Germany, North

Not our favourite place so far but full of optimism for when we return later in the year

So we left The Netherlands on Friday and took The Afsluidijk which is the largest dam in Holland, the 32km long causeway connects Dan Oever to Zurich, a village in Friesland. The North Sea is on your left when you head north and the fresh water lake is on your right, there was snow & ice banked up along the water’s edge and the lake was frozen. The temperature had dropped considerably from Eindhoven.

I was really sad to be leaving the Netherlands, I had really enjoyed this part of our trip. For many reasons the Netherlands had surprised me. The people were so friendly, the supermarkets were stocked with lovely fresh foods and were beautifully laid out, everything looked new and clean, maybe we had just been really lucky with the places we had visited. We had encountered such lovely people and gorgeous places.

We continued on to Bremen just across the German border. Our campsite was canal side and the busiest site we had encountered yet, apparently it is German school holidays and therefore camping season has started. Although we haven’t seen any kids yet, just middle aged campers. Once the RV was hooked up we took a walk into Bremen, just across the bridge into the town, we discovered Bremen has a lot of history, The Brothers Grimm wrote a story about the Town Musicians of Bremen and we visited the statue of the characters from the book in the town.

We also saw the town statue of Roland who watches over and protects the town. Legend has it they have a back up statue somewhere just in case a tragedy befalls Roland and the town collapses. Jon and I were keen to eat some German food and have a beer after a long day of driving and navigating. A curry wurst and a bottle of locally brewed Becks hit the spot.

On Saturday we made our way north to Hamburg. We parked in a town a little way out of the city. On Mother’s Day we planned a day out to https://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/ It is the worlds largest miniature model railway and really very impressive. An expat family we stumbled into recommended it to us and Joe had been watching YouTube videos about this place for a long time and had put it on the list of places he wanted to visit on our trip. It is a great attraction, our advice would be to get there early, admission is cheaper between 8.00-9.00am and parking is pretty limited so if you get there early you are guaranteed a spot. We spent around 3 hours walking through the two floors of exhibits, the exhibits can get crowded so another reason to get there early. The models are really well done with lots of detail, there are plenty of interactive displays. My favourite was the Lindt factory where they produce a tiny bar of chocolate for you. Jon and the boys loved the airport where you can watch planes land and take off.

Miniatur Wunderland

In the afternoon we headed to the local town to enjoy huge ice creams for €1 and a glass of wine. After lunch we took Lester to the park. Dinner that evening consisted of more German beer and schnitzel.

This leg of our trip took us along the northern coast of Germany and to be honest it has more about making our way to Denmark than visiting German landmarks. We are looking forward to revisiting Germany later in the year to see Berlin and Munich. However, right now we really need to cover as many miles as possible so that we make it to Norway by Easter.

Our final stop before the Danish border was Flensburg, this German town seemed to have its own micro climate, there were huge mounds of snow leading up to our campsite even though we thought we had seen the last of the snow. When we arrived at the campsite we were met by Wolfgang, a lovely German gentleman in pink crocs who spoke zero English. Much like Eric from France he truly embraced us and our 16 metre entourage. Wolfgang sprung into action making sure the ground was firm enough for us to park on and long enough to accommodate us. He had dog treats at the ready for Lester and a guest book for us to sign, he also gave us his photo album to peruse which documented the 1000+ visitors he’s had on his site. Such a legend.

Before we left Flensburg we took a trip into the town, it reminded me of Dartmouth. Full of charm the boats in the harbour had Scandinavian flags and the town felt part Scandinavian part German. I wasn’t sad to be leaving Germany, it hadn’t been my favourite place to visit and I was looking forward to Scandinavia. I felt that apart from Wolfgang the Germans hadn’t been as friendly as we had experienced in The Netherlands. In summary North Germany had been our least favourite place so far but we are keeping an open mind and are full of optimism for when we return later this year.

Author: retiredtoexplore

We are retired expats and after 14 years of living and working in Asia have decided to travel Europe as we certainly aren’t ready to settle down and haven’t yet defined what retirement means or looks like and still don’t know where to call home.

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