This week we travelled to Germany, saw some lovely towns & villages, went for several bike rides and enjoyed terrific pastries.
Day 30 - Monday 24th of October
Flensburg - Neumünster
We woke up in a sunny Flensburg and after breakfast, we headed outside to play some football with the boy that we met on Sunday. We girls went then to the nearby shopping centre to do some grocery shopping while Jake stayed in the van working. Olivia and Minna brought us lunch from the store and we munched all of it with a good appetite. It was then time to empty the toilet & grey water (just in case) and refill the water before continuing our journey to Kiel where we would get a new gas bottle. Jake then asked a German couple at the water refilling station would they know a place where we could get gas. The man instructed us to drive 500-600 meters ahead and there would be a gas selling station. So off we went and went to ask the sales guy if they would be able to help us. And of course, he could, he filled up our gas bottle with only 25€! This was awesome as now we didn’t need to drive to Kiel which was on the East side of Germany and we could continue our journey down South. We rerouted our map and pinned our next location to Neumünster which was an hour’s drive away.
As per our usual routine, we parked our car at a parking spot by a small lake which we found on the Park4Night app and had afternoon coffee while the sun was shining. Minna and Olivia then went to the playground which we could see just across the lake and to the bakery as well because we wanted to get something good. It’s nice to treat yourself now and then, right? On our way back we saw a lovely rainbow, the first one that Olivia has ever seen.
After dinner and Jake finished his work, we decided to go for a bicycle ride around the lake. There was a 9km, beautiful route with amazing landscape. We all enjoyed it a lot and soon it was 7 pm already. Olivia nearly fell asleep in her bicycle cart but we kept her entertained by singing songs and spotting animals.
Day 31 - Tuesday 25th of October
Neumünster - Buchholz in der Nordheide
The morning in Neumünster was a bit rainy but Olivia and Minna didn’t mind it. We put on our rain gear and went to the park again to consume Olivia’s energy. She went up and down the slide while spotting some birds in the sky escaping the coming winter. We waved at them and said we are following you to the South! Soon it was lunchtime again so we started walking back to the car and spotted some more birds swimming in the lake.
After lunch, we opened up Google Maps. Hamburg was the next big city next to us but as we didn’t want to visit the big cities (we do prefer the smaller ones), we thought to drive past it. Buchholz in der Nordheide happened to be just 25km past Hamburg which was perfect. So off we went again. The traffic in Hamburg U-Bahns was crazy, with so many trucks driving on two lanes and cars everywhere going past us. Jake was again cool as a cucumber while Minna took some photos & videos of the traffic.
We arrived safe and sound at the parking spot which was a general parking area in the city near the local hospital. After enjoying the pastries we bought in Neumünster, the girls went to find a park and came across quite a small one but it was better than nothing. In the evening we all went for a little walkies in the town to see what else there would be to do. It was already past 6 pm so all the shops were closed already but we got some fresh air and quality time. The parking lot was a bit busy throughout the night as cars drove in and out all night but we managed to get decent sleep anyways (at least Olivia and Jake did, they can sleep through a bomb exploding).
Day 32 - Wednesday 26th of October
Buchholz in der Nordheide - Bremen
That morning Jake started his work day while we girls went to collect some acorns from the nearby park and had some fun in the playground. It was a calm, relaxing morning with nothing particular to do but Minna enjoyed it. Soon again our tummies informed us that it was lunchtime so we heated some food on the hob and ate it while going through our morning activities.
Again we didn’t have any special plan for where we would go next so we checked Google Maps again. We did know that much that by the first weekend of November, we needed to be in Brussels to meet Jake’s friend but other than that we were not in a hurry. Minna had set her mind on getting a pair of jeans as she didn’t bring any with her, and there happened to be a shopping centre in Bremen as well as a free motorhome parking area with electricity so we decided to go there next.
We packed up and got ourselves ready to leave for Bremen. We had some afternoon snacks and coffee at the shopping centre parking lot and then went to see what shops there were. It was a very basic shopping mall with generic stores, but one special store there was: CHRISTMAS SHOP! Olivia and Minna walked around in awe admiring and feeling all the Christmas stuff. Minna had her Christmas spirit up in no time! She then went to get her jeans and we did some grocery shopping in Lidl before driving to the mobile home area.
There happened to be one free spot with electricity and we parked our car. This kind of service was offered by the local caravan dealer, how amazing! The sun was shining and it was nearly +20 degrees outside! It felt like summer for sure. There were a couple of downsides to the parking lot as it was quite far away from anything, so there was nothing special for Olivia to do and the area smelled bad, like rotten eggs. But hey, it was free and we got electricity and super-hot showers so we didn’t complain!
