Preparation for Driving Germany to Italy
Maura had spent the previous 5 days in Greifswald, North Germany sorting out the paperwork and insurance for our new car, a BMW 320d Estate.
So Maura had done the deal, organised the paperwork, and we became the proud owners. We were ready for driving Germany to Italy, it would be 10 Countries in 10 Nights.
Greifswald in Northern Germany is definitely worth a visit if you want to unwind, go fishing and enjoy long walks. Having the many inlets and islands to explore means fish from the Baltic Sea is always on the menu.
However, the surprise was finding thatched cottages in the village of Gristow near Greifswald. It was so picturesque.
The added bonus was a climb to the top of the 13 century church tower with spectacular views. It was worth every step.
Terry had stayed behind in Water Orton near Birmingham to complete the house sit assignment looking after Darcie, Daisy, and Mignon. We were both pleased to reunite at Berlin Tegel airport on Tuesday morning after Maura had completed the 3-hour drive.
Our Europe Road Trip – Ten Countries in 10 Nights Map
This 10 country Europe road trip will be taking us to Berlin (Germany), Wroclaw (Poland), Brno (Chechia), Bratislava (Slovakia), Kittsee (Austria), Hevis (Hungary), Zagreb (Croatia), Ljubljana (Slovenia), San Marino (San Marino) and finally to Moresco (Italy) where our next house sit is located. That’s 10 countries in 10 nights for our road trip driving Germany to Italy. Here is our introduction video on YouTube.
Germany to the Polish Border – Day One
Our Day One plan was to head towards the Polish border to a town called Gablenz, with a stop in the town of Luckau on the way. Luckau is regarded as one of the prettiest towns in this part of Germany, it has been dubbed “the Pearl of Lower Lusatia, and we did agree. Here is a clip of the Luckau town square.
Two km from Gablenz was Rakotzbrüke a stone bridge built in the 1880s that creates a perfect circle in the reflection on the small lake the bridge crosses.
Our GPS did a great job getting us to Gablenz, but then we spent a frustrating period of 90 minutes searching the three roads that led out of town for the bridge.
The weird thing was, we just couldn’t marry up any of the roads with what was showing on the GPS, arrrggghhh!!!
The first tip, don’t ask for help from the guy cleaning up the churchyard. Firstly, he doesn’t speak any English at all, and secondly, he is bat-shit crazy!
The second tip, check to see if there are two towns called Gablenz only 23km from each other. Are you kidding? Why?
We had gone to Gablenz Brandenburg, not Gablenz Saxony!
The lady in the butcher shop was a lot more helpful and way less crazy than the guy in the churchyard. So off we went for another half an hour drive to find this famous bridge.
We finally made it to Rakotzbruke around 5.30pm and the timing was perfect as the sun was coming from the right direction for taking photos.
We had seen there was a campground in the nearby village of Kromlau.
We had the intention of using our newly purchased small tent, but the ground looked a little lumpy.
So when the owner pointed out we could spend €10 for a tent site or €20 for a cabin with access to a kitchen, we took the more comfy option.
Well, we aren’t in our 20’s anymore, or 30’s or 40’s even.
And we remembered to use the One Little Item We Never Travel Without.
Day 2 – Border Crossing to Wroclaw Poland via a castle
With Terry having the best night sleep in a long time, we were both awake at 8.45am.
We would be leaving Germany and heading into Poland, our 42nd country. Only 155 countries to go, lol.
As we crossed from Bad Muskau, Germany into Lenica, Poland, we had the feeling we were back in Asia. It was the busy roadside market with lots of German residents buying goods for the lower prices.
Wroclaw was our destination for Day 2 of the roadie, with a stop planned at Castle Ksiaz.
The drive would be around 3.5 hours.
But as you do on a road trip, you get distracted as we took a side road that led to the small town of Roztoka.
At around 1.30pm we arrived at Ksiaz and walked through the park to the castle.
Ksiaz Castle is an impressive and well-preserved building constructed in 1288-92. It survived occupation by two foreign countries (Germany and Russia) in the 20th century.
We loved the entrance through a gateway to a small path with cafes and bars lining each side. Really welcoming.
We then headed to Wroclaw, a city of 650,000 residents for the next two nights. We found the campsite on the outskirts of the city, and again opted for the cabin rather than the tent. Was it because the cabin reminded us of Hobbiton, or because we like some comfort. Or was it because the nights here are a little colder?
We now have one full day in Wroclaw to explore the city, then head south to Brno. More stories to follow …..
Day-6 of our 10 countries 10-night road trip from North Germany to Italy saw us leave Bratislava, Slovenia to travel via Lake Heviz, Hungary, then on to Zagreb Croatia. As a result, we knew we would be short on time when we got to Zagreb. Consequently, we chose 10 must-see sights of Zagreb.
When we arrived at the border to Hungary we paid our road tolls and continued along the quiet straight road surrounded by flat terrain. Seeing so many dried-up fields of sunflowers made the area look barren.
Once again we had an unplanned stop at a roadside market. We couldn’t resist buying the largest water-melons we have ever seen. This area grows local produce where the fruit and vegetables are so flavoursome.
Lake Heviz, Hungary
What we found was a typical little resort town. What we discovered was the second largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Echo in New Zealand is the largest). As a result, we were a little overwhelmed with the number of bathers, bobbing about with their floatation devices. Of course, we hadn’t thought of that.
While the water is naturally replenished every 72 hours, the green algae giving therapeutic relief to swimmers can be a little off-putting. With the air temperature at 35 degrees, the lake was refreshing at a lower temperature.