How not to go camping with pooch and Co.

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Chiemsee at sunset with Lotta.

If you follow my blog you will have seen from a recent weekly photo challenge that I had a very spontaneous camping trip with Lotta and my boys. I wanted to get my kids away from their addictive screens and experience camping first hand. When I mentioned it to them I was expecting a huge stand off but they took it in their stride and were actually quite willing to come along for the ride.

On the Thursday before, we went to see the musical ‘Cats’ which was playing in Munich at the ‘Deutsches Theatre’, it was fantastic! We sat up in the ‘gods’ and had lots of space and a wonderful view of the stage, it was also in English much to our surprise. By Friday I thought maybe I should buy a new tent as the one we had was a very simple dome tent with room for three. It would have been very cosy with two very tall boys and a dog but not impossible. I thought it would be wise to make the camping trip as comfortable as possible. We bought the tent online and it was due to arrive on Monday, my husband paid a little extra to ensure it would arrive in the morning. Plan B would have been to buy a tent from a local shop, not as nice, but as I said that was plan B. So tent bought I went online to reserve a space for our tent on a campsite.

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Home for a few nights ⛺ @Vaudetent

The campsite I had in mind is a very small family run site which allows dogs and advertises as having a dog beach not too far away. Once the online form had been filled in I decided to enquire about another campsite just in case the other one didn’t have enough space for us. I received an email very late Saturday night asking for my credit card details because I had to pay a deposit due to such short notice. The other campsite also allows dogs and is in an area of Chiemsee I know well. The lake is enormous and has several areas where you can stay. The other site is in the Prien part of Chiemsee and has lots of activities for families to do, cycling, swimming, climbing and you can also take a boat trip to Herren Chiemsee to see one of King Ludwig’s palaces, inspired by the Versailles Palace.

Herren Chiemsee Link.

So Monday arrived, at 10am the tent came and by 12 midday we were packed and ready to go. Lotta is used to us travelling now and seems to take it in her stride when the car is being packed. We headed towards Wasserburg and then on to Chiemsee to the small family run campsite. It took us just under an hour to get there. We arrived at the reception and I explained who I was and that I’d booked a few nights camping with them. I was met with a look of confusion which made me feel slightly uneasy. She looked at the list of names and said that she was very sorry but they don’t make reservations for tents, you just turn up and they decide on the day if they have space for you. My heart started pounding and I could feel the panic starting to wash over me. My boys were not amused with a look of disbelief on their faces, I scrambled to find my mobile to have a look at the confirmation I had received per email and realised my mistake, the second choice campsite had been quicker to take the booking.

Panorama Camping Harras

So off we drove again with a confused dog and two disgruntled teenagers. After 20min. we finally arrived at our camping site and this time everything went smoothly, well sort of. Seeing as I’d never actually pitched the new tent before, it took a while to understand how everything worked. After working out how to erect the tent I realised I had forgotten a very important tool………..the hammer! The nice thing I find about camping is the social aspect of it. There’s always someone who is willing to help. I heard someone hammering in his tent pegs and followed the noise. It lead me to a young man and his son who had just finished pitching his tent. After asking very nicely if he wouldn’t mind lending me his hammer he dutifully agreed, thank goodness! My other neighbour gave me his spare tent pegs as the tent came with only just enough but not enough for the storm guy ropes.

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The surf school next to the campsite.

Once we’d pitched our tent we decided to go out to eat. The kids wanted Italian so we drove into town. I know we were more glamping than camping. My eldest son found an Italian using his mobile phone and navigated us to the restaurant. They fortunately allow dogs so it was perfect. Lotta is really well behaved when we go out to eat. She just makes herself comfortable under the table or somewhere near my chair.

I remember when we first took her out with us we tried taking a bed for her or something to chew and so it went on, until one day I decided enough was enough and she should just sit quietly somewhere near to us, preferably under the table. Lotta has calmed down a lot over the three years we’ve had her and trusts me enough now to go with the flow.

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Once we’d eaten we headed back to our tent for the night. I had seen a nice spot not too far away to take a sunset photo of Lotta and I. My eldest son agreed to come with me and take the photo. Off we set to a little jetty around the corner. It’s a place where the boats are moored with a little stoney beach where the dogs can bathe. It’s not nice enough to sit all day and sunbathe but it’s good enough for a quick dip to cool down the dogs during a walk. It was also very tranquil sitting on the wooden jetty looking through the moored boats at the mountains. This is where the featured photo was taken.

We walked back to the tent to where my youngest son was waiting for us. Lotta obviously thought this was a day trip as she insisted on going to the car which was parked in front of our tent. Once she had realised we were staying for the night she settled on a padded beach mat in the middle of the tent. She was so settled in fact that I didn’t need to have her on the lead. The only times she became unsettled was when I left the tent.

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Lotta settled but alert inside the tent.

The tent has two separate sleeping compartments where two people (four in total) can sleep. So I suggested that my eldest son slept with Lotta and my youngest and I would sleep in the other one. That way everyone would have ample space. For Lotta I took the padded beach mat we use in Croatia and an old sleeping bag. The beach mat has waterproof material on the underside so was perfect for this trip. She slept well and was kept warm by the sleeping bag. The tent is well ventilated so the air inside doesn’t become too stuffy.

