Our Campervan Shakeout trip

Since we cant keep travelling overseas, we are going to explore our own province and country – and about time too!

I’m checking out a new travel app called Polarsteps and so far I LOVE IT!

Super easy to use while on the go. Makes a note of when you arrived where and has great off line capabilities. I think this will be my go-to for future trips.

Follow me on my trip ‘Campervan Shakeout

Team Kep or Team Kampot?

While planning our trip, I noticed a strong trend in blogs and reviews about the Cambodian coast: Those that like Kampot, didn’t see much to admire about Kep, and vice versa. Kep had a national park to hike in, and Kampot had a river for swimming, SUPs and kayaking. They both sounded good to me.

But I won’t keep you guessing. We are firmly on team Kep.

We had a very agreeable place to stay in Kep, called Q bungalows. It was beautifully landscaped, had a charming bar restaurant and the pool was one of the nicest I’ve encountered. Beautifully clean and the perfect temperature.

Beautiful landscaping at Q bungalows.
Aircon bungalow US$40/night…
With breakfast included!

Loved the pool at Q bungalows. National park in the background.

I was worried we were out of town, but am now persuaded that the area we were in is by far the best to stay in. From what little I saw of the town, there was no true centre.

But we were about 400m from the National Park, 800m from the Crab market (which is a daily market with more than seafood) and a string of good value seafood restaurants perched over the water right next to the crab market. Add in the sailing club and some other nice bars along the water, and you really have no need to leave the area.

Fresh seafood ready to grill to order.
A small part of the crab market

The national park is a nice half day outing but really more like a reserve than a park. The usual way to see it, is to walk around an approx 8 km loop. It is a dirt road, with lots of shady bits, some nice viewpoints, and monkeys! After about 5 km the trail spits you back onto a proper road. There is one wooden shelter outlook and a tiny little bar that was closed when we passed, but otherwise it is completely undeveloped. Cost is 2$ to enter. We enjoyed stretching our legs on this walk. I would say that the National Park is not sufficient reason to go to Kep, in truth.

Monkeys found us while walking the circuit of the national park.
A particularly fine tree in the national park.

We only stayed two nights. It was enough time to do this walk, enjoy the pool, go to the Crab market, eat at Kep Blue Mer- which was wonderful and so inexpensive- and enjoy sunset twice at the Sailing club. It was sufficient.

Very happy hours at the Sailing Club.

Then we took the Crab Shuttle to Kampot. It leaves at 3pm, and takes 3 hours to travel the 25 km you could more easily travel by road. It was unique and memorable, and just a bit longer than you would wish, with a stop at a Mangrove eco park.

The crab shuttle
The loo. Did not try it.
A stop at a mangrove preservation project.

You chug up the river as the sun is setting and the boat let’s you off right in front of RikiTikiTavi, a well known accommodation with a brilliant happy hour in a lovely roof deck bar.

Fishing boats heading out at sunset.
Sunset arrival on the Crab Shuttle.

This time our out-of-centre bungalow was just plain inconvenient as we had to tuk tuk everywhere. We spent a morning walking around and even shopping a bit (beer cozies, a mortar and pestle, a cool recycled bag). This town has the advantage of a small but well defined centre. Then, following multiple recommendations, we took a tuk tuk to The Green House, a restaurant and bungalows several km upstream where one can have a good meal and swim in the river.

Stay too far out of town and you use these alot.
Cold drinks and lunch, but no swim at the Green House.

Well, the meal was very good, though pricier than expected. But as for swimming in the river, it was not inviting. Didn’t see any SUPS or kayaks. Did see a diaper float by. That was it for me.

We began our second night in kampot with more excellent 2 for 1 cocktails at Rikitikitavi. We met a young couple from the US, had a good conversation, and ended up by having dinner and more drinks with them. Afterwards, we strolled the town again, without finding it particularly beckoning, visited the durian roundabout one last time, and we were ready to move on.

Two for one sunset cocktails at RikiTikiTavi. Sigh.
The durian roundabout, central to Kampot’s identity.

Phu Quoc Vietnam to Kep, Cambodia: Forgotten Passports, High Seas, a Fire, and an Attack by Sea Monkeys.

So not every travel day is a great day. Don’t believe what those Insta-Influencers are trying to sell ya. Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes they go quite wrong. So you need to be prepared for a setback or two.

We always keep the passports in a specific manner, and we run a check (wallets, passports, phones, sunglasses) and a bag count whenever we change locations.

