A frugal trip to Northern Germany, or: Why Europe is a great place to live.

Timmendorf Beach at the Baltic Sea, close to Lübeck and Hamburg. (Bah, cell-phone photos suck!)

Back from a very pleasant short trip to northern Germany.

And a frugal one as well!

We first went to Mrs. Woodpecker’s family in Hamburg, stayed there for around 10 days. We explored (not for the first time of course) the really impressing hanseatic city of Hamburg. If you come to Germany, don’t miss this one – definitely one of favorites.

We strolled some of its lovely older urban living quarters (Eimsbüttel and Eppendorf) with their large variety of impressive town houses from the rich trading times, all embedded in lush green streets and little parks sprinkled around.
Then we went for the harbor and the Alster areal, did a harbor cruise (expensive unfortunately, but the boy loved it) and I insisted on a day of sailing on the lakes east of Hamburg.
Also we had a great day at Timmendorf Beach (picture) at the Baltic Sea close to Lübeck.

Then we went on to Ostfriesland (an old farmer area close to the Northern Sea) for another 5 days, stayed at Mrs. Woodpeckers lovely old grandma (96 years old!), visited some old trader towns there (e.g. Leer, see picture), and had a marvelous day at Langeoog, a lovely sandy island off the coast with dunes, wide beaches, a lot of nature and what not (see picture).

Leer in Ostfriesland, north western Germany.

And the great thing:

The whole trip was only 60 EUR total per day for the 4 of the Woodpecker family, including food, transportation of more than 2000km by train (pre booked special tickets from eBay) and all the boat, ferry and entrance costs!

That’s great news if you respect that you have some spending at home as well – and we slept in comfortable beds plus had a car lend out from the family.

I really can recommend holidays coupled with visiting friends or relatives. If both parties are ready for some compromise and it becomes a give and take, this is a great way of getting around.

Mrs. Woodpeckers extensive family has a very nice tradition of housing even distant relatives at any time for free, even if they don’t know each other very well.

Of course we maintain a guest room at home as well for friends and family, so this is mutual give and take, and the plan would be to extend that kind of housing exchange.

Aerial Picture of Langeoog from http://www.nordsee-kueste.de

I had another observation, maybe more interesting for German and European folks around:

Yes, Europe is crowded.

But yes, this crowded place called Europe is really big fun!

Streets might be too full from time to time, our gardens might be a bit tiny, sometimes I would appreciate really large areas of untouched nature as there are in other areas of the world, but on the other side you are always close to some action and new discoveries are always close at hand!

I am travelling Germany and Europe since 30 years now (my parents were quite mobile as well), and I am again and again amazed how much there is to see in such a small area.

Take Germany:
Start in Hamburg and do the trip to Ostfriesland (about 250km), and you cross about 5 cities that have a substantial historical heritage and were each you could easily spend a day or two exploring. Additionally you pass through half a dozen areas and country sides with their own interesting character and local identities.

In Ostfriesland (which is not particularly diverse or densely populated btw.) we didn’t know where to start with the sightseeing. There are at least 5-6 cities (most +700yrs old) worth to see within a vicinity of only 60km, 5-6 interesting islands each having their own heritage and character, let alone dozens of castles, an old steam train line, animals and bird watching (I personally hate bird watching, but if you like it it’s a perfect place), or a day trip to the Netherlands close by.

And the same holds true for about every region on this great continent!

When I started to write this post, I had no idea and my first guess was ≈1000 historical cities in Europe. But then I did some research and was proven terribly wrong:
Germany alone offers already 950(!) historical city centers that are of touristic interest (see this list on Wikipedia). My guess for Europe – I can only extrapolate since obviously nobody has ever listed them all – would be at least 6.000(!) cities+villages with historical centers worth to see.This is a lot! Plus hundreds of natural and historical sites, hundreds of different cultures and country sides. And probably 10.000 castles and monasteries – Woodpecker loves castles and monasteries! – as you can find listed here for Europe, and herefor Germany (already 400 castles in Bavaria).I didn’t find any list of old churches as it is probably impossible to count them, but if you are into those, your lifetime will never suffice to see them all, must be a couple of 10.000s.

Thus so much to see and to explore lies around the corner, and so much of it comes for free or at a low price!

This really struck me these days and this is a great thing about living here in the center of Europe.

Make use of it!

And if not living in Europe find out what your area and continent has to offer close by! I’m sure there is a lot to see as well.




9 comments on “A frugal trip to Northern Germany, or: Why Europe is a great place to live.

  1. […] this is really the big fun when travelling Germany: Wherever you pull out from the Autobahn, you WILL find something interesting close […]

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