A Travellerspoint blog

Time to go home...

View Upper Midwest & Wisconsin & Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark - all in two weeks? & Minnesota - travels around the state & Southeast US on alyssa_ob's travel map.

large_12348_12102591815432.jpgWe took the train from Bordesholm to Hamburg to Stuttgart [Stuttgart-travel-guide-414044] the day after our fossil adventure. It was relaxing for us. We shared a table with two little girls heading home from Holiday with Oma and Opa. They were well behaved and even offered us some of their cookies. They were so cute! When the younger one finally realized we don't really speak German, she started practicing her English. She would say quietly to her sister, "Hello I am from England. I speak English." It was so cute. We didn't tell her we weren't from England. I think their grandparents were happy to see them share a table with two young women (as opposed to two scary old men). We helped them lift their luggage into the overhead racks and then sat facing eachother trying not to stare at eachother during the 4 hour train ride.

The rest of the day was spent re-packing (how to fit in all those sweets I'm taking home?) and then we watched Harry Potter auf Deutsch with English subtitles. We went to bed early because we had to catch an early train to catch our early flight. But we made it without any problems and all too soon we were on our way home. :( Good bye Germany, we'll miss you.


Posted by alyssa_ob 16:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Let's go find some fossils!!!

View Upper Midwest & Wisconsin & Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark - all in two weeks? & Minnesota - travels around the state & Southeast US on alyssa_ob's travel map.

large_12348_12090080813236.jpgMichele and I were super excited to go to Denmark for two reasons: 1) a new country! and 2) fossils!!! We were headed to Møns Klint - chalk cliffs on the island of Møn where you can find fossils on the beach. When we were researching for this trip we both looked through a travel book on Denmark and picked out our favorite destination. And we both picked Møns Klint (go figure, we're both geologists). The tricky part was getting there. We were still staying with my relatives and they have been so kind and generous to us that we didn't want to inconvenience them. We suggested Møn and they were both excited to go someplace new and were willing to drive us all there.large_12348_1209008097180.jpg

We started out early because it took about an hour just to get to the ferry to Denmark. The ferry was like a cruise ship except you park your cars below. Upstairs they had restaurants and a duty-free shop. The ride was only about 45 minutes but it felt shorter. The water was a deep blue and we passed a couple of other ferries. We actually were on 4 different islands on this adventure.

Møns Klint was amazing. They have an incredible museum called the Geocenter with interactive displays in three languages (see my review). While we were there, they offered a guided tour down to the beach, so we jumped on it. They asked who speaks which languages and it turns out the common language was English.large_12348_12090080987274.jpg We had Dutch, Danish, German, Italian and English speakers (and guess who the English only speakers were). The tour went down a bunch of wooden steps and past some gnarled beech trees. The beeches grew crooked because they were confused as to where the sunlight was coming from. At times the sun is reflected brightly off the water and others its off the white chalk cliffs, and of course there's the sun itself. They are also growing on the nutrient poor chalky soil. Very interesting!

On the beach, our guide showed us the different types of fossils we could find. The most common was a belemnite - a cylindrical orange fossil smaller than a finger. These were once parts of ancient squids. The orange color helps to find them among the black flint rocks and white chalk.large_12348_12090081018617.jpg We all had a great time looking for fossils, even though it was really cold - around freezing! I kept looking along the water line because that's where the newest fossils would be from the choppy water. Once I got too close and a wave spashed up on my leg. Brrr! So with wet, frozen fingers and toes, we eventually had enough fossil hunting and decided to head back. You can walk about a mile in either direction along the beach to another set of stairs, but the water was a little rough, making the beach pretty narrow. I started walking a little ways north, but got scared because chalk was falling off the cliff above and tumbling down almost hitting me. We all climbed back up the 500 some stairs weighted down with fossils and rocks.large_12348_12090081005727.jpg What fun!

We went back to the Geocenter for a picnic lunch of bologna salad (yum!!!) and rolls and hot tea. We finished the museum and came out much smarter. They even had a kids area where you can use all your senses. One of the displays was a sniffing one where you smell a flower and try to identify the smell. My favorite smell turned out to be a fox. What does a fox even smell like?

While we were in the museum it started snowing. Hard. It was very pretty, but it was causing white out conditions on the drive home. It was hard to see the road! We stopped briefly at Liselund, which is a summer cottage that was a gift from some guy to his wife (I forget the story). We made it back and took the ferry where we could watch the sunset. And after an extremely long day, we made it home and crashed. This was by far one of our favorite stops on the whole trip! I'm so glad Wolfgang and Ute are so generous and drove us there.


Posted by alyssa_ob 16:00 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

Haithabu Viking Museum and closed churches

View Upper Midwest & Wisconsin & Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark - all in two weeks? & Minnesota - travels around the state & Southeast US on alyssa_ob's travel map.

large_12348_12089584956002.jpgWoo hoo! Crusin' on the Autobahn!We expressed interest in visiting a Viking Museum and it turns out this one was open even on Easter Sunday! We drove up to Schleswig [Schleswig-travel-guide-409983] - the museum was in the nearby village of Haddeby [Haddeby-travel-guide-1324101] (pronounced Hahd - ee- boo) across the Schlei (an inlet of the sea) from Schlewig.

On the way there, we stopped at the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal - the canal that connect the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. This canal gets something like 35,000 ships a year and saves about 500 km if they were to go around Denmark. There is a little rest area off the Autobahn with a path down to the bridge and under it, where you can watch the ships. Just standing there I could count 8 ships in a row passing through. Crazy!