When we left our bungalow in Phu Quoc, two factors distracted us. Firstly, we had saved up literally MILLIONS of Vietnamese dong to pay our bill, and they informed us at the desk that the payment had already been taken by credit card. Most unexpected. What will we do with MILLIONS of dong in Cambodia? O well.

Then, the vehicle booked to take us to the ferry at 8:30 arrived at 8:10 or thereabouts, making us scramble a bit. Never scramble!

Our ferry to Ha Tien, Vietnam, 10 km from the Cambodian border, left at 9:30. The seas were very rough on the windward side of the island. Just getting on board was an adventure. Rand gets seasick, and I was feeling guilty about making him ride a ferry, as he quickly turned gray and clammy.

The ferry. A rough ride in an enclosed space, shared with a load of durian.

I closed my eyes, tried to relax, and Bam! I remembered that when we checked into our resort in Phu Quoc, the reception clerk insisted on keeping our passports in the hotel safe during our stay. This was unusual.

“Did they give us back our passports this morning? Do you have them?” The look on Rand’s face told me they had not. Sh…..oot!

I whipped off an email to the resort, asking them to confirm they still had our passports. I asked them to send someone to the ferry port and hand them over to the captain of the next departing ferry. We would then meet that ferry and collect the documents in person.

But the fact they had not handed them back raised the question, did they even have them? Quickly, the answer, with apologies, was that they did.

After that, I was not very worried. Everything in Vietnam has been so easy, every little problem fixed or sorted. The Vietnamese are natural born fixers. I just knew it would work out.

We had already hired a fixer to take us to the border, and the resort connected with him seamlessly, and hired him to be THEIR fixer. He walked us over to a cafe where we waited 3 and a bit hours.

Hanging out in a port cafe, waiting for our passports.

He met the ferry, got the documents, then completed his task and got us through the border, where we connected with a local who drove us to our prebooked accomodation in Kep.

Leaving Vietnam on foot.
Entering Cambodia

Well that had been a much longer trip than anticipated. But it was over. We had arrived! Alls well, etc, etc.

We piled out at our guesthouse, and noticed a strong acrid smell. The field next to our bungalow, had recently been in flames. Ash covered everything. The power and internet lines had burnt. There was no food to be had, no air con or light in the bungalows, and the smoke in the air reached right down my throat so I could scarcely breath.

Fields still smoking at Blue Kep Bungalows.
Our kind, but dismayed hosts. No electricity, no communications, and shortly thereafter, no Randoneurds.

Luckily, our hosts did not disagree with our desire to find a different place to stay. So we set off in a tuk-tuk (because no internet) to look about. That is how we came, eventually, to Q bungalows. Now, in truth, we could relax.

Fleeing smoky bungalows in a tuk-tuk.

We had an icy beer, and showered the grime and smoke out of our hair and that is when I learned why I had been itchy all day. Turns out it wasn’t only dirt, perspiration and heat. I had a number of itchy red bumps on my torso. Heat rash? Mozzies? Weird.

The Q Bungalows bar had tragically run out of tequila, which qualifies as another catastrophe, only because it happened to be International Margarita Day!

So we wandered off for happy hour at the Sailing Club, which was lovely, and then, just before bed, enjoyed a swim in the pool. Day turned out okay. All mischief managed.

It was a squeaker, but I did manage to celebrate International Margarita Day at the Kep Sailing Club.
The sailing club is the place to go for 3 dollar happy hour, beautiful sunsets and inauthentic but very tasty Poutine.

Only the next morning, the dozen or so bites had turned into 49 – yes I counted! 5 minutes of research and it was clear I had been accosted by jellyfish larvae in Phu Quoc. Worse, the little buggers live on in wet bathing suits, so I’d likely got a second round of stings when I put my damp suit on for a pool swim in Kep. I soaked my suit in kettle boiled water that very moment and laid it out, all day, in the 35°C sun.

So that was quite a few setbacks to deal with in one day. But it isn’t a day we are likely to forget soon, and sometimes it just goes like that.

Phu Quoc Rest Stop

We went to Phu Quoc (FOO WALK), an island in Vietnam’s far south, because there were good value direct flights there from Danang.

This was a way to reposition to the south of Vietnam without visiting Ho Chi Minh.

Can Tho in the Mekong Delta was also an option, but would leave us a considerable distance from our next destination: Kep in Cambodia.

The reviews for this island were mixed. Either the beaches were beautiful or they were disgusting; it was paradise or it was ruined. Better go see for ourselves.

