Life Begins at 40?

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DeeGee, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. SgtMike

    SgtMike facebook.com/mikeraces

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    Really enjoying this one. Happy 40th mate!!! Spent mine in Srinigar, Kashmir - India riding a busted Royal Enfield:rofl .

    Love to ride this route, thanks for sharing!:clap
    #41
  2. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Cheers Mike! :D

    India's definately on the list to do :deal
    #42
  3. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    So we headed for Bodensee, now from what I can gather Bodensee is the name of an area/region around Lake Constance, the north side is German, the South side is Switzerland. Since we would be heading into Germany we decided to visit the south side and tick another country off. We tried a few campsites, and finally got one in a town called Romanshorn a stones throw from the lake.

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    I didn't get many pics here, we just chilled out and enjoyed the sunshine.
    The following day we moved north and headed for the Black Forrest in Germany. The scenery was changing as we moved along, the mountain range was getting smaller, but they were still impressive and covered with huge pine trees which was the beginning of the Black Forrest. Once again the roads were a mix of twisties and fast flowing bends cut into the forrest and hills, the echo and roar of the big V-twin sent shivers down my spine an many occasions as I just soaked up the views. :D

    We stopped for lunch and as we ate I just looked at the bike parked up with a huge sense of pride. Although we had a minor problem with the clutch it was still a great bike and I loved it!

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    I never noticed the reflection in the window until one of my sons pointed it out, pretty cool me thinks :clap

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    We found a campsite in the small town of Seelbach and began the familiar process of setting up camp. Once the tent was pitched we headed into town for some provisions AKA beer and food :freaky
    When we were pitching out tent I noticed a stack of bricks and we decided we'd have a BBQ, it was red hot with the temperature well into the high 30s'

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    So it was beer time while Jack took a shower :1drink Notice the garage in the background here? More on that in a while.

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    It was so hot, luckily there was a cold water tap close by.

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    Ray Mears stylie BBQ building

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    Bingo!!

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    Now take note! You can't have a BBQ without a good stick :wink:


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    Tucking in

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    While we were eating an old Dutch couple were having a walk round the campsite with their two grand children, at a guess they were 8 and 10 years old. The young boys eyes lit up when they saw the bike and were pretty shocked when they realised we were from England. They were pointing to the food on the BBQ and kept saying "chicken" "chicken" but their big eyes returned to the bike. I showed them a few photos on my phone from an off road trip to Wales earlier on in the year, big smiles appeared on the faces and with a wave and a "thankyou" they disappeared. I know we were not in the middle of some remote place say in Africa, but for me this experience was priceless.

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    We'd had our fill and the customery bottle of wine and we turned in for the night, then it happened............... Similar to the numb nut who parked right behind us at Brno. :ddog I thought we'd had another as I heard some noise and then bright lights in the middle of the night, I looked at my watch and it was 1.30, surely not again? Then it happened again and I realised what it was... Thunder, loud thunder, then the lights I saw was obviously the lightning. I lay for a while longer then the rain came drumming on the tent in surround sound, it was loud. Jack woke and we decided to go take shelter in the garage and I would wheel the bike down too and keep it out of the rain.

    I tried to capture some lightning with the camera and after many attempts and black sky I got these.

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    The camera in the same position

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    The storm last for about an hour or so, before it started to move on, about time too!

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    The next morning I had a wander up to the shop and bought some food for breakfast.

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    This little fella seemed a bit miffed that we'd got a bit of honey! :amazon

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    We packed up our gear and moved on, but where to??
    #43
  4. windburn

    windburn Long timer

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    Thank You very much for taking us along on your travels. Your Photographs bring your story to life. The Church of the Bones is very unusual. Have a safe and enjoyable adventure.
    :clap
    #44
  5. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Thanks for the kind words Windburn! :D
    #45
  6. Mr Potter

    Mr Potter I'm not a cat

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    Really looking forward to the next instalment, great report Gav.
    #46
  7. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    Thanks for a fun read! :clap
    Looks like you guys are having a fantastic time on that gorgeous 950! :D
    It sure makes me miss riding in europe...

