20th May – 27th May
We are back in our beloved Germany after crossing the border about 10kms from Enschede. We stopped at Burgsteinfurt for a quick trip to Lidl to buy our favourite sausages and red cabbage before a walk around and the town. It was market day and we had a nice chat with a German lady about the delicious white asparagus which we bought 500 grams of to cook for dinner tonight as per her instructions. We found a baby bird with a broken wing on the path and we asked a lady to take it to the vet, hopefully it is going to be ok. From Burgsteinfurt we continued on to Münster, our home for the two nights. We had a walk along the canal to the port where the old ships were supposed to be moored. Nope, nothing there so we stopped for a German beer instead! Back home again before the forecast rain, however at the time of writing, we are still waiting for it. Must mention the asparagus was delicious.
We had a most enjoyable day walking around Münster. We started off on the promenade that follows along the path of what used to be the towns defensive wall which was destroyed during the war. The trees created a covered walkway for part of the promenade. There was a huge trash and treasure market (car boot sale) that went for quite a distance which the German people seem to love. We continued on to the Schloss, a former residence of the Prince bishop and now the university. We had a walk around the botanical gardens full of rhododendrons in full bloom before heading back into town and a visit to the Dom St Paul which houses an astronomical clock that indicates the time, the position of the sun, the movement of the planets, and the calendar. From there we ventured along the main shopping street to the Rathaus where in 1648, an important sub-treaty of the Peace of Westphalia was signed marking the first step to the end of the thirty year war. We had our lunch in the park before spending the next 2 hours shopping for trekking boots, all due to an overzealous sales person who wanted me to try on many different styles and brands. In the end we came away very happy with our purchases. Now to find some decent hikes which won’t be too difficult.
A driving day today had us arriving in Soest just before lunch on the B roads we so love to travel on. We could have arrived a lot sooner, but the scenery on the B roads is much more pleasant, passing many farms and fields of crops as well as driving through pretty towns. Thunderstorms were predicted (again) for the afternoon and it really felt like this time it was going to happen. While we were waiting for the rain, we went for a bit of a walk, mainly to look for a wildcamp spot. It might sound a bit odd, but we walked through a cemetery. The German people must spend hours tending to the grave sites of their loved ones as it was like a botanical garden, with azaleas, rhododendrons and colourful ground covers everywhere, the cemetery even had big water wells and watering cans so people could water their little gardens. We passed an adventure park where quite a few people were climbing trees and venturing down flying foxes. We didn’t find a wildcamp spot however we had a nice walk, so it wasn’t all wasted.
We headed into town along the top of medieval wall which circumnavigates most of the old town. Church spires can be seen almost everywhere and the church buildings are made from a unique green sandstone. Half-timbered houses and tiny lanes give the town an unmistakable character. We spent most of the morning wandering around before stopping at the Brauhaus Zweibel for lunch, where the meals were huge and the beer very tasty. With full bellies we continued our walk around the medieval wall but this time at ground level which in olden times was the moat and now is a path with green grass and lots of trees dotted along the way. With tired feet we head home for a quiet afternoon.
We made a small detour of 70 kms south driving through some forested areas to one of our many favourite alpine towns in Germany, Winterberg. We had fond memories of the hike we did around the ski fields and into the forest and felt like a bit more of that which is why we have come back here plus we wanted to wear our new boots! We are parked in exactly the same spot as last time at the Oversum resort and after lunch we went for a walk into town. The weather isn’t the best, drizzly and windy so once our afternoon cuppa’s were finished, we donned our bathers and went into the resort for a swim in their heated pool. After a few laps we jumped into the hot pool and spent the next hour or so floating and gazing out the window to the houses and hills across from us. Two hours later and looking like prunes, we got out and headed to the super hot showers. Warm and clean we made our way home, what a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
The weather was kinder today with no wind or rain so after breakfast we headed out on our planned hike. We got a map yesterday from the tourist office that showed a trail of around 12kms, however we added another leg onto theirs. The journey took us out of town past a few farming properties and into a huge fir forest. Trees of all different sizes were bursting with new growth that reminded us of fairy lights as the very tip of each frond was a brighter shade of green than the rest of the tree. There were hunting huts all around, not sure what they would be hunting as apart from goats, cows and horses, the only other wildlife we saw were birds and an owl in full flight. We stopped at a timber hut to have our muesli bars before continuing on a path to what ended up back in town and a round trip of 20kms. We had our lunch in the park before making our way back and putting our feet up for the rest of the day.
