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Perth, Western Australia, Australia
In 2006 we joined the Gilberts on Coulis and enjoyed it so much that Russel decided that we need to buy our own boat and start our own adventures. So in 2007 we headed for the Netherlands in search of our dream boat.

21 September 2010

Germany 2010

We left Perth at 12.00 on Sunday 23rd May 2010 and arrived in Frankfurt exactly 24 hours later. We really enjoyed the Qantas flight. If they weren’t so expensive we would do it again. We flew by frequent flyer points this time so it was quite cheap. We had to train to Hamburg where we were met by our German friends Margrit and Dietmar. We were treated like royalty. Margrit is a great cook and we had many of her gorgeous cakes. We stayed in their home in Hamburg for two nights and then they took us to our boat in Lauenburg where we worked on Arcturus like navies to get her ready for sailing.

Afternoon Tea with Margrit and Dietmar

Our boat was very dirty on the outside but the inside was good. We took a number of days painting, polishing and putting all the things back into position. On Saturday we were finally ready to our boat in the water. I was very scared when Peter took her up in the air over all the other boats to put her in the water. Finally we spent our first night on the boat.

Arcturus In Hall in Lauenburg

                                                     Arcturus on her way to the Water

                                                              Us with Ursula

Nicky and Alan arrived on Tuesday and Wednesday 2nd June we headed off down the Elbe River to a little town Neu Darchau where we stayed over night.
The Elbe River is flowing fast and is quite high so we don’t really have depth problems but we are still following the rules of the river. This means zig zagging the river when we get a yellow cross. This is because of the sand banks.

                                              The Yellow cross however hard to see!!!

We arrived in Domitz where we will face the first lochs of the year.
I found Domitz very disappointing. It is a very old East Germany town with lots of old abandoned houses. One German told us all the young people have gone to West Germany and left are the old people on farms.  The country side is very green with plenty of trees and shrubs. It is very picturesque.

We have now turned off the Elbe and are traveling towards Schwerin. We are on the Elde Muritz Wasserstrasse. We have many Schleuse (lochs) which slows travel down but the weather is glorious.  We have just picked up an Austrian called Walter. He is paddling around Germany.  Russel offered him a ride. We are towing his kayak.

We spent the next few days sailing toward Schwerin. It was very slow going with many schleusen and bridges. The last day we decided to sail longer and make Schwerin, and it was well worth it. We arrived Saturday night and Sunday there was celebration for 850 years. We spent a glorious day walking around the town. The theme on lots of corners was medieval, crafts and food and bands singing. It was all very festive.

We spent Monday  (a very wet day) exploring the beautiful Schwerin castle. It is used as a parliament and offices, but one part of it is opened to the public. It was truly gorgeous and after our tour we had afternoon tea in the Orangey Café.

Schwerin Castle

Nicky and  Allan left early this morning so we have spent the day washing and general maintenance.  We all had a little too much to drink last night so we are having a lay day. Tomorrow we are going to catch the train to Wisma which is a town on the Baltic Sea.

We not only went to Wisma but also Rostock, which are both on the Baltic Sea. It has been suggested to us to go up the Oder River in Poland and follow the coast around to Lubeck and back to Laurenburg for the winter. This means going out to the Baltic Sea. I wanted to see what the Baltic Sea looked like. Not for us. Looks too scary!!!!  Today we found out that the Oder River is high and you can’t get under the bridges, so that lets us off

                                                      Russel at the Baltic Sea

We spent 28 euro and traveled to Wisma and Rostock on the coast. This is special ticket for Mecklenburg province. Five people can travel from 9 to 3 in the morning anywhere in the Mecklenburg  province. Its good value.

We left Schwerin in the fog and rain the next day. It was all a bit scary but we needed to move on.  We are traveling on the Muritz-Elde-Wasserstrasse and heading towards Waren where we will meet June and Peter (Russel’s cousin). They will travel with us down to Berlin.

