Saturday, 29 June 2013

Eastern Germany (Former DDR)

I have to say I was very curious prior to entering former East Germany (DDR) as to what lay ahead for us. The fact we've never been before or understood what it would have been like to have lived the other side of the patrolled border made us a little cautious, odd that...
After a week of being here we can honestly say that its a great area next to the River Elbe east of Hannover

The cycle routes are just simply brilliant, running alongside huge swathes of open fields and marshland

Its 2 weeks or so now since major flooding in this and other areas along the Elbe and the land and people have suffered
Its easy to think all the water around you is natural lakes but look again...most is low lying farmland and forestry now flooded and unable to release the water
Purpose built flood dykes have been deliberately breached in places to try to re flood the river now its subsided a little

We saw mile after mile of these and were told the Army did a cracking job in preparation for the floods

Only real drawback is the complete lack of visitors now who mistakingly are staying away.
Mosquitos are a real drag for us too at the moment as the water subsides, the birds fill their bellies and we get served up as main course in the evenings!

Next to the van for a couple of nights were our village neighbourhood watch Storks
We counted 4 nests in the village and even though the Soviets don't watch nowadays we felt "observed" by these living CCTV cameras

This was a cracking night, a very old village hall and an invite to a Flamenco evening
Anna, the organiser, is an English teacher and also runs a quaint cafe on the bank of the Elbe
BTW. This is not Anna but a very talented German girl who, with her two friends, kept us well entertained..

One cycle trip took us back over the old demarcation line to an excellent BRD/DDR museum set up in old West Germany
This helped us grasp what life would have been like just 23 years ago just before Re unification
We are looking forward now to visiting the numerous museums in Berlin relating to the carving up of Germany from WW2 to present day...

We are currently holed up in Havelberg being eaten alive by Mozzies

An indication of how far the water rose, we were told that the water level peaked at 25ft above normal in places and still has a long way to go to return to its usual level

All this cycling is doing my buns good...

I stared at this view from our van for ages
A certain drill yard, a few friends, and the Top Gun theme echoing in the background...Happy days!!