Fir forests, fields of green and gold, wind farms, solar farms and pretty towns were the scenery on our 100km drive to Bad Karlschafen, our destination for another hike. We are parked by the Weser river where we are surrounded by forests. After lunch we headed off on our hike, past the schwimmbad (indoor and outdoor swimming pool) which looked lovely except for the naked bodies on the deck outside! We headed up into the forest and the path took us to a very old tower that overlooks the river and the town. We continued on through the forest and made our way back to the river. The only way to cross was on a boat pulled across the river by a rope powered by the current. From there we headed up to the skywalk through another forest on a trail that took us up into the treetops. Once back down, we walked along the river back home, a round trip of about 15kms. The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in the sun, watching the boats go by and the lads practising their soccer on the oval across the way.
We got the bikes down today and had a ride into Beverungen, a town 10kms away. We rode along the Weser river all of the way, stopping to pet a couple of old workhorses that were in the paddock near where we caught the ferry across the river yesterday. The town of Beverungen is only small so our walk around didn’t take too long. We stopped for a coffee before heading the 10kms back. We decided to move onto our next destination of Göttingen after doing the shopping. The journey had similar scenery to yesterday and we arrived at the Stellplatz to be told they were full. A short drive around the corner has us parked in a dead end street next to an empty field with the birds in the trees singing.
28th May Happy Birthday Daniel 🎂🍺🎂🍺🎂🍺🎂🍺
More forests on our road journey where our first stop was the Söse dam where we had a walk along the dam wall before having a cuppa. We continued on to the Oker dam just outside of Schulenberg where we want to do a hike tomorrow. Today is a rest day so we spent the afternoon relaxing with views to the dam.
29th May – 3rd June
We had lots of rain last night and woke to a heavy fog however we decided to still do our planned hike. The first two kms were very steep, then levelled off a bit through the forest. We arrived at the lookout which on a clear day would have given great views over the valley, however we found the mist in the forest quite magical as the path wound its way through. Along the way small yellow spotted black lizards scurried across the trail and the final 3.5 kms of what turned out to be a 15km hike were through an owl conservation area. We didn’t see any owls although the birds in the trees were in full song. The path on this leg as you would expect was also through a forested area and followed the Oker river with big boulders hanging onto the sides of the hills. Many large pools full of river rocks and several waterfalls made this hike a thoroughly enjoyable outing.
After a bad night sleep due to traffic noise, we walked into Goslar for a look around. We headed to the Altstadt (old town) where we wandered through the historic streets filled with beautiful timbered houses. We walked to the Kaiserhaus, a reconstructed 11th century Romanesque palace which fell into ruin and was resurrected in the 19th century to its current state and is the oldest and best preserved secular building of the 11th century in Germany. Many church spires can be seen from the grounds of the palace and we visited a couple of the churches on our travels. After walking around the shopping precinct we headed back and drove to our next destination of Hildesheim where we are parked next to the Hohnsensee, a large lake just outside of town in what we hope is a quiet spot. We sat by the lake for a little while in the afternoon before the rain started. It is very humid and thunderstorms have been again forecast.
After a peaceful night sleep and breakfast we headed into Hildesheim walking along the river. Sadly 75% of the town was destroyed during the war so the majority of the buildings are quite plain. We did find a street full of half timbered houses, some with ornate paintings on the timber work which were the highlight of the morning walk. The main shopping mall was quite large with all of the usual stores. We stopped for a coffee before heading back and hitting the road again to Hamelin where the tale of the pied piper originated. The scenery was mainly agriculture with small towns scattered along the way and we never tire of it. We arrived in Hamelin just on lunch time so had a bite to eat before taking a short walk along the Weser river. A trip to the Altstadt has been left for the morning.
Heavy rains and some thunder last night cleared for our walk into Hamelin. Not touched by the war, the town was just lovely with its painted timber houses throughout most of the Altstadt and the shopping precinct. At 9.35am the many bells of the Hochzeitshaus (a historic building) which is now a police station chimed for a few minutes. The rain started again however we continued our walk around, spying rat ceramics amongst the rat trinkets for sale. A statue of the pied piper stands in the main mall and scattered all over the ground of the old town are brass rat plaques. Back on the road to our destination of Celle, about 90kms away through similar scenery as the last few days. We stopped in a forested area for lunch before completing the last 30 or so kms. The remainder of the afternoon was spent sitting inside due to more very heavy rain and thunder and plotted some places to visit in Norway and Sweden.
The Altstadt of Celle was just beautiful and had a lovely feel about it. We walked into town through the Schloss (palace) gardens full of centuries old trees. Ducks and swans had a huge lake to call home and rhododendrons and azaleas were in full bloom. Once in the old town we wandered the streets in awe of the colourful wooden houses, probably the best we have seen to date. We visited the Stadtkirke (church) with an interior that was full on baroque and with a beautiful altar before stopping for a coffee. We returned home just on lunchtime and spent the rest of the afternoon reading.
