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Way off the Beaten Path (by Renee)

by on July 29, 2013

Thinking about the last few days:

Driving through Germany, you realize that the scenery in Bavaria (south end of Germany with the Alps and foothills) is unique and much more interesting than the rest of the country.  Perhaps it’s just the autobahn, but there are very few towns and every rest area has a Burger King.  I actually don’t usually mind fast food but I must say Burger King in Germany is horrid.  Also, as we made our way through the countryside, we found that people who want to eat German food usually stay at home…if you want to eat out, its Italian you choose.  So despite our desire to feed the kids a plate of sausage and sauerkraut, we had 3 days of Italian food on the way up.

Along the way across Germany we spent one night in Schloss Waldeck, a castle in a small town in the middle of nowhere!  When we were deciding how to get all the way up to Papenburg, sleeping in a castle seemed like a good idea.  It WAS a nice hotel, but the part where the rooms were was actually built recently so we got modern bathrooms, electricity, etc. 

We also spent one night in a lovely two bedroom suite (thank you for upgrading us, front desk person at the Hotel Alte Werft!).  This is a very nice hotel that was built in the old Meyer Werft shipyard.  This was so much more interesting than staying at the Raddison right next door.

Papenburg used to be a shipbuilding center, but now it’s a one-company-town supported by the huge shipyard.  We chatted with a girl working at the ice cream shop in Papenburg…her question was “WHY are you taking holiday in Papenburg?”  I guess not too many Americans ever make it to town… it’s pretty far from any tourist sights (except for people who are amused by large shipyards).

It was interesting that the German and Austrian marketing folks have done a great job getting tourists from the Far East to visit.  On our tour in the salt mine, we had people from Vietnam, Hong Kong, Korea, Hungary and us.  We have seen way more Asian tourists than Americans on this entire trip.

In Amsterdam we are staying on a houseboat.  This too sounded like a great idea — and it never occurred to me that the boat rocks, all the time!  We are on one of the major canals and boats/water taxis/party boats are going by our window all day and most of the night.  Good thing I had seasick patches for Anna and I. 

Alex and I have come up with a terrific new business idea….window screens!  No one here in Amsterdam has them (and yes, they DO need them!)  The mosquitoes are legendary here in Amsterdam – maybe not quite as bad as the vicious Egyptian mosquitoes that were everywhere in Athens – but still I think every single houseboat  and house would be a potential customer for some good old American screens!  We need to leave the windows open for ventilation, but that means we get all the noise and bugs.

Having fun….


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One Comment
  1. Aunt Ginny permalink

    Love the houseboat commentary. You guys really like the full on “native” experiences. I prefer the Radisson experience and seeing the local sights, markets, etc.

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