Flensburg, GermanySeptember 17, 2017 in Germany
After travelling down mainland Denmark, we made it to the German border and stopped shortly afterwards in the city of Flensburg. The stellplatz wasn't the most scenic of spots, close to a sewage processing plant, looking out on a factory and a mountain of coal. It was packed with about 20 other vans but it was at the end of a road so there was no traffic. The footpath that passed it was lined with grass where it continued along the waterside and it was interesting to watch the leisure boats coming and going in the marina down the bank.
The major advantage was the easy access to Flensburg city centre, just a few kilometres away. There was a cycle track for most of the route so after a little rest, we took the tandem in for a 'City Sunday'. Being Germany, almost everywhere was shut but that meant fewer people which was good for us! We locked the bike to a stand at the harbour and walked passed some rich wooden boats, gleaming in the sunshine.
We'd spent many months in Norway and Sweden and to us, this area overflowed with shops and advertising. We'd begun to forget that so much commercialism existed! Flensburg was an attractive city, its wide, pedestrianised mainstreet lined with tall, light coloured stone buildings. We found a little café down a cobbled side street that had cushions for the wooden outdoor seating and served homemade cakes. We were happy to see a different selection to the standard cinnamon buns and custard pastries of Sweden (nice as they were) and took great delight in ordering and devouring a lemon cheese cake and a mango and pistachio cream cake with a chocolate biscuit base - yum! It also felt really good when Will fell back quite easily into speaking and understanding German. However, we had got so used to paying for everything by card that we hadn't yet got any euros out. It came as a bit of a shock when the café needed real money, but they were relaxed about Will nipping off to the nearest 'Geldautomat' to extract the cash.
All of the shops may have been closed but at the far end of town a street fayre was underway. A few car boot stalls, hot drinks, apple pressing, music, games and a lively buzz made us smile. We'd missed stumbling upon events such as this.
We got another shock when we came within centimetres of getting knocked off the bike on our way back. We were crossing a road with our lights on green when a car came at us from the side. There was nothing we could have done but luckily it was just a near miss.
The following morning we returned to the city centre to visit the now open shops. We'd been in need of new clothes and a pair of shoes for a while but everything had seemed so expensive in Sweden and Norway that we'd resolved to wait until we were in Germany. Coming away with much of what we needed at a decent price, we were glad we'd made that decision.Read more