                                            The Schwerin Castle the Day we left.

The weather has been very unpredictable. One day rain and windy, next morning rain, afternoon really hot followed by an electrical storm late afternoon.

The housing is interesting in these old German towns. The next couple of photos show what can be done and is being done with these very old places.

                                      A house we saw in the Plau AmSee

                                                          This house is need of repair

                                       A Renovated house.

After leaving Schwerin we have been traveling on small canals with many lochs some automatic which we have to operate and some operated by loch keepers. They have all been down lochs and we have got quite slack with them until we found a loch where the water bubbled up from the whole bottom and it was very turbulent and quite scary.

                                                    Me in Loch

We have been traveling the Muritz-Elde Wasserstrasse through Parchim, Lubz, Plau Am See, Malchow and finally Waren.
Each town has had its cuteness and we have visited every church on the way. Its great that they open churches. We found The Netherlands did not bother. The church in Malchow was the best we have seen to date. The ceiling was the first wooden ceiling we have seen.

The lakes here are gorgeous and Waren is very pretty. Today we went for a 20 klm round trip through the forest winding around the Muritz lakes to Klink on dirt tracks. It was fun and sometimes quite scary when you rounded a bend to find someone else riding the same track. This is where the Germans all come for their summer holiday. They can camp, hotel , or even hire a large boat. I have never seen so many hire boats in one place and they aren’t always good drivers.

                                       The many boat shed along the canals.

                                         Map showing the many lakes we passed through

                                      View of Waren from our boat in Harbour

We are staying here until Sunday. Russel’s cousin and his wife arrive on Saturday night and then we sail to Berlin. They leave Monday week and our German friends Dietmar and Margrit join us for a few days in Berlin. Dietmar lived in Berlin for many years so he is going to show us his Berlin. We are so lucky to have this experience.

Tomorrow we are going to catch a bus to the Moritz National Park and ride around the different towns. I hope the weather will be kind.

It wasn’t – we are freezing again!!!!

It’s been along time since I have sat down and had time to write my log. June and Peter left yesterday and we had a day of cleaning and washing and we now wait for Dietmar and Margrit who join us lunch time today.

We left Waren and sailed through the Muritz Lake to a little town just out of the main lake called Rechlin. The weather had improved slightly so the lake was quite calm and we sailed from marker to marker easily and came out the other side. There was an air show on when we arrived and even though we got the bikes off and went for a ride we couldn’t find where the planes were taking off.
                                                  Traveling the Muritz Lakes

                                               Traveling one of the Lakes

                                              June enjoying th lakes

We sailed off the next morning passing through many lakes and joined up with the Muritz-Havel-Wasserstrasse. We spent the next few days traveling from lake to lake and town to town stopping at Priepert, Breideriche, Zehderick,and Oranieburg over night. At Priepert we turned into the Obere Havel Wasserstrasse Then into the Oder-Havel-Wasserstrasse  and finally into Spandau which is just out of Berlin. We went through many lochs which were very tame but varying from 2meters to 6 meters. 

The weather didn’t improve enough to warrant a swim in any of the lakes. I was disappointed I didn’t at least have one swim. Once we arrived in Berlin the weather has improved so much that it now very hot and expected to stay that way all week. I was so hot last night that about 7 pm I jumped off the back and into the lake. We are moored in the Spandau the yacht club that Dietmar belonged to when he lived in Berlin. It is lovely setting on the edge of a very large lake.

Saturday we hopped on the bus and went into Berlin with June and Peter. We had a day of sight seeing. The main attraction was the Brandenburg Gates. This the only one of 18 surviving gates of the walled city of Berlin.

