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Water pumps, phantom shops and a surprise Knight in the night.

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25th to 29th June 2013

Not many road trips result in every meal being eaten in a different country but we were right in the border zone as we finally got back on the road to our next wedding destination.

We got up in plenty of time to say our farewells to Janet who had managed at last minute to book yet another flight. It was going to mean planes, trains and automobiles for her to get home but she was ready for off. Janet does sitting still about as well as we do and although I shed a tear or two to see her go in the taxi, we also knew she would be pleased to get back home and we would be pleased to be back on the road.

Peggy get a long over due water pump!

Within no time we were on our merry way to Munich, the garage fixed us up and sent us on our way with a happy wave and we (a little hungover) sailed our way through northern Italy soaking up the sunshine and the surroundings. We covered a few hundred miles before we happened upon Lake Maggiore and a lovely little campsite right on the edge of the water.

We had picked up a few groceries and made ourselves a lovely chicken dinner as we watched the sun set over the serene lake. We fed the ducks and the swan (which was enormous and quite a monster…see the video) and enjoyed the calm atmosphere of the lapping water.

Attack of the worlds meanest swan

As we drove the next morning we enjoyed the honeysuckle and jasmine blossom hanging everywhere we looked and sucked in the smell that permeates the very air. The red tiled roofs slope down to flashes of the stunning blue lake and Hydrangers bobbed their mulit-coloured heads as we passed. Every other car whizzing around the lake edge was tiny and tried its hardest to stay out of Peggys way!

We were sad to leave in the morning but we were also VERY excited to be doing a food shop. Following this trip you probably know that we love food. Buying it, preparing it, cooking it and eating it…we love it! And we had missed it being stuck in the tiny village in the Alps with no access to stores SO, the minute we saw a store we did a little dance for joy and skipped inside.

Just plain old beautiful

It was a Lidl and as we walked the aisles we realised that this was no ordinary Lidl, it was an Italian Lidl! The veg was local and AMAZING, the cheese and cured meats section was alarmingly packed to bursting and the coffee and the sun dried tomatoes and the olives and the wine….we were in heaven!

We filled our trolley tenfold, knowing we would have to eat ourselves into a coma to ever get through it all but we were just so excited!
Our trolley was over flowing and we stacked it all up, packed it all neatly and paid…or tried to. We didn’t have enough Euros and of course, this Lidl (though some do in Europe) did not take credit card.

I stood as the lady told Alex to go to the bank. He ran out of the door and I didn’t see him again for 10 minutes. He came back panting, stuck his head in the door and told me he had come back for Peggy, there was no bank in walking distance and the one he had found did not accept his card. Off he went again, me stood shamed at the end of the checkout waiting patiently watching everyone take their shopping away.

55 minutes later he came back, he had driven 20 km and tried 7 cash points none of which would accept our credit card…which is not obscure, its a Mastercard…BUT it is international…it turns out we were in the middle of no-where!

We had to give the shopping back.

I could have cried! I described it as a phantom shop, like a sheep with a phantom pregnancy. We drove away and I was destroyed. We drove for a few hours and I turned to Alex and said shall we have a snack, forgetting we had given it all back…then the pain was refreshed like a tidal wave and I was sad all over again.

Drunk.. Recovery.View, Van

We finally found a bank and drew out some Euros and continued on the road until we found another shop. It was an Aldi and I thought we may just be able to get the same shop…until we got inside. Little did we realise that we had crossed the border into Switzerland and they use Swiss Francs! We were back in the same position and after putting only several items in our trolley we realised and dis-heartedly put it all back…we had no Francs…and only a credit card!

We gave up and enjoyed the drive though the stunning Swiss Alps. The transition into Switzerland from Italy was smooth, the lake remains as does the blossom on the breeze. We climbed and climbed into the mountains and camped up top with no-one around. We had stopped at a gas station and bought a pack of carrots and a few bits and rustled up a reasonable meal, another day, another country.

The following day we ate breakfast in Switzerland, lunch in Austria and dinner in Germany! We had certainly had an international day already and that was before we even met with our friends in Munich train station!

Apple Love & Super stars

We had, as always been planning a wedding and to add a little more international flare to our day we collected Anna from Russia (living in Prague) and Ana from Romania from the Munich train and with them, hit the road to Landshut, Bavaria and talked all the way!

We had been in touch with Anna and Julia of Apple Love Events for some time, planning and creating our Bavarian wedding. We had everything arranged to the T, when sadly our photographer was involved in a motor accident (he was ok but would not be able to shoot the wedding) and we had a last minute emergency on our hands.

Alex hastily posted on facebook and asked for help and we had a huge response from people all over the world offering to fly into Germany that day to come and shoot the wedding for us.
Anna of Joben Studios was the first in line, we introduced her to deal checker, our go to site for cheaper flights and within 6 hours was on a flight to Munich to meet us.

It is times like these when we realise all over again how much everyone helps us on this journey. Without like-minded people who are willing to change the direction of their lives JUST a little for someone else, people who are ready to take a risk and who are always on the look out for an adventure we would still just be two bums living in a clapped out old van with no direction and no mission. Instead, together, we are wild wedding adventurers, out to experience cultures and traditions of countries all over the world…and we get to hang out with some pretty awesome people!

A surprise Knight, late at night.

We made it to Landshut rather late and checked the two An(n)a’s into a hotel. We drove into town to grab some food and drinks and chatted until 2am when we finally decided we must go to bed, we had a busy (wedding) day tomorrow. As we crossed the road to the van we saw a random knight clanging drunkenly down the street. He was wearing full body armour and singing sweetly to himself in the glow of the street lights as he merrily made his way home!

We called to him and although between us we spoke 6 languages…none of us spoke Italian and he could barely speak full stop. We got it out of him that he was a part of the festival that was going on in the town and that he had just finished jousting. He invited us along to watch him joust the next evening and even handed me a small wreath as he left.

We laughed and wondered what on earth he had been up to and of course, what kind of injuries he was liable to sustain whilst jousting the next day with a rather uncomfortable hangover.

Of course, more will be revealed in the wedding blog…but believe me, it is worth a read!

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