Moving north east: So to continue north east, a quick stopover in Munster and we were in Bremen. A nice little city with many back streets and superb for just strolling around in. We found an Aire for the Motor home guide Camperstops Europe 2016 book just on the outskirts of Bremen (n53.06500 e8.81871).
So easy to cycle straight into Bremen, home of the 4 musicians, a tale by the Brothers Grimm, where a donkey, a dog a cat and a cockeral tell a tale of good over evil. We learn, you must be careful with these Aires, it looked cheap enough on the face of things, €13pn, electric extra, we don’t normally need 240v (unless we want to cook big jacket potatoes or a slow cooker for a huge 1 pot meal, or it’s free, due to the solar install which keeps up with the power we need with ease), then add €1 for 100l of water for the tank. It turns out, you also need to buy a €1 voucher to use the loos, it did allow 100 visits but then another €1 per 5 min. for the shower. So after 2 nights it adds up to €26 for the Aire + €6 for the 2 loo tickets and 4 showers, plus €1 for water, plus whatever electricity you would need, which could typically be €6-8 …so €40 for 2 nights wouldn’t be uncommon. It’s the first time we’ve come across these ‘hidden charges’ as such, on this scale anyway, but a few days later and a different Aire confirm this seems to be ‘the norm’ for Germany. We’d better keep an eyes out for the hidden extras.
Hambourg, city of heat: Another couple of hours drive would bring us to Hamburg a free Aire with no extra charges or services for that matter, but a cracking spot for walking into Hamburg (n53.54598 e9.96099 ‘Am Strand Pauli’ €12.50pn). Guarded during the day, a very full and popular site right by the river-side, with the best view you can imagine of port side cranes and the dry-docks on the river Elbe.
Just along the river bank there’s the Elbe tunnel, a 1,200m hand dig tunnel opened in 1911 for horse and cart transport from one side to the other. Now converted to a single lane for cars and two pavements for pedestrians, the cars need to descend and ascend in ‘vehicle lifts’ to get from one side to the other for this free of charge service. Fun for the tourist to walk through the tunnel over to the other bank for a different view of Hamburg. After a saunter through the streets, and a walk through the long park surrounding the city, we found ourselves smack bang outside the ‘World in Miniture’- ‘Modelleisenbahn Wunderland’, as it was 32deg outside, we guessed it was air conditioned inside, so we parted with €26 and in we went. Housed over 2 floors of an old where-house, this is a massive display of miniaturisation, (if that’s not a contradiction, I don’t know what is!) everything in 1:87th, we were in there a good 3 hours, ooing and aarring at all the models. It was lovely and cool inside and at only about 25% capacity, which may have heightened the enjoyment of the attraction, but can’t take anything away from the dedication and time it must have taken to put this extravaganza together. Sweeping landscapes of Germany, Scandinavia and the USA, they even have a fully working model of an airport, with the model planes taking off, landing and taxiing to the terminal, well worth the entry fee. Ok now loads of pictures.