                                              The four of us in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

It is now the 10th July and Margrit and Dietmar have left us and I now have time to catch up on my diary. The weather is extremely hot even for Australians. It doesn’t look like stopping either. Germany is now out of the finals in the Fussball being beaten by Spain. They will now play for third place. Spain and the Netherlands will play in the finals.
(Last night Germany won so they came third)

Margrit and Dietmar arrived on Tuesday 29th June and for the next few days we were driven around Berlin by Dietmar showing us all the places of interest.
The first place was the Olympia stadium where Berlin held the 1936 Olympic Games and Hitler showed the world his Berlin.

Olympia Stadium

We were then treated to a special Berlin drink. It is The Berliner Weisse (White Beer about 2.8% Alcohol) and ladies drink it with raspberry syrup and the men with green syrup. Below are us all indulging. Not usually a beer drinker I did however enjoy it.

The next delicacy was the famous Currywurst. Dietmar took us to the café that sold the best Currywurst in Berlin. Below is the picture of us all enjoying lunch.

Checkpoint Charlie was the next port of call. This is where the Americans processed people before they went to the East German side.

Thursday 1st July we left the Spandau yacht club and sailed through Berlin on the river Spree. It was very exciting and there were heaps of ferries and sight seeing boats for Russel to dodge. It was fun.

A few sights as we sailed through Berlin.

Next stop was Kopenick – we stayed the night in this town. The town is famous for a man who supposedly was a normal citizen but dressed up in a high ranking soldier’s uniform and was able to extract large sums of money and favours from the town. So is the German way of life – put on a uniform and you are suddenly so much more important. A German man in Spandau asked us a question “Why don’t Germans play cricket? – He said - “put a helmet on a German and he starts marching!!!!!!!!”.

                                                         Statue of this little man

Next day we turned into the Teltowkanal and headed west towards Potsdam where we planned to stay for a couple of nights.  The houses we saw along the canal as we came into Potsdam were quite extraordinary – you can see that Germany is or has been a wealthy country.

As we arrived in Potsdam we past the Glienicker Bridge that was one of the bridges that formed the border between the old West and East Germany. It was on this bridge that exchange of prisoners occurred during the cold war.

When we left Potsdam we sailed up the Wannsee past a swimming beach apparently authorized by Hitler to give the public enjoyment – only 25000 people are allowed on the beach at any one time. Then it was up the Havel River from the south back into Spandau.

Dietmar and Margrit left us to go back to Hamburg on Monday 5th July – we had a great time with them. Next day it was back on the tourist track – we bought a 5 day Berlin pass and each day we rode to Spandau railway station about 2 km and trained to central Berlin – each night completely tired we returned. We went to Museums and Memorials we ate German sausages – during the 5 day period we went back to Potsdam to see the Sanssouci Castle( means “without worries”) that we had missed during our earlier visit there.

I think our favourite exhibits were  “Story of Berlin” Museum and “Holocaust Memorial” We saw the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate, Beliner Dom (this church is one of the best we have seen in Germany) and of course the Berlin Wall .

                                                        The Berlin Wall

                                                                                 The Dom                     

                                                     The Holocaust Memorial

During the period of GDR (East Germany) the inhabitants didn’t have too many options regarding cars. We understand the only option was this locally built 2 stroke varnished paper Mache car called a Trabi 601. They had to pay up front and wait up to 10 years for delivery. They are a cute little car.!!!

Although the wall came down in 1989 it is still very clear how under GDR rule with limited funds the country went to rack and ruin. Dietmar says that all the money was spent on keeping the soldiers well fed and housed and the borders guarded. The West Germans were levied a 4% tax to finance the redevelopment of East Germany after unification.

The weather in Berlin has been so hot – we hear about Perth being so cold and wet – not sure where we want to be. We have been swimming every day.

Our next trip out of Berlin is to Dresden for 3 days and then Prague for about 4 days. We then come back to the boat and sail west back towards the Netherlands. 

