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Published: August 13th 2007
If you come to Northern Germany one day, you should not stay in the big cities like Hamburg and Bremen only. To experience real German country life one should at least spend a few nights in a typicall small village - like Floegeln and Fickmuehlen e.g. Hardly any German knows where to find them on a map. So they are really not spoilt by tourism. It's countryside: shallow hills covered by woods, barley fields, meadows and moors. Cows and horses on the meadows, nice old inns in the villages - and people talking a specific Northern German dialect. There are small lakes, where locals even windsurf, narrow canals to cruise on - and the sea just 10 minutes drive away - even when the North Sea has withdrawn due to low-tide. In the small ports nearby most of the fishingboats go for very small shrimps, from the nearby port of Bremerhaven cars are exported to and imüported from all over the world. Bremerhaven (http://www.bremerhaven-tourism.de) is a town to spend at least a full day in: you could visit a WW II-submarine, go to the National Nautical Museum of Germany, do a harbour cruise - and maybe search your roots in the >Deutsches Auswandererhaus<. Many Americans go there to find out about there German, Austrian or East European roots.
If you want to stay a few nights in that area, I would recommend to stay in one of the apartments of the century-old >Rittergut Valenbrook" (http://www.valenbrook.de). The old farmyard clock strikes every half an hour (from 7 till 7 only, thanks God), more than 450 cattle are on the meadows, a private picnic site and a small children's playgorund is next to the "knights' manaor house" - and you hardly hear any noise. After a few days you will be fit to continue your trip - to a big city once again...
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