Spring is here

Spring is here but we are heading north.  I am sitting here in the freezing cold among snow capped mountains remembering what spring was like long ago. Sorry about the delayed blog but we have just been enjoying ourselves too much.

Luckily we have our photos to remind us.  Sheila’s favourites: poppies.

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First stop in France is the bridge designed by Eifel of tower fame.  He clearly had one idea and was going to use it standing up or laying down.

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Pretty town snapped from the road.

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We generally frequent the least travelled roads wherever possible and we often have them to ourselves.DSC_5856-1

Occasionally, however, other travellers have the same idea.

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We get to park up in some delightful spots like this sometimes.  That is our bonnet on the extreme right.

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I couldn’t resist this one.  It reminded me of the entrance to Tolkien’s Moria with the two trees guarding the door.  “Melon” was the password if you’ve forgotten.

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Now I did promise Sheila “Not so many birds” but as we crossed a lake just south of Paris, we saw some Wonderful wildlife.  There were dozens of huge carp up to about 30lb (15kilo)  swimming below the bridge and loads of birds.

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Hope that’s not too many.

But what about the feral parakeets in Paris I hear you ask.  OK.

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Phew got away with that one I think.

I have never come to terms with the difference between UK wildlife and that of equivalent latitude mainland Europe.  Luxembourg is no warmer or colder than us but they boast some unusual wild animals.  They even set up schools to teach turtles the green cross code by the look of things.

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Even the nuthatches have superior looking accommodation and even a postcode.

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Somehow, though I don’t think that the humans get big enough for these bikes.

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Now this isn’t a bird although it flies and it is nearly big enough.

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many of the free places we stop for the night have a rule that says in effect “No Camping Behaviour” which roughly translates to no tables and chairs outside.  One such site exactly on the Luxembourg Germany border displayed the notice.  I cooked the roast chicken and sundries for tea and took the lot; cutlery, glasses, wine, food, plates and even lace edged serviettes down to the waterside to enjoy at this picnic table.

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Worried about spiders in the home?  Then get yourselves one of these.  I watched this littlun gather half a dozen before ferrying them back to his chicks.

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There is a tiny tributary to the Moselle whose valley is crossed by the most extraordinary footbridge near the village of Morsdorf.  A wire suspension bridge crosses the 360 metres at up to 100 metres above the ground; not for the fainthearted.  We arrived just as the heavens opened and the “Donner and Blitzen” started.  We tried a few photographs, sheltering the camera from the downpour and set out across the bridge with accompanying thunder and lightning.  Soaked but exhilarated, we reached the other side where we read in clear English that we should not cross the wire bridge if there is a chance of lightning!

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I sit in the passenger seat more often than not with my camera at hand in case of something interesting just popping up.  If I am quick enough I might just be able to see the leftovers from the Cold War peering up over the tops of the trees.

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The Rhine presents a formidable barrier to traffic but even where there is no main road bridge  plenty of small ferries operate on minor roads and in villages straddling the river.  I seem to remember some while ago the going rate for crossing was about 2.50 Euro but this vessel charged us 10.50 Euro after the conductor gave us a just a cursory glance to estimate our length.

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Very much larger vessels ply these waters and our ferryboat had to negotiate the crossing with this moving majestically by.

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When I was about 12 years old,  I visited Germany with my family and one of the most enduring memories was of a statue on a remote hill in  a forest.   I could even remember that the statue was called“Herman’s denkmal” in German, pretty near the extent of my uptake of the language.  I had to go searching for the bronze warrior with his sword in the air.  When we found him of course he wasn’t as big as a child’s memory would have him and he was surrounded by ticket offices, guides, tourist information centres, amusements, food outlets and all the rest of the touristy paraphernalia.

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