One of the best things that we have bought over here are our two aluminum folding bikes. We just love them. Once Dietmar and Margrit left, Russel announced that we would be taking our bikes into Berlin so we can ride around. I was suddenly very frightened.  I couldn’t imagine riding in all that traffic. Holland was different – it is really set up for bike riding. Once we were in Germany I noticed the cars were faster and not quite as aware of us bikers!! For that reason I carted my bike helmet over to the boat. I decided that Berlin was going to be my first time that I would wear my helmet. It is amazing how confident it made me. No longer was I trying to keep my hat from flying off and if I fell off then at least my head would be protected. So I rode around Berlin with all the traffic. Probably not as confidently as Russel but I do manage to sort of keep up with him.

So as a result of all this Russel decided to take our bikes on the train with us to Dresden and Prague. We took a back pack each on our backs and our bags for our bikes. Once we got to the railway station each time we would pack our bikes in their bags and carry then onto the train. In Dresden they were great. We were able to ride all over the place in the heat. Once we got to Prague I finally put my foot down (the cobble stones were so far apart I was frightened I would fall down them) and said no, so the bikes were put into the hotel luggage room. Gosh we missed them!!! Our feet were killing us after the first day, so out came the bikes again and we were able to ride all over Prague and arrived home with feet that I didn’t feel like cutting off.


            Our bikes and Back packs

Our bikes folded in their bags ready to catch the train.

Dresden was almost completely destroyed in the last few days of the war. They have rebuilt the town. It is a gorgeous place and we really enjoyed it.

Me with Dresden in the back ground

This church was rebuilt and finished only 5 years ago. The GDR left all the rubble as a memorial to the war. They were then going to pick the rubble up and build road. The people demonstrated so it was all left as a memorial. After reunification the people started to push for the church to be rebuilt. The rubble was sorted and with the use of computers and previous plans and photos it was rebuilt using some of the original bricks. These bricks were put in the same place as they were before. You can see the dark bricks that were the old ones.

                                This wall was not damaged. It is a mosaic of the kings of Saxony.

The Volkswagen factory where the car “Phaeton” is produced. All cars assembled here are paid for and you can come an watch your car be put together. We toured over the factory. Russel thought this was fabulous!!!

We also did a tour over the Opera house where we met the wife of the owner of Ford Lanes in Mandurah. It is a small place this world of ours.

Praha (Prague)  

We then headed for Prague where the trip was made interesting by meeting a couple of New Zealanders who had just come off a friend’s boat and had just done the same trip as us.
We found our hotel and put the bikes away and set off to explore Prague, but this time on foot. It was still very hot and humid so the pace was slow, but we managed to see most of the sites that our tour of the next day took us.

Prague is a very picturesque old city, but oh my god the number of tourists was incredible. I have never seen so many groups of people following a guide in my life. I really spoiled the place for us both. The city is in its original form as it was not damaged during the war.

We saw all the touristy sites – Charles Bridge, castle, Spanish Synagogue, the old town Astronomical Clock and many churches. We also went to a ballet concert “Carmen” accompanied by Prague Royal Orchestra – a little culture for us. In fact this is the first ballet I have ever been too and I really enjoyed it. It was in French but they gave us titles so we understood the story.

Russel on Charles BridgeWalking Bridge only – filled with painters and little shops selling jewelry etc and thousands of people

View of Prague from the castle

                                    Entry to Castle with St Nicolas in the background.

However our main enjoyment was the trying of the Czech specialties. The first night was Goulash soup followed by roast duck thigh with white and red cabbage and two types of dumplings. This was my favourite. Next night was Beef Goulash and dumplings. The last meal was the roast pork meats and sausage sample plate. Russel had this and really enjoyed it. I had beef in a cream sauce which wasn’t very interesting.

We were pleased to leave Prague as it was hot even though it rained on the last night. We were looking forward to getting back on our boat and sailing daily towards Holland.     It’s the 20th July today and that is exactly what we are doing sailing towards Brandenburg. The trip is through gorgeous lake country.

