The drive through industrial Essen and Dortmund was made cheerful by bright blue skies and fast-moving traffic on well tarmacked roads. These things count when you are putting down miles in Bertha – as we had clocked up 430 miles on our first two trip days.
Once through the industry of factories, car dealerships and flyovers the road opened out into the beautiful agricultural Oberwalder Land.
Long rolling hills of neatly ploughed fields were home to pretty hamlets of brick farmhouses and wooden cruck-framed barns. Staying on a farm outside the small town of Bad Sassendorf we headed out into the cold for necessary supplies of drinking water and bread.
We walked back at dusk through the kurpark (a spa park), passing the town ponds and skidding ducks.
Opting for a short cut we found ourselves in the landscaped grounds of a high-end orthopaedic rehabilitation centre. Bad Sassendorf is home to eight such kliniks, specialising in everything from sport rehabilitation to facial structures.
Joining the crutch-bearing residents of the Klinik Lindenplatz, we affected (hopefully) convincing limps and exchanged pleasantries in order to exit through the hotel-style lavish reception area.
Back at Bertha it was time to batten down as the temperature plummeted with the blood red setting sun and the silver moon rose in absolute polarity across the field opposite.
We had a hastily made vegetable cous cous dinner with hot harissa spice, along with a glass of red wine which was far too chilled to be enjoyed. We toasted our return to Germany before disappearing under the layers.
A dusting of snow covered the family farm next to the aire. It was -3°c at 8.30pm and would plummet to -8°c overnight.