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.
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.
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.
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.
The merchants adopted a distinctive style of architecture which links many German towns like Bremen that were members of the League.
The Holstentor is a dramatic city gate that, together with many spired churches, forms a ‘crown’ around the centre of the old town.
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.
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.
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.
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.
But most wonderful were the sunsets over the Zierker See.
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.
This could well turn out to be treat of the trip.