SITES VISITED IN good weather are generally remembered very fondly. We’d seen every site on our trip in cracking weather but that all changed when we reached Ferien Park Terrassen Camping Sud-See.
The site was recommeded by Alan and Roberta, a Scottish couple with a VW Tiguan towing a Swift Challenger 480 that we’d got chatting to at Camping Bled.
They’d stopped at the site in Walchsee, Austria en route to Slovenia and said it was fabulous. Lovely views, easy walks around a beautiful lake and impeccable onsite facilities. And you can use your ACSI Camping Card for a cheap stay. Sounded good to us, so we resolved to stop by on our way. In exchange, we gave them details of Panorama Camping in Salzburg which we’d given a similarly glowing review of.
Not the best weather, but you can imagine it’s nice with a bit of sun on it
We arrived in Walchsee in foul weather. For the first time on the trip, we had rain during the day and we squelched into reception, still dressed for the sticky sunshine we’d left in Ljubljana that morning. You could see the site was in a stunning location, but low cloud and persistent rain meant it wasn’t the weather to stand and enjoy it. That said, the Sprite was pitched, watered and wasted in double quick time as we tried to get out of the weather. As promised, the facilities were spotless and all the pitches had a view.
A quick Sprite stock check revealed a lack of viable dinner options, so we decided we’d eat at the handsome looking onsite restaurant. We were out of matches too, so we went into the town to grab some and to visit the cash point. Back at site, we went to CafÉ am See – Restaurant Steakhouse for dinner.
Mrs Donnelly wasted no time in going for the ‘eat as much as you like’ Spare Ribs which were the house speciality, while I opted for the Mixed Grill. Both were superb and the best meals we’d had during the trip to date. We returned back to the van, pleasantly plumped and confident that the low cloud would have cleared by morning.
The next day didn’t start well. The telltale clatter from overhead told us the rain had not blown through, but in fact, had got worse. And we had no matches. In the Sprite, no matches means no coffee and no toast. We’d forgotten to pick them up the previous night and the site shop didn’t open until 10am. Panic ensued. But then Mrs Donnelly noticed that restaurant sold bread from 9am. She was sure they’d have some matches.
Owner Dex was in the restaurant and Mrs D asked whether he had any.
‘I don’t have matches. You can borrow my lighter’ he said rifling through his pockets ‘or I could turn on the coffee machine?’ he said breaking into a broad smile. We didn’t need a second invitation.
Dining al fresco was not an appealing option when we visited
Dex bought the coffee over and apologised. ‘We don’t do breakfast, but would you like some bread and some cheese and marmalade?’
With no prospect of hot drinks or toast back at the Sprite, this offer needed to be taken seriously. Ever the diplomat however, Mrs Donnelly started to speak. ‘That’s very nice but we don’t want to be any…’
Realising food was about to be turned down when we had no prospect of any in the van, I took charge of the situation, shouting ‘YES PLEASE’ at a volume that surprised everyone, me included. ‘Sure, sure, no problem’ said Dex, walking back toward the kitchen.
I was scowled at briefly for disobedience but attention soon turned to the map. The weather showed few signs of improvement but was better further north in Germany. We’d planned staying longer but common sense prevailed. We decided to move on to chase the sun.
This plan was briefly put into doubt when Dex emerged with a steaming pot of coffee, warm fresh bread with a spread of cheeses, cold meat, jams and the inevitable pot of Nutella. For a chap who didn’t do breakfasts, it wasn’t a bad effort. For the second time in two days, we left the restaurant feeling a little overstuffed, but plans were finalised. We would pack up, head north to Augsburg, turn off the motorway and pick up the Romantishe Road through the heart of medieval Germany.
Low cloudbase meant views of the Alps were cut a bit short
So the keenly anticipated site we’d stayed at due to a personal recommendation was something of a washout. We’d arrived, pitched, slept and then left in miserable, persistent rain and never saw the Tirolean mountains which punctured the cloud directly behind the lake. We never got to walk around the water, never explored the town and we’d run out of matches.
But the views are beautiful, the site’s immaculate and we were really well looked after. Sun or no sun, I’ll remember it very fondly.