    Looking forward to seeing more!
    #47
  8. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Thanks guys ! Update later on today :clap
    #48
  9. samuraider

    samuraider eurasia-riders

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    Great report, perfect pictures
    Thanks for sharing
    Waiting more
    Regards from east
    samuraider
    #49
  10. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Time to pack up and move on, I'm happy to say that the storm had well gone and the skies were a lovely blue again and the sun warmed our backs as we moved along. We decided to stay in the Black Forrest, but move just a few miles north having a steady day on the bike. We headed for Baden Baden and we stumbled across the Information Centre where we nipped into and asked where there was any campsites within the area. They were very helpfull and gave us a sheet with a number of campsites and she recommended one in particular which was in the heart of the Forrest in a place called Weisenbach. €10 for the pair of us for the night, it was basic, but it was clean and tidy.

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    We'd got the setting up and de-camping to a tee now we both had our jobs to do and we got on with it having a laugh most of the time in the process.

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    Once we pitched we went for the usual provisions, we carried all the BBQ gear with us so we decided to cook over the coals again tonight, no longer had we lit the BBQ it started to rain, but we were well equipped :D


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    We sat there listening to some tunes on my iphone as the rain got heavier. We spotted a caravan behind us with a large open awning and Jack suggested in jest that we should go and seek shelter under the awning. My eyes lit up and I started laughing and made my move, Jack shocked saying what if they come back? I told her that if anyone was holidaying in the caravan surely some chairs or a couple of push bikes would be present, but there wasn't any sign and we both hastily made a retreat. I've just got to say that the German sausages have got to be the best sausages we've ever tasted too!!

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    When the rain stopped I lit a fire to keep warm and tried drying my pants out :kumbaya

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    A few snaps of the sunset over the trees

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    While were in the Black Forrest we'd called in at a number of places to try a real portion of Black Forrest Gateaux, all was in vain, but before we left the area we were on a mission to find somewhere and try their wares. After many dead ends we were pointed in the right direction in the form of a pattiserie and restaurant/coffeeshop right in the centre of Baden Baden.

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    The holy grail :webers

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    The Cathedral in the centre of Baden Baden

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    Then it was time to hit the road :ricky and get some miles put behind us, we looked at the map and headed north west. The landscape changed as we left the mountains behind us and the open roads we were now rolling on were flat and long, so long that the road in front of us disappeared into the horizon in one long straight line. After a food stop and a fuel stop we spotted a camping sign as we entered the French City of Metz. It was here we camped, right on the banks of the river.

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    We showered and changed and went for a wonder round the city. It was pretty big with plenty of old buildings of Gothic architecture with the Cathedral and the opera house.

    The Cathedral

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    Opera House

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    We had another meal, seeing as we were in the Lorraine region in France Jack tried the Quiche Lorriane. :dg

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    I had the usual mixed grill.

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    Then stopped at a bar :beer with a great laid back atmosphere and sat out on the pavement with a couple of beers followed by some local wine, in the shadow of the Cathedral which was lit up wonderfully.

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    The Opera House.

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    Different shutter speed.

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    And part of the river on the way back to the campsite.

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    The morning view from the tent.

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    The following morning the navigator looking to see where we could head for.

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    We shared our fresh bread for breakfast with some locals.

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    Again we headed north west, we figured we'll put a good day in and then have a couple of days off the bike. We'd been going a good while and the satnav was taking us all the back roads and we passed many farms in the middle of nowhere on single track roads, many of these roads were covered in mud and cow crap which made for interesting riding!

    I spotted a sign for an American Cemetary and decided to have a bit of a detour, then we came to this place in the Argonne Region.

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    This was a graveyard and memorial to the American soldiers who lost their lives in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. I didn't realise how big the cemetary was until I looked it up when I got home. There are 14246 American soldiers buried here and it's the largest American Cemetary in Europe. More information can be found here

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    It was unbelievable the many graves here and they were all immaculately kept. I had a quiet moment for the fallen soldiers.