The sun was shining on the commencement of our trip to Delmenhorst, 118kns away and about 15kms from Bremen. The drive was pleasant enough, mainly on the autobahn although there were several delays due to roadworks. We arrived at lunchtime so we had a bite to eat before walking into town not far from the Stellplatz. Our first stop was the train station to get prices for the train into Bremen. €15.10 for two day tickets which is about the cost of the Stellplatz in Bremen however a train journey is less stressful for Dave and we don’t mind train travel. A quick walk around town before heading back to wander through the park across the other side of the Stellplatz. The weather is changing again, it is humid and overcast this afternoon, so another storm is possible.
4th June – 9th June
Another sunny day sees us heading to the train station for our short trip into Bremen. German punctuality and an exceptionally good train system had us at Bremen Station in 10 minutes. We walked through the park on our way to an area called the Schnoor, which used to be the maritime quarter. It is now a quaint area full of small streets with picturesque buildings that now house shops and restaurants. From there we walked to the Markt square where the Dom St Petri with its two towers dominates the skyline. We did go inside and the interior was quite colourful with a deep blue stained glass in the rose over the entry and a high ribbed vaulted ceiling. The Rathaus unfortunately was under quite a bit of scaffolding however we did see some of the front of the building, outside of which stands a 13m-high Knight Roland statue (1404), which stands for the civic freedoms of a city, especially the freedom to trade independently. We had a walk along the Weser river before stopping for a beer in one of the many biergartens. A currywurst for lunch and with sore feet, we headed home.
We are getting closer to Rostock and our ferry trip on Friday. We travelled on the autobahn to the one street town of Horst, purely as a stopover and an opportunity for a hike in a small forest. The journey took about two and a half hours including our coffee stop and we are parked under the trees just near the beginning of our hike path. We had lunch before heading off on what turned out to be about 7kms along a small river and through the forest for about half of the hike and passing quite a few horses where we stopped for a pat. It is another quite warm day today so Dave decided to go for a swim in the river once we returned. The water was very cold and a couple of people commented in German as they passed. Pity we couldn’t understand what they were saying.
Our journey on the autobahn today confirmed what we had always thought. While German people can travel at whatever speed they want, even though probably more alert than we are at home, when there is an accident it is a terrible one. A poor truck driver will not be going home tonight after driving into the back of another semi trailer. Traffic was banked up for at least 10kms in the other direction. On a brighter note, we arrived at our first stop Edeka supermarket in Lübeck to pick up a few things. €100 later we headed to Lidl to continue our shopping in preparation for Norway. Every nook and cranny in Tilly is full of food, mostly dried goods to help in keeping our costs down once in Norway. Hopefully all we will need to buy once there is fresh fruit & veg and possibly milk and bread, only time will tell. Once parked at the Stellplatz we had a brief walk along the river to the city gate. Built in 1464, the redbrick city gate is a national icon with twin pointed cylindrical towers that lean together across the stepped gable that joins them. We had an ice cream sitting near the river before returning home on what is a very hot day.
We had a lovely day just wandering the streets of this very picturesque town. Although some buildings were severely damaged during the war, there are over 1000 historical buildings and the town is now a Unesco site. We visited many of the churches, amazed at the lean of the towers and surprised at the beauty of the interiors, especially the Jakobkircke, with the most ornate organ pipes we have seen to date. We walked past the 13th-15th century Rathaus which has sometimes been described as a ‘fairy tale in stone’ and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in Germany and we would have to agree. We had our last lunch in Germany at the Ratskeller before heading back to do the washing! Once finished we had a pleasant sit outside admiring the view of the many spires this town has to offer before the rain had us dashing inside.
Another journey on the autobahn for part of the way and the rest on one of the B roads through lots of farmland. We arrived at the Stellplatz just outside of Rostock after finalising the shopping. Only time will tell if we have done enough! We are having a quiet day today. We spoke to all of our children on Skype as we have free wifi. Tomorrow is our last full day in Germany for the time being and the plan is to do a hike/bike ride, weather permitting.
It was very windy when we woke, so after talking to our granddaughter and her mum on Skype over frozen peas and carrot sticks (Eleanor’s snack) we decided to leave the bikes and walk on the paths we had chosen. The first part of the walk was alongside a golf course until we hit the beach. From there it was through a lovely forested area that ran parallel to the beach and reminded us of Bali 30 years ago. There were lots of places to sit and watch the water, we even saw the ferry we will be catching in the morning. After a couple of kilometres we headed inland and back home. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing in the sun.