left me at a loose end, so what is a girl to do! I shopped! Essen doesn't have much else to do and I have to say the shopping was excellent! Good quality German-made shoes on end of winter sales, coats and scarves......perfect for heading back to an Aussie winter! I was a happy camper!

Next day I felt I needed to be the "good wife" so headed off to the car show with Top Gear! Big mistake! Twelve convention halls filled with cars of every make and model, car bits, car posters, car clothes, car museum displays, on and on and on! Five hours in this was me!

Notice only men in the background!!!!

I have new respect for Top Gear when he trails around with me at these quilt shows I go to! I think I might release him when we get to Nantes!
Still in Essen,today is a day of rest.......time to write this blog, read and sew a bit......I think we deserve it!
Stay tuned for the next part of the adventure! Only two weeks in, five to go!
Happy stitching!

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  1. I'm really enjoying hearing about your travels!! Driving in Paris is so brave, I loved the part where the car stalled on the wrond side of the road. Wonderful photos of beautiful towns and landscapes!! Shopping while Top Gear is at the car show sounds like a good plan to me.

  2. Thanks for the update. Was wondering where you had gotten to. We in Bali this week having a really relaxing time. Daughter has found some promising-looking fabric shops so will head out for a look tomorrow. Looks like you are doing some serious shopping over there.