Marcus Queenborough takes a family camping trip to Germany and is struck by the beautiful surroundings.
Setting off at midnight for a family holiday after a day at work and school may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially with more than 500 miles across Europe ahead of us.
But three hours later we had made Dover and managed to catch an early ferry. By 11am we were on the edge of Luxembourg, well on our way to Saarburg in Germany, just south of Trier on the Luxembourg border, to our camp site at Warsberg.
Operated by Vacansoleil it was beautiful, set 200 metres above the meandering Saar River, and above the pretty town of Saarburg. It was surrounded by magnificent woodland with great walks through pine forests – a fairly quiet campsite ideally suited for families.
As we were holidaying early in the year the weather was mixed, but our six-berth cabin, called a Waikiki, was comfortable whatever the elements, with heaters in every room and a terrace for when the sun shone. It had three bedrooms, a four ring cooker, a fridge-freezer big enough to hold my cheap German beer and a microwave.
Always an important issue for my family is the swimming pool, especially when the sea is more than 300 miles away.
Fortunately, we were not disappointed. This was a lovely complex, quite simple, but open 9am to 9pm every day, with a slide, bubble bath, jets and Jacuzzis but, unlike most British pools, was unsupervised.
However, being open for so long enabled us to have a pre-breakfast swim as well as an evening one before sitting down to dinner, leaving the day free to explore the area.
Saarburg is gorgeous. A typical German medieval town with a stream flowing through the middle crossed by small bridges and later dropping down a 20 metre-high waterfall where it meets the River Saar.
We loved it here and spent many hours wandering the narrow streets, crossing the river over one bridge or another – the centre of Saarburg is even called Little Venice – and watching the water thunder over the waterfall dropping onto one of Germany’s oldest hydro-electric plants with its three water wheels at the bottom.
As the sun was beating down we climbed the steps to the ancient castle and watched the mighty cargo barges sailing up the river to meet the Mosel and later onto the Rhine.
There were three ways to reach town from the campsite; drive down a twisting road with numerous hairpin bends, walk though beautiful vineyards with magnificent views of the river valley and descending more than 300 steps; or a chairlift, which for a couple of euros each meant you could have a return journey.