Our race from the Balkans to back to France continued with relatively quick travel through Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.
In Austria, we drove over Gloßglockner Pass – enjoying views of the glacier as well as spotting marmots. Next, we visited Salzburg, including bicycling to various South of Music filming locations. These locations were amazingly similar to the film after nearly 60 years, though mostly smaller than expected! Then we visited the town of Leogang, where friends from Cayman own a ski apartment. We visited the sites they recommended in their town, including the Asitzbahn Talstation cable car to the mountain top, which has a large playground, walking trails, lakes, an alpine slide, cafes, and free-ranging horses. After leaving Leogang, we stopped at an Inn and motorhome parking where we had some delicious Austrian food – and we finished our quick tour with a drive through specular western Austria, including the B200 road toward Switzerland.
In Switzerland, we had been invited to stay with Lukas who we met while traveling in Norway. We had parked at a tourist office to use their free Wi-Fi and we started chatting with Lukas when he arrived in his van to do the same! When he left, Lukas stopped by the motorhome to offer us a beer from his hometown of Unterseen (often confused with Interlaken which is on the other side of Aare River) and to invite us to stay if we ever passed through the area. We were very happy to take him up on his offer one year later and we had a great time visiting Lukas and his friends and family and seeing attractions in the area such as Lauterbrunnen, the Trümmelbach Falls, and Pfingstegg which Amelia had learned about from a video by the 5 World Explorers.
Finally, we entered Germany. Our first stop was Freiburg, where we enjoyed walking the old streets, floating homemade boats down the tiny freshwater canals that run throughout the city, having a drink at a beer garden with great views, and stumbling upon a fun wine festival. We then headed to Freudenstadt to meet up with Cayman friends Rob, Rachael, and family in the Black Forest – an area where friends had recommended many attractions.
We stayed at an Airbnb down the road from a small farm (Herrenwies Hof) where we were able to park our motorhome outside, but the farm also offers motorhome parking. This was a good location near the start of many trails through the forest which led to a little forest cafe (Waldcafe Teuchelwald) and a delicious restaurant (Berghütte Lauterbad). We also visited the town pool Panorama-Bad Freudenstadt, Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald tree-top walk and slide and the adventure park next to it, an older slide park Riesenrutschbahn Poppeltal – Seewald Freizeit Park, and the town of Baden. Initially, we were underwhelmed by the scenic roads (we did not find the Black Forest High Road to be as dramatic as roads through Norway and other countries) but we were quickly won over by the beauty of the forest paths and the abundant attractions in the area, including many activities for families (one that we didn’t visit but looked fun: BarfussPark Hallwangen.
After Germany, we were truly out of time so we drove as quickly as possible to France and flew to New York and Rhode Island where we had wonderful visits with family and friends and celebrated Jonathan and Jess’ wedding. We then returned to Les Eyzies – the first time we had been to the area in August. It felt like coming home – relaxing in the house, swimming in the river, going to a gourmet night market (Marché Gourmand) where food was served at communal tables, and visiting friends Claire and family. We had a wonderful time at our neighbour’s wedding and this felt like the completion of our European time which started in the French lockdown almost two years before. Finally, on our way out of France, we stopped off to meet friends Kat and Mark – who we met on one of our previous motorhome trips in France – and then we boarded an overnight ferry for the next leg of our journey: Ireland and the UK.