28th September 2016. Übersee, Almau, Germany.

This morning, when we eventually dragged our tired bodies out of bed, we discussed the bizarre chimes we’d been listening to for most of the night.  Sometimes there was one chime, sometimes there were (we assume) a number of chimes that announced the hour.  However at other times there were four loud chimes with quieter chimes after each one followed by four more loud chimes.  What IS the German obsession with bells.  Ironically I slept really well when we were at the stëllplatz beside the motorway, maybe it’s because the noise of the cars drowned out the bells!  We’re in danger of turning into Quasimodo with the amount of times we’ve parroted “The bells!  The bells!”

Today certainly hasn’t started well.  At breakfast Darren kindly made some coffee and put the cafetiere on the table but as he was reaching for something he knocked the whole thing on to the floor!  When I picked it up there wasn’t a drop of coffee left in the pot but there was a big brown lake on the floor.  I’m sure he did it on purpose in the hopes that the smell of the coffee would keep us awake during the journey to our next stop!

When Mark and Lucy appeared we apologised profusely to them for suggesting they stopped over at the monastery stëllplatz.  Poor Mark had also been kept awake by the bells but Lucy had been so tired from her trip into Munich the previous day that she slept right through it!

Lucy and Mark were moving on today.

We waved goodbye and wandered up to the monastery with our 2 Euros so we could go up the tower, Sod’s Law kicked in again and the tower was closed!  We went back twice just in case but it was still closed, d’oh!  Never mind, we went and had coffee and kuchen on the terrace instead and Darren pointed out the Munich Olympic tower on the horizon.

As boracic youngsters visiting my parents in Munich in the 80’s, we went to the restaurant in the revolving tower in the Olympic tower.  We ordered an ice cream and asked for two spoons, however the waiter informed us, “Ein eis, ein löffel!” (One ice, one spoon!) that certainly put us in our place!

I had chosen a scrumptious looking chocolate cake to share but as Darren cut it in half he discovered it had cherries in it.  I’ve always HATED Black Forest Gateau but I felt compelled to try this just in case it was as nice as it looked.   I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was definitely as nice as it looked so either I’ve only had fake Black Forest Gateau in the UK or they’d used red cherries instead black cherries to make this cake.

We were a bit peeved because I’d asked for large coffees and we thought the lady was saying we could come back for a refill.  When we looked at the bill our mugs of coffee were 2.99 Euros each but we had an extra 4 Euros added which we took to be the refill which we didn’t actually want but felt obliged to have having paid extra for them.  Darren went back inside with our mugs and came out with a big smile on his face and no mugs!

It turns out pfand means deposit (it’s all coming back to me now, when we were in Würzburg Lucy and Mark told us that if we see that written on a bottle we can get money back on it at a supermarket).  Apparently they charge a deposit for the mugs so it no longer mattered if they went walkabout!

We popped in to a photography exhibition as we walked back to the van.  There were some great photos, they all seemed to be associated with brewing and we couldn’t work out whether they had been adverts at one time.  On our way out we decided to go over to the teenager on the desk and ask him what the exhibition was all about.  We realise that it would have made sense to ask him before we’d gone in but hey ho, where’s the fun in that!

He was extremely interesting and told us that 500 years ago the King had made a purity law decreeing that all Bavarian beer could only be made using four ingredients, hops, yeast, malt and water and this was the 500th year celebration.  The photos were of 100 different breweries from over 600 in Bavaria and they were designed to show off the individual breweries.  There were photos of a Monk and of a Nun and of a lady with a long trailing skirt of shiny beer mats which were being handed to her by a man.  Another photo showed a man laying on hundreds of bottle tops and another was of a shirtless man riding a horse but with bottle caps stuck to his chest and arms.

As we were leaving the young lad asked whether we’d mind him asking us a question.  Earlier he’d asked whether we had worked up a thirst to try the beer and we’d told him we’d been in yesterday and stayed over in our motorhome so he wanted to ask us how easy it was to find places to stay in Germany.

Apparently he’d taken a trip to Singapore and Australia and toured around New Zealand in a campervan but realised that although he had travelled worldwide with his parents he hadn’t actually explored Germany.  He was pleased to hear that it would be very easy to do.  We asked him what it had been like travelling on his own.  He’d had some wonderful experiences so it made us feel a little less worried about our son Austyn as he travels around Australia.

When we’d finished chatting we made our way back to the van and set off for our next stëllplatz in Bernau am Chiemsee.

The journey to the stëllplatz was beautiful, there were bright green fields dissected by rich brown soil where the fields had been recently ploughed and the horizon was lined with the Alps.  It’s really exciting to see such a huge and sudden change in the landscape.  There were herds of cows with horns wearing cow bells round their necks, although why they needed bells when they had horns is anyone’s guess, boom boom! (it’s the German fascination for bells again!)

We could hear the cow bells jangling as we drove along the roads.  I know this is Germany and not Switzerland but it’s all starting to look very ‘Heidi’  as we get nearer the mountains.

We’ve driven on the Deutsche Alpenstraße today.  So far during our Bavarian adventure we’ve done the Romantische Straße, the Deutsche Limes-Straße and weinstraße, we still haven’t got the whole set but we’re giving it a good go!

As we drove to the stëllplatz  we managed to inadvertently upset a motorist.  The traffic lights changed to green and our line of traffic (on the main road) turned left.  A car filtered in behind the car in front of us from a car park on the right and I suddenly saw another one racing towards us with the intention of doing the same.  Luckily Darren suddenly caught sight of him and realised the driver had no intention of stopping so he slammed on his brakes and the man squeezed through the gap mouthing something as he went.  Why did he think he had right of way?  It’s a bit disconcerting when you think you’re doing the correct thing and someone else has other ideas.  Perhaps he didn’t like the idea of driving behind a motorhome.

We arrived at the stëllplatz.  It looks as though it would be lovely normally given that it was beside the lake.  However, when we turned up there was a huge marquee beside the water and I couldn’t bear the thought of another noisy night, so we turned around, drove out and went on to the next stëllplatz Darren had programmed in Stegen, Übersee.

We didn’t go to that stëllplatz either in the end because as we drove up the road it looked full to bursting so we went into the one on the opposite side of the road.  It was touch and go as to whether we could fit in there either but we made our own space.  We were concerned enough to ask our neighbour whether he thought it was OK to park there and he gave us a big smile and said it was fine.  When we woke in the morning another van had parked on the other side of us during the night so I’m not sure what we were worried about!  This stëllplatz was on a farm and we spent a lot of time just watching the chickens and ducks running around, it was great.

There was a gorgeous sunset this evening which we felt obliged to photograph, just by way of a change.

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