Thursday 7 July 2016

Black Forest Silence

Thursday 7 July 2016

Nido's pitched at Camping Schwarzwaldhorn, a peaceful campsite on the outskirts of the lovely village of Simonswald. The village sits in one of the many valleys in the Black Forest, with pine trees and high mountains all around us. It's been a chillin' day.

We breakfasted outside this morning, then Cathy sorted out the van while I popped down to the supermarket to get a few victuals.  We said goodbye to our neighbours - Ian and Helen - swapping contact details, before driving out of Meersburg.  We've noticed a few things about Germany, one being that the roads are very busy - much, much busier than France and almost as busy as UK, although there are more arctic lorries here, given it's a hub for so many other countries.  We drove along with a great view of Bodensee to our left, before heading into quieter countryside, typical of the Germany we expected to see. As we reached the Black Forest, we drove up,and down long, smooth, hair pinned roads with lovely houses and farms on either side.  I noted how much I'd enjoy riding some of these later on my bike.

We passed through the village of Simonswald and turned left and up a steep road to the campsite.  The owner was outside and directed us into a small pitch, not realising our sliding door is on the opposite side to European vans, so I pointed this out and turned us around. He directed me in, but was trying to reverse me up the slope at the back of the pitch.  This really wasn't helped by him calling us the 'Brexit Van' to a watching audience, so at this point I was starting to see red!  We'd voted to remain in the EU and I had printed and laminated posters to state this, anticipating such a reaction from some, which is now displayed in the windscreen. I think he saw the look on my face and made himself scarce, leaving his wife to check us in. With a great view over the hills, awning, chairs and tables out, we decompressed over lunch.  Although the campsite is expensive, it comes with free bus passes (a taste of things to come!) and free entry to the village swimming pool.  We packed our gear into a rucksack and walked down into the village to get our bearings. This campsite doesn't take any form of credit or debit card - only cash - so I needed to find an ATM first.   On our drive in, we'd noticed that there were very few campsites or Stellplatz,  but plenty of hotels and guest houses.  This has really surprised us, given the German's love of the outdoors. 

Cash found and after a quick bimble through the village, we walked to the swimming pool. This is an excellent facility - an Olympic size pool, with two children's pools and a separate diving pool. It was surrounded by grass, a children's play area and volleyball court.  In addition there was a snack bar, selling hot food, cold drinks and beer - imagine that in the UK!  The changing rooms, toilets and showers were immaculate.  Adjacent were football and tennis courts.  We'd noticed that almost every town and village had similar facilities - clearly their council tax is spent in the local community, not sucked up into some central government black hole.  We enjoyed a good couple of hours swimming and sunbathing, with lovely views up into the hills. We'll definitely be using this every day.

Back at the van, showered and sorted out, we sat outside to eat dinner and watch the sun set.  It's been a very relaxed day and I know we'll sleep well tonight - the heat of the day is disappearing in a cloudless and now almost pink evening sky.  Tomorrow we plan to hike in the hills and hope to find a café serving some real Black Forest Gateau.  But don't worry, we'll work it off in the pool! 

Great view from the van 

chillin' in the shade

What a great village facility - and free!

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