    Jack was ready to move on and she tried to copy my "star Jump"

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    We got geared up and put a good shift in, I had recently seen a film called In Brugge and recall all the cobbled streets and fancy shop windows and history, it was a long way off but we were going to have a couple of days off and it would just be a short ride to the ferry port of Zebrugge for the final leg of the trip. The ipod was hooked up, the fuel tanks were filled and the throttle was twisted, boring motorway was travelled on, but we soon rolled into the fairytale town of Brugge and we soon found a B & B.
    #50
  11. SgtMike

    SgtMike facebook.com/mikeraces

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    DREAM RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks again for showing us these fantastic locations - keep 'em coming!


    p.s. Thank you for sharing the Cemetary visit, especially on this day:cry .
    #51
  12. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Fabulous ride, report and pics! Lucky to have Europe as your 2 wheeled playground!! Thanks for sharing your ride :thumb
    #52
  13. Anticus

    Anticus Tax Slave

    Joined:
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    Thank you for an incredible report, superb photos and the respect shown for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

    ...and the photo on the stairs overlooking the reflection pond is an absolute classic and is FRONT PAGE MATERIAL.

    Congratulations on milestone trip. Looking forward to the next installment.

    #53
  14. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Thanks again for the positive comments guys! I really appreciate it and I'm glad to share our two wheeled adventure with you.

    As for the front page, it'd be a real honour, but I'm not sure how you get the picture selected??

    Thankyou though! :D

    Final leg to come soon.
    #54
  15. Anticus

    Anticus Tax Slave

    Joined:
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    BTW the Atlantic and the Smokies, NC
    Well I was going to nominate, but it appear Mr. Vicks did in 9/3...
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34180&page=247&highlight=nomination+front+page

    Not sure of the selection process, but you're already there.

    #55
  16. samuraider

    samuraider eurasia-riders

    Joined:
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    :lurk
    #56
  17. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    #57
  18. Leg End

    Leg End BikerFM.co.uk

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    :clap top class report DG. Yes some great pictures taken and love the cakes....tooooo much :thumb

    There are some wonderful buildings in many European cities and towns but never enough time to see them all.
    Yeah Brugge is a great place....big variety of beers to try :slurpand they love their chips [frys] and sauces.

    The cemeteries are immaculately kept and to visit, even one, is a very humbling experience when you read the ages of many of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who are unnamed , against the evil that threatened the world.

    Good stuff DG
    #58
  19. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    Right folks pull on your helmet and gloves and here we go! :ricky

    So we pulled into Brugge the traffic was horrendous, the temperature was hot as the bikes fan kicked in. Sirens wailed in the distance and I figured there had been an accident somewhere up ahead, then I noticed a sea of blue shirts streaming down the other side of the road. It turns out that the football team FC Brugge had a vital second leg of a Champions League Cup qualifier against a Polish team.

    We made our way through and we stopped at the first hotel we came across, Jack made the usual hop off the bike to go and enquire about a room. She came back looking a tad disappointed €125 each per night :eek: Way out of our budget, so I punched hotel search into the satnav and it came up showing 45-50 hotels within 1 a mile radius, luckily the third hotel we tried had a vacant room. Basic, but en-suite and clean, just the ticket, €135 for the pair of us for two nights.
    It was a short walk from the centre which we made after showering and a change of clothes. Cobbled streets we walked on and shop windows we peered through.

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    Now I'm a sucker for chocolate, but when you've got chocolate like this it's irresistable :D

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    One for the ladies

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    And inside one of the many chocolate shops, the smell was amazing.

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    The main square

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    The bell tower that featured in the film In Brugge

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    At night :thumb

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    Tonight we were FC Brugge supporters and we broke tradition and watched a bit of football, I'm happy to say that FC Brugge came out on top winning the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

    We sampled a few of the Beers, :freaky which is another thing that Belguim is famous for.

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    So we just sat and watched the world go by, chatting about the crazy things we'd seen and done, the laughs we'd both had, the minor arguments and we'd only really had two! Pretty good going to say we'd been in each others pockets for almost three weeks.

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    Then we hear this classical music being played, I looked over and this young guy was playing what I thought was a mandolin, Jack thought it was a piccolo! :eek: I laughed and told her a piccolo was a type of flute! I asked the young man what it was and it turns out it was a balalaika. It only had three strings and boy he could make it sing like nothing else!

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    We made our way back to the B & B and I couldn't resist a snap of our trusty steed.

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    The next day we had another wonder round the city and did a spot of shopping, we stumbled across a large water feature in the city centre.