We arrived in the evening to spend 3 nights and two days. I chose a resort close to, but, I hoped, not too close to the main town. In this case, a visit to Google earth during the planning stages would have been smart, as the surrounding area was much more built up than I liked. Even with coronavirus fears shrinking the crowds, our area was too developed and full of people.

Orange resort, Phu Quoc

Our resort, however, was very nice, so we just hung out there and had a proper rest up and brown up. Watched sunsets, napped, read. The sea was very warm and clean, with no waves, so it was quite a nice break. And that is all I have to say about Phu Quoc, as we really saw none of it.

O, we did walk to the famed night market. It was crowded and so full of dead fish and other sea creatures that one wonders how there can be anything left in the oceans. We had a beer there.

Coconut ice cream. Recommended!

I also had some yummy coconut ice cream in a shell, and Rand had a Banana Roti, plus an unsatisfying piece of fried chicken (batter and bones.) Then we went back to our resort to swim, nap, read…

Our charming poolside bungalow. Good value for 5 million dong for 3 nights, with breakfast.
I could go back to this beach today
For a swim…
And a sundowner or two.

6 Nights in Hoi An

The nights were actually spent in An Bang beach. We decided to live at the beach and visit the town and we have no regrets. It is only a 80 – 100 thousand dong ride into the old town in a metered taxi (CDN$5)

We stayed the first 3 nights at Red Flower cottages, and then moved 1 km down the beach to stay at KA Villa. I did it this way because I knew it would be hot in Central Vietnam and I had read many recent blog posts, and reviews that said the beaches and ocean were dirty and full of garbage at An Bang.

But others said the beach was nice. So for the first 3 nights we stayed right at the beach at the place that appealed the most, and the second three at a place with a nice pool, just in case.

We loved Red Flower Cottages! Very comfortable room with covered patio and a day bed outside. We would stay again. Lovely staff, and the beach and water were clean (although the dunes behind the beach certainly were not.)

Red Flower Cottages

We were a bit unlucky in that of our three days there, one was fine weather, one was crazy windy, so no beach, and one was windy and rainy! But that first day was very nice at the beach.

A great day at An Bang beach before the weather changed.

Our second accomodation gets equally high marks for the kindness of the staff, and we did enjoy the pool, but the room was frustratingly small, and the neighbourhood inferior. The most charm and best restaurants were in the vicinity of Red Flower, and we found ourselves walking back there several times after relocating. It is not a nice walk, either.

Rand in the pool at KA Villas

We did all the usual things in Hoi An: walked around, ate too much, admired the lights, went to the night market and shopped.

Night market

Rand had a shirt made in 24 hours and it was perfect. So we jumped in and ordered another one for him, two long sleeve and one sleeveless for me, and a shirt for each of our adult sons, based on measurements they emailed to us.

We both took a favourite fitting shirt in and left it with the tailor to make it reasonably easy. And measurements were also taken.

In the end, I had to make three trips into Hoi An, to get my three shirts finished, and the results weren’t perfect as they were for Rand.

My sleeveless shirt was not even close to fitting on my first fitting. It had to be completely remade. It fit fine at my second and last fitting, but the pattern on the fabric was cut wrong: on the front, the bird pattern is upside down! I pointed this out and the tailor obviously knew this, as she quickly said, “No, the birds go in all directions.”

All the birds on the shirt front – except pocket! – are hanging dead from their branches! Sewing 101 layout error.
Happily, the birds are alive on back of shirt.

Anyway, it was my last day, and I accepted the shirt, because I’m a bit off kilter as well. Certainly, I can go thru the world knowing no one has a shirt just like this. I will think of Hoi An when I wear it, of course.

FYI, a custom made tailored shirt, short or long sleeve, is about CDN$28 at the reputable (but apparently rushing) tailor we engaged.

A better deal still is jewellery in Hoi An. I read a blog post about a shop that would make anything, silver or gold, overnight and by weight. So I scooted right down to Lac Viet, hoping they could forge a very famous brand of silver bracelet that I have coveted but for which I would NOT spend $1800.

I’m pleased with the result and thrilled with the price – US$129!

The amazing jewellery shop and also the card for a Greek restaurant we liked so much we went twice!

I also bought a gift for a special friend, and some other smaller silver pieces for gifts.

