Becca Jane St Clair

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European Road Trip Day 6, Part I – Moving Camp (Camping Hofer Review)

[Finally blogging about our trip to Germany and Austria we took in September 2010!]

We learned something on this trip. Trying to break up the camping into two different sites is not a good idea – we lost nearly three days of our holiday just from setting up and tearing down our campsites. Next time, we will probably pick a location that’s not so much near some of the things we want to do, but within a reasonable driving/railing distance from everything we want to do, although I would go back to both campsites we were at in September in a heartbeat!

The first site, where we spent the first 4 nights of our trip was at Camping Hofer in Zell am Ziller. I picked this campsite based on it’s location to the Zillertalbahn, and based on the photos on the website. I emailed them, and the woman who runs the campsite wrote back promptly and let me make a preliminary reservation the day before we left!

When we arrived, it was still fairly light out. We were given a map of the site with circles around the available pitches. Tim and I took a mini tour looking at the different spots, and finally picked one that was located close enough to the sanitation building for late-night bathroom trips, but far enough away that the noise of people going in and out of the building wouldn’t bother us.

Our set-up took us a lot longer than we thought, hindered slightly by the rocky ground. It seemed that everywhere Tim tried to peg in a tent stake he would hit rock, but we finally managed to get ourselves set up.

We did not use many of the available facilities, and I honestly couldn’t have even told you where the pool was located, though there was one on property. As it was late September, I really wasn’t interested in swimming, anyway! We weren’t really there to just camp, as we had plans for nearly every day. If we had just been there on a camping holiday, we might have taken advantage of some of the facilities. They also have a restaurant and bar, but we glanced at the menu and though the prices were a bit steep for campers. The facility also has a gasthaus and is open throughout the Winter season for skiiers, though I wouldn’t fancy staying in a tent in the middle of Winter!

The sanitation building looked fairly new. It had washrooms and shower rooms for both genders – the toilets were in a separate WC room with just a single sink to wash your hands in, and then the room next door had a long row of sinks at a mirror, about 6 individual stalls with sinks and stools for washing, and 4 shower cubicles. The showers operated on an on-demand type system. Instead of just turning on the shower, you had to push to get water. The shower stream lasted for about 10 seconds, and you could press it as many times as you wanted (showering was free). While it was a slight inconvenience, it did mean you could lather up your hair without the water turned on, and I’m sure that helps the site to conserve water. The water was nice and hot, but you did have to usually duck out of the way the first time you turned it on to avoid the spray of cold as it warmed up. Each shower stall had an outer area to change in as well as the common area, so if you didn’t feel comfortable getting undressed in front of other people, you didn’t have to.

The sanitation building also housed 2 rooms for washing dishes. Each room had long counters along each side and 2 sinks on each side (4 in each room/8 sinks total). Not all of the sinks had hot water, however, so you always had to check first. The sinks were standard, industrial size sinks. You needed to provide the soap and sponge. We packed along our dishpan, too, but I wound up using it more for carrying the dishes back and forth than washing.

The facility also had a laundry room with only 2 washers and 2 dryers, as well as a hanging rack to drip dry clothing. I found the room to be very crowded and wound up taking my line-dry items back to the tent to hang outside. The laundry services wasn’t cheap, either. 7 Euros per load, so a wash and dry cycle cost 14 Euros. Crazy, but I suppose they have you by the nose. Next time we go camping, I’m going to try to pack enough underwear to last the whole trip, and hope our clothing doesn’t get too stinky, because I do not want to pay that much for laundry again!

Tim and I appeared to be the only people with a tent – everyone around us had caravans. Even funnier, a lot of the caravans had little satellite dishes outside! Can’t go on holiday without your telly, I guess.

The site had loads of international visitors, too. Lots of license plates from Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Fortunately, the family that runs the campsite speak English.

As for the camping itself – we both had a great time. The only time we didn’t like camping was the night it poured down rain – the sound of rain on the tent really makes you have to go! Since it was pouring, neither one of us wanted to make the walk to the sanitation building, especially as we left our waterproof jackets in the car. I wound up sacrificing one of my cooking pots to turn it into a chamber pot. Yeah, I know. That’s kind of gross. Sorry. But I promise I never intend on cooking in that vessel EVER again.

Camping also tends to get boring late at night. The light would finally fade around 10PM, and then Tim and I would try to read by the light of our torches, lanterns, and candles, but it never was enough light. The lack of light, paired with it getting cold without the sun meant we had a lot of early evenings….which meant that most mornings I was awake by 5 or 6!

All too soon our time at Camping Hofer was ending, and we had to take down the tent and pack everything back in the car to drive up to the Salzkammergut region. It took us several hours to get everything packed and into the car – mostly because we forgot how we had packed the car! Next time, we’ll be taking a photo of the car.

I only have one other picture to share from Camping Hofer – the telephone booth:

How funny to see a red phone booth in Austria!

Next up – either driving in Austria or setting up camp. I haven’t decided yet!

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2 Comments so far

  1. Michelloui | The American Resident March 10th, 2011 18:36

    I don’t think it’s bad that you used a cooking pot! I think its pretty clever actually. Have you read The Tent, the Bucket and Me (or something like that) by Emma Kennedy? You might like it… 🙂

  2. Rebecca March 10th, 2011 18:41

    Funny you mention that…my husband bought that for me for Christmas! I haven’t started it yet, though.

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