Final Entry for 2011
Fri 7 Oct 2011 19:29
Greetings from The Weary Sailors!
We spent Mon - Thurs after Kay left us, cleaning, sorting and de rigging the boat. (The bimini, spray hood, sails etc all come off for the winter!) On Thursday evening we moved round to the 'garage' in the marina ready for lift out the next morning. We were pleased to see that the bottom was not too bad and she was soon moved into her place in the boatyard and the ladder attached to the stern. Graham had found some pink pickle stuff (in a greek chandlers so don't ask!) which for once did what it was supposed to do. i.e. remove all the barnacles etc from the prop. It worked a treat so the propellor was soon returned to its shiny state and the skipper was happy. (Always a bonus!).
After a couple of days of polishing, packing, cleaning etc. we finally left Gilly B. Everything turned off or locked up. The winches covered and the holes in the hull well stuffed with rags and bags - to stop wasps and other little creatures taking up residence. We had turned the car into a truck and it was stuffed to bursting point with some of our heavier belongings and a lot of books and clothes so that the boat looked tidier. This done we moved into a room in the boatyard above the chandler looking out over the boatyard - see pic. This was because we had a very early start on the Monday to catch the ferry from Igoumenister to Venice and I didn't fancy climbing down the ladder in the dark and trying to remember if we had done everything to leave her for seven months! Also I was able to do the laundry and leave that all done on board. (So much to think about even though we have done this three times now!!)
So Monday morning we were up very early - actually we didn't sleep that well as the beds were like rocks! We set off up to Igoumenista and boarded the ferry eventually (lots of waiting around). We sailed away from Greece and the sea was smooth and the sun bright as we arrived in Venice 24 hours later, (We didn't linger in Venice as we had 'done' it in May.) We set off North (thank heavens for our Sat Nav).
We headed up to the Brenner Pass and Austria and with glorious weather we arrived in Innsbruck. We stayed in the Golden Krone and it turned out to be really close to the oldest parts of the city. As a bonus there were lots of lovely shops on the way and we spent a pleasant afternoon wandering around the beautiful buildings and enjoying a beer and then a really good pizza in the evening.
Next morning it was on, on and 'not a moment to lose' as we set off at 0900 sharp and soon found ourselves travelling along through the most stunning scenery. Mountains, forests, chalets and immaculate roads and verges (we noticed how clean it all looked compared to Greece). We were heading in the general direction of Wiesbaden in Germany but knew that the hotel was full (Had phoned Ibis ahead) so decided we could find somewhere a little off the beaten track in that area.
After turning off the main roads we got slightly lost (the sat nav was off but would have been so much better than the map I was using!) but happily found ourselves in a medieval town beside the Rhine. I found the Tourist Info office and they phoned a local hotel who said they had a double room. I had asked for secure parking but this was somehow lost in the translation and the streets were so narrow and cobbled that there was no parking near the little hotel and we had to abandon the car down by the river for the night. However the Rose Villa was really worth it and very quaint. We had time then to explore the town and later, while I had a leisurely shower, (way more than 20 cents worth!) Graham went for a run! He discovered a little market place nearby and decided we could go and eat there (outside as it was so warm).
It was the 'steak' he had spotted that had drawn him to this restaurant but when we came to order our meal he realised we had actually ended up in a Greek restaurant! (called Mykonos which should have been a clue!) It was slightly bizarre having pork souvlaki and tadziki in Germany! But we had a pleasant evening talking to an American couple who had been cycling along the many river routes- the Danube the Rhine etc.
The next morning we had an excellent breakfast and went for a longish walk along the Rhine with the mist just burning off as the sun came up. (Photo is of the very pretty buildings near our hotel). But, on on and back in the car this time going towards Dusseldorf. We had finally found an Ibis hotel which was able to take us. We were soon parked in their underground car park and having claimed our room we set off again to the sub way and two stops later were in the old part of town beside the Rhine again. Pic shows a barge heavily loaded - note the blue board - sailors should know what this means - a special inland waterway sign saying you may pass on this side.
Our walk beside the river in the afternoon revealed lots of lovely places specially decorated for the Oktoberfest (even though it was September?). So, later that evening we took the sub way again and had a jolly time eating something simple with chips and lots of beer (and some wine)! We slept well!
On our last leg we headed towards the Hook of Holland and as we had plenty of time before sailing we diverted to a place called Gorinchem. A typical sort of Dutch town with small canals, houses with tall gables and little bridges. (see pic of flowers on bridge etc) It was another little gem and we enjoyed sitting in the market square in the warm sunshine. However we had parked in the railway station car park which was more than half empty because obviously in Holland they all come and go by bike. We had to put a credit card in a ticket machine on entry and again on exit and it would take a few euros as applicable. Only it wouldn't let us out! The barrier stayed firmly down and the panic in the car rose.. Luckily this wasn't Greece where everything nearly works - it was Holland - and we pressed the help button and the voice spoke eerily from the ticket machine! It even changed to English when we replied! After several attempts with the credit card the chap gave up and said he would just open the barrier for us! How refreshing - free parking too.
On we went. This time we went almost to the port then turned off, parked (no barriers) and walked over the dunes to a lovely beach very near the Hook. In glorious sunshine we found a little cafe to have a cup of tea, (see pic with beach huts) and felt we were nearly home.
The ferry to Harwich duly arrived and by five minutes past seven we were driving on board and finding our cabin. We had booked dinner which turned out to be very civilised with three courses and a lovely view from our table as the ferry pulled away from Holland. We had a comfortable night as the sea was like a mill pond and the next morning we disembarked in Harwich and headed over to Colchester. Ali had offered us breakfast and knew we were landing in the morning but did she really expect us at 7.30!!!??? The answer was Yes and we had a lovely reunion with Susie too (quite unexpected). Getting home later was great and we unloaded the little car which had carried us about 1000 miles so effortlessly. On the Sunday we had a marvellous day with the rest of the family again in glorious sunshine.
So now our summer is over and next year we may well be sailing a little nearer home.
Meanwhile we wish you all good luck and farewell.