The last week of our 'European tour' was spent in northern Germany and southern Denmark. Our three days in and around Lubeck saw us cycling along the Baltic coast taking in the harbours, cliffs and beaches to the west of Travemunde. The beaches were full of brightly coloured 'Strandkorbe' - cane/wooden chairs with sides and a small roof - don't know why we don't have any to keep off the wind on the UK beaches. Unfortunately, you had to pay to go onto the beach (3 Euro/day) but as a result the beaches did look really clean.
Lubeck's old town is effectively an island as it is surrounded by waterways. The Holsten Gate was impressive and there were lots of very beautiful houses and cobbled streets. We wandered the streets, ate ice cream and drank 'aperol spritz' - which we thought was only available in Italy, but appears to have taken hold in Germany.
From Lubeck it was only a couple of hours drive up to Denmark. Here we headed towards the west coast to Tonder, a small town of 8,000 people. We met up with Wybke and Uwe who we hadn't seen since we first got to know them in Indonesia in 2009 (on a four-day boat trip to see the Komodo dragons). Our three days with them was great fun and very relaxing. We enjoyed seeing the beach at Romo Island which you drive onto because it's so vast and the tide goes out so far; and eating a hotdog (apparently it is virtually the national dish!) We were also taken to the oldest town in Denmark, Ribe. We obviously also saw lots of World Cup footie while being sustained by an unprecedented amount of wine! From Tonder we did a final 60km drive to Esbjerg for the 18-hour ferry crossing to Harwich (which is apparently going to close down at the end of this summer).
So after 4,500 miles of driving, that's the first quarter of our year of travel completed. We are now back in Bradfield enjoying catching up with Fran's family for a few days and we will shortly head to Ireland (with our bikes & panniers) and catch up with Andy's family. From there we will fly out to Newfoundland in Canada on 17 July.