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Lotta chilled out at the Chiemsee Beach.

The next day came, we had breakfast in the tent after my youngest bought bread rolls from the kiosk (I took Nutella with me) and set off to the ‘Chiemsee beach’ which is where you can sunbathe on a grassy area in front of the lake. Here you can hire out stand up paddles and kayaks at Kayak and SUP hire  . I thought it would be fun for the boys to do but by the time they had decided to have a try, there was nothing left to hire out. Both boys then spent an hour or so swimming and playing in the lake. They were braver than me, I got in up to my knees and that’s as far as I got, the water was ice cold! Next to the hire place is a little café and bar where the boys bought themselves something to eat. After having a relaxing time swimming and sunbathing it was time to go home. The sky had started to look rather ominous.

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I should have realised from the on coming mass of traffic (exiting the touristy area) when we arrived back in Prien, what would be in store for us that night. Luckily I had pitched the storm guy ropes and had hammered in the tent pegs well. We were also fortunate enough to have gone to bed early that evening because at 9pm the most tremendous thunder storm started and didn’t stop until 6am. I don’t think Lotta slept a wink all night, neither did I. The next morning weary eyed and a little wet we decided to leave a day earlier than we had planned. Everyone was exhausted and I needed to get the tent dry and clean. The tent had remained stable during the storm and the only reason we got a little wet was because our camping neighbour’s awning roof was so close to our tent, that when the owner knocked the water off his awning roof it all landed on our tent.

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The morning after.

The next trip will be better planned but I think being spontaneous sometimes keeps life a little more exciting, don’t you?

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Lotta snoozing in the car on the way home 💤

Weekly photo challenge ‘Elemental’

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We recently had a very spontaneous camping trip to one of Bavaria’s biggest lakes, Chiemsee, which is actually less than an hours drive away from where we live. It was so spontaneous in fact, that I ordered a new tent on Friday, booked the campsite Saturday afternoon, the tent arrived Monday by 10 am and we hit the road at midday.

I really enjoy camping, being out in the elements and meeting new people who turn out to be very helpful when in need. I only went and forgot the most important thing when you go camping…..yes that’s right, the hammer! The tent didn’t come with enough tent pegs but luckily my camping neighbour had a bag he didn’t ever use with his camping van and gave me his to keep. Wonderful! Gives you faith in humanity again.

The photo shows the surf school next door to the campsite. It shows all the elements of water, air, earth, sand, stones and even fire as it was taken at sunrise. This was the day after a night of storms and heavy rain which kept us all awake. Lotta was shattered on the way home the next day. She had been the most impeccably behaved dog on the campsite.

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Snoozing in the car on the way home 💤

Weekly photo challenge:Elemental

Weekly photo challenge ‘Satisfaction’

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Peek-a-boo!

Yes, I did it! Getting the shot you hoped for with animals can be really tricky. This photo above took quite a few tries, as you can imagine. It’s maybe a little on the dark side but I am really pleased with the way it turned out. I took this photo on our walk this morning and was walking past a hollow tree on route and thought it would be the perfect setting to take a shot of Lotta looking through to the other side at me. Of course there was bribery involved, who am I kidding, Lotta isn’t a perfectly trained TV dog.

I get a lot of satisfaction lately with photos that turn out just the way I’d like them to. Lotta seems to enjoy her walks and of course her treats too. She licks her lips every time I get my mobile out. I hope you get some satisfaction reading this post!

 

Satisfaction

Photo challenge ‘Unusual’

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Lotta listening to the echoing children’s voices in the forest.

This week’s photo challenge ‘Unusual’ leaves the door wide open to interpretation. On Tuesday I decided to follow through with something that I had been promising Lotta for a long time and that was to go somewhere different for our walk. This summer is proving to be a particularly hot one, so I try and walk as early as possible or think of cooler walks where there’s water or lots of shade. We hadn’t been on a forest walk for a long time. I really have no excuses but I guess things start to become routine and you have your rounds that you do. I’m trying to break that habitual habit and be more adventurous as to where we walk. Unfortunately I have a time limit because of work or my children but we have so many beautiful walks here there isn’t a viable excuse.

Anyway, Monday was the day I had decided to break the mundane cycle we had found ourselves in and jumped in the car and drove to the forest. Little did I know every school in our district had decided the same. Nevertheless it was absolutely the right decision. Lotta nose to the ground taking in the forest scents, seemed to enjoy every second. The bright sun rays scattered beautiful patchy light patterns on the forest undergrowth. As I walked I could physically feel all of the stress and worries of the present draining from my consciousness and found myself being hypnotized by the calm swaying of the many branches. After fully recharging our batteries and avoiding, as best possible, the huge numbers of children visiting that day, we drove home.

It was unusual for us to walk in the forest on a weekday and unusually noisy because of the children. We are also having an unusually hot summer. Did I mention we saw a Grey-headed Woodpecker at the beginning of our walk, it’s a shame I didn’t catch it on camera. That was very unusual to see one of those!

Unusual