Next stop was the Viking Museum (see following review). After the museum we went into Schleswig to the big church - St. Petri Dom. Unfortunately the church closed at 4 pm and it was 4:10 pm. Bummer! So we just walked around the outside and marveled at how big it is. Michele learned a new word today - geschlossen. As in "alle kirchen sind geschlossen".

On the way home, we stopped in one of my ancestral villages - Gettdorf - and stopped at the church in town. It, too, was closed, but I loved the door handle. Look close! It is a whale swallowing a man! As a door handle! Cool!


Posted by alyssa_ob 16:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Frohe Ostern!

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large_12348_12089585778938.jpgHappy Easter! A light dusting of snow greeted us for our Easter breakfast. I love the rolls, meats, cheeses, and quark. They even had a delicious raspberry honey. Yum! I could eat breakfast three times a day! Wolfgang and Ute have been so kind to us. They gave us each a little Easter votive candle holder filled with chocolates.

Many Germans don't go to church regularly, but Michele and I wanted to go to an Easter service, so we all went to the Bordesholm Kirche. It is a beautiful old church that used to be a monastery. We sat in pews that had little doors and we were right next to the vault/tomb (what's the word for a big stone coffin that isn't buried, just left in plain sight?).large_12348_12089561443149.jpg The service was entirely auf Deutsch and the little kinder sang a couple songs. We were even lucky enough to see a baptism. All of a sudden everyone stood up and started moving towards the front of the church (the service took place in the middle). I didn't really know what was going on and left my camera in the pew. We gathered up near the baptismal font by a beautiful old alter. We all circled around and watched. It was so neat to see. At the end of the service we all circled the pews and sang a round. I forgot the song but I recognized it as one I've sung back home. And then they switched to sing it in English! I think everyone was surprised to see me singing along but hey, I knew the words! We sang the song in a round in English, German and Italian. What fun!

After church the kids had an easter egg hunt in the church yard. The temperature was around freezing, maybe a little below and still people hung around talking and looking for eggs. (I looked but didn't find any - those kids are good!) We took a little walk along Lake Bordesholm before heading home. We were on our way to a Viking museum for the afternoon! Yippee!


Posted by alyssa_ob 16:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

A windy visit to the Baltic

View Upper Midwest & Wisconsin & Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark - all in two weeks? & Minnesota - travels around the state & Southeast US on alyssa_ob's travel map.

large_12348_1208954457870.jpgWe woke up to a cold, rainy/snowy day. Michele and I wanted to go shopping, so after another wonderful breakfast we all drove to Kiel [Kiel-travel-guide-389647] to the mall. We walked around a little and marvelled at the differences between German and American malls. Mostly in the stores - this mall had kiosks for meats, cheeses, fish, bakery, fruit, etc - all the specialty shops, even an herbal tea shop. Since it was the day before Easter, a lot of grown up Easter bunnies were buying candies and toys for little kids back home. The mall even had live bunnies for kids to pet. Since it was an icky day, it was pretty crowded, but we enjoyed it. I bought a little stuffed animal for my cousin and a game, but not much else.large_12348_12089529856227.jpgSingle gull (love this shot!)

After the mall we stopped at the dock to look at the big ship that goes between Oslo and Kiel. A little museum there was closed and it was sleeting so we just stayed for a few minutes watching crazy fisherman fish in the cold!

Next we drove out to Laboe where there is a beautiful nature preserve on the Baltic Sea and a Naval Memorial. It was really windy and really cold and the wind just whipped through our clothes. Brr! High water led to some flooding of the coastline up to the storm dunes. Even with the strong wind, the waves don't get very big on the Baltic Sea. However, high wind is quite popular with the kite surfers! We had fun watching them surf (on a surfboard with a parachute-like kite that pulls them along in the wind).large_12348_12089539908389.jpg Some were doing some fancy wave work and flipping up in the air. Very cool. On the way out I noticed a surfboard on a spring - I guess to see if you can surf? Of course I couldn't. I couldn't even get it to balance at all!

We got tickets to tour the Memorial and U-Boat and headed in out of the wind. The Naval Museum was originally to honor the fallen sea-men of WWI. It has since expanded to WWII and other wars and also for all fallen sea farers from all countries. It is amazing to see the number of fallen people etched into the wall. The top of the Memorial provides an incredible view over the area including the Kiel Fjord, Kiel and the Baltic Sea. Gorgeous! It started snowing while we were on top, so we went back inside and finished the museum.large_12348_12089540066063.jpg

Final stop was the U-Boat. You can walk through the entire submarine and see all the pipes and wheels and what-nots that are needed to operate the sub. You can get clausterphobic just looking at the narrow bunks and imagining all 27 people in this tiny confined space at one time! Even the bathroom was tiny. Some of the bunks even had torpedoes suspended over them - I would not want to sleep there!

One final stop on the way home was a big grocery store to look for sweets to take home. To my incredible shock I found Softis - a chewy candy I remembered from my youth and haven't seen in about 14 years! My middle school German teacher used to sell them to the students. This was my fourth trip to Germany and the first time I ever saw them in a store! Granted this was a bigger store, but I was so happy I bought two boxes. My friends back home were pretty surprised to get Softis as a souvineer! Yummy! I was so excited! My other weakness is the Pick Up bars - almost like S'mores, but without the marshmallow. Its a piece of chocolate between Leibnitz butter cookies. Yummy again! Like I joked with Michele - I won't make fun of her for buying souvineers if she doesn't make fun of me for all the sweets I would be bringing home!


Posted by alyssa_ob 16:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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