The past 4 weeks in Berlin passed much too fast. However, the rainy days at the end our stay made it easier for us to say goodbye. From Berlin we drove to Hamburg to meet with old friends before continuing to Burgwedel for a couple of days. Despite the wet and cold weather we enjoyed the pre-xmas atmosphere in the city. Even though the xmas markets were still closed we go into the spirit already. Before driving to Burgwedel (near Hannover) we had lunch at the Wasserschloss in the Speicherstadt. This restaurant and shop offers a huge variety of teas and left us with a „real Hamburg feeling“. Burgwedel greeted us with sunshine, walking frames and a warm welcome by Camilla’s family. The 3 days flew by much too fast but we felt it was time to go south in order to escape the upcoming snowy weather.
From Burgwedel we headed to Pirmasens to spend 3 days at my brothers place, celebrate my mothers 84th birthday and mount a new spare tire carrier to our Defender. Waiting for a parcel to arrive we didn’t leave until early afternoon on Tuesday, 28-Nov. This provided an excellent opportunity to go to Echternach/Luxemburg and see some very good friends that we haven’t met for a long time. Echternach greeted us with bright sunshine. Nicki gave us a great tour of the city and pointing out the landmarks and their history. The evening passed much too fast with talk, risotto and red wine. We were told that passing Luxemburg city in the morning is a challenge unless we’d leave really early. As traffic jams are not on the top of the list of things we like, we decided to get up early and hit the road no late than 06:30 am. We succeeded and made it past the city before everybody else.
Looking for places on our route that lay within 5-6 hours of driving we decided to to stay overnight near Montélimar. Montélimar is known as the city of nougat and is really hard on people with a „sweet tooth“, like me. We arrived a 04:00pm so we could explore the city center at daylight before driving the 8 Kms to our hotel „Les Méjeonnes“ in Valaurie. This charming hotel welcomed us with a perfect room and great restaurant. After all the driving it was all that we needed, besides chilling with Joiz on our bed.
The next morning had all that soft but intense southern light that you only get here. Despite the freezing temperature we felt warm and comfortable. Too bad we had leave but we wanted to drive south of Barcelona, a roughly 600 Km drive. That was the plan. It didn’t work out. After a stop at a gas station 80 Kms north of Barcelona our Defender didn’t accelerate any more and blow dark smoke. We hardly made it up the hill and were the slowest vehicle on the highway. Using the Internet and after some phone calls, Camilla found a Landrover Dealer and Garage that we reached crawling up hills and holding up traffic. The diagnosis showed that the newly replaced turbo charger was broken after just 6 weeks. It was Thursday afternoon and a new one had to be ordered but will not make it before Monday or Tuesday next week. So we’re stuck in Mataró. It could be (much) worse. Mataró is a very lively city just north Barcelona and we found a great hotel close to the beach, the city center and the Landrover dealer. Now we hope that the replacement charger will arrive soon so that we can continue. Nevertheless we enjoy the unintended break by taking walks on the beaches and piers and by exploring the city.