Part 5 - Berlin, Lubeck, Flensburger and Denmark

Trip Start Dec 10, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Our European Vacation - Diary Update 5

Day 99 -Monday 22nd May 2006 - Berlin
We have spent the morning at Flugel (A Hymer Dealer) in the outer suburbs of Berlin. Finally we have the driver's side door and 2 main window locks fixed. We feel safer and Gemeah's a little less paranoid that someone will break in, well it sure feels safer than having the door strapped shut via a strap through the door handle and seat anyway! Then onto Christina and Holger's where Wayne was a little embarrassed as he broke the tail light on the gate reversing in to the gate. Oh well that's another trip to Hymer for another part! First thing we did when we got back into Lichtenrade (their suburb in Berlin) was go to the little Donar Kebab place where we basically got addicted to Kebabs last time we were here.... Ohhh they were great.
Wayne went off to the physio this afternoon to get his neck looked at as it has been causing him problems. Tonight we caught up with everyone at the Sellien's and had a big hearty German dinner.

Day100 -Tuesday 23rd May 2006 - Berlin
Another big hearty German breakfast of cheese and meats after a nice sleep in. Wayne went into the city to have a look around and find out if there were any poker tournaments on in the Casino.. he really is desperate and missing his regular Friday night tournaments. Garth I need you to come over just to give him his poker fix once a week !!!! I stayed at home to do lots of things like washing, emailing, writing a report and then off to the physio also to get my leg looked at as a pulled a calf muscle in Hamburg as my legs are too tight from not having their regular beating from Robyn my masseuse !! Anyway I got to the physio and after examining my leg he had a look at my back and stuff the leg he was straight into my back (which has been causing heaps of pain but I am just used to it) and trying to level out my hips !! I think he was a bit horrified that I could not come back for multiple sessions.. oh well will have to get Wayne to rub my calf muscle... yeah right... where is the Bling Bling Boy Massuese when he is needed ??? Wayne and Christina also went shopping for all the food that they need on Thursday for Heike and Achim's Wedding Party. Another big dinner with Holger encouraging Wayne to drink too much and Wayne getting very very drunk on wine.... Oh not another night of snoring... thank God for the ear plugs.

Day 101 -Wednesday 24th May 2006 - Berlin
Today was basically spent preparing for the party... cooking (Wayne that is !!), putting up the marques as the weather is still bad and unpredictable.. rain, then sunshine than gail force winds and more rain !! It was father's day today in Germany and there were lots of young people running around drunk. We had moved "Misty" out onto the street at the front of house and I was inside doing some cleaning when a group of 5 young lads went walking past... then they stopped and were circling the motorhome (unaware that someone was in there) they were talking about the Aussie stickers but they sounded and looked like they were up to mischief.. one of them was jumping up and down on the stairs when Gemeah popped out of the door and said G'day boys... they got the fright of their lives as they were not expecting anyone to be in there and took off ....we think maybe they were going to spray paint the car or something. Wayne saw them go behind the van from the kitchen window and was just about behind Misty to make sure I was alright when they all went running away.

Day 102-Thursday 25th May 2006 - Berlin
We spent the morning decorating the marques for the party and preparing everything else that needed to be done. Come 6pm people started arriving for the party... now we soon learnt that like the Greeks the German's love smashing plates and crockery at weddings. However, they do it as they enter the party and they really get into it... the groom has to provide plates and crockery for smashing but some of the guests also turned up with huge boxes full of stuff to smash. Did we mention the amount of alcohol that is also here... 3 massive kegs and enough wine and champagne to last for weeks. Wayne helped test out an even smaller keg of Heinekin. For the party they had hired two Russians (bit who now live in Germany) who played the clarinet and the piano accordion. One of the Russians was absolutely fascinated with Gemeah (and her chest) and had her cornered and would not let her go. She kept trying to signal to me to come and help her escape but I just thought it was very funny and left her there. The rain stopped for most of the party so there was much dancing and eating and drinking. Gem got chatting with one of Heike's girlfriend's Nina (who spoke perfect English as she was an exchange student in the USA) and who is a sports physio. Nina has offered to take us sight seeing on Saturday. Gem decided to get into the spirit and had too much champagne to drink but this is always a good thing as she really loosens up and then spent the remainder of the party getting the German's to practice their English whilst trying to avoid the Russian who wanted to take her home. Sleeping was a bit hard for both of us tonight as the room was spinning for some reason... then after only 2 hours of sleep we were woken at 4pm by the police trying to break into one of the units down the road !!! Oh what a night.