More pictures of Hoi An:

Two Days in Tam Coc

We managed to book a direct transfer from the port where our ship docked, to our accomodation in Tam Coc, which is a smaller town near to Ninh Binh. Did it all on-line. We were first of the passengers to get picked up, so had first choice of seats. And we left early, around noon! Maybe, we thought, we’d be in Tam Coc at about 3? “This is great,” we quietly crowed.

No such luck. The bus visited several other cruise and ferry terminals, and 2 hours later we could still see our starting point across the bay. Then the driver took two breaks during the rest of the drive, and according to maps.me, took the longest route. Maybe he had his reasons. You just have to surrender yourselves sometimes. I had to tell him, using Google translate,to stop using and looking at his phone while driving.

The Sunshine hotel was new and looked so modern, but it was terribly non functional. The bathroom light switch was metres away by the main room door, approximately where this picture was taken. For no good reason, there was a large window between bed and bathroom.

Just where you don’t want a picture window

The other, still larger window looked directly into the next suite. There was only about two minutes of hot water any time we tried. The bed felt like a box spring with no padding. And the entire lobby was open to the air, making it just as chilly in as out. Its probably delightful in summer.

One of the two staff members we regularly interacted with did not lift her eyes from her phone when answering a question. Even the breakfast was subpar.

Tam Coc on the other hand, was terrific. The main street reminded me of Khao San road 30 years ago: Laid back and budget traveller friendly.

We used the hotels rusty bikes both days. Guest reviews indicated they were free, but we were charged a few dollars a day for them. The first day, we rode to the bird park, where we climbed over 400 sweaty steps to the heaven and hell cave. Had it all to ourselves and it was pretty cool.

Heaven and hell cave.

Then we cycled, with a quick stop at the Mermaid cave, to the bird sanctuary area, where we could observe massive quantities of storks, and other birds.

Mermaid Cave

We had fried sweet potatoes and crispy fried corn for lunch, and the corn, especially, was a revelation.

Lightly coated with cornstarch and seasonings, then into a hot wok. Yum!

We ended our day with a visit to the three temples stacked one above the other at Bich Dong.

Bich dong temple detail.

Here, if you walk around the temple site and its lagoon to the right (through the pay-to-park area for bikes) you can ascend concrete steps and then descend into a very charming valley where goats roam, and the poor, tired looking guy that lives in a shack there might give you a cave tour for a dollar. Even if he doesn’t, give him 20,000 each for letting you crash his privacy. He clearly really needs it.

A beautiful hidden valley just behind the Bich Dong pagoda complex…
…with many goats.

We had dinner our first night in Tam Coc at Father Cooking restaurant. All the usual rice and noodle dishes. Very good, very, very cheap.

After our first day of exploring, we walked to the far side of town to eat at Chookies. It was fab. They have a chalkboard that says

“We understand that sometimes you just want to eat something that tastes like home”

Boy did they deliver. Pizza, from a wood fired oven. So good! Go there and hang out in the camp fire circle all evening. Its lovely.

Chookies is the place!

On our 2nd day we went in the other direction, first Hang Mua (salt cave, I think) which is billed as an eco park. There are swings, and flower displays, restaurants and bars. The cave itself is pretty uninteresting.

What everyone goes here for is to climb many steep, irregular steps to the top of two adjoining peaks. One has a massive dragon statue. This is an Insta-famous location, and there was one girl who had props and costumes and a fellow who must have taken hundreds of photos of her in cunning poses. There was also a bridal party and O they must have been hot after that climb!

Very hot and humid work.
Lower summit
From the summit.

After lunch we cycled on to Trang An for a boat tour through the caves. We were shocked by how (over) developed this area was. Though it wasn’t horribly busy during our visit, there were 1400 boats moored and awaiting tourist hordes. It would not be worthwhile, in my opinion, if operating at or anywhere near peak capacity.

Trang An temple.
Trang An cave.

Our boat fellow never rowed with his feet, though we saw some do this. It was truly beautiful scenery, slightly impaired by the two jerks we shared the boat with who were so restless they just giggled, made phone calls to their children, and even lit a cigarette – yeah, I shut that down fast! But how do you ask someone to not be an obnoxious personality. We were able to ignore them for the most part.

We got back to our hotel at around 6, cleaned up a bit in the lobby bathroom, and went for a third, pretty unremarkable dinner in the town. Should have ridden back to Chookies, but we had a sleeper train to catch!

Hello Hanoi

Our arrival went exactly to plan. As we were arriving near midnight, we had a private car organized by our guesthouse to pick us up. We crashed hard.

