Thursday, 7th August – Greifswald to Warsaw

There are some days that we have the most beautiful drives through the most spectacular countryside… today was not one of them. With a 7 hour drive ahead of us to Warsaw (not including stopping for breaks), we opted for the highway.

There were a couple of times that we detoured from the route just for something different. On one of those occasions, we found a little local church that was photo worthy. Nearby was a stork’s nest on top of a power pole by the road.

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Eventually we reached Warsaw and checked into our AirBnb apartment for the next two nights. We were pretty happy with the location, right in the heart of the city on the 12th floor we had the most amazing views!

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2014 European Adventure Germany Poland

Wednesday, 6th August – Lubeck to Greifswald

We awoke to a beautiful sunny day in Lubeck, Germany. We stayed at a hotel that was only a 20 minute walk from the centre of the old town, so we wandered down to grab some breakfast and have a look around. Lubeck is amazing and definitely on the favourites list. These places that we have randomly picked as halfway points in our trip are turning out to be just as amazing as the planned stops in bigger more well known cities.

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There was a church in the middle of the old town that had an amazing story behind it. We couldn’t resist taking some photos. The Devil himself even posed with us for a selfie! Read the story of the building of the church – we loved it!IMG_2915IMG_2921IMG_2920IMG_2917

On the drive to Greifswald (our next stop on the journey) we needed to stop for lunch and so Bec said the magic words – “You’d think you could get a schnitzel in Germany!” Sure enough, around the next corner was the town of Neubukow and a Schnitzel and Steakhouse at the local hotel. We stopped and had amazing meals, took a few photos and then headed on to Griefswald.

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We’ve been staying in AirBnb places for a lot of the trip and for the most part have had no real problems. However, this time there was a big communication gap, language barrier and lack of information which lead us on a bit of a treasure hunt to find the place we were staying in. We eventually did find it and dropped our gear off then went to explore Greifswald a little.IMG_3003IMG_3009IMG_3004IMG_3015

As it started to move toward dark we decided it would be a good idea to grab a drink and some food. The local waterfront was not far from our accommodation so we wandered down to the most amazing place to spend a balmy evening. The guy that served us our drinks (from his boat) was really nice and came over and chatted to us as he was cleaning up.IMG_3046IMG_3057IMG_3051

The whole vibe was great and a fantastic end to the day. Tomorrow we have a huge drive on to Poland.

2014 European Adventure Germany

Tuesday, 5th August – Lund to Lubeck

Firstly, apologies for the quality of the photos for this post. The camera has been mucking up again, but I have managed to salvage some of the photos for the blog. With the problem identified, I hope it won’t happen again in future because it’s heart breaking to upload the photos only to find that they are over exposed.

A huge day of travel today – three countries! We left Lund in Sweden and headed towards the Danish town of Roskilde. When we got there we had a coffee stop and looked around the town – it was really pretty!

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The reason we went to Roskilde was for the Viking Museum. It’s world renown and has a number of original viking long ships that were excavated on the site of the museum. They have also built a replica of a viking long ship exactly as the vikings would have, then they sailed it from Denmark to Ireland! At the museum you can actually join a group of other people and learn how to row and sail a viking boat.

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There are a couple of MASSIVE bridges in Denmark since there are some big islands that need to be linked. They do cost a lot of money in tolls, but are much better than waiting for ferries! Bec grabbed a couple of pics on her iPhone as we drove over one.

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Following the “ancestral trail”, we went to a little village in Germany called Kronshagen. This village was where my mother had one of her first jobs ever – looking after some children for a family. She remembered the house specifically and the address, so we went searching for it. We found some cute little houses and a forest that Mum may have walked through back then. The little house was still there! It had a loft area in the room with a little window and was very cute. Behind the house was a business that had the name of the family that she worked for back then! It would have been great to speak to them, but because we can’t speak enough German it would be hard to explain if they didn’t speak English!

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We finished the trip in a town called Lubeck. It’s been a long drive, but a great day.

2014 European Adventure Denmark Germany Sweden

Friday, 25th July – Hamburg to Copenhagen

After a dramatic sunset the night before, we knew today would be a great day. And it was a bit of a special day for Keith.IMG_0299

After leaving Hamburg, we headed towards the German/Danish border. On the way is a little town in Northern Germany called Wacken (pronounced Varken). Every year since 1990 there has been a massive heavy metal festival that goes for three or so days and features heaps of top name bands in metal. They usually draw on average 75,000 people to participate in the festival each year.

We didn’t have our travel plans confirmed early enough and Wacken 2014 was sold out, but we managed to be going past about a week before the festival started. We called in to see what the place was like, take some photos and buy some merch! Can you believe there was even a WOA (Wacken Open Air [Concert]) branded cow?

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We left Wacken travelling toward Copenhagen, our next stop though was a town called Horsens in Denmark to say hi to an old friend of ours – Tina! Not only did she make time to catch up with us, but also went to the trouble of creating us a traditional Danish Smorrebrod, it was absolutely delicious. Tina’s daughter Hannah had made an amazing chocolate cake, it was so wonderful to see Tina and Hannah, meet Tina’s mum and lovely neighbour and enjoy catching up and relaxing in the sunshine.

