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Driving to Bavarian alps from London with 4 and 7 year old

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Apr 13th, 2011, 01:59 PM
  #1
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Driving to Bavarian alps from London with 4 and 7 year old

Hi there,
We've booked a lovely farm in Bavaria for a week in August. As we need a car there, we've decided to drive from London and do the journey over 3 or 4 days each way. We'll probably take the ferry to Dunkirk or Ostend and drive from there.

Does anyone have any tips for the journey? Is it doable in August? Any suggestions for an itinerary or must-sees along the way? My husband would love one of the WW1 battlefields so maybe Ypres? Apart from that - no idea!

Thanks!!!!
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Apr 13th, 2011, 02:20 PM
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You've decided to book a car in London, where the steering wheel is on the RIGHT and you drive on the LEFT so that you can go to the continent, where you will drive on the RIGHT and the steering wheel is normally on the LEFT. Have you done this before? Perhaps consider a car hire in France instead.
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Apr 13th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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We live in London. Car is ours. You add a couple of mirrors to give the driver a better view. Loads of people do it all the time!

More worried about cost, traffic jams, where to stay and what to do
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Apr 13th, 2011, 02:45 PM
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Besides WWI, what else are you interested in? Hiking, lots of opportunities, castles?

What do you think of when you think "Bavarian Alps"?
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Apr 13th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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I forgot to add: What books have you read so far?
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Apr 13th, 2011, 02:55 PM
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No travel books at all. This has all been a bit last minute - we love farm stays and the German farms look absolutely fantastic at half the price of the UK. We thought we'd fly but then realised that it would cost us more with car-hire as well - and then started to get excited about the idea of driving there from London.

My husband is a history buff though so castles, world war 1 and 2 history, waterloo (just seen we can do it) would make him a very happy man.

We'd need more activities to keep the kids happy though!
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Apr 14th, 2011, 02:20 AM
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Done it a number of times when the kids were small.
It's an easy journey, all on motorway (toll-free) and can be done in two days, but you can go at leisurely pace and take three days. No worries with traffic, esp if you avoid weekends.
From Calais (more sailings/Eurotunnel shuttle) or Belgian ports, head for Belgian motorway system and towards Namur and then head south towards Luxembourg (stop for cheap fuel) and enter Germany near Saarbrücken. Then it's Autobahn all the way to Bavaria.
Your first stop can be in the Ardennes. Dinant is a pleasant little town on the river Meuse, with hill-top fortification and large church. Nearby are the show caves at Han-sur-Lisse (Grottes de Han) and Rochefort, and your kids will love them. Han also has a wildlife park. The area was a major WW2 battleground (Battle of the Bulge) with many memorials and cemeteries. Entering Germany your next stop can be in the Rhine and Moselle Valleys with towns like Boppard, Rüdesheim (very commercialised) and Cochem. All have catles and wine tasting. On the return journey you can explore tha Romantic Road (Rothenburg, Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen etc). You can stop over at Ypres (Menin Gate), but the largest WW1 memorials are at Verdun, in NE France near the Belgian/Luxembourg borders. Very sombre and moving. Waterloo, in contrast, is very commercialised. http://www.waterloo1815.be/en/waterloo/
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Apr 14th, 2011, 03:32 AM
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You probably know this but in addition to mirrors for car, check on what you need to mask/ re-direct headlights, although you probably won't need or possibly want to do night driving.
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Apr 14th, 2011, 11:48 AM
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Thanks for those fabulous tips. Very helpful.

And I didn't know about headlights...will look it up.
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Apr 14th, 2011, 12:18 PM
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Not many people worry about dipping headlights. Provided you keep the aim low by adjusting from inside, you are unlikely to dazzle oncoming traffic.
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Apr 14th, 2011, 11:15 PM
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You don't need extra mirrors. You don't really need to woory about headlight deflection. You DO need to worry about quirky requirements for what's inside the car (like hi-vis jackets or spare pairs of glasses) all these johnny foreigners invent so their Polizei can fine unwary English drivers (see http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice...bycountry.html). But, apart from the spare glasses, they're all on sale in handy kits at the English Channel terminals.

Given how near all these funny foreign places are to each other, it's worth making sure you've got the kit places you MIGHT visit (like Switzerland or Austria) require as well.

From London, it's almost always handiest, cheapest and quickest to go via Dover/Calais to the Belgian motorway system (the longer sea journey to Ostend, if it's still running, is a useful break for people who've driven a long way. But thsat doesn't apply to you).

You also need to get ferries/Eurotunnel booked ASAP. My limited experience with taking children is that the excitement, certainly for day 1, means they put up with longer drives than they'd handle at home(especially with lots of brief stops: and foreign motorway service stations can be just as big a novelty as Waterloo. Sorry: ARE a much bigger novelty)
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Apr 15th, 2011, 04:14 AM
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Don't let Polizei catch you whithout dipped headlights. But anyway, it's not my money and I'm not the one paying for this in case of an accident. Just be aware.
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