We arrived in Brandenburg and are parked under a shady tree on the side of the Havel Canal. We will stay two nights and spend one day exploring the town of Brandenburg.

Brandenburg was a pretty little city full of churches. It was still hot but we obtained an audio of the churches of Brandenburg and set about riding to each and listening to the history. They were all different and very beautiful. Brandenburg was three towns and have now been joined – the Aldstadt, Neustadt and the Dominsel. (Cathedral Island)


Don’t know what the significant of this little fellow was
But there were a few around town. (I am talking about the fellow on the right)

We stayed two nights and headed off down the Elbe-Havel Kanal towards Magdeburg. Once again it was a pretty trip along a canal that is about the width of the Murray River. About two o’clock we came to a little yacht club in Genthin and by little I mean little!!!. It was packed but a couple from the Netherlands beckons us in and there was this little gap that Russel backed into. We had to tie up to the boats on either side of us. If we hadn’t stopped there we would have arrived in Magdeburg late and may not have got a spot.

Russel was speaking to a fellow off one of the boats and made the comment that he got the impression that he didn’t think he would be able to get into the spot. He said no one in the yacht club did, but he commented that Russel was a good driver. He is too. I haven’t been scared this year as I know Russel handles the boat well.

Finally it rained and did it come down. We had to close everything but we still managed to cook our barby of lamb fillets. Our first lamb meal since leaving home, and it was yummy!!!

Yacht club in Genthin

We left early the next morning and the rain has now gone and it is heating up again, but we are expecting more rain tonight and the next few days.

We traveled along the Elbe –Havel Kanal and we now knew we were back with the commercial barges and the big Schleuse. (Loch)  These are modern Schleusen and have facilities such “Schwimmpoller” (Bollards to which you attach), which float up or down. We attach the centre rope and Russel is able to handle the boat on his own.

Russel attached a rope to the bollard

After six hours driving time (which is a long day for us) we arrived at the Elbe River/Mittellandkanal Aqua duct – This is very significant engineering structure that allows the Mittellandkanal to pass over the Elbe River. Construction of this structure was suspended at the start of world war 11 and has only been recently completed.

                                          The Mittellandkanal flowing over the Elbe River


It was about 6pm when we reached the Schleuse Rothensee that took us from the Mittelland level to Elbe level. Not sure what the height of this Schleuse was but it was at least 15 meters. Unfortunately we didn’t have any maps of the trip into Magdeburg so we were flying blind. The Schleuse keeper couldn’t speak English so we decided to take the plunge and go down. We knew we couldn’t go on the river Elbe as it is too shallow but we thought the side kanal would have a marina- wrong- it was all industrial. We headed down this kanal and came against a sign which said stop – and the kanal ended. At this stage it was about 8pm. We turned around and headed back to the Schleuse where we tied up to the temporary waiting jetty and stayed the night. We were amazed to find the Schleuse went all night and we were woken a few times by large barges passing.

                                         The large Schleuse in the background

Night time at the Schleuse

The following morning after a very disturbed sleep we woke to a very windy day. Russel was practicing his German so he could speak to the Schleuse keeper so he could get  a time to go up the schleuse, but this time he spoke English!!!!

We were now up at the Mittellandkanal level again. We had the choice of stopping at a marina 2 hours from the start or go to Wolfsburg (the VW Factory) which was 7 hours.  Because it was so windy right in our face and so much commercial traffic we decided to stop at Haldensleben. We will stay for two nights during which time we will catch the train to Magdeburg. This is a cute pretty little town and marina. We have had a lazy day of reading and playing on the computer.

We caught the train to Magdeburg and spent the day roaming Magdeburg. We were pleased we went as it was a great town full of touristy things to do and a bonus – it was in English too.!!! We went into a church a climbed the tower to the top and had a great view of the town.

We also found this  unusual building that was built by Friedeuseich Hundertwasser an architect that also designed the railway station we saw last year at Uelzen.  

