Eutin, Bosau, Plon, Schleswig, Flensberg, Mogeltonder, Ribe, Kolding
26 days away
240 miles / 386 km since last post
1,466 miles / 2,359 km total
I am very pleased to report that the weather continues to be glorious here in Germany - our motorhome recording 30 degrees on Tuesday.
Upon leaving our camper stop in Lubeck we drove through and stopped in a few little towns on the way north to Schleswig. The first one being Eutin, known as the 'Weimar of the North' due to its pretty buildings. We parked in a supermarket car park (always handy places to park a massive vehicle), and after a bite to eat rode the bikes up to the local Schloss (palace) and around the palace gardens. After an easy ride we were soon back on the road towards Bosau. A minor disaster was averted when we almost drove off leaving our plates and glasses on the worktop from lunch! Stu spotted them just as we were driving out the car park - phew!
Bosau was a very brief stop as it only really had an old Romanesque church that was worth wandering around - pleasant enough.
We drove a bit further and parked in a camp stop in Plon. The plan being that if we wanted to stay the night we could, otherwise we could move on later if we felt like it. A few minutes after parking up a German guy came over to talk to me. At first he spoke completely in German and I didn't understand what he said. I told him I was English, but it appeared he didn't really speak any English. This didn't stop him however, and he kept pointing to the space next to our motorhome and saying 'auto' (car) and then pointing at our motorhome. We had not a clue what he was on about at all. Eventually he said the German word for friend, and mentioned the time '2pm' and we soon established that he wanted to know if we had seen his friend's car parked next to us when we had arrived. The answer was no, which took about a 100th of the time it took for him to try and ask us the question. Oh well.
We took a ride on the bikes into Plon which was pleasant, particularly as it had a beautiful lake, which made for a beautiful bike ride in the sunshine. When we got back to the motorhome we decided against staying at the camp stop. It was nice being near the lake but it was also on a main road so we thought it might be a bit noisy.
We headed further north to Schleswig, and found a good camper stop here for €14, electric and wi-fi included. Plus it was right on the harbour, so a really nice spot. As it was early evening by the time we arrived we decided we would relax for the evening and ride the bikes through Schleswig the following day.
The near crash incident with the crockery earlier in the day got me thinking about things that we have learned so far on this trip. The first thing is that we have pre-drive checklist for each time we leave a campsite, to make sure everything that needs to be done has been completed. For example, the gas turned off, skylights all closed, stabilisers wound up etc. However, even having this list, there are a few things that we still forget. The main one is usually not locking the cutlery drawer - something we only realise as we drive round a corner and hear it fly open.
We have also found that we still don't quite fit in with the rest of the motorhome community yet - for several reasons:
Despite point number 8) above, we did actually spend most of Wednesday on the campsite! Although this was a bit of a necessity as we had to do a bit of washing. It seemed to work out well as the weather was still lovely and sunny but the wind had picked up a little - perfect weather for drying washing! Stu had a bit of business to sort out too, so it was a good chance to get some practical stuff done.
Later in the afternoon, while our clothes finished drying (on a fantastic washing line contructed by Mr Cam on the motorhome awning), we took a bike ride around Schleswig - apparently a principle seat of the Vikings back in the 1st century. It was yet another attractive town - small, but perfectly formed. It had lovely cobbled streets and some very neat, and old, houses. A focal area of the town seemed to be around a small church. Each of the house around this church dated back to the 18th century and most of the houses had some amazing flowers adorning their fronts - some really beautiful roses, I've never seen anything like them.
After the town we took a ride around the harbour area, then decided to pack up the motorhome and get going before we would be turfed out at 5pm. We headed up to Flensberg - the northern most town in Germany. The main objective here was to stop and do some serious food shopping. Denmark is apparently very expensive, so this was our last opportunity to stock up on as much food and drink as we can before crossing the border tomorrow. We found a Lidl in Flensberg which was perfect and great value. I think 10 cartons of UHT milk should see us through Denmark. The people behind us in the queue must have thought we were mental - or seriously calcium deficient...
Once in Flensberg we drove straight to the free camper stop, which was just next to the river. We seemed to arrive at just the right time as there were only two spots left. Ten minutes after we got there, two motorhomes turned up and one had to find somewhere else to stay. Schadenfreude.
