During my first 3 months of European vanlife, I ventured into German soil three times.
I first stopped in Hamburg to visit dear friends on my way from The Netherlands to Denmark.
I then visited Schwerin, Berlin and Dresden as I travelled back from Denmark down towards the Czech Republic.
And finally, I returned for the third time to catch a flight to London and spend a few days in Nuremberg before relaxing further South of the Country (Pilsensee), and head to Austria.
My Patrick Swayze from Nuremberg
This stop was on my itinerary from the start because I was keen to catch up with a gorgeous friend I met while travelling in Asia, earlier in the year.
He is from Nuremberg and was my surprise “Patrick Swayze” when in January 2018 I reached a secret, small island in Thailand.
A piece of Heaven on Earth, where I planned to chill and practice meditations for a couple of weeks. But the Universe had something else in mind for me, and added a romantic twist to my trip there…
…my own version of Dirty Dancing, minus the dancing, the family, the dramas, the final show and, what else…ah, I was never put in a corner!
A quick trip back to my London
I was invited to an unmissable wedding in London on 30 November and I picked Nuremberg as my flying base. It didn’t make sense to drive there for a 3 days stay.
I drove directly to the airport, after a week in the Czech Republic (Prague and Pilsen) and a lastminute hair styling at a salon randomly picked on route to Nuremberg, thanks to Google Maps.
I left Peter Van safely at the airport parking lot, despite noticing a sign showing that campervans weren’t actually allowed to park there. It was too late for me to make other arrangements so I chanced it and left a note on my windscreen before running for my departure gate. The note read: “I am not camping. Flying to London. My no.: xxxx”.
It was great to be back in London and see so many of my favourite people in such a short time. The wedding was epic and the next day I made it to an amazing Christmas-themed, black-tie house party. Two glam dresses in two days!
I love being able to enjoy such contrasting lifestyles: vanlife hippiness vs. London extravaganza. Roaming Europe on a home-on-wheels doesn’t mean adopting a permanent hippy style, nor missing out on special events.
It was a relief to find Peter Van still waiting for me at the airport, with no parking tickets and no clamping!
Cosy time in Nuremberg
In Nuremberg I pitched overnight in a lovely campsite near the Exhibition Centre and another two nights in a dedicated carpark closer to town. From here I could easily cycle to the centre, along and across the river Pegnitz.
I started my tour of town with a cocktail at the Park Plaza hotel bar, relaxing in their stylish interior designed by one of my talented BFF.
While here, I enjoyed walking around the busy Christmas markets with a mug or two of Gluhwein, exploring the Castle and the old part of town, meeting up with a new friend introduced by a mutual London connection and spending some time with my “Patrick”. Over time, our exotic Thai beach romance evolved nicely into a lovely European friendship.
As a keen vanlifer himself, he seemed impressed with my Peter Van!
Lakes Starnberger and Pilsensee
After a final breakfast with “Patrick” in a quirky cafe’, I set off on a slow decent Southward, towards Austria and Italy. He suggested I checked out Lake Starnberg and its surroundings, so that’s the destination I typed on my navigator.
That night, I parked up near the Lake, on a quiet residential road. It was dark and I wasn’t sure what awaited me in the morning.
I certainly wasn’t expecting to wake up right by the gate of the Possenhofen Schloss (castle), where Princess Sissi, the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, enjoyed her childhood holidays! What a beautiful, random coincidence. During the 19th century, she was also the Queen consort of the Lombardy-Venetia Reign, i.e. now my region in Italy.
The castle is still privately owned, hence I couldn’t access it for a visit. Instead, I took a nice walk along the lake, imagining how Sissi spent her time in this beautiful and peaceful part of the World.
I then drove to Lake Pilsensee where I relaxed for 3 days. Such a gorgeous and quiet spot. I was spoilt by beautiful views and perfect Instgrammable shots of the lake.
A perfect ending to Germany round 3!