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    I grabbed a handfull

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    The other side of the bell tower

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    Some of the shops were amazing, being a chef by trade I loved the smells coming from shops like these.

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    We called for another beer and rested our feet, now this was the opposite end of the scale to the Czech Republic, where if you remember for a large and a small beer was a measly €1.46. Well I asked for a large Leffe and a small Leffe, don't get wrong the large was LARGE.

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    Now this was the pricey sum of €16.30 :eek1

    The view was ok though.

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    We had a small site seeing boat trip to take the weight off our feet then went back to the B & B to freshen up and we went to a local bar a couple of streets away. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming.

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    I was hungry so I ordered a dish of Hors' deuves.

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    On the way back Jack tried a Monkey bike on for size.

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    The next day our ferry wasn't until 17.00 so while we ate our breakfast I looked at some flyers advertising local attractions and we decided to visit the Atlantic Wall Museum on the coast. Here's just a couple of pictures.

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    Not sure if we should have done this but......... Well we did :D

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    I never realised that this wall was constructed and used in the first world war.

    This is a picture of a picture taken maybe 70 years ago??

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    And the same spot the present day.

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    There was an amazing array of man made warrens including bunkers, stores, gun turrets, sleeping quarters many still in the original brickwork too.

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    Then it was time to move on to the docks. We got there early as we had to collect our boarding tickets from the office, we did this and got in line.

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    We chatted to a German couple who were on a Ducati Sport, they were on their way to the Manx GP on the Isle of Man, it was their 16th year visit to the races. It's at times like this that I wish I had taken a picture of them, it's true a picture speaks a 1000 words, they were a great couple and we got along really well and we had a few beers with them in the bar later that night.

    I sincerely hope that they had a great time at the Manx GP and got back home safe and sound.

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    Once we embarked on the huge boat we had to tie our bike down with some ropes! :eek:

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    Once we were showered and changed we went to check on the bike. Glad to report all was well. :thumb

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    That was it! The boat set sail as it turned around in the water and we were off!

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    Bye bye Holland :cry

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    The sunset was stunning

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    I suppose sailing could be akin to biking especially if you're out on the ocean alone, the wind filling the sails as you tear along the waves, a solitary thing I guess, just like when you're on the open road with just your thoughts inside your helmet?

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    We went back inside for a couple of beers and then went for a buffet meal and made pigs of ourselves, then hit the sack, when we woke in the morning we would be in English waters.

    We had our breakfast and no sooner had we washed it down with a couple of cappucinos we were told over the tannoy to return to our vehicles. We untied the rope shackles of the mighty KTM and stowed tham away above our heads. We disembarked under a dark mean looking grey clouds, I hoped it wouldn't rain. Out we rolled, the first time on British roads, for the first time in almost three weeks. I kept saying to myself; left, left, left, we drive on the left, left, left!!

    I hooked the ipod up after we went through the passport control, again left, left, left I repeated to myself as Bruce Springsteen song played on the ipod. As we put the miles in the clouds started to break and gave way to clear blue skies, the sun started to shine and I started to smile. I felt a little emotional as I find myself doing more so nowadays, maybe because I'm a little older? I don't know really? I feel it now as I write this :cry

    It was nearly over, the trip we'd planned months ago, the saving, the readying of the bike, the counting down the days. It all seemed so long ago. I said to Jack that I hoped the kids would be at home when we arrived, in response Jack texted our 20 year old daughter to see if they were up (it was 10am on a Sunday morning so I wasn't holding my breath). After a short while she said that she'd had no reply. If I'm honest here I was a bit saddened, I was hoping that at least our two remaining children who were still living at home would be up to welcome us back.
    We soon came off the motorway and made our way round the ring road getting closer to home minute by minute, we headed into our village and went the long way round to get to our street, we turned the corner and this is what we saw :clap :clap

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    I had no idea! But they were there. Once again I was a little choked, but very, very happy :D

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    My cake & Champagne

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    #59
  20. MikJogg

    MikJogg Weekend Adventurer

    Joined:
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    :clap Great report and pics.I really like the blackforest part (live 30 km south to Baden-Baden). And the chocolate shop pics...:tb
    #60