The Cuckoo Clock has its origin in the heart of the Black Forest (Germany), having been invented here in Schoenwald in 1737. So having left the shores of Lake Constance, we've headed into Germany's Black Forest. The Black Forest region in Germany spawned more than just fairy tales like Hameln; it also served as home to the first cuckoo clocks. Black Forest craftsmen have been making cuckoo clocks since the 1600s, and they are still making them today. So we thought where better to get a Design/Technology 'Roadschooling Lesson' on gearing, pulleys, cams..... than in the cuckoo clock capital of Europe!
There is no better place than Lake Constance for bike lovers, especially for anyone staying at Camping Wirthshof. It's impressive Bodensee-Radweg is a 170-mile cycle path for all abilities. From beginners who want to go around one of Europe's most popular lakes to more advanced rider seeking to beat the record for a circumnavigation Surrounded by snowcapped Swiss mountains and forested shores, in Germany its lakeside is strewn with charming villages, fruit farms and picturesque islands. Islands that include the famous Insel Mainau 'Island of Flowers' which had been on our list of 'must sees' (alongside the UNESCO stilt village of Pfahlbau)
With modern day life offering countless options to spend time in front of a 'silver screen' instead of enjoying the great outdoors, it's great to find a campsite that simply shouts 'Get Active'!! Wirthshof's parkland setting close to Lake Constance in south west Germany offers a fantastic natural playground. Making it great for exploring and bike riding, or other popular activities such as the billiard 'mini golf' or indoor or outdoor wooden play park. So it's a great place to tick off quite a few of those outdoors activities that every kid should do.... but where to start!
It's been an eye opening view into another side of European culture for our girls. Full of new adventures with plenty of new friends met along the way. It's been full of 'wide eyed' stares at the poverty witnessed in Poland or Hungary, yet these are often the places with the warmest of local people... We've seen the impressive canals of Venice, climbed the steep cliffs of Split and been staggered by the beauty in Budapest, Vienna or Prague.
As a family of 4, an adventure or simple jaunt around a city can prove fairly costly.... especially when taking in some museums, using public transport everywhere and even some shopping before a lunch out.... So we set out to discover Berlin and how we could enjoy it on a budget!
Did you ever get that feeling as a parent when you hit 'autopilot' mode as you turn yet another page of a nursery rhyme/fairytale.? Words tumbling out without thinking about it. We did, but the story of the Pied Piper of Hameln always seemed to intrigue me more than the others... Apparently I wasn't alone as both girls were desperate to plan this into our current journey through Germany. So here we are!!!
Cologne (Köln) offered plenty of potential for a bike ride on a seemingly perfect spring day. Full of sunshine and the promise of spring flowers... the ideal opportunity to grab our bikes and head for the centre of Cologne along the bike paths alongside the River Rhine...
Perhaps the one aspect of travelling that can sometimes be harder than all others... Is the fact you do miss your real friends. New views and experiences can quench some of that thirst.... but nothing beats the chance to either make new friends or meet old friends.
Venlo is well worth a visit, but it pales in comparison with the fantastic aire in Schleswig (Germany).... Schleswig is a beautiful, coastal town in the northeastern part of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It takes its name from the inlet of the Baltic sea at the end of which it sits, and "vik" or "vig" which means bay in Old Norse and Danish.
Sadly the fully serviced uber central aire was full.... space for 45 vans too!!!! Phew!! Busy, busy, busy!!
So we headed towards the coast and grabbed a prime spot on a 'wild camping' spot just on the outskirts of Schleswig!!!
Thankfully the lengthy drive allowed the girls a chance to experiment with yet another bakery blog... normally they are here on the girl's website... little bloggers in their own right!!!! but we thought this one could go here as the choccie muffins were that good!!!
Full recipes on their way soon... on their site!
Tomorrow sees us head to Denmark, can't wait!!!
After two heavy day of driving, it was brilliant to enjoy less time behind the wheel and more time with the kids... as regular readers will know, it was the very reason we decided to change our lifestyles and focus on them, so always good to keep that in focus!!!
Germany's fantastic road system finally ended as we drove into Denmark's gently undulating fields of crops... vast fields of yellow rape seed, wheat and barely... a beautiful start to Jutland!! One that didn't stop as we passed one after another small village with stunningly beautiful houses and gardens... all manicured and well kept! They clearly love their houses, but they seem to love family time too... we passed endless numbers of family bike rides on amazingly well laid out bike tracks that seem to adorn each roadside...
The beautifully reconstructed town of Ribe was of particular interest as we hoped to visit the Viking museum and see this restored village and how Denmark must have looked years ago... we were not disappointed and would place it in the same league as Talmont sur Gironde (a must if you are between Bordeaux and La Rochelle)
Aarhus was our eventual detention via the start of the Lake District at Skanderbourg... tomorrow sees us visit Viborg enroute to the ferry to Norway... but hopefully not until we have visited Limfjorden
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