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Kassel, documenta-Stadt

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    • Day 1

      KASSEL camping

      August 12, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      Cooler Stellplatz, (sponti über google map gefunden) mit zusätzlichem open air "gratis" Konzert von Roland Kaiser🤣
      Marcus und Karin danke für eure Gesellschaft und der Unterstützung im Zusammenhang mit meinem neuen Fahrrad. Ich lerne es jeden Tag besser kennen😜🙏Read more

    • Day 42

      der lange Weg heimwärts…

      July 21, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Der Abstecher nach Ystad, bekannt durch die Romane von Henning Mankell mit Kommissar Wallander, hat sich gelohnt. Weil wir uns unbedingt die Stadt anschauen wollten, mussten wir auf dem Stellplatz am Hafen logieren. - Dafür waren wir mitten drin.

      Ystad liegt an Schwedens äusserster Südküste. Am Stortorget, dem grossen Marktplatz im Zentrum, liegt das alte Rathaus und die St. Marienkirche. Hier werden wir später sehr fein essen. Eine lebendige Stadt mit vielen Beizen und einem ganz speziellen kleinen Hotel, dem Prins Karl Hotel.

      Am östlichen Ende der Östergatan gibt es ein ganzes Viertel restaurierter Fachwerkhäuser und das neue Rathaus.
      Wir schlendern durch die Hintergassen und bewundern die hergerichteten Häuser mit ihrer Blumenpracht, mitten drin der idyllische Innenhof des Cafes Bäckahästen Kaffestigan.

      Durch den Porzellan-Hund vor dem Restaurant werden wir auf das Prins Carl Hotel aufmerksam und sprechen mit der netten Inhaberin: Heute Abend ist sie ausgebucht, aber morgen zum Frühstück?
      Gute Idee - denn frühstücken auf dem
      Stellplatz wollten wir eigentlich nicht.
      Sie hat uns sofort wiedererkannt und uns trotz Hund einen schönen Tisch drinnen gegeben. Wir haben ein tolles Frühstück in absolut spezieller Umgebung genossen. Moderne Kunst an den Wänden und überall sehr fantasievoll dekoriert. Das nächste Mal würden wir sicher im Prins Carl absteigen.
      Unendliche Kornfelder liegen links und rechts auf unserm Weg nach Malmö und sehen aus wie Teppiche.

      Was ist den Schweden wichtig? Ihr schönes Land mit all seinen Facetten, Privacy wie schon beschrieben (Stugas), Digitalisierung, nicht unbedingt feines Essen. Bescheiden wie sie sind, fahren sie auch ganz normale Autos, viele Volvos, auch VW, Kias und wie sie alle heissen. Ganz stolze Fahrer sitzen in den Amischlitten, die man häufiger als bei uns sieht.

      Wir verlassen Schweden, fahren über die Brücke nach Kopenhagen und dann mit der Fähre nach Fehmarn. Am Ostseestrand cbei Neugut darf Jano noch ein letztes Mal im Meer baden.
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    • Day 24

      Almost there!!

      August 24, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      About 40 minutes late leaving Halifax for Frankfurt but the pilot informed us that he would take a few shortcuts and go a bit faster than normal to get us here on time... and he did. Average speed was around 1020km/hr. Eurowings was a very positive experience. Nice big plane with a 2-4-2 configuration, video screen, nice meal and then some breakfast snacks before we landed. We set foot in Frankfurt Airport at 7AM Germany time but 2AM Nova Scotia time. We have a 4 hour wait before our 90 minute jump over to Budapest. Going to be a long day.... but NO WORK tomorrow.

      Made it. Met Jim and Maura Lee at the airport in Frankfurt... and believe it or not, a couple of other Antigonishers. More to follow on that. Checked into our AirBnb at 4 PM and off to the races. Visited the Central Square Market, waterfront and then a quick bite before an early 8PM bedtime. Three hours of sleep in 30 hours makes for a long day. Look out tomorrow.
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    • Day 4

      Sep 29 - Transition Day

      September 29, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      Today is a transition day where we move from being self-directed travelers to being guests of Scenic Cruises, so there won’t be a lot of content for this blog.

      It’s another day of warm temperatures and clear blue skies. After another long, leisurely breakfast, we set out for the city centre again. Not surprisingly, we needed (no, make that “wanted”) to stock up on chocolate at Läderach again. With the precious cargo on board, we explored more streets around the cathedral. The further from the cathedral you go, the less expensive (and that is a very loose term) the prices become.

