A trying day today, of spirits. I woke utterly exhausted so Jason kindly did the kids pancakes outside for breakfast and took them to the 'beach' so I could lie in. Felix loves pancakes as well so is a popular breakfast. Apparently the beach the owner was going on about is a little strip of muddy sand beside a rather brown looking lake. Not too appealing. It was shaping up to be another day of blazing sunshine, and we got hot taking the tent down. After checking out, and being encouraged further to stay longer, we waved goodbye. It felt like a bit of a cult! Most of the sites were like tiny private plots, where people had built small houses, gardened and had fencing and various homey stuff up. I can't imagine living in a campsite, and certainly not that one! What did the lady refer to it as? Our own kingdom. Hmmm.
Our mission today was to drive down the fairytale road to Heidelberg. We started by heading back over to Hameln and through Bodenwerder where Baron Von Munchausen lived and told all sorts of tall tales. A beautiful town with some lovely timbered houses. We then drove along the river Weser to find a castle called Dornroschenschloss Sababurg which was supposed to be the setting for Sleeping Beauty. When we finally found it, after lunching in the carpark, we were rather unimpressed with it's 'italianate turrets'. There was a couple dressed as sleeping beauty and her prince heading into the ruins but that was about the highlight. Walking down again, the girls and I followed a path into a garden full of (slighty decrepit) painted statues of fairytale figures. There was the milkmaid with geese, the frog prince, rumpelstiltskin and others. Much fun!
After an unplanned detour and disagreement (!) we arrived in Homberg where there is a circular tower that Rapunzel may have let her hair down from! Now we could see the tower but do you think a certain someone could find it...calmly?!
Let's just say that Jason remained in the town centre to cool off while the kids and I headed off to the tower, which we found without incident. We all trooped up and climbed to the top - yes there were doors and stairs - and enjoyed a lovely view over the surrounding countryside. Em particularly was very taken with the notion that the stories she knows so well might be true, and that these might be the places where they happened. She kept saying "But do you mean REALLY??!". It would have been nice to have a bit longer, and to visit the Brothers Grimm Museum to learn more about these writers of legend, myth and fable. What fabulous history there is in the area. Emily played Rapunzel in the tower for ages.
We picked J up and made for Heidelberg. Luckily we knew the campsite there would be open until 10 as it wax already 6 and we had a long drive. Mostly motorway from then on, which J enjoyed but also found hair-raising! As suspected, it was gone 8:30 by the time we arrived at the campsite, which was awful. No playground, one set of utilities, just a utilitarian strip of land with one or two spaces between motorhomes to pitch up. After the rather emotional and tiring day we couldn't do it. We went to another site with cabins but it was closed. By this time it was 9pm and in the end J found us a hotel to go to for the night. What relief to be in the city, roof over our heads, comfy beds to look forward to. The hotel turned out to be literally opposite the town hall, just off the main square. Incredible location. And the room - enormous! Almost bigger than our flat! It had a large double, a double fold out sofa and another single bed and still enough room to kick a ball around in.
We dropped our stuff there and went around the corner to grab dinner. Tomorrow is the last day of Oktoberfest so there were quite a few people still out and about, more drinking than eating. We found a lovely cosy little place, all wooden and lots of german knick knacks. I had a flatbread which turned out to be more like a pizza and I gave it to the kids instead. Em and meg shared a sausage, potato and salad, and felix had the best dinner of potato pancakes with homemade apple sauce. We all shared and nobody ate very much, but the pancakes were the best. Jason very much enjoyed his traditional Bavarian pork roast with red cabbage and dumpling. We had quite a time getting people to bed and it was near enough midnight before all were asleep.