We have plans to go on a camping trip for the last two weeks of August. Normally, no problem, but we weren’t sure how Sprocket would react to camping. I’d done some internet research and consensus seemed to be that babies slept better than ever in tents and they didn’t need a special bed, just to be cuddling with the parents. So we decided to try camping with our existing equipment, just to see how it went.
Our trial trip was the weekend of Dutch Boy’s birthday. The night before we left, a friend kindly offered to babysit, and we got our first date night since Sprocket was born – dinner and a movie. As fun and needed as that was, it did put us behind in our packing, and it wasn’t until late afternoon that we managed to get on the road. We abandoned scenic routes through the Netherlands.
Once in Germany, we were presented with thunderstorms so intense that it was hard to see where we were going, which sort of took away the fun of the autobahn since we couldn’t safely drive the posted suggestion of 130 kmh, let alone any faster. And as evening came, we decided to try and find a hotel in Brühl because it was still absolutely pounding down rain. But none of the hotels had a crib and we hadn’t brought anything but the tent. Just as we were trying to decide if Sprocket could sleep between us, the rain let up some and we deided to try camping. That was the point of this weekend, after all.
The second campground had room for us – apparently a bunch of folks had left because of the wetness. We set up the tent and had dinner at the campsite restaurant slash fly attraction. Dutch Boy got a special treat – he got to speak Spanish and German when he helped a Spanish family communicate with the server. And then we attempted sleep.
Sprocket went down to sleep without problems, but didn’t really stay that way. And in an effort to not be the most hated people in the campground, I fed him each time and got him back to sleep. By morning Sprocket was OK, and Dutch Boy and I were pooped. After a bit of play time, Dutch Boy went off to find money – we’re so used to pinning, or using our debit cards, that we forgot that this wouldn’t work elsewhere and the campground didn’t take credit cards – and I went back to sleep.
Needless to say, after a search for a bakery for breakfast – and man do the Germans make bad coffee – we again got a late start. We decided to just head down to the Mosel, the river that flows from the Rhine to Luxembourg. The roads along the entire valley are marked green for scenic and the hills are lined with vineyards. Of course we took the green scenic roads to get there. We were amazed at the sheer numbers of motorbikes on the roads, and envied them a fair amount. When we realized we were going right past the Nürburgring all the bikes suddenly made a lot of sense. Well, that and the roads were perfect for biking.
We reached the Mosel in Cochem, a scenic type place complete with castle and tons of tourists. We took a wander around and had ice cream – it was a very warm and humid day – I have to say I was tempted by the cuckoo clocks for sheer tackiness value.
Then time to go home, via a bit more of the river and then the autobahn to Belgium, where we would stop for dinner. I mean, if you had a choice between eating in Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands, what would you do? I got to play on the autobahn this time, determining that the car’s top speed is 160 kmh but that I feel most comfortable in that car at about 140. Eventually the thunderstorms started again so we had to slow down. I felt bad for all the motorcyclists stuck under overpasses waiting it out. Dinner was at covered tables watching intermittent thunderstorms and downpours in Malmedy. To really make it special for Dutch Boy, he got to practice his last language, French, making it all five for the weekend, as well as Limburgs to his parents.
And then home, contemplating our lessons from the weekend. Sprocket loves being in the tent and camping, but we are going to buy him a separate camping bed and probably borrow a tent from Dutch Boy’s parents. And we’re going to have to modify our style somewhat, driving less and stopping more. But we’re looking forward to the trip.
So, click on the photo below for a link to the gallery where there are many more pictures, with descriptions even!
And for map folks, our route for the weekend.