      Check out was at noon (we put our luggage in the secure lock up) and pick up by Scenic was scheduled for 2:00 p.m., so to fill in the time, we followed the Wien River canal up towards the Donaukanal, an inland canal that runs parallel to the Danube River. We hadn’t yet gone that direction. The embankments along the Donaukanal are covered in graffiti, but we suspect that the graffiti is strictly controlled, because each one was a work of art, and not lewd or suggestive. Vienna’s attitude seems to be, “If you can’t ban it outright, then accept it and control it.”

      We strolled back in the bright sunshine, and then popped into a lovely little café to have a lunch of chocolate croissants. Yes, they are a bad habit, but when in Vienna….

      Just before 2:00 p.m., a lady came through the lobby scooping up Scenic passengers. We hopped aboard a big bus, and were on our way to the ship at 2:01 p.m. Precision timing, we have come to know, is a hallmark of each Scenic trip. By the way, this is our 4th Scenic cruise. We were smitten by the first one in 2015 and have been loyal customers since then.

      We were welcomed on board with cool towels and cold champagne. Check in was speedy and our luggage arrived in our room promptly. We have now met our butler, Jeff, and our cabin attendant,

      The upload speed for photos is awfully slow. This is going to be an on-going challenge!

      At 6:15 p.m., we all gathered in the lounge for introductions and announcements. Our cruise director is JJ, and our captain is Dimitri – both from Bulgaria. The hospitality manager is from Montenegro and the head chef is from the Philippines. We had dinner with a couple from Australia and another from England – a mini meeting of the Commonwealth countries. Doug had schnitzel and I had trout for dinner. The service and the food were superb.

      After dinner, we went for a walk along the cruise ship pier. We saw ships from many of the major lines – Avalon, Emerald (owned by Scenic), AMA, Croisi Europe, Viking, UniWorld, and others we can’t remember. It was a lovely, warm evening with a bright moon in the sky, but oddly enough, not one star. Today’s step count – 17,000 steps. We have signed up to do a bicycle tour of Danube Island tomorrow – it leaves at 9:15 a.m. A bike tour will give our tired feet a much-needed rest.
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    • Day 5

      Sep 30 - Bike Tour to Danube Island

      September 30, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      It’s another nice day here in Vienna, but with some clouds rolling in. A change of weather is in the air. We chatted at breakfast with a lovely couple from London, Ontario. They were heading off to tour a winery. After breakfast, we rendezvoused with Natalie, our tour guide, and 14 fellow travelers and set out to explore. Not many pictures – we were on the move most of the time. We covered about 20 kms.

      We started by swinging through one of the university campuses with its interesting blend of new architectural styles, and then stopped at the Prater. The Prater was once an imperial hunting ground and only accessible for the aristocracy, until the Austrian Emperor Josef II donated the area to the Viennese in 1766 as a public leisure centre. It is now a huge outdoor amusement park with rides, haunted houses, a giant ferris wheel, a massive trampoline park, mini golf courses, and every type of junk food you could imagine. Then we headed to the Donauinsel which is a is a long, narrow artificial island that lies between the Danube River and the parallel excavated channel Neue Donau. The island is 21.1 km in length but is only 70–210 m wide. It was constructed from 1972 to 1988 primarily as a measure for flood protection. Vienna has been very proactive about conserving and creating green spaces for its 2.8 million citizens, and this is one of the jewels in its portfolio. The Neue Donau allows only pleasure craft (no commercial shipping) and has huge green areas, walking/biking trails, sandy beaches, a nudist beach, a rowing course (saw a regatta underway), an area of kite surfing, lots of fishing spots, and an overall calm feeling. It provides a real haven away from the crowds of the city.

      We stopped for mid-morning coffee/tea/beer and then headed home, and then headed back to the ship. No wipe outs. No missing riders. All good!

      We are going to be setting sail about 4:00 p.m. today. We were parked beside the pier when we set out this morning. We are now third from the pier because we have the earliest departure. This juggling of positions is known as “doing the maneuver”. One of our pier bunk mates is the Scenic Pearl, a twin of the Scenic Ruby. We were on the Pearl for our 2015 and 2019 cruises.

      Time for lunch. You’ll be glad to know that we both had salads.