Day 33 - Thursday 27th of October
Bremen - Cloppenburg
After breakfast, us girls went outside to draw with street crayons, play football and throw frisbee golf. It’s nice to see that Olivia doesn’t necessarily need the gold and glitter every single day, but is just happy to spend time together no matter what we do. We had lots of fun drawing on the pavement and I think the salesmen in the caravan dealer were happy as well judging by the smiles on their faces.
Before heading to the next location, we emptied the toilet and filled up the water tank. The next stop on our journey was Cloppenburg, Minna had spotted a laundromat there so that would be handy to wash the laundry that had been gathered from the past week. Olivia of course wanted to come and help and we did the laundry in a matter of hours.
In the evening after dinner, we went to the nearby grocery store to get some bits. Jake was astonished at how cheap the alcohol was, we got beers for 0,80€ and a wine bottle for 2,50€! That’s crazy compared to the prices in Finland.
Day 34 - Friday 28th of October
Cloppenburg - Hagen a.T.W
As we were so hardworking on the laundry yesterday, we had plenty of time in the morning to go to the playground. Minna found one and was able to navigate us girls there without getting lost. We made some sandcastles, went down the slide and made some more sandcastles. We then headed back to the van our bellies were making lots of noises.
With our bellies full, we opened up Google Maps again to check where we would go next. We spotted another free motorhome area in Hagen a.T.W. so we asked Google to navigate us there. When we were getting closer to the area, we drove through a beautiful, quaint village and Minna & Jake both fell in love with the place. The houses were so pretty, it was tidy and clean everywhere, sheep on the field. It was just like straight from a dream. This place was a jackpot! The parking area as well was very nice and clean, and we felt safe surrounded by other mobile homes.
Olivia of course wanted to go see the sheep as soon as we got there and we found also a sports track where we played hide and seek, tag and football. In the evening we all went down there again to throw some frisbee golf with the head torches on our foreheads. The evening was so warm again, and the breeze felt like we were already in Spain. That was amazing!
Day 35 - Saturday 29th of October
After breakfast, we looked on Google what there would be to do in the area and there was a city called Osnabrück just a 40-minute bike ride away so we decided to drive our bikes there to see the city. It was a bit tough ride as we have been lazy and not done any workout during our travels but we made it into town. We forgot to take our bicycle locks with us so we couldn’t leave the bikes out of our sight so we drove to a playground area surrounded by restaurants and bistros. As lunchtime was approaching, we decided to treat ourselves to brunch in one of the places. Olivia ate hers quickly and ran back to the playground by herself while we were watching her from the restaurant table not too far away. How big a girl she has become already!
We then took a ride on our bikes to the old town and it was magnificent. Old buildings with lots of character and history are something to honour. While on our walk Olivia fell asleep in her cart and we thought to drive back to the van while she was asleep. We took some drone videos of the beautiful landscape with purple flower fields surrounding us and just enjoyed the moment. It was nice to spend the Saturday doing these things together as a family, how grateful we all are for this experience.
Dinner o’clock was getting close and Jake suggested that we should have some pizzas for dinner and that he could make them with the pizza oven we brought with us. What a great suggestion! We jumped back on our bikes and drove down to the village to get some (frozen) pizzas and maybe a few beers & juice for Olivia. We all enjoyed our spontaneous pizza dinner while watching the sheep across the field.
We were all very tired from the day’s activities but for sure we are all so grateful that we get to do this and making memories together is the best thing we know.
Day 36 - Sunday 30th of October
Hagen a.T.W - Schüttorf
Our mobile home hadn’t been washed in forever so we decided to give it a bit of a wash. We all got our hands dirty and even washed our bikes at the same time. We were happy to see our home shining in the sun after the dirt and dust came off, it had some white on it after all! We had some lunch and before heading to our next location we wanted to go for a bike ride to see the nearby village and its surroundings.
We had some small snacks before leaving and checked on the map what would be our next stop. There was another free mobile home parking area near Dutch border called Scüttorf so we started driving there. As our plan was to be in Brussels on the first weekend of November, we also wanted to see the Netherlands while we were close by. We arrived in Schüttorf and went to explore the town. As it was our last night in Germany and we hadn’t had kebab rolls, so we decided to get them that night. We found a very busy restaurant and it was ah-mazing! We all ate our food with good appetite and then headed back to our van to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening.
*Services include camp sites, laundry, septic tank services, water, electric, etc.