Hamburg, Ludwigslust, Schwerin, Wismar, Bruel, Gustrow, Priepert
69 days away
277 miles / 446 km since last post
4,743 miles / 7,633 km total
By Monday morning, thankfully, the weather had cleared up significantly and the wind had died down. The campsite owner came around at 11am. I thought he was checking if we had paid for the night, so was a little confused at first. It turned out that he was expecting payment for the next night and that check-out time was normally 10am. It would have been nice if they had told us that when we arrived! He seemed nice enough about letting us pack up our things and go, but it was a bit of an unnecessary rush, especially as the campsite had loads of spaces free.
We made our way to Hamburg, but by this time the weather had taken a turn for the worse and the rain started again. We took a drive along the Reeperbahn, looking for the camper stop we found in our book. When we arrived it was already full, so we had to move on. Our GPS application showed one other campsite in the city, and by the time we arrived there it was raining heavily and to top it off, they had no space either! We were both feeling tired and a little annoyed there was no space in either site. We stopped there briefly as the site was next to a McDonalds, so we were able to pick up the free wifi for a while. It was a chance for us to work out what to do.
After a while I think we realised that we weren't even sure why we came to Hamburg. It seemed like a logical place to go, being a major city in Germany, but we hadn't looked at the guides at all to see what was here. It then dawned on us that we hadn't really done any proper planning for our trip in Germany, and we realised that this is exactly what we needed to do. As the rain gave us no real to desire to stay, we decided to find a campsite out of Hamburg. Just at that moment, the site owner came over and told us that they did have a space after all! However, we had already made our decision to move on; the campsite was so noisy as it was bang in the middle of the city, it wouldn't have made for a nice stop anyway.
We headed east out of Hamburg and found a place at right next to a river at Stover Strand. We had a good rest for the evening. We realised that we have been pushing on at quite a rate with this trip - and we needed to take a bit of a break. The heavy rain continued for the evening but it didn't seem to matter too much.
On Tuesday we decided to spend time looking into our trip through Germany and deciding where we actually wanted to go and what we wanted to see. I think we had both been feeling a little uneasy that we hadn't done any proper planning, so this made us feel a lot happier.
By Wednesday morning the warm sunshine had returned. We finished off some trip planning then drove onto Ludwigslust to view the palace there. It was OK as something to stop of along the way, and also served as a convenient place to break for lunch. Much more impressive was the castle at Schwerin a few miles north. The castle and gardens here were very impressive and were certainly worthy of parking up and taking the bikes for a ride around them. It is now Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's parliament building, and is made up of various styles dating from 16th to 19th century. It appears to have permanent scaffolding, indicating ongoing restoration work.
To take the bikes around the castle we had parked in a free camper stop - essentially a sports club car park. Whilst it was free, we decided against staying there the night, preferring to find something a bit less like a car park! We drove a bit further north, away from the bigger towns, and found a lovely little camper stop. This was much more to our liking, as it was small, quiet, we were the only people there, it had electric and they even trusted you to pay the money - only €2 for the night. We were very happy to stay here the night. Much better than staying in a car park in the main town. Even more great news was we finally found our cotton buds! It might not sound that exciting, but having bought a massive bag from 99p shop before we left the UK, I knew they were on-board somewhere but hadn't been able to find them for several days. Mystery solved!
Thursday morning we awoke to a sunny, peaceful day in our campsite. Stu took advantage of the electric connection and gave the motorhome a well needed vacuum. We didn't end up leaving until around 2pm, and headed just a few miles away to Wismar. This city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there are parts of the city which still give the hint that it was once under Swedish rule. Apparently the city is often used by film makers, and the harbour features in the 1922 Dracula movie Nosferatu. We found it to be a nice old town, interesting given the history and worthy of a brief cycle around. As it was a nice sunny day we opted to end our ride at a nice looking beer house in the city.
Stu had a bit of work he needed to do, and we also desperately needed to do some washing. The best way to achieve both of these was to find a decent place where we could spend a couple of nights. It would allow Stu the whole day to do some work, and me the whole day to get the washing and drying done. We found a good stop near Bruel, which was situated right next to a pretty lake. Even better, the motorhome area of the campsite was separate to the rest of it, so we were away from most other people, their kids and dogs! It meant we were a bit further away from the toilets, showers and washing machines but I think it was worth it for the peace and quiet.
We spent the rest of Thursday relaxing, and Friday morning we got to work. Stu with his business work, and me with the washing. Fortunately the weather was extremely kind to us with sun and wind, so the washing dried in quick time. Not an exciting day in terms of our blog, but a productive day nevertheless. We celebrated at the end of the day the only way we knew how - with a bottle of Cava and a couple of Magnum ice creams - living the dream!
We left the campsite on Saturday morning feeling refreshed. It's always nice to stay in the same place for more than one night. We headed further east to Gustrow, home to another 16th century castle. We had a brief look at the castle then continued on our bikes into the town where it appeared they were having some sort of food festival. We decided to grab a bench and have some lunch - we opted for the steak stall. Once we had finished it seemed the German entertainment had begun on the stage so we decided to make a move. Stu note: We both enjoyed watching the drunk man dance around with a bag on his head!
Once back in the motorhome we made our way to the supermarket to stock up on food. The next destination on the list was Rheinsberg. As time was getting on we decided we would go there tomorrow and found a camper stop along the way. The one we found was a peaceful location but the site looked very busy. We spotted a couple of spaces we might be able to squeeze into but it was proving a bit difficult and stressful for me. We thought we had finally found a good space to park the van but the owner advised us that it wasn't actually somewhere we could park. We finally managed to get a suitable space - such a joy having to park a 7.8 metre long motorhome when it seems like the entire campsite is sitting there watching you (haven't they got anything better to do?). I'm not sure Stu quite understands the stress involved. It didn't help that when we decided to put the chocks down I managed to drive over them, giving the Germans even more of a show! After much stress, the motorhome was finally parked and up on the chocks. We settled in for the night with a few beers and Stu cooked us a Thai Green Curry (possibly the hottest curry I have ever had, but thanks for trying Stu). At least the campsite was only €7 and was quiet.
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