The Traveling Circus takes on The Alps

Berlin to Bedonia, September 10th to 13th

I couldn’t rightly say just how many cock ups there were during our journey from Berlin to Bedonia, but for a three day trip the number was impressively large.   Which is a bit depressing really, because a friend just emailed me and asked my advice about traveling through the Austrian Alps next year.

I feel like somewhat of a fraud offering up advice on the back of our recent far from advice worthy experiences.  So I sent her this awesome picture…..  With the caption “look at the view”…..

Austrian Alps

Unfortunately, short of threatening to sing the entire Sound of Music soundtrack I quickly got the impression I wasn’t going to distract her as easily as I’d hoped.

“Nice photo”  she wrote.  “Did you get it off a postcard?”

“No: I responded, somewhat defensively “I took it myself.  At our first toilet stop, barely five minutes out of Fussen.  Because that’s how it rolls with us,  always aiming for a toilet stop with a view.  It makes the frequency of them more palatable.”

“Righto” she swiftly messaged back “But this doesn’t actually help me plan our road trip based on your advice”

“Yes it does.  It shows you that it’s really beautiful and you’ll want to go all Von Trapp and spin around in the meadows of wild flowers and open the windows so you can hear the cow bells.  And really, that’s all you need to know.  That the potential crap shoot before and after is worth it for the great pictures of the mountains”.

“Not good enough”  Honestly, she’s a bull dog she is.  “I want your top five”.

As punishment I gave her TEN……

  1. Do not announce on arriving into Nuremberg before dark that you “finally have this shit sorted”.  You have spoken too soon. Nothing is sorted.
  2. Do not continue using your current navigator if he / she insists Fussen is “about three hours” drive from Nuremberg.  Nuremberg is seven (long) hours from Fussen.  Seven hours is not three hours.  No matter how many packets of chips you hand over the back seat and how many times you say ‘soon’, you can not change this fact.
  3. Do not let anyone talk you into making “a quick trip” to Neuschwanstin castle when you arrive in Fussen at 4pm.  Four hours later than anticipated.  Most certainly do not believe, even for a moment that taking your caravan up to the castle grounds will assist in achieving this “quick trip”.  Your navigator is wrong to suggest such a thing.
  4. Do not expect to be able to drive, park or turn your caravan around at the base of Neuschwanstin castle, in order to back track on your stupidity in listening to your navigator.  And if you do eventually find what looks like a road leading out of the castle grounds that is in fact a walking path up to another castle.  Do not let your navigator tell you it’s ok to drive up that road.  It is not ok.  Refer to point #2 about your navigator.
  5. Do not advise your children at 8am (with additional reminders prefixed onto the ‘soon’) that you will be taking them to “a beautiful fairy tale princess castle” and expect it to go down well when you announce, at the bottom of the “beautiful fairy tale princess castle” that things have gone shit shaped and you will no longer be visiting the Promised Land.  You will be the worst parent. On the whole. Entire. Planet.
  6. Do not be surprised when the guy at the Mobilplatz in Fussen deems your ‘caravagon’ unsuitable for his lifeless, gravelly, but extremely cheap parking lot and sends you down the road to the ‘little bit expensive camping park’.  What he actually means is he’s sending you down the road to the VERY EXPENSIVE caravan park.  Once you’ve sold your kidneys to pay for it you’ll probably quite enjoy the wood paneled heated bathrooms in their own separate chalet, the childrens bathrooms, the hair driers, the health spa, the indoor pool, the fully fitted out gymnasium, the kids club, the grassy pitches with views of the lake.
  7. Do not forget to keep breathing when you return to your caravan following a quick dip in the indoor pool and reccie to the heated facilities chalet, to find the door unlocked and your handbag complete with passports, tickets, phone, camera, money, credit cards, spare keys and laptop no longer on the table in full view of all passing pedestrians.  Gather your strength and take your children to the kids club like you said you would, save yourself from slipping back to worst. parent. ever status.  Certainly don’t waste your time writing a list of what’s missing and who you will need to contact to cancel your credit cards and trying to figure out if you can report a passport missing in Germany but get a new one in Italy.  Because it’s entirely possible your husband has gone to the supermarket and taken all your worldly possessions with him, without thinking it pertinent to, oh you know, write a freaking note.
  8. Do not listen to the people who tell you not to drive through the Alps.  I’m pretty sure most of these people have never driven a windy road, let alone an Alp.  Because honestly.  The Fern and Ruchen Passess.  Total non event.  The biggest stress was trying to work out if we should have got a Carnet for the 10 minutes we were on the autobarn.
  9. Do not go through Malles (or Malls depending on what map you’re looking at) without stopping at the caravan park. Even if you have no business being on the Austrian / Italian boarder, you should still go there because short of giving away kidneys pretty much eveything else is on the house. I’m thinking of going back just so I can wash every washable thing in my possession in their FREE washers and driers (whilst i have cocktails in their cocktail bar and play ping-pong in their ping-pong room).

    And finally….

  10. Do not get stuck in an hour long traffic jam on the Italian Autostrada, just 2km from your turn off.  Unless of course you have a Combie full of (young, good looking, shirtless) guys in front of you, who get out their instruments and start playing music in the middle of the road to while away the time.  Then you can get caught in all the traffic jams you like.  It’s so nice of them to welcome folks to Italy like that!

Music on the Autostrada

Circus: half a point
Europe: 0

2 thoughts on “The Traveling Circus takes on The Alps

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