We stayed in the Old Quarter, but chose accommodation that was specifically well-reviewed for its quiet street.  Booking.com let’s you search reviews by key words such as ‘quiet’ or ‘breakfast’ or ‘bicycles’.

The sidewalks are for everything except walking.

Hanoi is a crazy, vibrant town. The sidewalks are choked with parked motorbikes and myriad other obstacles, including but not limited to:

piles of discarded construction debris

tiny plastic stools belonging to established and transitory cafes

sandwich wagons

commercial goods displayed well beyond the natural borders of the shop.

As a result, pedestrians are forced into the street amidst the manic honking vehicles. So there is absolutely no walking-and- looking-around. You walk, or you look.

Two days was the perfect amount of time for us in Hanoi.

We walked around Hoan Kiem lake in the rain, went twice to Train Street, which was in our neighbourhood, and toured the Hoa Lo prison where John McCain was imprisoned (the Hanoi Hilton.)

Outside Hoa Lo prison.
Memorial to the mistreatment of the Vietnamese by the French at Hoa Lo.

Train street is widely reported to be closed to tourists now, and there is a guard forbidding you to pass. So what you do is linger around the barrier, and wave at or catch the eye of one of the track front entrepreneurs – the guy at The Railway Cafe is a good bet. Once you signal them, they walk down the track and escort you, their valued customer, back to their establishment, where, yes, you must buy something!

We went earlier in the day, got the lay of the land, found out when the train was coming that evening, and planned accordingly.  Even without a train scheduled, it’s worth the price of a beer to see it.

Train street by day, minus train.
2nd floor viewing for the evening train.

We also stuck a toe (figuratively) into local cuisine, and jumped with both feet into the cocktail scene. But all of these were a sidebar to putting the worst of the jetlag behind us and getting our bearings.

Cocktails at Polite & Co.
Cocktails at The Mad Botanist.
View of St. Joseph’s from the Mad Botanist.

The cocktails, please understand, were purely therapeutic. A way to ensure a good nights sleep. We haven’t had a bad one, and even in the bars mentioned above, they run only about 100-120k VND. That’s $5-6 CND. We haven’t done the exact math on these because it’s enough to know its half of Vancouver prices.

When we left Hanoi, our only regret – mostly mine, I suspect – was not seeing the women’s museum. Everyone we met said GO, and we were walking in that direction on our second afternoon when a wave of sleepiness overtook us and we turned in the direction of naps.

Never hurts to leave something for next time. We were on to our next adventure on Catba island…or so we thought!

Vietnam Bound!

And so for something vastly different.

Rand has never been to Asia and I haven’t been, except for short work-related stops, since I was a super-scrawny (120 lbs!) backpacker 30 years ago.

That mostly positive preboarding feeling

It’s just a tiny bit outside our (Euro) comfort zone, but we are determined to see more of the world while still fit and active enough to explore on our own terms, which means foot, bike and, perhaps, kayaks!

There are some serious challenges compared to our usual destinations: fairly expensive visas and preemptive visits to the travel clinic, complete lack of familiarity with the currency, language and customs, and our current challenge: a 20 hour flight sequence (Vancouver-Incheon -Hanoi)

Luckily, we scored a great flight with Korean Air. No charge seat selection, no charge bags, nice amenities on board: a very serene experience so far.

Just time to sample a Korean beer at Soeul Incheon airport…
Followed by a little de-icing.

This is helpful, given the Coronavirus scare that is ongoing. This had us a bit stressed to be leaving home for parts unknown, but we are feeling good about our trip, and know that if circumstances change, we have enough experience and resources to change plans where necessary.

So I mentioned the challenges, but what about the benefits?

Based on our prebookings for accomodation, we anticipate a more luxurious experience at a fraction of the cost. We enjoy our budget hotels and Airbnb’s while visiting Europe, but having access to a pool, free bikes and a cooked breakfast could also be nice.

We have been led to expect that the food will also impress us. Hope so!

And perhaps the beverages too. One place on my list to visit in Hanoi is a cocktail bar called the Mad Botanist.

It is up four flights of stairs above an ice cream shop (!) And specializes in gin. Stay tuned for a report.

Of course, escaping February in Canada is, on its face, a benefit. Its expected to snow there tomorrow. And more importantly, by travelling in winter, we benefit by being home in the spring to enjoy our garden and other projects.

So, here’s hoping for a successful trip. Any trip from which we return home safely qualifies, but I am hoping for something really different. If this trip cranks up our spirit of adventure just a bit, I anticipate we will consider Africa next.

