Wednesday, 9 November 2016

T4rdis2 Tour 2 - Day 126 - 133 Germany

Day 126 - 129
Thursday 3rd November - Sunday 6th November 2016

There's not really much to say about the last few days - mainly because the weather has been fairly miserable, so other than a few walks, we've not really done much!

T4rdis2 having a cheap ride on a ferry
On Thursday we moved from Rerik to Travemunde - a town that is located at the mouth of the River Trave, and that has been one of Germany's major sea side resorts since 1802, however getting there caused some debate!  We had a choice - we could either go the long way round which would have added about 70 kms to our journey, or we could choose a short ferry ride across the River Trave - a course of action that seemed the most sensible - but when John checked it out online it appeared  it would cost about 30 euros for T4rdis2 to cross.  In the end we choose the ferry anyway, mainly to save the miles, but it was a very nice surprise when we got there and the chap who issues the tickets gave us one for just 6 euros!

The Stellplatz we were aiming for turned out to be right on the main fishing wharf and was surrounded by fish (and pommes (chip)) restaurants, as well as numerous little stalls selling 'the catch of the day', it was a shame we'd just been and caught ours at the local Lidl!  Anyway, as you would imagine, there was a vague aroma about the place, and occasionally, it was a bit noisy as people went about their work, but the site suited our needs well so we decided to stay put for the time being.

As the afternoon passed we managed to squeeze in a short walk between the frequent heavy showers, but because of the early nights that were drawing in we only went about a mile before turning back.  However, that was far enough to take us to the town's lovely white sand beach, which I'm quite sure would have looked spectacular in the sunshine.
2.80 for adults and 1.40 for

 It was backed by a huge long promenade and along it's length there were regular sitting places as well as imaginative children's play parks, but to use it in the summer you have to cough up your dosh and buy a ticket at one of the machines that are placed at frequent intervals!  We've never been asked to pay to go on a beach before, but maybe it was instead of Kurtax - a tax that we've been required to stump up in quite a lot of towns for the use of their facilities weather you use them or not - at least this way you get a choice!  During our outing we also got to admire the Barque Passat - a lovely 4 masted schooner that is now a boat museum - it must have been a fantastic site under full sail!

The light grey is the water and the darker colour is
the ocean floor - and the black blobs -
they're ducks!
On Friday we stayed put at Travemunde, mostly because we'd only seen a tiny portion of the area the day before, but once again the weather was against us and the rain that had been teeming all night continued to hammer down for most of the morning.  However, in the afternoon, God's watering cans must have been nearly empty because it started to abate, and by evening blue sky had re-emerged, but the cold wind didn't want to let up, so rather than the bike ride we'd planned, we just donned our coats and went for another walk.
John pretending to be
an owl

Initially we retraced our steps to the beach, but then we went further afield and walked out for about 3 miles along the coastal path that allowed us some lovely views of the crystal clear waters of the Baltic.

On Saturday we decided to move on, even though we felt we probably hadn't managed to do Travemunde justice and that it would have had more to offer.  But the weather didn't look as if it was going to get any better - it had poured again for most of the night, and the morning dawned grey, damp and very unappealing, so we thought we might as well use the time to travel.  Therefore, we chose Kiel as our next target - a destination that was about 100 kms away.  Kiel is a city that is located at the end of the Kieler Forde inlet and it also marks the beginning of the Nord-Ostsee Canal which has been in service since 1895 and has 2 giant locks which we thought might be interesting to see.  However, as we approached the sprawling industrial dock land it didn't appear very inviting, and when we reached the tatty 'Wohnmobil' parking area we glanced at each other with such a look of dismay that we knew we weren't going to stop, so we pressed T4rdis2's de-materialise button and sodded off very quickly!

However, at that stage we had no back up plan or new place to aim for, so we pulled up in the next lay-by and out came our trusty Bord Atlas that we dropped a pin into to help us hatch a new route!  To cut a long story short we ended up driving back to Plon, a town that lies in the Schleswig-Holstein region.  This area is well known for it's 140 odd lakes, and it's name translates to Holstein's Switzerland because of them, and Plon itself, along with the Stellplatz we were aiming for sits right on the edge of the largest of them - The Grober Ploner See.  

Once again, it stopped raining in the afternoon so off we toddled for what is fast becoming our regular constitutional - another 6 mile walk along a narrow spit of land that protrudes about a mile out into the middle of the lake to provide viewing points for bird watching along the way.  

The left one is earth and the other one is the moon

Then on our return journey we passed along by the towns planetarium - models of the planets and information about them set out at scaled intervals that represent the distances between them.  Finally, we pottered  through the town of Plon from where we caught glimpses of it's 17th century Schloss, and we also browsed around their estate agents windows to see how much property in this area is - I don't think we'll be moving in any time soon!

On Sunday morning we left Plon behind and set off on the rather long journey to Cuxhaven, but the early part of our journey was plagued with diversions mainly due to road works, and these forced us to change our route.  John had planned to avoid Hamburg  which is the 2nd biggest city in Germany, but now without going miles out of our way we had no choice and we had to head straight for it! 

As we neared the city we passed through the Elb Tunnel - a 3km long and several lane wide passage that crosses under the River Elb, and we also passed the massive industrial dock lands where ginormous container ships were being loaded by cranes that passed over huge gantries.  