Day 103 -Friday 26th May 2006
O.K for some reason we both woke up with headaches this morning !!! neither of us think it had anything to do with the alcohol of course. Today was spent packing up things from the party and cleaning Misty. Tonight was a hoot as some of Sellien's friends came over who we had met before at Christmas (and a couple we had not) and it was very multicultural as their these friends were German, Greek and French. They helped us plan the "must see" spots in France and Germany and other places of Europe.

Day 104 -Saturday 27th May 2006
Today was fun because it was the official day of the wedding for the family where they all go to the marriage celebrant office and then they went off to a big family dinner. Wayne and I went sight seeing this afternoon with Nina who picked us up in her new groovy little Volkswagen only to reverse into one of the big poles that is out the front of the Sellien's.... we taught her a new word... Bugger !! Nina was a great guide and took us to a heap of places including the largest Turkish occupied area and to a great Turkish restaurant for lunch. Then we went of to a spot where they have a pool in the Berlin River and the local flea markets where they sell anything and everything... some Turkish boy heard us talking about bikes and came and offered us a beautiful bike for 50 euro - no doubt stolen! then off to another hip area that was full of local markets where Nina and Wayne tucked into some yummy sweets while Gem checked out the silver jewelry. Nina and Gem went into a beautiful bed and bathroom shop and Wayne was bored so he started flicking through the pictures he had taken on his camera and one of the shop assistants started abusing him for taking pictures of the shop... he told her he was not taking pictures just looking at his camera and was ready to head butt her as she was so rude.. We all just left without buying some of the purchases we were going to. Then off to another hip part of town where we taste tested some of Ben and Jerry's ice cream... guess what they have a flavor just for Wayne called chunky monkey (my nickname for him). Nina showed us the groovy area where she lived and also showed us her fabulous unit which her parents own... it was an attic of a 6 storey building and it is now just beautiful and huge. Getting up the stair case was a bit scary and exhausting though... I kept thinking of the poor removalists who had to carry furniture up the steep, narrow and winding staircase that went on for ever. Then off to the Reichstag to see if the line to go up to the dome was any shorter... no about 2 hours. The city was absolutely pumping with World Cup fever and everywhere you look has something to do with soccer... they have made a mini stadium out the front of the Reichstag where you can go for 4 euro to watch the games on the plasmas and get the atmosphere of a large crowd... a bit cheaper than the 950 euro for the Australia VS Brazil game that we want to go to. At about 8.30 we bid Nina farewell as she had to go and pick up her boyfriend from a football beer fest and we headed into town to watch The Davinci Code - we loved it. We got back to Lichenrade at about 1.00am and we were very happy to find that our Donar Kebab man was open as we had not had any dinner! Yeh we love the Donar Man.

Day 105 -Sunday 28th May 2006
Today we ventured back into Berlin to go to one of the many museums called the Storey of Berlin. This was rather fascinating we started with a tour of the underground bunker that they built in 1974 under the Kurfurstendamm (main shopping area) and which can now even be used at any time in case of a nuclear attack. It was built at the peak of the Cold War when there was a huge threat of war, chemical attacks and weapons of mass destruction. It was built to shelter 3600 people in the event of a catastrophe but only for 2 weeks. It was way under one of the main parking lots and was very eerie to walk through but exceptionally interesting. The rest of the exhibition was great and went through 800 years of Berlin's history but because we had already been to a few museums it was a bit long winded. We then went to big new train station that just opened yesterday called Haptbahnoff and which is a really beautiful and modern building made of glass. We crossed through the gardens and through numerous open air concerts that were going on and strolled along the river front near the parliament buildings - which again are just so funky in their architecture. We checked out the line for the Reichstag again but it was huge so we spent some time wandering through the Holocaust Memorial and Brandenburger Tor and just getting a perspective of the city when it was not covered in snow. It really does look quite different. Again the weather is driving us nuts as it changes every 5 minutes from hot to cold to raining.

Day 106 -Monday 29th May 2006
This morning we decided it was do or die we were going to face the line for the Reichstag and we lined up for 1.5 hours and had a lovely chat with an English couple in front of us. We are glad we waited as the Dome (which is totally modern and was built on top of this ancient building of parliament as the original dome was bombed) was really beautiful and the view was amazing. Then off to the city for and book hunting for Reisemobiles !!

