Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Eurotrip Begins!


Three countries, awesome food and castles. Be warned: this post might be excessive in length.

Leaving Gothenberg this morning was not as hectic as we had thought while driving the new car. Within 15 minutes we were heading south on highway E20 at a solid 100 KM/H. The car is packed to the roof with luggage and we have all nestled in to prepare for the 8 hour journey ahead. The first leg consists of Gothenberg to the city of Malmo, on the southern border of Sweden and Denmark. From Malmo we cross over into Denmark where we will then drive to Hamburg for dinner and finally end in Bremen where we will sleep for the night. Good thing I have Group Therapy and some good books to read.

The drive through Sweden consisted of lots of snow, Volvo’s and rural countryside. It reminds me of driving through Virginia and Ohio, except for the “Moose Crossing” signs and gigantic wind turbines lining the horizon. I kept a watchful eye out for some moose, but luck would not be on my side. However, Stephanie did spot what she thought were moose tracks still fresh in the snow.

After stopping to refuel (where Mom used toilet seat cleaner to wash her hands might I add) we happened to cross into pure magic. Down the road a little sat a village that I believed only existed in dreams. Once a medieval fortress for Danish troops, the little city has been extraordinarily persevered, and allowed for the most unforgettable lunch of my life.  Cobble stone roads, cathedral styled churches and authentic Danish café’s were to be found around every corner, I could not believe we had actually stumbled upon this hidden village on accident. We found a neat café and sat down to enjoy a treat. The food was phenomenal, the sandwich being by far the best I have ever had. The rest of the family agreed, I think Dad repeated the phrase “I’m in heaven” at least 5 times.
Leaving the café we set off to explore the village a little more. We found the harbor and took some pictures with a sweet sailboat before heading back to the car. As we were trying to find our way back to the highway, luck was once more on our side. A giant castle presented itself as we rounded a corner, and of course we went to check it out. 

The castle was fortified by a 60-foot tall turret that stood watch over the canal and cannons were still to be found around the vicinity of the hill it sat on. Between the incredible lunch and awesome time spent in the presence of a 16th century castle, I’m not sure which was the highlight of the day.

Hamburg was still a few hours down the road, so we forced ourselves to leave. I accidently fell asleep on this leg of the drive and woke up in Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg is Germany’s largest city and is relatable to the likes of New York City. Just as we experienced in Sweden, there were more places to shop than I could have counted. A Christmas village was set up in one of the cities districts, and with some careful and not all to safe maneuvering, we were parked and walking through throngs of people admiring Christmas lights and enjoying all sorts of food out of the hundreds of carts scattered throughout.

Dinner was at the “Groninger Pils”, a place my Dad had been before while on a work trip here in Hamburg. Drinking what the waitress called “white beer” brewed right there at the restaurant, I was one happy camper. We ordered a bunch of German meat which came out on a flat, wooden stump. It’s these little things that make Europe so great.

Once again, we hopped in the car and drove an hour more down to Bremen where we are staying the night in a hotel that appears as a cottage from the exterior. The rooms are tiny and Stephanie and I are sharing one while the parents are down the hall. Looks like I should be heading to bed to prepare for another adventurous day heading into the medieval town of Nuremberg tomorrow.

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