Sunday, July 29, 2007

Back In Bremen

Our adventure continues. Today we drove from Aalborg, Denmark to Bremen, Germany, where I stayed a week for work a year and a half ago. Denmark has a fine freeway system, which led us into Germany. My hopes for redlining our car on the autobahn were dashed by a combination of rain and heavy traffic. It appears every camping trailer in Europe was heading home-- the last Sunday before August. We made great time before the weather turned, but mostly it was rain. The temporary speed limit signs were lit up. Or are they merely recommendations? It didn't matter. Traffic was jammed up in the middle of nowhere. Julian was a bit restless. If you consider that he he is basically restrained in his car seat, he is quite accommodating for even bothering to travel with us.

You can literally drive north to south through all of Denmark without even taking a potty break. I don't exactly have a truck driver's bladder, so you can do the math. Granted we had maybe an hour's headstart, but it was nothing to make it to the border at Flensburg- or rather Flensborg as the Danes would have it spelled. They have a garish last ditch Scandinavian stop there- the last outpost for buying excessive quantities of cheap beer, cheep candy, cases of Coke, all matter of liquor, and a bunch of items that scream "Dollar Store." Oddly, they had a very fine cafe that was literally giving away food and beverages. I expected much less from a tourist trap.

The rest of the trip was dictated by Julian's travel needs. We would have driven all the way to our friends in the Netherlands had our timing been more in synch with his. We were running late from the ferry fiasco, and with the heavy traffic-- and I am talking stop and go autobahn traffic- cruising at 130 kph, stopping, 130kph, stopping, over and over. It was not condusive to making the trip in the estimated seven hours. We needed more time. We would have arrive well after Julian's bedtime. After much discussion, we opted to stop in Bremen for the night. We stayed very near the hotel that I spent a week last time I was here.

A note about traveling in Germany: not everyone speaks English. We stopped at a rest area, and Lise wanted French fries. I asked for pommes frites, which should be the universal word for fries if you are not American. I ended up with a meal of sorts--- that included the fries. It was some sort of sausage smothered in a barbecue sauce. Hey- it was food. On the other end of the food spectrum, we stopped at La Dolce Vita in Bremen- the same restaurant I ate in almost nightly when I was staying here. The food was excellent. They were playing some recording that sounded like Leonard Cohen singing in Italian. Julian tolerated his parents with grace, as usual. We had an excellent meal, and I drank two large beers- for under 30 Euros. The beer alone would have cost that much back in Norway.

The beautiful thing about living in Norway is everything is so expensive, that is seems like petty cash to spend 88 Euros to fill a gas tank, or €109 for a hotel room. It makes travel seem dirt cheap.

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