Although our summer trip to Germany ended in August, once we met up with our daughter, writing blog posts came to an end. Now I will finish the final posts.

How convenient could it be? We leave Bonn after a leisurely breakfast at our hotel, pack our gear in the rental car and head for our evening’s destination of Bad Zwischenahn, about four hours away. As we pass Düsseldorf, we divert slightly by the airport, park and enter the terminal. Within a few minutes our daughter Suzi emerges from customs, having just flown in from San Francisco. We hardly miss a beat and we have a daughter to travel with us for the coming few weeks.

North Coast windmill

North Coast windmill

Why did we choose Bad Zwischenahn and make reservations months ahead of time? Some desirable places were already booked up even back in January for summertime. We are on a slow route from Bonn to the tiny North Sea island of Hallig Hooge for a two week stay almost at the Danish border. Between here and there are several compelling cities to check out – Oldenburg, Bremen, Bremerhaven and Hamburg. But we couldn’t find an apartment to our liking in Oldenburg so we settled on a place out in the countryside with no particular expectations, but Google Earth showed we would be near a round glacial lake that might be worth a hike around.

Our car’s Navi (navigator, which spoke perfect German!) led us quite a way down this ancient cobbled lane to our home for the next three nights.

Narrow cobblestone lane to our abode

Narrow cobblestone lane to our abode

How surprised we were when we turned in to a small new development of pristine brick houses. We have an upstairs apartment with the owners living below.

Our home for three days

Our home for three days

This is Suzi's well furnished room

This is Suzi’s well furnished room with a comfy bed behind

Right away we walk about a mile into the village, passing an old windmill along the way. It turns out that we are in a really special place. First, the northern style brick buildings along the main street remind us almost of the story-book villages of Holland. Neat as a pin, as they say. It’s a spa town, a health resort with a large attractive convalescent facility specializing in treating age related issues. (Maybe we should reserve a room!) Adjacent is a park where representative examples of historic buildings have been relocated. The lake with beach is also right there, a block off the main street.

Old storage barn

Old storage barn

We want to peek inside but the door was locked. Suzi has the solution. She places her camera up against the crack at the bottom of the door, takes a picture, and voila, we get a good view inside.

The barn is still used for storage.

The barn is still used for storage. Notice that the whole building is pegged together, even the flooring.

Boat dock and swimming area

Boat dock and swimming area

Back side of the clinic

Back side of the clinic

Beside the clinic in the park is a Kneipp spa http://www.kneippus.com/the-kneipp-story/. We took advantage of it and did the routine. We finished invigorated, as we had a few years before at a Kneipp spa in the Alps.

The arm soak seems to be quite curative.

The arm soak seems to be quite curative.

Eva and I do the water routine.

Eva and I do the water routine.

Of course, all this whets our appetites so we repair to one of the historic eating places in the park. Designed for shorter people from centuries ago, the small door demands that our server duck repeatedly all day.

One of the historic restaurants in the park

One of the historic restaurants in the park

We order regional fare.

Pickled fish, of course

Pickled fish, of course

We are having so much fun we forget to take photos of the village itself. Sorry. But all around us, in people’s yards, in parks and in commercial landscaping we see numerous examples of topiary. It turns out that we are in the center of vast topiary nurseries. Let’s take a look.

Topiary

Topiary

These specimens are sold all over Germany

These specimens are sold all over Germany

Shaped junipers

Shaped junipers

Some specimens are quite large. They are dug up and replanted regularly.

Some specimens are quite large. They are dug up and replanted regularly.

On the last day, we remember to visit the town we were there to visit, the capital of the grand duchy
of Oldenburg, dissolved after WW I. What a lovely place it is.

zzz

St. Lamberti church in the city center

Oldenburg Castle

Oldenburg Castle

We enjoy the numerous side streets

We enjoy the narrow side streets

Suzi tries on new trail shoes. Metric sizes don't fit her.

Suzi tries on new trail shoes. Metric sizes don’t fit her.

Lunchtime is upon us. We explore the menu for new dishes.

Yum!

Yum!

Eva always springs for the pickled fish.

Eva springs for a salad.

Suzi's dish is yummy, too.

Suzi’s dish is yummy, too.

After WW II, the city’s population swelled by 60% as refugees from the east were taken in and resettled there. Today they welcome refugees from the Middle East.

Refugees welcome

Refugees welcome

Yes, they are welcome and will be accommodated.

Yes, they are welcome and will be accommodated.

Soon we drive on to Bremen, where we stay on the outskirts in a small but tasteful apartment. See you there.

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