Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Bad Bentheim, Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) - Tuesday, 4 October

Nienburg didn't detain us this morning, although I'd gone out for a walk into town before breakfast and found some excellent wifi in the high street. We chatted with an older couple from Schleswig Holstein. He was most impressed with our compact camper van. We told him he was not the first! He said that he prefers rather more space and comfort at his age. Will we feel the same way in a few years time?

Having experienced some odd noises from the camper yesterday, we espied a VW garage a few miles out of Nienburg. I thought it was a wheel bearing noise. The garage was very helpful and in no time a mechanic drove the camper with me as a passenger and then got it up on a lift. It seems that it isn't wheel bearings but uneven tyre wear and this is causing road noise. Certainly, there shouldn't be a problem in getting home so nothing to worry about. There was no charge for which we were extremely grateful. What excellent service.

Today was mainly a driving day. We drove to a Lidl and bought a few odd bottles of wine. We are particularly interested in German red wine so bought two bottles with a view to having a tasting this evening.

We ran into some very slow traffic for a while but then some rather scary autobahn. Overtaking was OK but it was necessary to check the near side mirror very carefully as cars tended to hurtle at breakneck speed in the outside lane.

We arrived at Bad Bentheim late afternoon. The Camperstop is in a car park just below a castle. There are about a dozen others here. There are loos nearby and we even have free wifi in the camper, all for €8. We took a walk into the village this evening and it is really nice. Apart from the castle, there are also museums and rather nice bars, restaurants, etc.

We had our wine tasting and will find another Lidl tomorrow (which isn't difficult) to buy some bottles to take home.

There was no great hurry to get away this morning to do the next leg of the journey across Germany, aiming tonight for somewhere not far from the Dutch border. We chatted to a distinguished elderly German gentleman and his wife who were interested in the camper. Not luxurious or spacious enough for them though. Cosy, he called it. Which it is, of course.

We made a couple of stops on the 25 mile stretch to get to the motorway. The first was at the Volkswagen dealer and service garage which we came across conveniently located just outside Nienburg. We had both become aware yesterday of what we at first thought was road noise, but it didn't go away. Nothing too alarming but a definite rhythmic grumbling. Geoff thought it might be a wheel bearing, and had been undecided as to whether we should get it checked out. So we did.

The manager was very helpful, immediately got a mechanic, who took the camper out for a drive with Geoff, leaving me with my coffee and the paper comfortably settled in the showroom. He could hear the noise, jacked the camper up and investigated , and diagnosed it as uneven tyre wear. Definitely not wheel bearings. And not a problem. No charge, and we were on our way again.

The second stop was at a Lidl to pick up some German wines for sampling tonight before deciding which to buy in slightly larger quantities to take home.

Once we had got through a very slow diversion just after joining the motorway, the journey was not too bad, although the traffic was quite heavy and there were a huge number of very large lorries. We arrived at the Camperstop at Bad Bentheim around 5 o'clock. This is another municipal site, and has to be the most surprising. It consists of 25 spaces within the car park for the castle, and is well equipped. We are right next to the castle, which is built high on the sandstone rock for which the town is known, and is really quite big and impressive, surrounded by lovely formal gardens, and right in the centre of town. This evening before supper we walked the circuit around the castle, through the town and back through the gardens. Very pleasant. As an added bonus there is town-wide free wifi which we can access in the camper. It is no wonder that these municipal Camperstops are so well used.

There is a Town Nightwatchman who does the rounds at night telling local stories, like the one in Ribe, in Denmark, right at the beginning of our travels way back in July. Sadly, not on a Tuesday night, though.

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