Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Now we are three

We spent yesterday morning in the Rewe supermarket, stocking up on bottles, tins and other heavy stuff while we had the car. Then it was off down the autobahn to Bremen, to give us a bit of time to explore the city before meeting Ben off his flight.

Bremen helpfully tells you all the numbers of spaces in its car parks, and directs you to them until you actually get to the point when you need to find the car park itself. Then there are no more signs. After a couple of traumatising laps of the city we found a car park, on a main road but backing on to a quiet residential street, so that when you return to the car park the pedestrian entrance just looks like another door in a row of houses.

Bremen is lovely, not as pretty as Stade but full of big impressive buildings, including a Ratskeller with the largest wine range in the world. We didn't try it, instead dining in a rather amazing biergarten in the courtyard of the old law courts and prison building. Most people were eating vast roasted pork shanks, while I had salad and Sam a plate of sausages. We are finding the richness and volume of German food a bit indigestible.

Meanwhile two important things had happened. The sun came out, for the first time since last Friday. And back in the UK, Ben set off on his journey towards Stansted in the little Ford Ka, only to have the brakes sieze on, half a mile down the road. He was planning to leave the car at his grandparents' house in Essex and have Grandma give him a lift to the airport. Fortunately our dear friend and neighbour Alex was at home when Ben ran back from the car, panicking, and even more unusually had her son Tom's car available. She was able to run him down to Ipswich, where Grandma met him - complete with passport and boarding cards which he had thoughtfully left at their house - and ran him to Stansted. Huge thanks to both of them for rescuing Ben in his hour of need.

So, Ben arrived early at the nasty Ryanair terminal at Bremen (actually a large shed) and is now, we hope, asleep in the aft cabin.

We have light easterlies and pale sunshine here this morning. At high water (around 6am) which is departure time for westbound people, the wind got up and woke us up. I then fell into a terrible dream where Sam was trying to sail Kalessin alone down a tidal river full of weirs, and when he ran out of water just abandoned the boat, now the size of a large model yacht. I was desperately trying to rescue all our possessions while Ben was screaming... and woke to the screaming of a gull.

Today we plan to head up the Elbe on the afternoon tide and lock into the Kiel canal at Brunsbüttel. Baltic, here we come (and goodbye tides...)

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