Stu enjoyed a bit of a lie-in Thursday morning - not bad really as this was only his first proper one of the trip so far. After some breakfast we took a ride on the bikes into Flensberg. Apparently this was the last seat of power for the Third Reich, when a cornered Hitler handed power to Admiral Karl Donitz in Flensberg just a few days before VE day. Today, it is essentially a industrial harbour town, and we didn't find it at all as pretty, neat and clean as pretty much everywhere else we have been so far in Germany. It was a nice bike ride around the harbour, but the main high street looked tired, with plenty of graffiti tags everywhere and the odd drunk dotted about. We decided it wasn't worth hanging around the whole day for, so after a pleasant enough ride we headed back to the motorhome and got going.
Worried that we still did not have enough food before we enter the more expensive Scandinavian countries, we decided to head back to the supermarket again and go wild in the aisles. (Just the 10 packets of Uncle Ben's rice...) We also filled up on LPG, and then headed west, before crossing the border into Denmark - filling up with Diesel just before we did so.
We did feel a noticeable change driving into Denmark. It felt more sparse - perhaps a little like being in Iceland (though not quite THAT sparse) but definitely different to Germany.
Our first stop was the little village of Mogeltonder. We parked up and once again took the bikes out for a ride. First we took the path along the river slightly out of the village, which led us to the royal castle, Schakenborg, which dates back to 1661. An impressive building, but inaccessible to the public. So we just had a look from the gates.
We then headed into the main part of the village. We took a path which lead through some farmland and right into the heart of the village. We took a look inside the Romanesque church, Mogeltonder Kirke, which dates back to 1180. At first it looked exactly the same as the Romanesque church we had seen back in Bosau, Germany, but then you look up and see the lavish ceiling frescos - really beautiful. It also contains the oldest church organ in Denmark, which dates back to 1679.
After a nice ride around the village, and getting some admiration of our Bromptons from some other Danish cyclists, we went back to the motorhome and continued out of Mogeltonder, and on to Bredebro where we had looked up a free camper stop. However, it proved a bit tricky to find. We had put in the GPS coordinates from the book, but driving up the road we couldn't see anything. Luckily, a lad came out and showed us where to go, but when we drove onto the land it didn't look particularly inviting. It was just a huge gravel area next to a farm, and there were no other campers there. We decided that, despite it being free, we'd drive a little further to the next camper stop. About 20 minutes later we got to Ribe, and a more populated camper stop - which had the added benefit of a free toilet block too.
We had a bit of a lazy start on Friday morning, and didn't venture out on the bikes until very late morning. Ribe - the oldest existing Danish town - was easy to navigate and cycle around. The main attraction is probably the cathedral in the centre, surrounding this are some nice looking cafes and cobbled streets leading off in various directions. We took a stroll down the high street, which seemed very nice, and spying at some of the prices in shop windows, on stalls and on restaurant menus, it didn't strike me as being as expensive as I had expected. We also spotted a cash point so were able to get our hands on our first Danish Krona.
We cycled along the river, and stopped for a moment sitting on the grass. It struck us that it would be a perfect day for a picnic, so we rode back to the motorhome, made ourselves a quick lunch, packed it in the cool bag and set off into Ribe again. We stopped a little further along from the river at a picnic stop next to a little farm. It had some sheep and goats, and some rather cute little baby goats too. A splendid spot for lunch.
Having seen much of what Ribe had to offer, we hit the road once more, bound for Kolding. We arrived just before 4pm and it seemed we took the last spot in the camper stop. This one was not free unfortunately, but not too pricey either and it was in a lovely location right next to the harbour with a view out to sea. On our ride into Kolding took us straight to the main attraction of this mid-sized town, the hill-top castle of Koldinghus. Part of it still seen today dates back to the mid 15h century, but you can tell that large parts of it have been more recently restored. It was great building all the same, and from here you could get a good viewpoint over the town. Besides the castle there were not many other major attractions - although a bike ride through the town centre was still very pleasant. We also spotted a couple of quite English looking restaurants and even an old English Rock 'n' Roll pub.
We have to be out of the camper stop by 10am tomorrow (Saturday) so the rest of Friday evening was spent catching up with the blog and photos, and also taking advantage of the free wifi - we always have a good internet binge when there is free wifi!