2015-05-12 to 2015-05-20: Germany; 2283 Km
The initial idea for the trip was to visit Northern Germany, and then perhaps into Denmark or perhaps further into the north east of Germany depending on where the inclination took us.
2015-05-12: Home to Blijham, Groningen; 242 Km
1st day of a trip to North Germany, but we will see where we end up. This turned out to be Camper park Turfstee; very friendly, very good services. €11.50 per night all in, and shower 50c. Dog happy with a bone and there's a field for him to walk in. Windy and quite cold but dry and sunny between times. Not an evening for sitting outside by the BBQ. Went to a very small camp field at first, but this one popped up close by. Only a few campers here.
There was really nice walk along the canal from the campsite, in between fields with horses, a sort of petting zoo with goats, geese, ponies and what looked like a greyhound running track. There was a peacock, not seen but heard, and the sound of a cuckoo, the first I've heard for ages. The walk was 2.5 kilometres and was nice in the evening and in the morning, when the dog got me out of bed at a ridiculous time. This was to be repeated often!
2015-05-13: Blijham to Schnevedingen, Germany - 286Km
Trying to avoid Bremen meant lots of loops and wrong turnings. The countryside is mostly flat, similar to Groningen but with sometimes confusing signage. Nice weather, but cold in the wind. Eventually we settled on the area of Shnevedingen as a target as it had a choice of campsites. One was a big campsite, but it was half full and heavily reserved, probably because of the Ascension Day holiday the following day. The alternative was a farm site, at Mariechens Hof, with electricity, water, drop and WC emptying but no shower. Very friendly, only spoke "plat deutch" but we got by. Fresh bread from the farm for breakfast in the morning.
Very quiet site; nice sunset and only a few other campers. Very cold but we dragged out the table and chairs and BBQ'd a steak.
Retreated inside for pudding though. Timber had a walk along the road for a while, to the sound of skylarks and frightened some deer as we walked. Walked again in the very early morning and frightened more (or the same) deer. Planned the strategy for the coming few days, in general and specifically for tomorrow.
2015-05-14: Schneverdingen to Klein Plankow - 231 Km
Travelled towards the east with the intention of stopping around Domitz but the campsites were not so nice so we carried on and ended up at a campground for all sorts of purposes (tents, caravans, campers, bungalows, etc. Nice spot called Camping am Blankerzee (beware, URL not liked by my virus checker) and would have been very peaceful but Ascension Day in Germany (at least this part) is also called Herren Dag. All day we saw groups of men pulling beer trolleys and dressed in strange gear. In the evening they all appeared to be noisily drunk and shouting at each other and imitating the cuckoos across the lake we were camped by. It remains to be seen how late it will carry on. There was, however, a spectacular sunset to amuse both us and the partying gentlemen.
The campsite lady had directed me to a spot by the woods when I said I'd like to be able to get Timber in the woods if he needs it in the middle of the night. So we had a good spot with a walk that went for miles starting at the camper. Walked there in the early morning as Timber didn't get me up until 06:00 so we saw another deer and had a great walk in pleasant walking temperature and rising sun (see pictures).
The price (aound EUR16) was a lot given that they don't have a water tap for campers, and as we were very short (= ran out in the evening (note: don't trust the indicator)) this was a problem. Filled up with a watering can but it means we need to sterodent the supply before using it for drinking water. Also I don't know if they have a foul water dump, which is not a problem for us, but could have been if we hadn't done it this morning. Need a German water connector tomorrow. Couldn't get one today as all the shops were shut (see Ascension Day).
Had a beer at the bar and it was full of people who lived in the same street in Haaksbergen, in the Achterhoek in the Netherlands. After years working at Thales, the accent was recognisable so it was interesting to talk to them.
2015-05-15: Klein Plankow to Hagen, Rügen - 285 Km
We wanted to see some of the lakes around Mūritz but it was difficult to get close and so we had decided to try to get to Rügen Island, although it is a long way. We made it, after seeing some very nice old villages, and some clearly East Germany villages. The villages with cobblestones were very effective at keeping the speed down!
Shopped at Stralsund and crossed to Rūgen and to Prora where we saw the Hitler-era attempt at a peoples holiday resort that had featured on a BBC documentary with James May, but we didn't stop as it was very busy.
Decided on Hagen as a destination for the night. We had found a larger water connector and first thing in Hagen was to fill up with water. The campersight is very busy by day as it is a car park for the walk to Königstuhle, a set of white cliffs. Took a walk along the path for a way and enjoyed the sun as it went down. After dinner (sausages, salad, spuds) went for a walk with Timber to explore the paths and found a hare for him to dream about chasing. Took some nice sunset pictures with the phone from places set up to admire the sunsets.
