Water water everywhere….

75 nights : 3,032 miles travelled :Countries visited: 5

“I would rather have WIFI than water”  G.W. Stratton

The holiday is over. The supply of Sainsbury’s red label teabags is almost exhausted. We are well into our trip and our expectations are evolving as we become travellers rather than tourists. Our routine revolves around the procurement and disposal of water and our dreams are fulfilled by the ability to tune into a strong WIFI signal and a washing machine.

To make our budget go further we mostly opt to stay on a wohnmobil platz which are in many European towns and villages. This may simply be a designated space in a car park or resemble a campsite with electricity and water. Prices are usually considerably cheaper than a campsite or, joy of joys…sometimes free! In the past weeks we have stayed in a meadow behind a beach, a railway station car park, outside a national park information office, on a harbour front, a field behind a restaurant and a car park next to a ring road. Variety is a mixed spice!

Water has also featured in many of the stops we have made recently. Unlike the town musicians in Grimm’s fairy tale we actually made it to Bremen and loved what we found.       Our walk from the stellplatz took us along the river Weser to an amazing city centre.SAM_4762

 

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The Market square is gilded with a very ornate Rathaus (town hall) alongside a 13th century twin towered Dom. The Rathaus is guarded by a medieval knight Roland, which protects and symbolises the city’s freedom.

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Bremen’s Roland is 13m tall

The Bottcherstrasse was formerly the lane where coopers lived and worked but was redesigned in the 1920s with amazing art deco facades and links the market square with the river with shops museums and cafe-bars.

Trying out the Kolsch from Cologne. A bit light for me!
Trying out the Kolsch from Cologne.             A bit light for me!

 

The 16th C Hanse buildings were incorporated into the design
The 16th C Hanse buildings were incorporated into the design
The glockenspiel plays 3 times a day
The glockenspiel plays three times a day

SAM_4722Then there is the Schnoor quarter, 15th & 16th century narrow lanes which used to be the fishermans quarter but is now a maze of arts and crafts shops.

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And of course the town musicians are celebrated everywhere, most famously with Gehart Marcks sculpture, with the rooster, cat, dog and donkey scaring the robbers who attacked their house.

 

 

We wandered across the North of Germany, to Lubeck which was at the heart of the Hanseatic League, a medieval confederation of trades guilds. They dominated the Baltic sea and had links all over Europe, including our home town of King’s Lynn.  SAM_4822

 

The merchants adopted a distinctive style of architecture which links many German towns like Bremen that were members of the League.

The towers lean towards each other across the stepped gable
The impressive towers lean towards each other across the stepped gable

 

The Holstentor is a dramatic city gate that, together with many spired churches, forms a ‘crown’ around the centre of the old town.

 

 

The Salzpecher used to store the salt that was pivotal to the Hanseatic trade
The Salzpecher used to store the salt that was pivotal to the Hanseatic trade
Lubeck in Marzipan
Lubeck in Marzipan

Marzipan has been made in  Lubeck for hundreds of years.  Whenever we mention to  Germans that we visited Lubeck,  they ask did we try the  marzipan.                                  Happily we can say  yes! Graham says    it is the best marzipan he has ever  disliked….. so there was more for me.

 

Some of the lanes were reminiscent of Kings Lynn
Some of the courtyards are reminiscent of those in Kings Lynn

Graham was keen to see the Baltic sea so we spent a weekend in Boiensdorf on the North East coast, in a gorgeous little field with a  sea view.SAM_4835

 

 

 

 

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It is a beautiful coastline, with the countryside sweeping down to the waters edge with few interruptions.

 

 

 

We were lucky to be there at a time when many crops were ready for harvest and the light cast a sharp contrast between field yellow, Baltic blue and the fresh green of the lollipop trees that drew a dotted line across the landscape.

This area is very popular with windsurfers and Kipper took some convincing that they were chasing the wind and not him! He did however, have fun demonstrating the principles of the bouncing bomb!

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Our watery theme continued in Schwerin, the state capital of Mecklenburg West-Pomerania (just love saying that name!) The city seems to rise out of water with lakes in every direction.SAM_4954 SAM_4899

 

 

Schwerin Palace is now the State Parliament and the peaceful gardens are open to all.SAM_4935

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There are many impressive buildings but the whole city had a shabby chic style about it. This is in what was East Germany and some streets certainly had a different feel.SAM_4918

 

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Public art was very diverse.SAM_4924

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However there was a laid            back atmosphere which we       really enjoyed.

 

 

 

We also enjoyed some good local beer and yet another bratwurst lunch at Zum Stadtkrug, a microbrewery/pub just up the road from the railway station where we were pitched.

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The Germans are masters at making beer,  bratwurst and bread. We know…. we have sampled a lot. The Snail Trail is fast becoming galloping gluttony. Yes the holiday needs to be over before Brian exceeds his 3.5 tonne limit!

The Mecklenburg lake district has over 1,000 lakes and whilst there are no real hills, rarely do you turn a corner without seeing water. We had planned to base ourselves at the top of the largest lake, The Muritz. Happily the campsite we had intended to use was full – full of running children and grumpy parents. So we spent the night in blissful solitude outside the National Park information centre. Alone that is apart from hundreds of cows on the dairy farm behind us.

The night revealed that our fridge was not working on gas, an essential as we are spending so much time off grid. We located a dealer about 25 kilometres away in Neustrelitz; the silver lining to our cloud. Luckily the repair would take a couple of days so we stayed at the harbour of this great little town in the centre of the lake district.

An old railway line passes through the harbour but motorhomes stand where trains once did
An old railway line passes through the harbour but motorhomes stand where trains once did

                                             There were elegant Schloss gardens, a Tiergarten for Kips to log some running time and a unique star shaped market place with delightful streets running off in all directions.SAM_5006SAM_5003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The grand entrance to the Tiergarten
The grand entrance to the Tiergarten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One man and his dog...a familiar sight!
One man and his dog…a familiar sight!

But most wonderful were the sunsets over the Zierker See.

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No shortage of water but WIFI has been surprisingly hard to come by, especially a strong connection needed long enough for blog posts. So we are a few weeks behind in updating you but as all snails know, we’ll get there eventually.

Treat of the week: There are more than 300 varieties of bread in Germany and we have especially enjoyed those with wheat and rye flour mixed. However the winner so far is Sonnenblumenkernbrot. Not with rye but with loads of sunflower seeds and the most delicious texture and flavour.

Makes Kingsmill 50:50 seem like a bad dream
Makes Kingsmill 50:50 seem like a bad dream

This could well turn out to be treat of the trip.

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