Nearly home now…

Posted by on 31, Aug 2010 in 2010 - The Caucasus, Benelux, Europe

Nearly home now…

All that remains of the Peenumunde (in Germany) rocket testing site is the power station, guard house and the staffs housing (which is now normal housing). The Power station has been converted into a very interesting museum charting the birth of rockets through their use in WW2 to modern day. Outside the museum there are replica models of both the V1 doodlebug and the V2 which looks like it has emerged fresh from a Flash Gordon comic book. There is also one of the trams that used to bring workers to the site that survived the war, the Soviet pillage of equipment after the war and its subsequent use as a tram in a German city and eventually was restored and brought back ‘home’. Apart from these relics its hard to picture the beautifully tranquil and picturesque site on a headland at the edge of the baltic as a military test site full of rocket launch pads and soldiers. But it once was and the cemetery near by and the monuments to those who died in the nearby concentration camp which provided slave labour for the camp are poignant reminders of this. The museum documents how the research done here eventually led directly to the moon landings and how many of the scientists who worked here ended up in the USA and Russia continuing their work. A plaque also tells us that more people died creating the rockets than they actually killed largely due to the slave labour involved in thru production.

The weather was still lovely when we left and we headed to a stellplatz on the edge of a lake near Wismar which was idyllic. We cycled around the lake and had a picnic on the beach before visiting another gorgeous German UNESCO town Wismar. The town is another old Hansestic league town and for a lot of its history was Swedish and by chance we arrived as the Swedish Army were capturing the town hall and marching triumphantly through the streets! Another festival we stumbled upon! We had a lovely afternoon watching duals, strolling around the streets and munching snacks of various kinds before getting the bus back to our stellplatz.

Poor Linda hasn’t had a bath in 5 months so we made a stop in Bad Salzufen – a Therme – which is famous for its salt works. We spent the afternoon lounging in pools of various salinity and temperature and felt very clean after! There are so many German spa towns that You can even buy a book listing all the Stellplatzs which have a Therme next to them! Linda is keen on getting this and is spending a couple of years going from one to the next. I think more than a couple of baths a year is unnatural.

Our last proper stop was of course Dusseldorf where the Motorhome show was taking place. We found some shipping companies who can ship Taffy almost anywhere – which excited Linda no end! We had a wander around, went for our traditional end of holiday pizza and cycled up and down a bit of the Rhine before the weather began to get uncooperative and we had to put our coats on and the heating too!

We are now in Geldern a town we cycled through on our way out that we thought deserved a better look. We plan to stay here a couple of nights and then make our way gradually back to Calais and home.

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