Germany – A stormy traverse
We left our damp campsite on Als next morning, careful to ensure we safely got off the very wet pitch, to head south out of Denmark to northern Germany. We spent the next two days struggling through Germany, cursing the volume of traffic, only later realising that the whole of northern Germany was being battered by a storm named Xavier, with a state of emergency being declared in several cities. The traffic was entirely solid, and every detour we took offered only brief respite before we were stationary again.
Even with our ability to be anywhere, with no time constraints and with a constantly changing target aire to head for, we were still firmly stuck in the web of fallen trees, closed roads and tens of thousands of vehicles all desperately trying to be elsewhere. We drove for five hours making all of 77 miles, most of them before leaving Denmark, before calling it a day at a quickly selected fourth-choice aire in the town of Itzehoe. We sat out the continuing deluge in a huge gravel car-park behind the town centre under opaque sheets of rain, but at least the town had free Wi-Fi on offer to help entertain us.
The next morning nothing had changed other than the depth of the puddles that surrounded us, like our own private moat. We carefully exited the car-park, after facing several rather annoying dead-ends where we had to reverse back out from, where we rejoined the busy roads to again be battered by high winds and rain. Our second day in Germany’s storm was proving more of the same, stuck with having to use the bottleneck that was the stalled ring-road around Hamburg, replete with all its road works and lanes lost to downed trees and other debris.
We finally broke free and hoped to flow past Bremen, but the road again soon became solid red on Google, passable only with the stoic application of hours of static patience. We had little, so we jumped off again at the first opportunity, heading back south east away from Bremen to hide ourselves in a small paid aire at a castle in Thedinghausen. The rains stopped for about a half hour around 6pm and we jumped out to have a quick walk around the sodden gardens and castle grounds, making it back to Benny with only seconds to spare before the skies opened again. This brief, rushed walk was our only exercise, gentle or otherwise, for two full days.
From here we had to backtrack all the way to and past Bremen, all the while dreading getting stuck again on blocked roads. But with a few exceptions, we made reasonable, if juttering, progress along the chosen route and finally seemed to have escaped the worst of the traffic as we approached the Netherlands border. We stopped just short in a town called Bunde to both visit services and to pick up some fresh provisions, then over into the Netherlands we went. Our German traverse was difficult and potentially dangerous, and went wholly unrecorded, photographically speaking. So to liven up this otherwise entirely dull blog post, here’s a sketch Nicky did of some penguins – Enjoy.