By the time you read this we will be back on the road heading for Crete via inland Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania. We finally managed to get insurance for this trip from Axa after Saga revoked on coverage at the last moment. Enough of that and here are a few words and some pictures of our trip home taking in bits of Northern Germany and a brief sojourn into Holland.
If you want to see where we stayed the look at the map HERE
Travemunde and Lubeck 01/07 – 03/07/2016
After the financial excesses of Scandinavia it was pleasing to get back to the feeling of the old sock that is Germany. Germany is more like the UK than any other country in Europe, even down to the details of them being grossly overweight and badly dressed.
Travemunde is a bit like Bognor Regis, a tired looking place with endless ferry ships passing by disgorging drunken Finns for a two day booze cruise. There is not a lot more to say apart from they like to sit in cutesy Wicker Chairs on the beach.
The other thing to mention is you can stay in the car parks for next to nothing and catch an hourly train to Lubeck. Lubeck is a peach of a city with a beautiful old town and streets within streets that are similar to the hutongs of Beijing. There is quite a bit to see in this potato obsessed town and we managed to fill up an afternoon and evening wandering, drinking coffee, eating potatoes and buying their world famous marzipan. We had a great day and would thoroughly recommend you visit.
Hutongs of Lubeck
Schwerin 03/07 -04/07/2016
We wanted to dip our toes into the former East Germany without doing the obvious target of a trip to Berlin and decided on the city of Schwerin. This is a beautiful town with a castle plumped in between a couple of its 9 lakes. The gardens are free to enter and we took full advantage of this outdoor haven that is decorated with the occasional piece of art. On entering the old town we were met by the sight and sounds of a ceramic fair in full swing. I knew there was no chance of me getting away from here without a bowl. And I was right. Bowl number 23 was acquired.
The Old Town
The Arty Photo
That night we spent the night in a free aire in the delightful town of Hitzacker on the banks of the River Elbe and with the weather set fair we spent a leisurely couple of days on our drive to Hamburg stopping overnight in the town of Stover.
Hitzacker Back streets
Hitzacker Main Square
Hamburg 05/07 – 06/07/2016
The main reason for us coming to Hamburg was to see the miniature wonderland; the World’s biggest and best model railway. The rest of the city is pleasant enough with most of the war damage being replaced with buildings that look the same as before those dreadful Americans bombed them. As if. We also took a trip around the city-centre port. To do this take the harbour ferry No 62. It is included on a one day travel card and therefore saves a small fortune over the Tourist centric offerings touting their business close by. To be honest it is only worth staying for the first three or four stops as after this it is a bit dull. The same can be said for the Overground underground which is elevated for a small section as far as St Pauli. Do not go any further to get that New York subway feeling.
Submarine from the Losing Side
As said the miniature wonderland is a truly amazing place with the scale model of Hamburg Airport being the highlight. The sneak preview of Italy you also get also looks pretty mind-blowing. If anything it is a sensory overload and in some ways you are relieved when you get to the end. But it would be churlish to say anything negative about this wonderful place,
Our Favourite town in Europe – Kiruna, Sweden
All that was left was for us to go for a scrumptious meal in the basement of the town hall and bid Germany’s second city a fond farewell.
Harz Mountains, Wernigerode 06/07 -08/07/2016
Once more back into the former GDR to experience the narrow-gauge Harzquerbahn which for more than a century has been taking visitors up to the top of the Brocken, the highest peak in Northern Germany. This is the largest integrated narrow-gauge rail network in Europe and we decided to base ourselves in the town of Werigerode where the Brockenbahn starts its steep climb to the 1142m high summit.
Wernigerode is a bustling, attractive town on the northern edge of the mountains and we managed to stay within a short walk of the railway station for three nights for €5 in total. We also managed to take some fine German ales while sitting in the square. Last thing to say is the area has a strong affiliation with anything a bit witchy.
Love these GDR signs
Forgotten toilet rolls
After the miniature world it was now time for the real thing, a smoke belching, fire-eating, living, breathing steam engine. Being from London and by default street-wise we managed to outwit a few locals and bag ourselves the prime seats on the train, rear carriage and on the left. And there we alternated between hanging-off the back and leaning out of the window for the next two and a half hours. Pure bloody bliss. We didn’t just love it, we adored it. Not cheap at €40 but a marvellous day out that has been voted in our top ten.
When the world was black-and-white
Reaching the summit
From the Back
Tracy watching the curves
Apart from the view there is not a lot to do on the top, bit like Snowdon. We ambled around for a bit before getting the first train down and again loved every minute.
Attractive Wife, Unattractive buildings
Fairy-Tale Road 08/07 – 10/07/2016
Our final bit of touring for this part of Germany took us along part of the 600Km Marchenstrasse. Our part of the route took us from Hann. Munden to Hamelin. The route follows the journeys undertaken by the Brothers Grimm who travelled extensively through this part of the world documenting local folklore. Their collection of tales went on to become a best seller and we managed to pack in visits to Sleeping Beauty’s castle, Rapunzel’s tower, the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Cinderella’s castle and many others. This was a great three days spent touring around a beautiful and largely unspoilt part of Germany.
Where to buy Europe’s best Sausage, Hann. Munden
Hann. Munden again
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
Our final stop of the tour saw us in Delft before we caught the ferry home from the Hook-of-Holland. Our last night also delivered us the largest camping fee we have ever encountered, a real rip-off. Not to be upset we cycled into the old town for a bowl, a drink and a rice-table. Delft is a bit like a mini-me version of Amsterdam and in our mind makes it a whole lot better. We had a good afternoon and evening and we finished off with a truly truly scrumy Indonesian banquet. We will be travelling again soon.
Just Like Amsterdam
Our final Beer
Love to All