Today is going to be all about a dash across Germany all the way to just short of the Danish border.
We were a little more with it this morning and Wim and Diny were ready with the coffee (Wim is great at coffee making!)and huge slices of raisin bread crammed full of fruit (None of your skimpy Tiptop bread in Holland) for breakfast.
We watched a bit of BBC with breakfast as England wondered what had happened to their football team against a team they considered easybeats.Although I must say the man in the street reaction is not quite as bad as one would see when the All Blacks lose to weaker opposition even though this happened for quite some years.
So the football result together with the Brexit vote outcome now starting to hit home and the weather...rain...rain...rain things don’t seem too good in Mother England at the moment. We will need to bring some sunshine with us when we arrive at the end of July.
With the car packed we had some farewell photos for our short stay in Zwolle with Wim and Diny and we were on our way making for the A28
and heading in a northeast direction.
Diny had told us about a town north of Zwolle which was where Abel Tasman had come from and a memorial plaque to the adventurer/discoverer that they had found there. It was tempting to head north to take a look and then strike east but it would have added probably another 100km to the already just over 400km we need to cover today to get to our destination. So we will do that next time we are in Holland when we need to spend some more time here to explore places we haven’t been.
Traffic volumes and especially trucks were not too great even though it is weekday although that was probably down to the fact that the motorway is 4 laned and we are in the north of the country which is a little quieter anyway.
We moved seamlessly off the A28 onto the E233 which took us across the border and into Germany although you would hardly have realised it as any trace of a past border control check has well and truly disappeared here.
However at Meppen, just inside Germany the four lanes became two and our
pace dropped and the trucks ahead of us became more noticeable as their maximum speed is 80kph and often they are 10kph slower than that.
With just 2 lanes overtaking was not an option very often as the opposing traffic was moderate.
But as often happens when traffic speeds slow down you get some idiot who thinks they can make the passing of a truck look easy.
Today’s incident though came out of nowhere when we least it expected it as ahead of us there just didn’t appear to be any room for a vehicle to come out of line and fit into a space without wiping itself and others out!
But a van coming towards us somehow did manage it! It pulled out of the line so fast and passed the vehicles swerving in front of a truck a couple of vehicles ahead of us and must have left a coat of paint on the truck it swerved back into the line in front of. No one had time to react and the traffic flow just kept going, no brake lights, no tooting of horns!
The land we were travelling through was typical Germany,
or at least what we had got used to, with crops in the fields at various stages of their growth cycle, few animals and stands of forest here, there and everywhere. One of the pleasant things about driving in Germany is where the road goes through the forest and there are different shades of green all around and ahead the sunshine and open fields, just lovely.
The maize crops here in the northwest seem more advanced than they did in the northeast although we are 10 odd days further on in our trip.
Cloppenburg looked to be a town that might have shops handy to the road we were on for us to find a bakery to buy something for lunch. The E233 passed outside the towns that were along the road and you had to actually turn off it to get to a town centre.
We had success with a shop ahead of us but wondered why the checkout person was taking in the open sign. Then it clicked. This was rural Germany and many small shops close at 12.30pm for a couple of hours.
However she saw us pull into the car park in
front of the shop and beckoned us in. We had our bread rolls and salami and back on the road before we knew it.
There have been plenty of lay by’s on the E233 and so we didn’t have to travel far to find a lunch stop.
A little further on I had to dig out the atlas as the car compass had swung around to show us travelling south as we moved onto the A29 and that didn’t seem to be the right direction for us.
However it was short lived and we were back on track heading north east as we changed to the A1 and back to a 4 lane highway.
We took a quick stop nearing Bremen at a rest area where there was a petrol station to top up the tank.
One of the things that is difficult to reconcile in one’s mind is the fact that petrol stations sell hard liquor, beer and wine to travelling motorists. Just imagine if this was allowed to happen in New Zealand and how the carnage on the roads would increase. It is a mindset difference which Europeans must find hard to understand when they come to live or holiday in New Zealand where petrol and a hot pie is about all you can buy at a petrol station. This petrol station even had pokie machines although there was no one playing them.
