Travel Blog – Tiefenbruch

7 09 2009

Having arrived at 6am we were a bit worse for wear but the journey hadn’t finished yet. We had booked a car with Europcar but when we went to pick it up they needed to charge a credit card with more than I had available (they add an extra couple hundred euro just in case you don’t return it with a full tank). Luckily there was a free Samsung in internet terminal so after some jiggery-pockery with ASB we were on the road. Go samsung!

Alyona’s Mum lives in a place called Tiefenbruch which is about 500km north of Frankfurt and and an hour south west of Hamburg. Of course this is Germany so it was almost all Autobahn and unlimited. Probably averaged 140kph but the car maxed out at 187 so didn’t quite get the full experience of the numerous BMW and Mercedes burning past well in excess of 200. I think the freakiest thing wasn’t the speed but the fact that there were lots of roadworks and when there are it is still 2 lanes, 80kph, and really, really thin. Like almost no room whatsoever between the metal barrier on one side and the gigantic truck on the other.

Certainly helped me get used to driving on the right(wrong) side of the road.

On the way we stopped at Germany’s largest motel which they were very proud to announce. I think it really was the grossest but they got the language wrong (haha – pun – großest is biggest in german but is said grossest. I have another one too: Have you tried German sausage? It’s the Wurst. Sorry…).

We arrived at Alyona’s mother’s place and had an amazing lunch and finally got to do some laundry after our trip around Malaysia. She lives on a small (by NZ standards) farm out in the country so it was a nice change of pace and we went for a short walk to see the place and say hello to the cows. After making her sit through the full complement of photos from the first week of the trip we headed off for an early night.

Tiefenbruch (f5.6 1/100 24mm)

Tiefenbruch (f5.6 1/100 24mm)

Waking up lazily and after a proper European breakfast which includes cheese, bread and pain au chocolat we made plans to see Hamburg for a bit. Now, one must travel in style whenever possible so instead of taking our small and economical hire car we went with the brand new Volkswagen Cabriolet which is very styly and cool and we had much fun making the roof go up and down.

Cabriolet (f4.5 1/200 95mm)

Cabriolet (f4.5 1/200 95mm)

We drove to Harburg and used the Park+Ride to get into Hamburg central for a walk around. We started with the Rathaus then walked around the city on a path set out in Alyona’s Russian guidebook. Stopped for lunch at a random franchised cafe that specialized in pig. Good, good pig. And beer.

Café in Hamburg (f8.0 1/125 105mm)

Café in Hamburg (f8.0 1/125 105mm)

Continued walking past some old merchant buildings and the Krameramtsstuben which is a cool old narrow and internal street with 300 year old houses that survived the war. We also passed by St Michael’s church that was under renovation.

We then visited the Reeperbahn in Hamburg which is part of the Red light district with a street that only guys are allowed down. Which of course I had to do as a tourist. Turns out to be just middle aged women sitting in stripper shoes and lingerie smoking and generally looking like they aren’t having the time of their lives. And while at night it may be better, it still seems very underwhelming.

Afterwards we walked along the waterfront and it became evident how large a port Hamburg really is despite being considerably inland. We also stopped off at a Swedish sailors church which happens to be the very first started in Hamburg. It was very strange to step into a slice of Sweden in the middle of Germany and the nice older lady working in the cafeteria even offered us ‘fika’. We then walked around further to the rich area of town with cafe’s on the street and suits from the offices around enjoying an afternoon beer.

We took the train back and it seems that my new shoes are very comfortable indeed and stood up (sic) to all the walking.

That night we enjoyed a great meal then a pleasant evening hanging out drinking beer and whisky. Mila and Kurt (Alyona’s Mum’s husband) have a very cool bar with most kinds of drink you could think of and even a beer on tap as bottles are way too low-class. Some of the whiskies have sat on the shelf for more than 20 years (shame that time in the bottle doesn’t count, or it would definitely be the oldest I’ve ever had) so that was an experience in itself. It seems that Kurt only drinks beer and prefers one particular type, so while people may have gifted bottles of alcohol in the past they have now sat on his shelves unmoved for a very long time. One in particular was from before the German liquor tax rates changed making it much more expensive to sell bottles with 43% rather than 40%.

I had a chance to show off some nz culinary skills by cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast and to complement the usual array of great food. After which we decided to take a small road trip into the national park nearby and a walk in a real German forest with oak and birch trees. I got hassled a bit for thinking such things are ‘exotic’ but I guess when you come from New Zealand some of these things are! There were also lots of blueberries dotting the path to serve as a tasty snack.

Blueberries! (f8.0 1/15 24mm)

Blueberries! (f8.0 1/15 24mm)

On the way back we stopped at a small ice cream parlour which I think is designed just for the locals. Off the main road and around the back of a small building is a window serving the biggest icecream sundays I have ever seen. You would really need to know where to go but I was very happy with my huge serving of chocolate and stracettela ice cream with egg liquer, cream and chocolate sauce. There was also a thing called spaghetti ice cream where they push the ice cream through holes to make it look like spaghetti and with strawberry sauce instead of tomato :-)

Le petite Ice cream (f7.1 1/25 24mm)

Le petite Ice cream (f7.1 1/25 24mm)

To see a bit more of the area we decided to spend the evening in Lüneberg which was not far away and had a great atmosphere of the renaissance mixed with modern cafe culture. The buildings were impressive and all had this interesting stepped style to their facades and the city center was pedestrian’s only so was very pleasant to stroll through. We had a drink beside one of the canals and then drove home.

Lüneberg (f5.6 1/8 28mm)

Lüneberg (f5.6 1/8 28mm)

After another exciting night we prepared to head off on the next exciting adventure… (but now with added gps)!

PS: The problem with writing these things while traveling is that it means you have to stop traveling for a few hours! So this will be the last one written on the trip (I’m in Sydney visiting my brother and return home in a few hours). But I do intend to write up the rest over the next 2 weeks!

Route of the trip:

Route of the trip

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