Day 9: Cochem to Calais – via Vaals
I woke up to another warm and Sunny day in Germany. I had a long drive ahead of me so didn’t want to hang around too much. After breakfast at the hotel I packed the car and went over the river to the Cochemer Sesselbahn (the chair lift which takes you up to a view point).
Here, there was opportunity for photos and there was a café at the top too – so I could enjoy one last Eisschokolade before heading off.
Once back down from the top I had two options: Get in the car and drive, or I also wanted to see the Bundesbank Bunker. This would delay me by an hour or so, and might mean not getting to Calais at a reasonable time – but I wanted to see it.
So, I drove up to the bunker and arrived just in time for the 12.00 guided tour – in German, but they gave me a help sheet in English as a guide.
The history of the bunker goes back to the Second World War, when Germany was trying to forge British money to disrupt the UK’s economy. The bunker was build during the Cold War, when West Germany was vulnerable to the actions of the East.
The Bundesbank Bunker in Cochem was where billions of Deutschmarks were secretly stored – this was so secret that not even the East German Stasi, with spies planted in a number of West German organisations, knew about it.
After the tour, which lasted a little over an hour, I got in the car and set the sat nav for the 3-border point at Vaals. The point where the borders of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany all meet.
There’s a viewing tower there with views in to the 3 countries, as well as a number of cafés and restaurants.
It was nearly 5 by the time I left there and set the sat nav for Calais – I had a long drive ahead of me. Within half an hour I was in Belgium, where traffic was stop-start in places but cleared up once I got past the junction signed for Antwerp; then it was slow going round the Brussels Ring and the final stretch from Brussels to Calais was clear.
Including 2 stops at service stations (once for petrol and once for something to eat), the journey to Calais took 4 hours from the German/Dutch/Belgian 3-border point.
I’m writing this blog from the ferry back to Dover from Calais, hearing lots of German being spoken on the ship. It’s a foggy night and the fog horn is going – that’s all I could hear during the 4 hour stopover I had in Calais itself.
This blog rounds off my German Road Trip 2018. On arrival in Dover it’s straight to work, stopping for breakfast on the way.
Good night (not sure of the French for that).
Today’s Mileage: 344.6
Accumulative Mileage: 1845.2