Dash to Germany

This story happened on: 01/10/2017


I know, I know I can already hear the tut, tutting of some on CT who will have a negative view that I drove solo so far in a week with the van on tow, but my decision and for me the right one.

I departed home at 4.30am on a Saturday morning, picked the van up off the daughters drive and headed for Harwich.  Filled up with diesel at the Morrison store (other stores available) right outside the terminal, it’s a 24hour filling station and it’s relatively cheap.  Loaded on to the Stena Britannica by 9.30hrs and up to the lounge.  The wind was a strong westerly so although offshore the sea was rough it had little effect on the ship.  The crossing was a little over 7.5hrs and arrived at Hoek van Holland at around 5pm and disembarked by 5.30pm.  One of the good points of arriving on the continent on a Saturday is the lack of truck’s on the roads.  After half an hour driving it started to lash it down and continued for the whole off the rest of the journey.  Arrived at Campingplatz Winsen und der Aller at 11pm to be met by my brother.  He had arrange electric hook up, so didn’t unhitch the van just put the rear steadies down and repaired to his MH for drinks and catch up.  Returning to my van at 1.30 I was gratified to hear a couple of Tawny Owls calling. 

Winsen (Aller) is some 15 klicks west of Celle and is on the edge of one of the biggest military training areas in Germany.  I spent a few years in the area in the 1960’s and early 1970’s when I was in the military.  The area is reasonably flat and has great cycle paths and of course lots of areas to walk with plenty of wildlife. 

After a late breakfast I set up the van and checked in (ACSI site) (Sabrina speaks excellent English for those that need it), before going out and visiting old haunts such as Bergen, Hohne, Fallingbostel and all points between.

Monday was a trip to Celle to stock up on essentials like wine and beer at the large Real store. I brought wine for Euros 3.72/bottle which would cost around £6.50/bottle in the UK.  Having been to Celle town centre many times we had a quick walk through before returning to camp. 

Tuesday was bright and sunny so decided to go to Munster (Lager) to visit the house we lived in as children.  It doesn’t look to have changed at all.  We went to the Panzer Museum which was less than 500mtrs from the house.  I can recommend this museum it covers the period from the First World War to the present day.

Wednesday was another bright, sunny day so after doing some chores we wandered around the local area, walking about 6 miles.

Thursday was a trip to Meißendorf Lakes nature reserve.  The Meißendorf Lakes (German: Meißendorfer Teiche) are a nature reserve and bird reserve of national importance on the edge of the Lüneburg Heath in the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. The special importance of this nature reserve is underlined by its recognition as a major federal nature reserve project. The area derives its name from the nearby village of Meißendorf . The lakes were formerly a network of ponds established for fish-farming. The spread of birds is quite large but at the moment there are few waders visiting.  There is a 2.5 miles walk around the Huttersee Lake and on it’s shores is an ACSI site.

Friday was Hot (for the time of year) 23C so went to the Bannetze Moor nature reserve, this is an area where there are generally cranes in residence, unfortunately there were none around.  Bennetze is a farming community growing arable crops but it has a patchwork of large forested areas.  Plenty of woodpeckers around and the highlight was undoubtedly a male Hen Harrier.  We walked about 6 miles.

Saturday my last full day brought more perfect weather with 23C so returned to Bannetze to walk in the other direction, another 6 mile walk through the woods to Meißendorf Lakes.  Highlights were Red Deer, Marsh Harriers and a Rough Legged Buzzard.  Evening spent in the site pub drinking and yarning with other campers.

Sunday was preparation for leaving. Another bright and sunny day with temperatures reaching 25C.  Fond farewell to brother and departed around 1300hrs.  Decided to return on non-motorways as far as possible to Holland so used route 214 to Nordhorn then motorway to Utrecht arriving at the Hoek of Holland at 2030hrs and loaded straight on to the Stena Britannica for the overnight crossing to Harwich.  Disembarked, filled up at Morrison’s and arrived home, after storing van, around 0930hrs. 


Not sure what brother is going to do this winter, normally  stays in Sicily but talking of going to Greece, whatever he decides I need to thank him for all the wonderful meals he prepared! 

Mileage covered was just over 1200 and car and caravan never missed a beat

Google map showing location of Winsen an der Aller, Germany

Bakers2 commented on 10/11/2017 09:10

Commented on 10/11/2017 09:10

Thanks for sharing. Lovely to be able to catch up with your brother and explore childhood haunts, special times. Beautiful photos, you can be relied upon for good shots 😉.  Recognised the woodpecker but what' that sitting on the top of 'the Christmas tree' 😉?

Sounds like a busy but relaxing time but I expect the time frame focused the mind - it's too easy to dift sometimes.

DavidKlyne commented on 10/11/2017 09:16

Commented on 10/11/2017 09:16


We stayed here about six years ago en route to the Baltic coast which can't be far from where you stayed. We also enjoyed a trip to Celle during our stay. Funnily enough after the trip I was talking to my neighbours father and he was stationed near Celle. Was the Panzer Museum well signed as we have found some military sites that are of interest to us Brits fairly poorly signed, perhaps understandably?


brue commented on 10/11/2017 09:36

Commented on 10/11/2017 09:36

Thanks Oneputt, interesting read and good photos as per usual. No tutting from me, it's great to be able to do these things while you can. smile

Oneputt commented on 10/11/2017 10:10

Commented on 10/11/2017 10:10

Thanks all for kind comments

Bird on xmas tree is a European Red Start

David, have passed the site you stayed on a number of ti,es but not stayed.  Tank museum is very well signposted.  Website has English:http://daspanzermuseum.de/en/ihr-besuch/

Good Schnellimbiss opposite for drinks and snacks


roytonrebel commented on 15/11/2017 16:01

Commented on 15/11/2017 16:01

Thanks Oneput  brilliant post one of the best i have ever read on here . Lived in Germany for 20 years myself  great place .    Excellent stuff  good adventure and top photos .