We had some nice weather, as you can see from the sky, and another nice sunset, but I'm a bit puzzled by the sunset image which appears to have a couple of giraffes walking across the field. I assume my phone was confused by some tyre tracks.
2015-05-16: Rūgen to Peenemunde - 153 Km
We couldn't get into Lowhe because of roadworks so we moved on in the direction of the Insel Ouddom. Big traffic jam to get off Rügen but we went round by the old bridge and went to Peenemunde. Stopped on the way at a sculpture park (Skulpturenpark Katzow) where they had all sorts of sculptures in a large field. Some were very effective whilst some were difficult to comprehend. The farmer opposite the museum was taking the piss by parking lots of his old machinery in a field and sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference between his equipment and the works of art.
I think we've all been in the scenario depicted by this family grouping. I don't know the name, but the one below is, not unsurprisingly, Stierkopf by Thomas Otto from Germany, 2013.
It's difficult to know which angle is best to shoot it, but it looks good from all angles. The following picture is Kernstück by Tobel from Germany in the 1990's, and is clever as the central part has been taken from the stone, and I have no idea how.
The site at Peenemunde had 24 campers and was expensive when all options are chosen, eg shower and electricity. Parked behind an old ship a little separated from the rest and went for a walk round to see a Russian made East German missile ship, a U-Boat and the Peenemunde site. We will try the museum tomorrow morning before we leave. There's a V2 and a V1 on the site that we could see whilst walked around. I then took Timber along the path by the sea and it looks very promising for a longer walk. Shower and WC block is a long trudge away in the morning and it's raining hard so we have the prospect of wet dog in the night.
The camper in the harbour for the night. It was a high tide! And below when the tide gets really high, we go underwater in this.
This was the view of the museum at Peenemunde from outside. More of this to come.
Remember Timber? This is a blog about travels with (and without) Timber, and here he is in Peenemunde looking a little grey around the muzzle but otherwise OK. He didn't know what was to come later!
We set up the camper for single beds to try it out. When the passenger seat is rotated there is a lot more room in the camper, but Timber can't get round the front of the seat to lie down, which is one of his places in the night. Something that has to be accommodated!
Went for a late night wander with Timber after the rain and did a loop by the water which was OK.
Single beds worked out OK; no problems sleeping but Timber can get right between the beds when he wants to, so that is a problem. A Timber kiss first thing in the morning is not always ideal.
Timber woke at 05:20 so I took him out for a walk along the coastal path, which was great. Cloudless sky, and a fresh breeze that wasn't too cold. We passed a field of horses with three big horses and a small white pony. The pony was outside the field (through an electric fence) but went back in when it saw us coming. As we passed, the pony came to see Timber and they stared at each other for a while. Then we carried on, but the pony came out to the path and followed us for a while. I thought we'd gained a pet for a moment. Further along there were big birds of prey hovering and two were dancing. Must look up what birds Peenemunde has (Ospreys).
Went back to bed after the walk and rose at about 08:15 and had bacon and eggs for breakfast, I went for a trudge to the shower, which was very nice, and we packed up ready to go with the intention to visit the Peenemunde museum.
Below, we see the shoreline at Peenemunde at very early in the morning, with a hint of large bird.
From the outside the museum at Peenemunde looked grim, but once inside it was nicely laid out and very pleasant, The exhibits of a V1 a V2 and various bits were interesting, but the best exhibit was the timeline which explained in detail the parallel political and scientific developments of rockets from 1918 to 1945. Fascinating, very sensitively presented and very informative. We left feeling we could have spent a lot longer there.
Below, a V1 "Doodlebug" which was developed at the site. Lots of other related equipment too, such as the launch platforms, etc.
The logo on the base of a V2 rocket. The V4 referred to the development number, and I think the V4 development was equivalent to the V2 rocket the went into production.
A view of the V1, with the power station in the background. All of the work was carried out by slave labour from all over Europe.
2015-05-17: Peenemunde to Priepert - 230 Km
Saw huge traffic jams getting off the island (again) going north and expected similar going south. We didn't see much sea as they seem to hide it away and it's difficult to see which streets lead down to the sea and whether you can park. We found the inevitable traffic jam but it cleared up at Usedom (you've seen the city, now here's the traffic jam). Headed towards the intended destination of Neustelitz (Nostrils), keeping an eye out for a bank to get some cash out. Eventually found one in Fieburg.
The camper park in Neustelitz was the harbour, but was just a car park, so we tried the second choice which was a very strange arrangement with no campers and no sign of camper facilities. Gave it a miss and then settled on Priepert, which is very quiet, just 4 campers in a field for 14 or so, and all the facilities. Filled up immediately with water as that was low and we were set. EUR14 for the night all-in. Bit of a grassy area by the water but realised afterwards that dogs aren't allowed, so will have to do something else for midnight and early morning walks. There is a lane that will suffice.
