Germany... Amazingly friendly people -

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Flag of Germany  , North Rhine-Westphalia,
Saturday, July 17, 2010

Crossing the border into Germany, we arrive into Cologne just in time for their local yearly festival 'Koln Lichter' (Lighting up Cologne) Since we are still free camping (since the fine, we have to now make up the money we owe the Dutch police) we therefore don't have a location to sleep. So grabbing the opportunity, we join in the festivities and bring our chairs down to the river, with a beer and pretzel in hand to wait with the locals for the 11.30pm fireworks. It feels like London on New Years. Free camping that night seemed easier as we were already 1am by the time we got back to the car. 

Waking up early the next morning, we hurry off to see 'Kolner Dom' a church blackened with age and infested with gargoyles upon the two spires soaring 157m high. Donna was feeling particularly energetic so we climbed 533 steps to admire the views. (Donna notes that construction begun in the year 1248 and it didn't finish until 1880)

Heading out from the city, it soon became apparent that we needed some R&R from the hectic pace we have kept. So leaving Cologne, Donna spied a small town of Hamelin. This town was mad famous from the story of the pied piper. Realising the need for relaxation, we decided to leave Hamlin for the next day and head straight to a camp-site next to a river. 

(Donna here... taken over from Soren)
 
While I (Donna) had a shower Soren went swimming and met some Germans (The Morgans) who invited us around for drinks. The camp sites are amazing, filled to the brim with people who seem to stay for months on end as they have caravans with a garden and fence. One lady was mowing her one square metre of land with an electric mower! The Morgans spoke as much English as we did German but after a several glasses of wine we all started to understand each other. Staggering home, we slept very well that night.
 
The next morning we ventured into Hamlin for a short stop at coffee shop, with a short walk around the charming town. Soren started to get restless as the next on the itinerary was VW world (or more accurately... Auto stadt) We didn't make it to VW world until 3.30pm and found that if we waited until 4pm we could get half price tickets and a food voucher worth 7 Euro (score!!!), needless to say, we ate like kings. VW world was more Soren's world than Donna's, showcasing cars from the beginning of time until now, and showing how innovated VW is with building cars and preserving the environment

Leaving VW world, we made our way to Hamburg. According to the Lonely Planet, Hamburg's red light district is the biggest in Europe where a street (lined with brothels) is off limits to under 18 and WOMEN. Soren, taking one for the team, conducted some research and wandered the street only! (nothing else). He noted that it was not as good as Amsterdam. Back on the road looking for a place to once again free camp and decided to test out the road side service station/ food areas, a lot of trunks stop here and so to do camper vans, after driving into a few to check out the feel we decided to give one a go..... success they turned out to great we had access to toilets (all though they did cost us 50 cents(euro)), no police interrupting our sleep. 
 
On the way out of Germany (on the way to Denmark), there is a small town located in the north called Soren. To Soren's disappointment it did not consist of a store or a pub but it did have one intersection and a bus stop. Oh well... such is the life to have a town named after you. I am sure if Soren had his way there would be a theme park of sorts there :)

We are leaving Germany and heading into Denmark, but this is not the last that you will hear of our German trip as we are coming back twice more.


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