After 2 trips out, one without cash and one with, dave managed to procure some power steering fluid to get the van going again. We were then making good time until hitting really bad traffic on the A5. Took around 2 hours to do 15km. Of course certain people decided they urgently needed to use the toilet despite us having stopped only an hour before. I will refrain from naming and shaming or describing our solution, lets just say it provided much entertainment for more than just our convoy... The next services saw some of our party practically demolish the entrance to the toilets. Rest of journey uneventful, arriving at the church at around 11. They expressed surprise at how early we had arrived... Drive tomorrow should be about 5 hours to Calais so we are leaving 8 hours before ferry!
Stopped part way to film another interview. Lovely old country house abandoned by last occupant over 30 years ago when they fled east germany. Talking to family who would like the freedom to home ed. Further delays as dave seeks power steering fluid. Hope to be underway soon but behind schedule. Again. Hospitality is again amazing. We have been met such wonderfull kind people on our trip.
Final day at ferdinands homestay today. Most of the group went out on 2 large inflatable rafts on the river elbe. We paddled about 15km or so, with stops en-route for swimming and lunch. Our guide was great and everyone pitched in well with the paddling. Lots of lessons in teamwork and effective communication. The other group went mountain biking for quite some distance, even crossing into the Czech Republic. Now off to bed to the sounds of our noisy neighbours who are cal on site again tonight. Tomorrow we head back to koblenz, possibly via one of the mums from Jena for some filmin. Falling sleep so have go now.
Today we started ahead of schedule. Amazing but true. We drove to the station at Bad Schandau and got a double deck train into dresden. We then headed to the Zwinger via a large fountain (and yes, the kids really did go via the fountain). There we met our costumed tour guides who gave a good historical tour of the Zwinger and surrounding buildings. Was very good and kids appeared to have enjoyed it but we were in blistering sunlight the whole time. Around 32 in the shade tonight. Now sitting next to dave driving me mad talking about steak chips and mushrooms. Most of the rest are in an open air pool playing on a huge wide slide. All having fun by sound of screams! Found cafe selling chips which is now becoming flooded with home ed kids! BBQ later back at site.
Sun night had been very quiet as all the holiday campers had gone, leaving us alone in the campsite, just some hostel guests around. Last night we were joined by a group of inner city kids being given a taste of the countryside. By 230am i was ready to give them a taste of the river too. Shouting between tents went on for most of the night. I think they had finally run out of steam by 4am, but maybe i had just reached the point of sleeping regardless. Then at 6am an alarm went off in our tent. No-one appears to have a clue whose it is. Maybe been planted?
Composing todays email to the regular soundtrack in the adult tent. Snoring. If they made it an olympic sport, boy do we have some top athletes! Well, today was climbing day. A mix of climbing up ropes to get up a rock face and traditional rock climbing - still roped on for safety of course! I was never up for climbing but went with the group to take pics and provide support. Some massive climbing skill from several. Others struggled more but pushed themselves anyway. Good support for each other across the group too which is good to see. Dave made a stunning effort, seemingly climbing using nothing but adrenaline! Not sure if he stayed still long enough to need hand and foot holds. After climbing some went swimming while others went to the labyrinth, a mass of rocks, tunnels and ladders. Then returned to camp for yummy curry. Dresden tomorrow for walking tour. On a personal note i'm starting to really miss Susan and the younger kids, but enjoying seeing rebekah getting so much out of the week.
Yesterday we had a real taste of why we drove all this way! Hiked up the Schramstein, a ridge of rocks a few miles from camp. It was hard going especially for those not really used to hiking but everyone made it. Hundreds of steps, a few ladders and some steep inclines lead us to some stunning views stretching for miles. In the evening we sang songs round a slightly reluctant camp fire and ate stew. Holly and Rebekah have been doing their mother goose bit, keeping us all well fed. Rebekah was pleased her mum taught her the sleeping bag slow cooking method which the girls used to good effect. Today we go climbing. Or rather they do. I shall be staying on the ground, hopefully taking pictures and making lunch. Our first early start today. I had hoped to email some pictures to go with posts but don't have enough bandwidth. May get faster connection in Dresden tomorrow in which case i will send some to update posts.
Filming this morning went really well. Improvements over last night were really noticeable. Some really good interviews and a great piece to camera recorded. Late leaving (again) because we wanted to keep going with the filming. Really could have stayed in jena for longer. Drive to camp site fairly smooth, aside from a couple of navigation related issues... Location is stunning. Right by the river. Also right by the railway so hoping trains not too frequent at night. Hiking on schedule for tomorrow. Time for bed now.
Arrived in jena yesterday about 430. We were late setting off as we couldn't get up as early as planned after our late night and 22 hour travelling day on thur. Fantastic hospitality here. Ever flowing food and drinks, all arranged by the small school we are staying in. We managed to film a couple of interviews but time was too short so i don't think those involved were completely happy with how it went. More interview opportunities today so hopefully we can build on yesterday's experience. Chris and I have been chatting with the kids about techniques for getting the most out of their interviewees. They are really starting to pick up on key issues. Just need to help them get those across well. Language barrier am issue to but the kids are using a host of techniques to overcome that - all of their own accord. They are really getting in to the trip.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me about the itinerary for the people in Germany, this is what I think is going on when, but I’m not 100% sure. Additionally there will probably be evening walks or swims etc. and more filming.

Thurs 27th:

Travelling to Koblenz, sleeping over in church hall.

Fri 28th:

Travelling to Jenna, staying in a small alternative school, doing bulk of videoing, meeting German home educators.

Sat 29th:

More filming, tour of Jenna with some of the young people from over there. Moving on to Ferdinands Homestay in Saxony Switzerland (this is a region in Germany) setting up camp maybe a short hike.



Mon 31st:

Rock climbing

Tues 1st:

walking tour in Dresden and visit to Dresdner Frauenkirche (“Church of Our Lady”) general town stuff (shopping probably!!)

Weds 2nd:

Some of the group mountain biking, some doing kayaking.

Thurs 3rd:

Travelling to Koblenz, swimming in leisure pool, sleeping overnight in a church hall.

Fri 4th:

Travelling home. Getting in about 9pm (hopefully)