After leaving Tina’s place, we headed on to Copenhagen.

2014 European Adventure Denmark Germany

Thursday, 24th July – Hamburg

Today was a full day of sightseeing in Hamburg. We got up early, had breakfast and then headed out to catch a bus and a train to the city. Keith’s German was tested when the bus driver didn’t understand a word of English, but that’s part of the fun being in a foreign country.

As soon as we got off the train we saw the most spectacular building – the Hamburg Rathaus. “Rathaus” loosely translates to Town Hall and was the centre of all activities in medieval towns. The one in Hamburg is particularly breathtaking.IMG_0084IMG_0113IMG_0140IMG_0123IMG_0133IMG_0136

Out the front of each Rathaus is the Rathausmarkt, the market place or town square for the village.IMG_0083IMG_0137IMG_0162

After taking a million photos, we wandered around the city taking in the sights. Our first stop was the Alsterarkaden, basically an arcade with shops and cafes overlooking a canal and the Rathaus.The churches in Hamburg are also spectacular and we saw St Peter’s Church, Katherinekirche and the St Nikolai Memorial. The spire of St Nikolai made it the tallest building in the world from 1874 to 1876 but was heavily bombed in WWII. It is currently undergoing a lot of restoration work, but even the ruins are magnificent.

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Then we went on to the Church of St Michael – it was so impressive we had to have a look inside. There were so many sculptures – on the outside of the building, on the doors and even the interior was impressive!

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Our walk finally took us to a major river port – the Landungsbruecken – which is a huge transit hub with ferries, trains and buses all stopping there. There are also lots of cafes and shops. Think Sydney Harbour but still looking like it did when it was built in the mid 1800s. We didn’t stay long because a massive storm was coming in, so we jumped on the train and headed back to where we were staying.

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On the way home we stopped at an open air shopping mall near to where we were staying and stocked up on supplies. We also had a beer, coffee and cake while we waited for the storm to pass. Afterwards we headed back and got ready to leave Germany for the moment. Next stop tomorrow – Denmark!

 

2014 European Adventure Germany

Wednesday, 23rd July – Berlin to Hamburg

Lazy start to the day with a home cooked breakie, we packed up all our stuff and headed out of Berlin toward Hamburg via the Autobahn by around 11am. It was a 3 hour trip via the Highway or 7 hours via the backroads, with an expected temp of 36 degrees today we decided not to be in the car all day. The Autobahn is not nearly as impressive or scary as we’d thought it would be. It’s actually just a big highway with 4 lanes both sides and no speed limit.

Arrived in Hamburg ahead of schedule so did a detour into the City to have a quick look around, grab a town map and have a drink break. The train station is massive!

IMG_0037IMG_0043IMG_0041We’re staying in an apartment just outside of Hamburg (about 15 mins drive), so after doing some shopping we checked in. The apartment has a pretty cool view and we have a little mate to keep us company for the next two days. How cute is Maya!

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2014 European Adventure Germany

Tuesday, 22nd July – Berlin

Today was surreal. No really, it was all about Picasso and Paul Klee amongst others.

Started off our morning with a home cooked breakfast. We’ve broken up our adventure by staying in some apartments via Airbnb, the best part is having a kitchen and being able to cook our own food.

Berlin has fantastic public transport, you can buy a day pass for about 8 Euro that allows you to use any tram, train or bus for the entire day until 3am the next morning.IMG_9907We negotiated a tram, then a bus to the Museum Berggruen this art gallery has over 100 Picasso pieces and it was incredible. There was also work by Henri Matisse, and Alberto Giacometti. Across the road there was another gallery that is included in the admission – The Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg which had a Paul Klee exhibit, so after looking through both galleries, a coffee and a shared croissant we were kept busy until lunchtime.

Close by the Museums is the Charlottenburg Palace, the largest palace in Berlin, and the only surviving royal residence in the city it was originally established in 1699 and is absolutely beautiful.IMG_9905A bus and a train and we went to the seedy tourist side of Berlin, Check Point Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial. It was hectic, full of tourists and we both really didn’t think much of it all.IMG_9958IMG_9956

We decided to go back to the apartment for a late lunch/early dinner (awesome steak and salad) and a nap.

The days are long here in Germany at the moment, sunrise before 6am and sunset around 9.30pm, so after a good nap we headed back out at 8.30pm to return to the Brandenburg Gate, we wanted to see it at sunset and had heard that it was beautifully lit up at night.

What an awesome evening, a balmy 26 degrees with a cool breeze, we set ourselves up in a perfect spot in front of the gate, had a few beers/wines, chatted and took a million photos. Such a perfect way to finish our trip in Berlin – off to Hamburg tomorrow.IMG_9972IMG_0025IMG_0012IMG_0009

 

2014 European Adventure Germany