Day 107 -Tuesday 30th May 2006
This morning was absolutely freezing... where is the summer?? We headed off by train to Potsdam which is a town about 25 kms from Berlin and is part of the World Cultural Heritage area. We jumped on a double decker sight seeing bus and learnt that Potsdam is the centre for historic Prussia shaped by rulers such as Frederick the Great and is full of beautiful Palaces and buildings. Really rich people live here in mansions that were once used by the KGB. Part of it was also divided by the Berlin Wall and we saw a church that had the wall run straight through the middle of it!! We headed back into town this afternoon as the weather turned bad (we need to come back here with out bikes and really take in some of the beautiful parks and palaces) and we found some of the books we were after which tell us all of the special spots in Europe that are just for motorhomes to say overnight. Wayne and Holger spent the night trying to work out how to make the TV in Misty work.

Day 108 -Wednesday 31st May 2006
This morning we left Berlin, not before stocking up on food and alcohol (we now have enough food to last us in case of a nuclear bomb). We headed off again to the Hymer dealer to pick up a new right hand side light that Wayne had smashed... despite the fact that the only guy who can speak English was not there they knew exactly what we wanted and had the part waiting for us as Holger had rung to check that they had it. We were expecting just to be able to replace the red plastic bit... but no you have to replace the entire light with all the electronics as well. That set us back another 80 euro ($150) bugger. We headed off towards Lubeck which is in the north of Germany. I drove and drove (Wayne slept and slept) and just past Schwerin there was a massive pop and hissing sound which nearly made have a heart attack. I thought a tire had blown (not good at 120 km/h on the autobahn) but then lost pressure on the accelerator (did I mention that through this Wayne did not even wake up until I hit him in the head!!). Thankfully a parking spot on the side of the highway was within distance and we pulled over to try and work out what was wrong. Our little hearts were racing as this was our worst nightmare - something mechanical has gone wrong... we are so mechanically handicapped it is not funny! This is why we bought a new motor home!!. While Wayne was having a look under the bonnet he told me to start the engine... I forgot that it was in gear and bunny hopped the car almost taking his head off. Wayne did not think it was that funny at the time but the truck driver who was parked next to us almost wet himself laughing!! Whew it is not a major disaster, it was just one of the air hoses that that had come loose and Wayne got out his trusty tool box and clamped it back on. We headed off again but another 50 km down the track it happened again, this time Wayne was awake and he also nearly had a heart attack at the sound. Thankfully a service station was close and we were able to stop and fix it again. Did we mention that we love the German cars!! all my favorite cars passed us in about 2 minutes (black BMW X5, black Porsche, black VW Toureg, Black S500 Mercedes) and then we felt Misty shake and a loud noise whiz past as a black Porsche went past us at about 250 km an hour (we were doing 130km). Wayne got an instant hard on and was very envious!!! (Sorry hope that does not offend anyone but that's the truth). We eventually stopped at 9.00pm when we found a spot to park about 10 km outside of Lubeck with a heap of other Motor homes in a shopping centre car park.

Day 109 -Thursday 1st June 2006
This morning we met our neighbors in the motor home next door. A very excitable German man who could not believe we were from Australia. He and Wayne swapped stories about their wives giving bad reversing directions which had resulted in both of them breaking their rear lights. Between their broken English and lots of hand gestures Wayne and he both worked out that reversing cameras should be mandatory in motor homes. We found the centre of Lubeck and found a great place to park for 5 euro on the river just beside the landmark Holstentor which is the fortified gate with huge twin towers and serves as the city's museum. We found the tourist info and bought a map that gave a self guided walking tour. We had a great time and also went up to the steeple of St Catherine's church to take in the view over the town. Lubeck is a medieval town and is characterized by red stone buildings that are similar to the Dutch style of houses. The town is also on an island ringed by the canalized Trave River and you could see this a lot better from the top of the steeple. The walking tour that was supposed to take 90 minutes took us 5 hours as we kept stopping to take in the sights and the local shops. We also got our Ruphus fix for the day as we found a lady with a young Airedale Terrier that was just beautiful and very happy to play with us. Wayne was also extremely happy as we found a shop that sold Australian World Cup Shirts and Scarves to help us barrack for the team. At 6.00pm we headed of towards the Danish border but we ended up stopping in Flensburg (about 5 km from the border) for the night and found the most amazing spot to park on the harbor just for motor homes. We have a view of the massive Copenhagen ferry coming in and out and over this beautiful little seaside town. We got out our table and chairs to sit and have dinner while admiring the view and had our big Australian scarf hanging up in the front windscreen when a lady with a beautiful old golden Labrador who was walking past came over to talk to us. Her daughter had been an exchange student in Australia and she had visited Australia for a month. We did not tell her where we were from but she said she loved Brisbane and Queensland the most. We were laughing because while we were chatting her dog Karl who was 12 years old was trying to jump into Misty to steel our chicken that Wayne was cooking for dinner. We then went for a ride along the harbourside and found a great little beach bar with it's own white sand and all. All the other motor homers were a bit boring and stayed inside but we were sitting out on some rocks admiring the sunset (at 10pm at night) when another motor home rocked up next to us. The little man had checked out our number plate and thought we were from GB and was busting to practice his English. We spent ages talking to him until a young guy came up to us to ask a question and then we all got chatting as all he wanted to do was talk to Australians. We thought his guy was a bit weird at first as he looked a bit scruffy but it turns out he was just a very funny German who has visited Australia for work (he was a journalist) and wanted to talk about Australia and practice his English. We spent ages talking and laughing until he had to go and then the little German's wife came out and we all chatted until midnight. Their names were Gerhard and Waltraud and they lived in South Germany near the Alps. They have been all over Europe in their motor home and gave us some good tips and also invited us to visit them when we are passing by. What a great day!!