Bremen looked to be a sizeable city from the atlas but the A1 kept us well away from it to the south and we passed by doing close to the 130kph speed limit.
With Bremen behind us Hamburg was the next large city on our route and this place we couldn’t avoid unless we changed the GPS to take us by another route.
The number of trucks started to noticeably increase on the highway as we drove across the flat open land still on that northeast course.
What actually came into view first of Hamburg were the multitude of container cranes in the vast area that is Hamburg port.
When you look at the map Hamburg appears to be a long way from the sea but the River Elbe empties into the North Sea northwest of the city and is very navigatible right up to the city.
We turned more northerly onto the A7 which would take us the rest of the way to Budelsdorf.Off to our right was a curvy road bridge that seemed to disappear out of sight. On it were trucks stopped and lined up as though they were heading to the port to unload or pick up containers.The whole area either side of the highway was active with trucks.
Then the A7 started to descend as we got closer to the River Elbe and next moment we were in the road tunnel having to keep a watch as the road split inside the tunnel with one direction going into the city and the other continuing north which was what we wanted.
The A7 effectively passed through the western side of the city and it does so without you hardly knowing that there is a big city of 1.7 million people living out there.
The Germans seem to have plenty of money for roading projects at the moment because we encountered 3 stretches of between 8 and 10 km each where the highway was under reconstruction with widening and new bridges overhead. This slowed our progress down to 80kph but we were still surprised just how the traffic north was moving so freely. That couldn’t be always said for the traffic flow south towards Hamburg and we might need to think about our return journey from Scandinavia as to which route we take.
The land north beyond Hamburg continued as it had to the south and west, crops after crops after crops and not to forget the forests as well. In reality this sort of driving is not that interesting but we had to travel this way to get what the next couple of weeks are all about and that is Scandinavia.
The off ramp to Budelsdorf came into view and we were very soon at the Air B&B apartment we have for the night. Our host was outside mowing his lawn and he picked up quickly who we were and showed upstairs to the attic apartment which looked like it would our needs very nicely.
Once again our host and ourselves don’t speak each other’s language and nor do either of us understand each other that well but somehow we get by, most of the time.
Something clearly went adrift when it came down to the supply of sheets and towels for the night. We are now entering territory where it is not uncommon for a separate charge to be made for sheets and towels or you supply your own.
Our host had mentioned sheets and towels and Gretchen thought she had got across to him that we had our own and we did not require theirs at €10 hireage.
We were unpacking when there was a tap at the door and our host reappeared with sheets and towels in hand. Gretchen had to get ours out to show him we were covered, thanks very much.
Another problem struck when I couldn't access the internet yet Gretchen was able to with her tablet.After much angst we decided that there had not been enough room on the hard drive for an upgrade from Microsoft and the laptop just wouldn't connect.
After the full day in the car we were ready for some walking and where better than the supermarket.We would check the laptop later when we got back.
We are going to be staying at some out of the way places in Norway and we had seen a range of dried meals in boxes that you heat in a microwave, earlier in Germany and so stacked up our trolley with enough to last for 6 nights along with beer and wine and assorted items which can be expensive in Scandinavia.
We now have two boxes of groceries in the back of the car with a target to eat and drink all that is there by the 20th
July, the day before we fly from Paris to Cork, Ireland.
The laptop still wouldn't connect and it was telling us that we needed to try and refresh which we did and created more of a problem as the computer seemed to lose a lot of programmes including Word and Excel.This looks like a major problem and we will have to decide tomorrow whether to take it back to the factory settings st refresh it completely.First though we will have to take off all we want to keep like photos and video because once we do this major refresh it will be back to the way it was when we purchased it 4 years ago.
Because it had been such a long day we didn’t take any rockin’ to get off to sleep despite the fact that it was still slight outside at 10.15pm and the curtains weren’t doing much good to make the apartment darker.
Tomorrow we push on to northern Denmark and set ourselves up for the crossing by ferry to Norway on Thursday midday.
PS:enjoy the classic Jackson Browne hit from 1977.Not that Gretchen has allowed me to let Peggy run on empty!On Youtube as usual.You might not have heard this song for a while but you will remember the tune.
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