And then we were arrived. Rainy and 18 degrees vs. slush at home. Free loaner umbrellas and a quiet room near the lake in the old quarter equals a good start.

Pfalzer Weinsteig Day 10: Annweiler am Trifels to Bad Bergzabern – the End of the Trail, sorta.

Distance: 24.9

Climbed: 1062m

So we knew all along that we had no accommodation at the end of this stage, which is at Klingenmunster. So, figure that out later….

Today was later. The ice cream factory had an associated cafe a few blocks away, and we had a really nice breakfast there.

So now, how to cover two stages in one day, to get to our reserved room in Bad Bergzabern?

As previously noted, there is such a plethora of signposted trails running along the Wein Strasse and throughout the Palatinate, that we felt confident we could do this.

We decided to do the first half of stage 10 along the steep track. This took us to Trifils castle, one of the marquee sights in the area, with views of and paths connecting to three other castle ruins.

A final castle

After exploring Trifels in depth, and seeing the other ruins from there, we descended to the town of Leinsweiler. There we jumped off the Weinsteig and onto the Wander Weg, an easier walking path along essentially the same route, but skirting the woods and vineyards, and much more direct.

I had a hug with a big tree.

In this manner, we were able to complete the stage by 2 pm, have a biggish lunch at Weinhof Pfeffer in Klingenmunster, and then do the next stage to Bad Bergzabern in about 2 hours, along the valley.

The Germans know how to make a salad.

Along the Weinsteig, these two stages totalled 29 km and a lot of climbing. We walked a total of about 24 km, the last 15 over less challenging terrain – although we still climbed over 1000 m.

Bacon and onion tart – a local favourite
A brace of schorle, with a sampler of neuwein

We had a fantastic apartment – Feriamwonung am Berg – in the old town for the rock bottom price of 65 euro, but not much energy to celebrate the end of our walk. Although there was one stage remaining, we had a tight schedule to meet our biking group in Konstanz on Sunday, so decided to cut the last stage to be sure we made it. We had a good train connection from Bad Bergzabern that we would not have at the official end of the walk in Schweigen Rectenbach, and therefore, the opportunity to arrive in Strasbourg in the afternoon, instead of late in the evening. So off to Konstanz, via Strasbourg, we go!

Pfalzer Weinsteig Day 9: Dernbach to Annweiler am Trifels

walked 22.17 km

climbed 825 m

This was our 27th anniversary, and a very nice way to spend it.

We started more or less directly up into the woods, where we passed our second or third – but not the last – “clinic” (residential hospital) of the walk. The fresh air of the Palatinate woods is reckoned excellent for those needing psychic rest or grappling with addictions, we have learned.

There was no food shop or bakery in Dernbach, so we set our hopes on the first town, Eusserthal. Like many other places, it had the air of a tidy ghost town, but I was NOT leaving without some food. So I left Rand and our packs in a central location and roamed the town until eventually finding a very picked-over bakery. I got a few pastries, an orange pop and a sleeve of cookies.

A typical small Palatinate town, where it appears that everyone has been whisked up to heaven – possibly because there is so little food to be had.

A few more km through the chestnut and oak forests under our belt and we found a perfect place to enjoy this feast. It was a dedicated walker’s rest stop, with picnic tables and view of not one, not two but THREE castles.

Pastries, pop and cookies for lunch.
And a castle view too.

There was another climb into the hills and another cool rocky outcrop with outstanding views before the day was over, and we strolled into Annweiler am Trifels. Here we had accommodation above an ice cream factory! And it was in the centre of town, and had a view of the main square, and was everything nice.

There was a bit of time for shopping and exploring this lovely town, which I do recommend a visit to.

Annweiler is lovely!

Eventually, we washed up at an odd bar whose name , Rotbarbe (?) translated to Red Beard, and we had our afternoon reward, which in my case, means an Aperol Spritz and for Rand it was a schorle.

Enjoying the late afternoon sun at Red Beard

After consulting Tripadvisor for some dinner ideas, this turned out to be one of the most favoured places in town, so we returned, after showers and some rest. Rand had the ubiquitous local specialty “rumpsteak,” and I had a yummy galette with salad.

Anniversary dinner

The only disappointing thing was that our ice cream place closed at 7 pm, but knowing this in advance, we found another place before heading back to our room over the Eiswerks.

Our room is on the third floor of the Eiswerks, far left.