Day 110 -Friday 2nd June 2006
When we eventually woke up this morning we found a little note under our windscreen from our new German friends wishing us a wonderful trip. We headed off towards the centre of Flensburger to find an email spot and then another book shop (as Waltraud also had another special book for mobile home spots for all over Europe which he taught us to read). The town was just gorgeous. We then found a working phone to ring home and catch up with Mum and Dad (and Ruphus). We headed off towards Denmark and about 4 minutes down the road we had crossed the border. It was a funny site because as soon as you crossed the border there were heaps of sex shops everywhere.
We headed towards a little town called Mommark where Wayne wanted to get on the car ferry and go to the island of Aero which is really tiny and famous for its Viking history. However, when we got their we got a brochure from the tourist information and it looked a bit boring and it was also really expensive to take Misty on the ferry... so we took off towards Ribe (another very famous Medieval town). On the way we were happy as we found a couple of spots to get more water (I had a long shower last night!) and empty the waste. We got to Ribe at 7pm and despite it saying no trucks or buses through the streets we ventured forward to get a better look, and had to squeeze through the very tiny streets. We were glad to see that we were not the only stupid ones in massive motor homes as soon we had a trial of about 4 other following us. We found a great parking spot where two other motor homes were parked and then all five of us flowed in.... soon to be followed by another 5. O.K despite a big sign saying no camping this has now turned into a campsite full of motor homes... the rest are German (about 20 in total). A little biker policeman came through at about 8.00pm but he did not tell any of us to move... so hopefully we don't end up with a ticket when we wake up.

Day 111 -Saturday 3rd June 2006
Whew no ticket this morning... just more motor homes that arrived during the night (we later found out that it was O.K to stay here as long as you don't put table and chairs out etc as that is considered camping). I had to drag Wayne out of bed at 9pm and then we got on our bikes and headed towards the town centre. Ribe is the oldest town in Scandinavia and apparently dates back to AD 869 and was an important medieval trading centre. It was very cite with its crooked cobblestone streets and half timbered 16t century houses. Apparently the entire old town is a preservation zone and has more than 100 buildings in the National Trusts. We visited the Ribe Viking Museum but decided that it looked a little boring so we kept riding. Wayne found a bakery and decided to buy some Danish's (as that's what the Danish are famous for after all). The other thing that they do well is soft serve icecream (yum my favourite !!).... They are totally awesome and declicious... so stuff the diet today. We got everything in just in time because as soon as we got back to Misty it started to rain heavily. We then headed off towards the town of Billund which is famous for LEGOLAND.... Wayne had to see this as he loves lego !!! Thanks to Lonely Planet we found out that the park is free after 6pm when the rides stop... which was great as we did not want to go on the very tame rides (mostly for the kiddies) and we just wanted to see the Lego creations. So we waited for 4 hours (Wayne slept as he has turned into a major bookworm and stayed up to 3pm reading his book and I spent the time planning out the rest of our trip with maps and Lonely Planet Books). We are glad that we waited to after 6pm and we did not spend $80 AUD on this place (which later paid for our fuel). It was great and they do amazing things with Lego but it was very much aimed at children (William and Tom would have loved it!!). We then got back into Misty and drove and drove. We headed towards Odense which is Denmark's third largest city and is the birthplace of Hans Christina Anderson. We did out own tour by driving through the streets but we decided that it did not look too interesting and Lonely Planet does not give it a great wrap... so we headed towards Copenhagen. We got to cross the massive string bridge (thank god we did not have to take a ferry) and it was a bit spooky as it was really dark (it was 11.30pm) and it was really windy so we got blown around a bit. Apparently it can become so dangerously windy that they often have to shut the bridge down. It was an expensive 10 minute drive as it cost 305 Kroner (about $60 AUD) to cross and it was going to be $120 if we could not produce our registration documents to show that our vehicle was not over 3.5 tone... lucky we had them. We stopped for the night at a campsite just bedside the bridge.