      After lunch, we walked to the big church we saw on our moonlight stroll last night, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Unfortunately, it was only open until noon, so we opted to walk around the neighbourhood. It was mostly 1960’s uninspired concrete apartment buildings, boarded up stores, penny stores, tiny stores selling odd assortments of low-end goods, streets with litter (unlike the centre of Vienna), and not much else. We put on 10,000 steps and headed back to the ship.

      We had our safety drill this afternoon. The deepest section of the Danube is 4 metres. The ship is 7 metres high. If it sinks, we all just go to the upper deck where we will still have dry feet.

      This cruise takes us to seven countries. Time for the second one. We set sail for Bratislava, Slovakia. While we sailed, J.J. gave us the details of the excursion choices for the coming week. There 3-4 choices per day, so there is a lot of variety and something for everyone, regardless of energy or mobility level.

      Dinner tonight was the Captain’s Gala. The captain greeted us and then had to get back to the wheelhouse – water levels are low and the margin for error in navigation is very small. We were all plied with champagne and hors d’oeuvres while the managers of the various areas of responsibility were introduced. The captain is important, but the head chef got the biggest round of applause. Then we toddled off for a six-course dinner. We shared lively conversation with a couple, Sherry and Barry, from Windsor who were celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary tonight.

      By the end of dinner, we had docked in Bratislava. To wear off a bit of the six-course dinner, we climbed up the gangplank which put us right in the centre of Bratislava. The city was buzzing with activity. We were astounded to see so many families with young children strolling the streets so late, even if it was a Saturday night. Today’s step count – 15,300 plus lots of biking.
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    • Day 20

      Kassel

      August 22, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      78km à vélo, 10 à pied

      Début de journée couverte et déjeuner pour laisser sécher les affaires, en discutant avec deux gars de Dresden qui montent à Amsterdam à vélo pour leurs vacances.

      Le trajet du jour comprend Göttingen et Hannoversh münden, deux centres médiévaux bien conservés. Si le premier est bien connu pour avoir L uni la plus ancienne d'Allemagne 1737, je suis bien surpris en arrivant à la seconde qui est tout autant belle et conservée. Finalement la dernière partie longe la rivière fulda jusqu'à Kassel.

      C'est aussi le début des dénivelés, enfin un peu de changement. Aujourdhui des pentes jusqu'à 12% même si pas très longues.

      Arrivé l'auberge (pas chère et excentrée), j'arrive dans un appart à 2 chambres partagées pour 6 personnes. Autant le lieu est un peu lugubre, autant c'est des personnes sympas que j'y rencontre. Par contre c'est typiquement le genre d'endroit donnant le sentiment insecure si on n'est pas un gars cisgenre et hetero.

      Petite marche dans la ville et risotto du soir, planification de itinéraire de demain avec komoot voir si c'est mieux et dodo. Demain destination Marburg.
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    • Day 10

      Oct 5 - Aljmaš, Croatia

      October 5, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      First some background about Croatia (thank you Wikipedia):

      Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe. Its coast lies entirely on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, and shares a maritime border with Italy. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country has a population of nearly 3.9 million. It has had a turbulent history. Let’s pick it up after WWII.

      In October 1918, the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918, it merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of Croatia was incorporated into a Nazi-installed puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia. A resistance movement led to the creation of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, which after the war became a founding member and constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, and the War of Independence was successfully fought over the next four years. It became a country on November 12, 1995, as a result of the Erdut Agreement.

      Croatia is a republic and a parliamentary liberal democracy. It is a member of the European Union. It adopted the euro as its currency in January, 2023.

      Croatia is a developed country with an advanced high-income economy and ranks 40th in the Human Development Index.. Education is highly encouraged and is mostly free of charge for Croatians, even post-secondary education. Tourism is a significant source of revenue for the country, which is ranked among the top 20 most popular tourist destinations in the world.

      We arrived at Aljmaš (AL-mosh) yesterday afternoon. The captain moored us with such delicacy that we didn’t feel even the slightest thump. We watched the almost balletic artistry of the mooring process. To our amazement, we found out later that it was the crew’s first time mooring here. Low water levels have caused major changes to many itineraries.

      Aljmaš is a small community with a corner store, five bars, a tiny post office and an ATM. It is mainly a holiday home community, so this being the off-season, it was very quiet. Doug and I hoofed around yesterday afternoon before dinner, and took bikes out this afternoon to cover all the town.