Now to decide about tomorrow!
Decided to go to Waren on the Mūritz for the night, and first to find out about the Nationalpark Mūritz.
Timber was awake at 04:50 and so went for a walk up the lane and found a strip between the fields that went on a for a long time into the woods. Saw an owl slowly scanning the field. Went back to sleep again until 08:00 and then after a while went again for half a walk along the same field. Very nice spot!
More happy campers in Priepert, and another sunset, this time over the lake.
2015-05-18: Priepert to Insel Werder - 163 Km
Went to the Nationalpark Müritz entrance at Boek to find out more about the park, but there wasn't much info, and none in English. Then picked out a couple of campsites and found one that was outside a large campsite but doubted whether to try it and decided to try another. This was a really nice site but very expensive (EUR27) so decided to move on Barbara picked a site that we couldn't find and then another that wasn't in the place that it said. Some confusion therefore. Turns out that we needed to go a little further along the road and there was our intended destination.
On the way we passed the site of a battle that took place in 1806 when "Colonel York", in charge of a few Prussian hunters held the French army (Napoleon) so that Blūcher could get his men to safety. 70 Prussians were killed and commemorated. Timber and I explored the spot but found no Prussians.
Got to the campsite at Insel Werder and eventually, after a bit of doubt, found a good place, although other vans came and parked right next to us, surprisingly.
Had a really nice BBQ of turkey and salad and bread. And picked up a bit of WIFI by walking to the campsite reception, about 400 metres away, but not enough to know what is going on in the world.
Timber awoke in the night at 03:30 and needed to go out so I went for a quickie (actually between the rain showers) and hoped that would see him through to a reasonable time, but it wasn't to be. He was up again at 06:30 and we went for a longish tramp in the woods through all sorts of paths that ended up on the far side of the camping terrain, and we walked the "Ruundweg" (the route that circles the island) and came back to the camper that way. He was then OK until 08:30 or so when Barbara got up to put him on his lead.
Had a nice breakfast with rolls from the campsite and set of intending to reach the area of Havelberg.
There was a picnic table next to the camper so we didn't need to break out the table and chairs and the Cobb was up and ready in no time. Timber was looking forward to the evening meal, and the walks, which took us back to the main campsite, below, but not the naturist campsite further along.
2015-05-19: Insel Werder to Burg - 188 Km
It turns out that the only campsite in Havelberg is on an island and was pretty full and not attractive. We tried to see the city but couldn't park so we decided head on to the Harz area, and aimed for Burg as the first option. Got there and it is a really nice campsite called Eschenhof with everything except WIFI. It was not expensive in the first place but when I registered I helped to carry crates of beer into the bar and as a result got the night for €10 all in, as opposed to €13 with dog.
Had a really good BBQ of pulled pork, after buying a pan to hold the pulled pork in the Cobb BBQ, with coleslaw, salad and bread.
However, the previous night, we could hear Timber was licking himself all the time and we thought it was a previous sore spot on his side, but we had a look at him and he has a large and nasty looking growth on his penis. This is worrying, and we don't want to see a German vet, with associated language problems. Tomorrow we are going to take him home to see a vet there. We are about 500 Km from home so we will have a long day.
We will see how he is this evening, where he has a nice little walk along a river if he needs it tonight.
He needed the riverbank at about 04:30!
OK, this is the last one of me and the dog relaxing next to the camper, The photo below is of a visitor, an Osprey I think.
2015-05-20: Burg to Home - 495 Km
- Started at a reasonable time, dumped the foul-water tank and hit the road, only to be held up by a crash on the motorway between Magdeburg and Hannover. Luckily the rest of the journey was not hindered and we got home in good time. Camper gets a good clean out tomorrow, and we make an inventory of lessons-leaned ready for next time, which is now in the planning.
Timber had a new suit after his operation, which he was very pleased to lose when he was healed.
Timber was seen by the vet when we got home. He has a benign tumour, but it's in a place such that it has to come off. He was operated upon and had to walk on a lead for 10 days as well as wear a sort of romper suit to prevent him attacking the stitches. He's back to normal now, and ready for the next adventure.
We enjoyed the trip and again learned a lot. Some things to look into are solutions to internet access problems, which would also help with the other problem that we need more information on the places we are visiting so that we can choose what we want to see better.
A few random lessons-learned are:-
- We need to take more towels, and not leave the shampoo and soap in the shower where we camped. (has now been fixed; well, at least the towels bit)
- We need to take enough fleeces for when it gets nippy in the evenings
- The camper has a problem with playing music through the Aux output that needs to be fixed. (Has been fixed now)
- The seats that convert into a bed are harder foam and a mattress cover would be very handy