We Aren’t Lost! We Just Don’t Know Where We Are Going!

Today was one of those days where “out to lunch” had several meanings. We eventually went out to lunch for a well deserved break. My colleague drove with me on the way to the restaurant. She mentioned to me that traveling outside of Canada had never happened for her, but it was something she was eager to do. That got me thinking about how fortunate I really am. I have been all over the world, seen amazing things and had unbelievable experiences. One of those experiences was looking for a campsite in Europe with our trusty GPS Phoebe. This was one of those times where “Wild Goose Chase” would have been more productive than the tour she took the Muppets on.

We had left the Black Forest and planned to stay one more night in Germany exploring the area around the French Border. Phoebe, in her Infinite limited wisdom, led us to a campsite that had just closed for the season. Fair enough, we were travelling during “off-season” but this was the first time we had encountered a closed campsite. We punched in new coordinates and off we went again in search of a camp spot for the evening. She led us down a country road, that turned into a village, that turned into a town, that stopped in someones driveway. Clearly this was not a campsite. Okay Muppets, fear not! We shall just try again! Entered in new coordinates and off we went again! Around the corner, up the hill, past a sports field and into…a closed for the season campsite! Swell. Again, we repeated new coordinates, and we were off! This time we just kept driving until the road stopped. Just like Phoebe told us too. No road left, just a ferry. A Ferry?!?! Knowing if we crossed the river we would be out of Germany. We had no choice, the Muppets were getting hungry, it was getting late, we needed to find a place for the night. None of us were too keen on parking on the side of the road for the night, we were willing to do it if we had too but, out first choice was a camp spot. Onward we traveled. Drove onto the Ferry deck, stayed inside and across the river we sailed.

Before we knew it, we were in France. The architecture was still very similar to Germany, but now the signs were new. Being Canadian, we are exposed more frequently to French then German, not that our merry band of Muppets could understand it any better, it did look familiar. Phoebe seemed to know where she was taking us, so we let her lead. Up another road she took us. There it was. ANOTHER CLOSED CAMP SITE! That was the last straw. My mother, hopped out of the front seat, grabbed a PAPER map and started looking. Then she realized where she was.

A month earlier, the two Lead Muppets and Mrs. Statler had arrived in Frankfurt, Germany. They drove to Obernai France and camped for the night. Mom knew where she was and saved the day! She led us to the very same camp spot they stayed earlier in the trip. Best news of all, it was OPEN!

Dinner time! We had FINALLY eaten the last of the Schnitzel for lunch and decided we needed a change. Franks and beans it was. just so you know, my mother is one of the best cooks you would ever have the good fortune to meet. Franks and beans is NOT her usual fair, but it was dark, Muppets were hungry and we were thrilled it wasn’t Schnitzel. Over dinner the Lead Muppets shared stories of their last visit to Obernai, claiming the younger Muppets would love the charm just as much as the previous villages we had visited. We then discovered, the next day was market day in Obernai! We had yet to visit a market. Everyone settled down for sleep that night, tingling with anticipation of visiting the market. The Caravan was buzzing with excitement. Come to think of it, the excitement may have been due to the fact it was the last night in the Caravan for the Muppets. The following night would be spent in a hotel, in a bed that was the correct length for Honey and myself, AND there would be a shower in our room and not down the block to be shared with 100’s of fellow campers! Either was, we were excited about what the next day would bring. We were not disappointed!

We found parking and walked through yet more donkey cart sized streets. The vendors were just setting up for the day. We had expected a dozen or so stalls filled with farm grown food. That was indeed there. But there was everything you could possible imagine! Mushrooms to Mattresses, Vegetables to Violets, Brand name clothes to Beniets, anything you could think of, it was available! There wasn’t just one street filled with market stalls, there were several streets, people filled the square and lined the street looking at things to purchase. The Church bells sounded to signal the start of the market and people filled the streets.

Once again we had stumbled upon the most amazing adventure. Purely by accident. Thanks for not being so helpful Phoebe, and thanks for being in complete control mom!

Schnitzel Anyone?

Just when you think you will never find Schnitzel, never mind eat some, suddenly you discover Schnitzel multiplies like rabbits and you will be eating every stinking single day until you speak fluent German. Or so it seemed.

The happy band of Muppets continued our way past the Rhineland and gorgeous Bacharat to find our way into the famed Black Forest. Home of Black Forest Cherry Cake and Cuckcoo Clocks. What struck us was how very similar the landscape was to parts of Canada. Trees, hills, rivers etc seemed very familiar. The only difference being that Canada is on steroids in comparison. The German Black Forest was lush, fragrant and so very relaxing. It was a breathtaking portion of our holiday.

Our trusty guide Phoebe the GPS, led us over hills around bends to discover little pockets of gems waiting to be discovered. At one point, we reached the pinnacle and lo and behold, SOUVENIR SHOPS! All the Muppets Cheered and yelled to the driver STOP! They burst from the door, ran down the street to find a shop filled with cuckcoo clocks, walking sticks, beer steins spoons. There was a deli filled with various sausages but not one piece of schnitzel was to be found. The disappointed mounted among the elder crew of the Muppets, while the younger ones were hoping for burgers and pizza.

After a spending frenzy and many pictures sporting various hats, we trot back to the caravan to our destination of Freudenstadt. We found parking among the tiny little streets suitable for donkey carts. Off we went to explore some more. We past bakeries and purchased pretzels, we found an Italian Gelato shop and bought ice cream but after searching in vain, no Schnitzel was to be found.

It was interesting strolling along the tiny streets. We saw the Evangelical Lutheran Church, with its green tower roofs, is on the south side of the market place. It dates back to the beginning of the 17th century, built between 1601 and 1608, and is considered Freudenstadt’s most significant building. It was built in the gothic renaissance style. It’s facade was littered with bullet markings from WWII. I could easily envision men fighting in the streets that would cause such markings. We saw Drag Queens and Elderly ladies visiting together in the street. The shops were very modern much to our disappointment. I suppose urban progress visits everywhere eventually. After our stroll through the town square, we found ourselves back at the caravan, needing to find a spot early for camping. We needed time for laundry, and it was early enough we could get started.

Down the road a ways, we discovered a gem of a place. It was the loveliest spot of the entire trip. Natur Camping Langenwald had everything we needed, including the nicest hosts you could ever dream or meeting. The best news of all, there was a quaint little cafe that served – wait for it – SCHNITZEL! We were dining out that night!

We each ordered a plate of Schnitzel, slightly disappointing that no Spatzel was to be found. Especially hearing my sister rave about it from her prior visit only weeks before. It did not matter, out came the plates laden with Schitzel the size of the plate itself. We all looked at it and thought, we should have shared. We ate what we could, and wrap the rest up to take back for sandwiches the next day. Little did we realize that we would be blessed with Schnitzel sandwiches for the rest of our trip. What was so delicious the first night, and quite tasty the second night, became tedious the rest of the days.

Be careful what you wish for. At this point, I couldn’t wait for Paris and street food consisting of crepes and lemon. But that is a story for another time.