Meissen: The Town, The Porcelain & The Garage – Germany 2009

We pick up where we left off – camped in Meissen with a faulty alternator. Since the problem had arisen on a Sunday afternoon and we were still mobile, we decided to leave sorting it out until the next day, Monday, when it would be easier to find an open garage to help.

Our main purpose in visiting Meissen was to visit the Porcelain factory. By coincidence, Meissen’s Ford dealership (which also handles vans and can take coachbuilt motorhomes), is located almost next door to the porcelain works. Shortly after 9am, we fired up the van and made our way to Ford Fahrzeug-Neumann. In my best schoolboy German, I explained that we were on holiday in Germany and had broken down. On ascertaining we were driving a Ford Transit, the friendly lady in reception immediately found a mechanic to look at the van for us. A short time and some diagnostics later, we were watching him price up a replacement alternator on the workshop computer. Ouch.

Ford Fahrzeug-Neumann in Meissen - recommended
Ford Fahrzeug-Neumann in Meissen - recommended

We didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter so gave them the go ahead to fit a new alternator and left the van with them for the rest of the day. First, we visited the Meissen factory and museum – admission was €8.50 each, which included the factory tour and admission to the well-stocked museum.

One of the best things about driving in Germany is that everything is well signposted
One of the best things about driving in Germany is that everything is well signposted

The factory tour was actually a series of demonstrations – you don’t get anywhere near the actual factory – but it was interesting and well-organised, with multi-lingual audio guides included in the price. The museum seemed to be well stocked with both old and new Meissen – it was a pleasure to walk around. Here are a few photos of some of the exhibits:

Meissen porcelain in the factory museum
Meissen porcelain in the factory museum
I particularly liked this porcelain chess set
Would you dare to use it?

As it turned out, the Ford dealer hadn’t been able to get the new alternator delivered the same day, but they were happy for us to sleep in the van on their forecourt overnight, and even left their very clean toilets unlocked for our use (although we had our own). Somehow I can’t see that happening to motorhomers in the UK…

We whiled away a little more of the day in Meissen and in due course the new alternator arrived and was fitted – we were back on the road. It’s worth noting that we had to pay in cash – no cards were accepted. I believe this may be common in Germany and it is certainly worth bearing in mind. I’d also like to say that the staff at Ford Fahrzeug-Neumann in Meissen were professional, friendly and helpful throughout – we couldn’t have asked for more.

Here are a few more shots of Meissen, which we explored thoroughly over two days and which is a thoroughly attractive and pleasant town, well worth a visit:

Meissen Castle looks over the town
The palace and cathedral dominate Meissen's skyline
The heart of the old town is dominated by cafes and tourist shops but retains its charm
The heart of the old town is dominated by cafes and tourist shops but retains its charm
Old buildings are beautifully restored and new buildings blend in seamlessly - Meissen's old town
Old buildings are beautifully restored and new buildings blend in seamlessly - Meissen's old town

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