2020-09-18 (Fri). Bietigheim-Bissingen, Heilbronn & Lauffen

After a fairly sleep-disturbed night, from about 04:00 onwards (due to traffic), we decided the next stop should be Lauffen – a major wine centre on the Neckar. Lauffen had other plans: The Stellplatz am Friebad was full. Consulting our various apps, we decided to head to Rolf Willy’s Kellerei/winery in nearby Nordheim. This turned out to be two spaces in a small car park, large enough only for VW camper – sized vans. Ho hum.

We ended up at a Stellplatz in Heilbronn. Down Knorrstrasse, past the enormous Knorr factory with the overpowering aroma of Bruhe, down to the Wertwiesenpark or Neckarhalde. Actually, a very nice Stellplatz with lots of trees to give some shade, adjacent to a huge park, and only a 100 metres from the Neckar. And it’s free to stay.

The bad news was there were a couple of obviously gypsy caravans parked up, with their young offspring zooming around in an e-car. A small one, big enough for two kids, and scarily fast. The caravans had UK licence plates. The inhabitants had Irish accents. We found a place as far away as possible and set up under the trees.

Some time later, a police car arrived making it clear to the gypsies that they were to leave by the following morning.

Having missed out of Lauffen, we decided to cycle there along the Neckar radweg; about 11km each way. We thought we’d try to get an ice-cream whilst there. Possibly even a beer. Failed on both counts. In fact, we couldn’t find any shops at all, nor any evidence of a town centre, Marktplatz or similar. So we gave up & headed back to Heilbronn.

About 1km from being back at the MoHo, by a Sportplatz, is a very nice open-air Gaststätte. It would have been rude to pass it by, so we didn’t. Very pleasant in the late afternoon sunshine, which then started to turn rather chilly as the sun set.

In fact, although the days have been blisteringly hot, up to 29 degrees some days, the nights give away the fact that it’s definitely autumn. It’s decidedly chilly in the van getting up in the mornings.

Arriving back at the Stellplatz, we were surprise to see that the gypsies had actually left already.

Link to Strava here.

2020-09-17, Thursday. Off again, but not very far!

Now that the girls are both back at school again, it’s time for us to say our farewells.

In all the time we lived in Germany, and all our subsequent visits, we’ve never been up the Neckartal. We probably always considered it to be too close.

Like the Mosel, it’s all wine producing area, but unlike the Mosel, it’s almost all in Baden-Wurttemberg. I.e. Schwabenland.

We intended to begin our endeavours with a 1hr drive up to Bietigheim-Bessingen: an ancient town that isn’t actually on the Neckar. Not quite. It’s on the confluence of the Enz and Metter rivers, the latter being little more than a small stream, really.

The Stellplatz here is on a car park, with space set aside for up to 7 motorhomes of vast proportions. Just €5 for 24 hrs.

I took a walk up the hill to the old town, and very pretty it is, too. Lots of ancient timber-framed buildings, central Marktplatz, and Hauptstraße running the length of the town. Lots of interesting cafes and Gasthäuser to tempt us.

In the late afternoon, we both walked up into the town to find a place for a meal. And very good it was too.

Joy had forgotten to bring her favourite earl grey redbush tea from home, so when I spied an old-fashioned tea shop I felt it was worth a try. Bingo! There it was. Should keep her going till we get back home!