Have finally got access to the internet for more than half an hour which has allowed me the time to update the blog so here goes:
We set out with the expectation of travelling to Norway for my 40th Birthday (which is today), we travelled through Lille in France (one night) , on to Brugge (one day), Oldenburg in Germany (one night), Heide in Germany (one night), we then looked at the weather and saw that the constant rain was to continue for at least another week. Rain is no good for busking or for the kids as we would be stuck in the van a lot so we decided to turn back and head south. We travelled from Heide (which translates as Heather) to Munster for 2 nights then into Koblenz on the Rhine. We visited Koblenz last time we travelled together 5 years ago and we really liked it, Nick busked there and got us a boat trip down the Rhine for free (the kids were then 10, 8 and 5 so don't remember it that much. I asked Nick to see if he could do the same so he disappeared busking for 4 hours and came back saying he was allowed to play on the boat the next day and bring his family!! So off we went the next day and had a three hour trip down the beautiful Rhine!! When it was over the captain approached Nick and said he could play on the boat the next night as it will be full. He then explained that there was an event on where 70 boats will meet 3 hours down the river then all sail back to Koblenz together and along the way there will be 9 different firework displays ending up at the Fort where there will be a finale display. He told us not to eat as there will be a buffet! We were all so excited!! So on we got the next evening at 4pm. Nick busked outside and we sat and enjoyed the trip. The food was absolutely amazing!! Later I met an old German lady who explained why they have the event and it was representative of when the French soldiers from the French Revolution burned the houses down the whole of the Rhine, the event represented a celebration of the end of war. The event takes place in different places on the Rhine each year but we just happened to turn up in Koblenz when it was happening there!!! It was an amazing spectacle! The most amazing thing I have ever witnessed, all of the houses were lit up red as if on fire and the fireworks were amazing, we all enjoyed it very much and met some lovely people too! Later we were told by the captain that each passenger had paid 110 Euros to be on the boat!! After Koblenz we headed to Nick's brothers house for a night in Sezanne near Paris. We had breakfast and lunch with them and it was lovely to catch up as we don't see them very often. We are now in La Rochelle in France, we headed here as I liked it last time we were here and I wanted to spend my birthday here. We have booked into an appartment for 2 nights so we can relax and the kids can go in the pool etc. We are all enjoying ourselves, there have been moments of stress but we are excited to see what is ahead of us! Nick's busking is going very well and he has eraned a lot which has now been spent on fuel. We now plan to take it easy now we have found the good weather though so Nick can earn and we can save a bit for Misha's birthday in September and maybe afford a hotel again!! I will try and update as much as possible!!