In it was housed apartments, offices, hotel, shops etc.

Next day we headed for Wolfsburg where Margrit and Dietmar joined us for a few days.
Dietmar booked us into the tour over the Volkswagen factory. The word Volks means people and wagen is car. This was the car for the people.

This place is incredible.  We spent the whole day touring over the sight. In fact the whole town of Wolfsburg exists because of the factory. The town it self is very modern and not at all like any other German town.

We toured over the factory in a bus and watched the cars being made. It is here that you can pick your car up instead of going through a dealer. It was all very exciting but we were all very tired at the end of the day.

                                          A small part of the factory.

                                                This is where the cars to picked up are stored.

                          The bus we toured the factory in – weren’t allowed to take photos.

                                     Me with one of the cars in the museum.
We headed off toward Hanover where Margrit and Dietmar will leave us and we head off the catch up with a German family we met up with in Parry’s beach near Denmark (WA)

We spent the day washing and resting in Minden. It was our last fine day for a while so I was glad I did all the washing.

Next day we left for Bad Essen. It was from here that Heiko picked us up in his car and took us back to his house in Halle. What I like about Germany is the green forests and rolling hills with lots of water be it a lake or canal. This was the drive that we had on our way to Halle.
Halle Westfalen was a pretty little town with lots to see and had a few well known industries. The first industry was the Gerry Weber clothing. It was this clothing company that built the Gerry Weber Stadium where this year Hewitt defeated Federer . Every year before Wimbledon there is a tournament here in Halle. Heiko managed to arrange a tour over the stadium.

The roof of the Stadium can be closed or open and holds 120000 people.
It also can cater for soccer, netball, musicals and many other forms of entertainment

                                                          The Town square in Halle.

Eric and Tobias showing us their town. Eric is only four and is already riding his two wheel bike everywhere.

The other factory was the Storck confectionary factory.  One of the products we all know is Werther’s Original Toffees.  On our departure Edith and Heiko gave us a bag of the local sweets and we are really enjoying them.

                                         Heiko, Edith, Tobias and of course me on our last day

                                                Leaving Bad Essen

                                     Heiko took this from the bridge as we left.

We were going to head straight back to Holland but Heiko suggested that we should head to Duisburg and they would meet us there and show us around. We are glad we did.

From Bad Essen we headed down the Mittellandkanal, turned onto the Dortmund-Ems-Kanal and into Munster. We stayed in a marina next to the Schleusen which wasn’t such a good move as we were tossed around by every barge that passed us by.

                         We once again visited the local Dom (cathedral) which was very interesting.

Inside was a astronomical clock which dates back to the middle ages and has a calendar that extends to 2071.

Munster was a gorgeous little town with lots of squares and restaurants.

The picture below are three cages that are attached to the church. It was in these cages that the bodies of three leaders of the Anabaptist movement were placed and displayed as a warning in the 16th century

We left Munster and headed further along the Kanal and chose one three yacht clubs and it turned out to be the better one. We had a drink with the locals and found out information for our trip to Duisburg. We had chosen a club next to the Schleusen but they said stay at the Marina in Oberhausen.

We were following the Route der Industriekuture.  (The Industrial Heritage Trail) This 400 klm circular route around the Ruhr Valley opens up the regions industrial heritage. Instead of letting the old factories fall into ruin they have turned a few into museums and parks for the public to enjoy.

Our first stop was Henrichenburg. In front of the yacht  club was an old ship lift. Kaiser Wilhelm II officially opened this lift on the 11th August 1899. The old ship lift served the canal for 70 years before being replaced by a more modern one. It would lift over 40 barges a day but sometimes they had to wait a couple of days as there was a lot of traffic.

Me standing beside the barge which was built in Laurenburg (where we left our ship last year).

We spent two hours in this museum which included getting on an old barge and walking through and learning about how these people lived.  It poured with rain the whole day but it didn’t stop us from riding around and checking the area out.