But, none of this caused us any delay and we were very quickly on the opposite side of Hamburg and leaving it's vast industrialisation behind.   And after that came mile after mile of apple orchards - they stretched for as far as the eye could see - and must look spectacular in the spring when they're in blossom.

Eventually we reached the town of Cuxhaven which is  another popular sea side resort on the North Coast of Germany, and our travel guide informed us that although it isn't very large it can boast that roughly 3 million guest nights a year are booked in it's hotels making tourism it's major industry!  However, besides the sea side, it's other main claim to fame are rockets.  Apparently, between 1945 and 1964 about 500 rockets were launched,  the most well  known being  three V2 rockets in an operation called Backfire in October 1945.

By the time we arrived it was well past 2pm and we were starving, but T4rdis2 was also complaining of thirst because our fresh water tank was nearly empty.  Not a problem we thought, the Stellplatz is bound to have water - but no - we took our ticket, drove around the site and there wasn't a service point in site, and when we asked a fellow camper, he seemed to indicate that there wasn't any available - so we couldn't stop there.  However, this time   John had done some careful planning so he knew of 2 other Stellplatz in the area, but the 'cow' was dry at number 2 too - because you needed a token to operate the dispenser and there was nobody available to supply one.  So on we went to Stellplatz 3 which is perched right on the edge of a marina, and initially, it looked as if there was no water available there either, but a kind German gentleman eventually directed us to it, and it turned out that we'd actually driven right by it on the way in!

Stellplatz 3 and the view form our window
Anyway, once T4rdis2's thirst had been quenched we parked up overlooking the water along with quite a few other vans.  The site has room for about 100 but at the mo it's only about a quarter full so there's plenty of room for everyone - and if the rain doesn't keep us awake, I think we'll all get rocked to sleep tonight because the gale force wind is howling around us like a banshee, and this position is a little exposed to say the least!  However, on the upside the forecast says the weather might get a bit better over the next few days, but on the downside it also says it might snow - well we are on the same latitude as the lake district now!

Sunday dinner T4rdis2 style

Day 131
Monday 7th November 2016 Cold and windy with very occasional glimmers of sunshine.

This morning we considered getting our bikes out and going for a ride but the wind was still howling so  we abandoned that idea and settled for another walk along the coastal path that runs along the top of the sea defence dyke.  There are a lot of them around here - huge 18 - 20 feet high structures that protect the low lands of the towns and villages from flooding, and to start our walk we were required to climb a staircase which had placards on saying where the water had reached in previous flood events.

From our vantage point on top of the dyke we had excellent views out over the estuary of the Elbe as it flowed into the North Sea, and we were quite surprised by the speed of the tide as it raced in to cover the vast mud flats on which we'd seen people walking only a very short time before the water arrived.  Sadly, it all looked a bit bleak in the inclement weather we've got at the mo, but even with sunshine I'm not so sure this place would have been quite our cup of tea - we found the muddy beaches less than appealing.

Day 132 and 133
Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th November 2016 - It's still very cold.

On Tuesday morning we decided to move on again - partly because we're having to buy our electric by the kilowatt hour, and because we're keeping the heating on overnight, the meter is gobbling our euros! (We're using electric overnight cos the diesel heating function is a bit noisy and keeps me awake).  So we picked out an ACSI campsite further around the coast at a place called Eckwarderhorne, but I think it's other name is The Back of Beyond!  Now, I'm not saying it's not a nice place - there are coastal walkways and cycle paths in both directions, but in places your coastal view is obscured by the continuation of the huge dyke, and in relation to how far the tide goes out - this place could be twinned with Skeggy!
A bloody great fog horn!
I hope that doesn't go off
in the middle of the night

For most of Tuesday we were treated to long periods of wintery sunshine,  but by the time we'd got settled in at the campsite, it was well into the afternoon so all we did was to take ourselves off for another coastal walk where we spotted noisy oyster catchers, curlews and lapwings as well as numerous obligatory gulls, and once again we watched the tide race in as the afternoon sun sunk towards it's watery oblivion.  

And I think the slightly warm watery sunshine of the previous day lulled us into a false sense of security for Wednesday, because then we did get out bikes out with a plan to ride a round trip of about 50 kms to the town of Diekmannshausen.  We thought we would have magnificent views as we went, because on the map it looked as if this ride would take us right around the bay - but for a fair bit of the time the dyke got in the way and obscured obliterated the vistas.  And there were a few other 'elements' that detracted form our pleasure on this ride - the first being several gated fields full of sheep.  Now where there's sheep there is usually shit  poo - resulting in very messy tyres that needed cleaning when we got back!  Oh, and did I mention the cold - it was 2 degrees, damp and with occasional precipitation in the air - and absolutely no sunshine.  Even though we'd wrapped up with numerous layers our fingers and toes were so cold they were painful - so after about 20 kms we gave up and turned back, but not before getting even colder while we ate our very quick lunch.

Anyway, we're back in the nice warm confines of T4rdis2 now, but I think it will have to be a degree or two warmer before I'll be persuaded to venture out on my trusty steed again - but John says Friday looks good, I say 'we'll wait and see!'

Take care xx