Day 112-Sunday 4th June 2006 - Copenhagen
Wayne had a bit of a hangover this morning ... it must have been something to do with him drinking 4 beers in 30 minutes last night... he just had to savor the taste of the Danish Beer. So while he recovered with a few Berrocas' I headed off to have a walk on the beach and take some photos of the bridge as it was such a beautiful sunny day. We headed off to Copenhagen at 11.00 and found a campsite about 9km out but close to the S-Bahn (railway station). It took us until 3pm to do more washing, have wonderful long hot showers and shave (we had both gotten into the German and Scandinavian spirit of not shaving for a week and we decided we did not like it to much!! no hairy armpits or legs for me!!). Today was a holy day in Denmark so when we got into town their was a massive stage out the front of the town hall with lots of people singing songs and waving flags. We walked around the Tivoli which is an amusement park right in the middle of town and then headed towards the sight seeing buses to see if we could get on one but they stopped at 4.00pm (despite it being light to 10pm) so we went exploring ourselves. We headed towards what we thought was the main harbor (like we had seen at Legoland !!) but ended up at the Parliament house which was rather spectacular, we then walked down Stroget which turned into two squares which is one of the most popular hangouts. Here there was a wonderful wildlife photography exhibition which was had a lovely time looking at. Then we headed towards the main harbor area and had a great time taking in the atmosphere with live Jazz and lots of people out at the restaurants and drinking near the ancient ships. Tonight we kicked it all of with a great meal and some excellent French Champagne... Verve... how are we ever going to go back to drinking the stuff in Australia ?????????

Day 113 -Monday 5th June 2006
Today was jam packed with seeing the sights of Copenhagen via three Double Decker Sight Seeing tours. It was a public holiday today so most of the great shops were closed (which is probably good for the budget and for Wayne who is know sick of loitering around jewelry and women's clothes and shoe shops !!). The Danes really ham up the fact that this is where Hans Christian Anderson (HCA) was from... 65 of the 130 tourist spots are about HCA and the most visited site in Copenhagen is the statue of the Little Mermaid (after his storey the little mermaid) which is actually quite boring and the statue is dwarfed by the massive ships in the wharf area where it is. We checked out where Princess Mary lives in one of the Palaces just outside of town but the man with the big gun would not let us knock on the door to day hello. We also saw the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace where the royal family live and the beautiful gardens which surround it and the magnificent (but very modern) opera house which sits across the harbor from the Palace. This evening we drove up to the northern part of Zealand about 50 km from Copenhagen to Helsingor which is a very quaint port town where we have to catch the ferry over to Sweden. We stopped at the tourist office for a map and we are glad we did as it gave us the most wonderful free parking spot for Misty on the harbor overlooking all the yachts, with Sweden across the water and the most wonderful view of the massive Kronborg Castle which is made famous as the Elsinore Castle in Shakespeare. We also have a little white sanded beach at our door with the water lapping and seagulls singing and lots of people playing with their dogs in the water. We also get free electricity so we will be watching a DVD tonight (16 Blocs with Bruce Willis). We also had a great ride around the town and to the ferry terminals to check out the prices (working on getting buns of steel.... Not likely).

Day 114 -Tuesday 6th June 2006
Today was a fun day of exploring the town by bike and the weather was perfectamundo !!. We reached the ferry area and had a very amusing time watching all the Swedes get of the ferries and head straight for the alcohol shops where they packed slab after slab onto their trolleys ... as everything but especially alcohol is hideously. I read that this little town is also a shopping and fashion mecca and is where Princess Mary also likes to shop... well this is true and the shops are amazing so the budget was blown to pieces after purchasing some gorgeous shoes, a handbag and a necklace !! Wayne had a beer and a Danish!(you can see where our priorities are a bit different when it comes to spending $) We explored most of the town as well as the castle and the harbors. We decided to stay for another night as this is such a great spot. Oh did we also mention the amount of blonde, blue eyed, brown skinned people over here... it is making me sick... they should have to share those genetics around.
So tomorrow it is good bye to Denmark the land of Danishes, Royals, Fantastic Soft Serve Ice cream, Carlsberg Beer, Vikings and Hans Christian Anderson.
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