Croatia and Slovenia part 1
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We left home soon after lunch on Saturday 24 July and had a good journey down to Dover via M6, M6 toll, M40, M25 anti-clockwise and M20. We arrived at Dover Services at approximately 20.00 hrs and overnighted in the coach park there as we'd forgotten to book a site as we had intended. On Sunday 25 July we moved to Little Satmar Caravan Park near Folkestone so that we had somewhere to park up the 'van during the day. We have used this Park before and they have a large grassed pitching area large enough for several 'vans and where it is possible to stay hitched-up. We used this area and fter I had popped out to Tesco Folkestone to fill up with diesel we hitched-up ready for a quick exit. We left the park in time to catch the 18.00hrs Norfolk Line ferry we'd booked. After a pleasant and uneventful crossing we disembarked at Dunkerque around 20.30 hrs. We had chosen this ferry crossing time with the specific intention of over-nighting in the Norfolk Line car park adjacent to the ferry terminal. This gave us an early start on the morning of Monday 26 July.

Our route was on toll-free autoroutes. We left Dunkerque on the A25/E42 south east towards Lille. Bypassing Lille we took the A27/E42 towards Tournai. We then took the A16/E42, A7/E19/E42 towards Charleroi and then the A15/E42 towards Namur. After bypassing Namur we turned onto the A4/E11 and followed the signs for Luxembourg. After bypassing Luxembourg we turned south on the A3/E25/E29. We stopped to buy diesel at Berchem Services which are said to have the cheapest fuel in Europe. We then turned east onto the A13/E29 before joining the A8/E29. Entering Germany we continued on the A8 towards Zwiebrucken. Near Pirmasens we turned onto the B10 and continued eastwards. At Hinterweidenthal we turned south onto the B427 to Dahn

Our first night halt was Camping Buettelwoog, which is listed in the CC "Caravan Europe" guide.

There are, also, some other reviews if you Google the campsite name.

The more minor B427 to Dahn was fine for towing although we missed the side turning, on the right in the centre of Dahn - it was a bit narrow looking and we were not sure if it was the correct one. We were able to turn around at a roundabout a little further on and access was okay coming from the other way, not least because the turning was then on our offside!

The site is situated in a wooded valley on the outskirts of the small town of Dahn. It is near to the Youth Hostel (jugendherberge) which is clearly signposted in the town centre. We arrived at the site in the early evening of Monday 26 July. We had travelled approximately 340 miles from Dunkerque. A high day's mileage for us but it was almost entirely on motorways.

It had rained most of the day and was raining torrentially when we arrived at Camping Buetellwoog, our first night halt. In fact the rain was heavy that we were asked to wait at reception for the rain to subside a little before one of the staff members showed us to a pitch.

English was spoken and we were given a friendly welcome. We were escorted to a large pitch on which we were able to stay hitched-up. There is a small shop selling basics in the Reception building and the shops of Dahn are in walking distance. The guide book says that the restaurant is good but we did not use it. The toilet facilities are in a large, functional block. The site is surrounded by high sandstone cliffs. There are said to be some pleasant walks nearby but it was "bucketing-it-down" with rain on the night we stayed and so we stayed in the 'van. We paid 22.90€ for our one night stay including pitch, 2 adults, one dog and electric hook up. In fact we were given a slight discount as we had forgotten to get any more Euros and that was all the foreign currency that we had left??!! The site did not accept credit cards.

All in all Camping Buettelwoog was an excellent night halt near to autobahn system and convenient for those travelling into Southern Germany, Austria and beyond. We would have been happy to stay longer if the weather had not been so awful.

We left early the next morning and, rather than retrace our route back to the more major B10, we carried on along the B427 and joined the A65 autobahn near Kandel, northwest of Karlsruhe. The B427 was a picturesque rural road through open countryside and fine for towing. After passing through the southern outskirts of Karlsruhe on the B10 we joined the A8/E52 and continued in a south westerly direction on that road bypassing Stuttgart and Munich.

We continued to make good progress through Germany and arrived at Camping Panorama Harras on the beautiful Chiemsee on the evening of Tuesday 27July. We had not booked but just phoned ahead on the day of our arrival. This leg of our journey was approximately 280 miles.

The campsite is quite close to the A8/E52 autobahn between Munich and Salzburg. Access is from Junction 106, turn north towards Prien and the site is signed on the right after a few miles. The site is reached by a narrow, single track lane and care needs to be taken as there are no passing places.

The site is beautifully situated on the shores of the Chiemsee with views across the Lake to the mountains beyond. The site roads lead to 80 numbered pitches on gravel hard standing under pine trees. There are now hedges between the pitches. Most of the pitches had EHUs. Some of the pitches are on the lake shore but these were already occupied when we arrived. Despite its beautiful location the site itself had a rather a slightly run down appearance.

The site has a small restaurant bar adjacent to the reception building but we did not use it. Wi-fi is available throughout the campsite at 5€ for 24 hours. This worked on a rather unusual system whereby they asked for the MAC address of my laptop. I did not know what a MAC address was but a lady member of staff showed me how to find this .The site is close to the small town of Prien which has a good range of shops, banks, etc. The site is well placed for touring the Chiemsee and the local Bavarian region. Berchtesgaden with the beautiful Konigsee and Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" are within easy driving distance. Salzburg is another pleasant day's outing just over the nearby Austrian border.

The reception staff spoke good English but I must comment that the women manageress (?) was extremely rude on a couple of occasions. When I did not know how to find the MAC address for my laptop, see above, she assisted me but spoke to me as though as I was a child. On the other hand a male member of staff was very helpful when we had a minor problem with the caravan. There was a temporary problem with our motor mover but the male staff member and other campers were quick to help us push the 'van into position.

We stayed for 2 nights as Cary loved the lakeside location. We had a minor hiccough with the caravan brakes and Red Pennant sent out an ADAC breakdown truck to assist us. The breakdown man did not speak any English but the male member of staff translated for us. The ADAC man suggested that we took the 'van to a local car garage and led the way in his 'van. The garage could not find any problems with the 'van brakes and after a helpful 3-way phone discussion between myself, the garage staff and Red Pennant/CC technical department we were reassured that it was just a transitory problem. I did, however have to intervene when the garage mechanic was about to jack up the 'van with a trolley jack under the floor rather than under the axle!

The night before we left Camping Panorama I went out to change withdraw some more Euros from an ATM in the nearby town. When I came to return, in the dark, I found that both "dip" beams had "blown" on the car. I had spares and tried to change them but found that this was far from easy and involved removing the headlight units completely to gain access. My took kit was not up to this task so we again contacted Red Pennant who again referred us to ADAC where a helpful English speaking operative directed us to a nearby Kia Dealer. Although only in a nearby town it took us a little while to find the Kia dealer's rather remote location but he quickly rectified the problem.

We paid 72.90€ for 2 nights stay for car and caravan, ehu, 2 adults and dog. The site is featured in the Caravan Club's "Caravan Europe Vol 2" and Alan Rogers "Camping and Caravanning Europe 2009". The site is a handy night halt for those travelling on the A8 into Austria. To sum up although the site has a lovely lakeside location I do have some reservations about this site. When travelling that way again I think we will probably try one of the several other campsites on the shores of the Chiemsee.

by BigTim

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