      Aljmaš was reportedly the sight of a Marian apparition and since 1704, a significant number of believers and tourists have made a pilgrimage here annually for the Feast of the Assumption on August 15. A Catholic Church in the name of Our Lady of Laus and Our Lady of Consolation was constructed in 1864. During the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s, the Roman Catholic church in Aljmaš was destroyed and rebuilt almost completely in 2006. The church has the most unique shape I’ve ever seen for a church – it’s designed to look like a wave, but others think it looks like a swan.

      On our bike ride this afternoon, we rode up to the hill overlooking the town and the river. There is a statue of Christ and an outdoor set of Stations of the Cross. The Catholic religion is alive and vibrant in Croatia.

      We have a special dinner invitation to dine in Portobellos Restaurant tonight. Everyone gets an invitation at least once during the cruise. Portobellos is a special, high-end dining spot on the front of the boat. We will enjoy superb service, carefully selected wines, and about nine meal courses. Eating is like an Olympic sport on this ship!

      We had dinner with Carl and Janet from Stittsville, near Ottawa. We had a delightful time. Dinner was six courses, served with impeccable attention to detail, wonderfully good humour and a continual flow of wine. It was a fine evening!
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    • Day 10

      Oct 5 - Osijek, Croatia

      October 5, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Our activity for today was a walking tour of Osijek (AH-see-eck) which is the fourth-largest city in Croatia, with a population of about 100,000. Our guide for today was Dora – she’s the best guide we’ve had so far. The drive was about 40 minutes. We remarked again at how incredibly flat the countryside is. Friends from Windsor say that it feels like home for them!

      Our first stop was at a rather non-descript church, the Church of Our Lady. But inside, it is an explosion of Baroque design. Fortunately the church survived with only minor damage being sustained during the War of the Homeland in the early 1990s. We were treated to a short concert by a young lady, Martina, who played the piano and thrilled us with her exquisite voice.

      A giant fortress was built in Osijek in the early 1700s by the Austrians. The fortress was like the Citadel in Halifax or the one in Quebec City, designed like a starburst with very thick walls. It had just four gates over a moat. The city sits on the Drava River, one of the main tributaries of the Danube River. The fortress would have held a small city of people within its walls.

      Our tour concentrated on the part of Osijek located within what would have been the confines of the old fortress. It now holds a few residential buildings, but mainly high school and university buildings, administrative offices, museums, and lots of pubs and coffee houses.

      Only one gate remains – the Water Gate – so named, because it was the one closest to the Drava River.

      Trinity Square is surrounded by Baroque buildings in the nice, light colours that we have come to appreciate. The centre of the square is dominated by The Plague Column, a statue to the Holy Trinity, giving thanks for an end to the scourge. Turns out, that weasels (aka martens) finally killed off all the rats that were spreading the disease and that’s what brought about the end. No monuments to weasels.

      We jumped back on the buses and went to Erdut where the war of independence finally concluded in 1995 with the signing of an agreement. We broke up into two groups for lunch. Our group enjoyed a lovely lunch made by Zlatica who runs a little restaurant and a B&B. She was widowed when she was just 46 years old. The property has been in the family for 350 years. They have been able to hang on to it despite all the political turmoil and fighting that the country has seen.

      Lunch was fluffy rolls, garlic soup, noodles, chicken and chocolate cake, all washed down with wine, cherry brandy and Croation moonshine (slivovitz and wine).

      Back to the ship – see the footprint about Aljmaš for the rest of the day.
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    • Day 1

      Kassel

      July 1, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      Så ankom vi til første overnatning. Det er et motel med meget lidt luksus. Vores senge er 1 1/2 mands og der var kun en dyne pr. seng da vi kom. Vi skulle spørge efter to dyner mere for at alle kunne sove godt.
      Vi spiste aftensmad på tysk McD
      for 41 €
      Morgenmad var sædvanlig buffet med meget lækkert.
      Morgenen var dejlig og solrig.
      Nu afsted til Frankrig.
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    • Day 71

      One week of amazing concerts

      June 13, 2023 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Los ging es mit STING am Dienstag auf dem Frierichsplatz. Das konnten wir uns natürlich nicht entgehen lassen. Vorher haben wir bei Franca auf der Dachterrasse schon vorweg das war sehr nett und dann ging’s zum Konzert. Top Wetter, super viele nette Leute 10.000 Besucher und es hat sich gar nicht voll angefüllt. Sting war gut aber leider hat er keine persönliche an Ansprache gehalten das finde ich immer etwas schade. Aber es war wirklich richtig tollRead more

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    Kassel, documenta-Stadt

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