We then sailed to Oberhausen in the pouring rain through three enormous schleusen. All of them had swimming polders so it was easy to go down. Russel controlled it on his own.

We had to pull up in the overflow area of the marina in Oberhausen. Iit was close to the opening where when barges went past Arcturus would bounce around.
We couldn’t believe that 100 metres away from the club was the biggest shopping centre in Europe.  We were also surrounded by lots of museums.

One in particular was the Gasometer. It use to store the gas for the surrounding factories. It has now been turned in to an unusual exhibition venue in Europe. We spent a couple of hours in the building learning about planets and galaxies.

                                                              The Gasometer!!

We went to the top in a lift. I wouldn’t move from this spot. Russel climbed some stairs and took the following photo.

                                  This is the kanal we sail to Duisburg on.

On the 9th August (my Birthday) Heiko, Edith and Tobias came down for the day. After a nice breakfast we headed to Duisburg and spent a couple of hours at the Lanscaftspark. This It was a former Iron works which was closed sown in 1985. Many attractions have sprung up this 200 hectare site. There is free access over the site. There are also climbing area in the coal and iron ore storage silos. It was incredible what can be done with old factories.

                                  We climbed many stairs to get to this spot.

                                                We climbed to the top!!!!

                                                     This use to be a dirty old factory site.

We left Oberhausen early on the 11th August and sailed to Duisburg. After two large schleusen which we went in with two very big barges, we turned up the Rhine. I was so scared. I even went down stairs and put my life jacket on. There were tankers, barges and container ships everywhere. The river was flowing we were told about 8 KPH. At 2400 RPM the best we could get was 7 KPH.

                                      A large Barge on the Rhine.

                                      A container ship passing. I was down stairs hanging on.

Tomorrow we go to Düsseldorf by train and then head down the Rhine to Arnhem. We will hopefully meets up with the Carr’s.  We then sail to Friesland and put our ship in a hall and head home on the 23rd August.

We drove all day and arrived in Arnhem to find not only the Carr’s, but The Gilberts and another Australian couple – John and Dianne who have just purchased a brand new boat. It was great to catch up and we had a few drinks and a meal at the yacht club.

Next morning all but the Carr’s and us left Arnhem. We stayed another night and spent the day in the Airborne Museum. This was very interesting – most would have seen the movie – “A bridge too far” – This was all about the British, Polish and the Germans fighting over the bridges. The British loss and left the Dutch to starve.

We left the next day and headed to Zutphter where we stayed the night. The weather had turned bad and it was very wet and windy. We didn’t leave the area but just had a few drinks with Bob and Lois.. We left the next morning after saying our final goodbyes to Bob and Lois and headed to Hattem. By this time Russel had caught the bug I had so we stopped so he could sleep.

We woke up to a typical day in the Netherlands. Wind and rain. Gosh it was dreadful.!!! We arrived in Steenwijk to find every man and his dog was there. We squeezed in to a gap in front of John and Rinolda’s house. It was great to catch up with them. We had a lot of catching up to do over a lovely meal.  The next day we headed to Scheerwolde where we spent the next few days packing up Arcturus, fixing a few paint chips we caused -  sorting out a few engine and mechanical problems.

Arcturus being put away for the winter 

We said goodbye on Sunday morning and headed for Cologne by train. John was so good and picked us up and dropped us at the railway station in Steenwijk.

We fell in love with Koln (Cologne) !!!!  The Dom was just incredible. We could see it from every where we went. The following photos show what I mean.



We went on the hop on hop bus trip and a chair lift over the city. We just loved it!!

We left at 7pm and caught the train directly to the Frankfurt airport and travelled home to Perth. We arrived home at 12.15 AM on Wednesday morning. We slept until 11am and then waited for our little man (our grandson) to arrive. He is just gorgeous!!! He is a little man now not the baby we left.

Next year we plan to go to France.  I am already looking forward to it.

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