Going Deutsch
Practical Motorhome|November 2017

Keen to make a proper trip to Germany, keen walkers Geoff Crowther and wife Chrissie headed for Bavaria, taking in war memorials, tasting city life and following stunning alpine trails.

Geoff Crowther

Where to go for our summer trip? Fancying a change from France, after much discussion we came up with Bavaria. We’d flashed through Germany on our way to Scandinavia a couple of summers back, and I’d been through it on a motorbike trip to Poland, but we hadn’t yet spent any time there.

We’re avid walkers, along with our two dogs, so the high country of Bavaria looked appealing. We had several weeks, so we’d be in no hurry, and the idea of a slow, rambling road trip began to take shape.

Planning? Well, we booked a ferry from Dover to Dunkirk, bought some guides and that was about it. Hoping to use aires and stellplätze as much as possible, there’d be no need to book any campsites.

Catching the Last Post

Our preferred Channel crossing allowed us to again use a favourite aire in Hondschoote, near Dunkirk, and from there, we hopped across the border into Belgium.

Chrissie and I particularly wanted to experience the Last Post at the Menin Gate in Ypres. Parking on the outskirts of the former garrison town, we walked with the dogs through parkland outside the old city walls.

We were surprised to see half a dozen motorhomes in a large car park by the sports centre, so we joined them. From there, it was an easy amble to the Menin Gate. Last time I was here, my labrador Tilly and I watched the ceremony with no fuss, but today the crowds were seven or eight deep. Nevertheless, despite a limited view of proceedings, it was still a very moving experience to hear the buglers perform their daily tribute.The sombre spectacle couldn’t fail to bring a tear to the eye.

Waving goodbye to Ypres, we drove eastwards to take in some of Belgium’s finest industrial architecture. First up, the Strépy-Thieu funicular lift on the Canal du Centre.

Completed in 2002, this spectacular structure is quite breathtaking in its immensity. The biggest boat lift in the world, it can carry the very largest of those barges you’ll have seen if you’ve been anywhere near a European-style canal or river. We watched in awe as one of these vessels – complete with Mercedes on the rear deck for the skipper’s personal use – crept into one of two massive water tanks before being lifted over 73 metres to continue its journey along the canal high above.

Next on our itinerary, and closely associated with the previous site, was the Plan Incliné de Ronquières, an inclined plane lift on the Brussels to Charleroi canal.

Another amazing structure, this comprises two vast water-filled containers that lift or lower boats, on rails, along a mile-long slope.The tanks run on dozens of wheels and we watched, standing on the canal side, as one made its slow progress down the incline. Watching the tank dock and another huge barge disembark to make its way out into the canal again was simply amazing.

Some poignant memorials

Some years back I was an avid watcher of the TV series Band of Brothers, the story of the US 101st Airborne Division Easy Company’s journey through Europe during the World War II; so I was keen to visit Bastogne, a key location in the Battle of the Bulge.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PRACTICAL MOTORHOMEView All

From canvas to 'Van

A desire to explore new places all over the country drew Cecil and Sarah Withers to 14 different motorhomes

2 mins read
Practical Motorhome
December 2017

Wild Ax Joins Up With Rapido

The place to come for the latest news and exclusive first tests of ’vans and accessories. Peter Baber keeps you up to speed

3 mins read
Practical Motorhome
November 2017

Stay In Charge Of Your Battery Life

Our Diamond Dave repairs motorhomes for a living, which makes him the technical guru to consult when things go wrong.

3 mins read
Practical Motorhome
November 2017

Going Deutsch

Keen to make a proper trip to Germany, keen walkers Geoff Crowther and wife Chrissie headed for Bavaria, taking in war memorials, tasting city life and following stunning alpine trails.

8 mins read
Practical Motorhome
November 2017

Fiat Launches New 4x4

Join Lizzie Pope behind the wheel of the latest Fiat Ducato, as this completely redesigned model looks to help you explore further on tour

2 mins read
Practical Motorhome
October 2017

Lunar Acquires Wellhouse Leisure

The place to come for the latest news and exclusive first tests of ’vans and accessories. Peter Baber keeps you up to speed

3 mins read
Practical Motorhome
October 2017

Welsh Wonders

Looking to explore Welsh legend and storytelling, Caroline Mills tours the Snowdonia National Park and the spectacular North Wales coast

8 mins read
Practical Motorhome
October 2017

Sats The Way To Do It

Our Diamond Dave repairs motorhomes for a living, which makes him the technical guru to consult when things go wrong

3 mins read
Practical Motorhome
October 2017

Lake District Granted World Heritage Status

Claudia Dowell kicks off our travel section with all the touring news, updates and information that you need to know

3 mins read
Practical Motorhome
October 2017

The Island In The Highlands

Dolphin watching and relaxation are high on the agenda for Anne and David Dean’s tour of the Black Isle peninsula in the Scottish Highlands.

6 mins read
Practical Motorhome
May 2017
RELATED STORIES

Fighting to Be More Than A Cog in the Machine

A German auto parts maker seeks to engineer itself a future for the post-Merkel era

8 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
September 20, 2021

GOOGLE TO INVEST $1.2B IN GERMANY CLOUD COMPUTING PROGRAM

Google said that it is investing 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) by 2030 to expand its cloud computing infrastructure in Germany and to increase the use of renewable energy.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
September 03, 2021

Who Comes Next?

The race to succeed Germany’s Angela Merkel pits caution against boldness

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
August 23, 2021

Auf Wiedersehen, Klimakanzlerin

As she leaves office, Angela Merkel, hailed for her pioneering global leadership on climate change, stands accused at home of not moving fast enough

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
August - September 2021

German Sniper Rifles

In the run-up to World War II, military planners in Germany expected a fast-moving mechanized war. They considered that a sniper firing one well-aimed round at a time was a holdover from trench warfare. On December 6, 1934, the German Army’s High Command ordered all “Telescope Sight Rifles” to be turned in by the 15th of that month. There was no plan for their replacement (from Sniper Variations of the German K98k Rifle by Richard D. Law).

10+ mins read
Rifle
September - October 2021

DAYS OF OUR LIVES

James Reynolds (Abe)

3 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
August 02, 2021

SLACK KICKS OFF 2021 WITH A GLOBAL OUTAGE

Slack, the messaging service used by millions of people for work and school, suffered a global outage on Monday, the first day back for most people returning from the New Year’s holiday.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #480

Musk's German Charm Offensive

The Tesla boss has won over many Germans, but labor senses a growing threat

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 07, 2020

NEW BMW HAS CLASSIC GRILLE BUT FOR SENSORS, NOT AIRFLOW

German luxury automaker BMW on Wednesday gave an early look at a new battery-driven SUV that illustrates the company’s future plans for electric-powered driving.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #472

EUROPE TESTS GATEWAY FOR TRACING APPS TO WORK ACROSS BORDERS

Six European Union countries and the bloc’s executive Commission have begun testing a virtual “gateway” to ensure national coronavirus tracing apps can work across borders.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #464