Tuesday June 19, 2012

Today we got to do a couple of things we haven’t done up until now on this trip. We got to speed along Germany’s fast, free-flowing Autobahn … we got to eat lunch in a basement … and we got to stroll the worn cobbled streets of a 700-year-old medieval town.

Our tour started when we went ashore in the university-centre-cum-naval-base of Kiel, at the northern end of the world’s busiest artificial waterway (the famous Kiel Canal – or, as it’s known in German, the Nordostee-Kanal). The town serves as gateway to Hamburg on the Elbe River –Germany’s greenest city and one of Europe’s biggest ports. And a short drive gave us close-up views of St Michael’s baroque church, the St. Pauli District, the Speicherstadt warehouse quarter, Alster Lake, and more.

Then, following an oversized underground German lunch in the basement of Hamburg’s City Hall, we drove to picture-perfect Luneburg (made famous in the Middle Ages by its salt industry) – where we wandered the fairytale alleyways, ogled the ancient stately homes with their ornate facades, and soaked up the ambience. This place is one of North Germany’s best-kept secrets, and we all want to come back, stay an extra day, and hitch a ride on a horse-&-carriage …

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We’ve got a busy day and a string of appointments in one of Europe’s most fascinating, ever-changing capitals – Berlin. (By the way, I’m still not quite sure what “Free and Hanseatic” refers to. Might have to wait until we come back to this part of the world – or until I get time to Google it?)

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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