Shared a beer with Linda and Steve at the Brauhaus brewery, Berlin
B.Spoke: What, or rather where, have you both been up to?
Linda: Well, our most recent trip was a scenic drive along Germany’s Baltic coast. A 10 day journey that started from Berlin, going up northwards to conclude in Hamburg. It was a truly serene and remarkably beautiful escape.
Steve: The coast was spectacular. The Baltic is this beautiful colour of cobalt blue that is deep with a rich hue. The coastal towns were all very charming and had lush green scenery to offer at every point. Our stops along the way coming up from Berlin, were Stralsund, Rúgen, Bad Doberan, Schwerin, Lúbeck and then finally Hamburg.
Linda: It really was a skip, jump and a hop away from the crowds. At times we felt like we were the only ones on the highway.
Steve: Darling, I believe the saying is a “Hop, skip and a jump”.
Linda: Call it what you want, I’ll skip, you can hop and jump.
B.Spoke: So, what was the selected grand tourer this time around?
Steve: This time we went for a Porsche, my preference was for a grand tourer, so I chose the 911 Carrera GTS. It drove spectacularly, even though it’s not a cheap car, I can now tell you first hand why. For what looks like a small car, is an extremely powerful vehicle with excellent road handling. It delivers a highly satisfying drive-
Linda: Oh no! now you’ve started him off again! He will go on forever like this you know.. call me when it’s over.
Steve: Ok Linda, I’ll hold back this time for you and only talk about the suspension.
Linda: Oh God!
Steve: Just can’t keep these women happy, can we?
B.Spoke: Ok, let’s steer away from the car (no pun intended) for a minute and tell me about the route?
Steve: Our flight arrived in Berlin in the afternoon, we had the Porsche (glances at Linda) delivered to us at the Airport and then headed to our hotel, Hotel de Rome Rocco Forte. Dinner at the hotel was great, couldn’t identify many of the dishes so I ordered the lamb cutlets.
Linda: Rocco Forte was a nice hotel, very elegant with high ceilings and quality furnishings. The Hotel restaurant was an à la carte selection of German and Italian dishes. It was sumptuous, I had the Ballotine of Anjou Pigeon, a tender pigeon dish served with black sauce, clearly the workings of a great master chef. After dinner, we went to the nearby Staatsoper Opera House. That night they were performing an orchestral piece by Mendelssohn. It was wonderful!
Steve: It was ok, the chairs were comfortable.
Linda: We don’t want them too comfortable do we Steve? I feel I have to prod you more often to stay awake.
Steve: I suppose, I just think it’s an awfully expensive place to catch a nap.
Steve: Anyway, the next day we set off towards Stralsund that is situated along the Hanseatic coast. It’s heyday in the medieval period saw a lot of wealth come in as a trading port. Within the city’s old square there are a lot of buildings and monuments constructed during this time, with fascinating architectural design, some buildings date back to its origins in 1234.
Linda: I particularly loved the City Hall, a grand brick gothic building in the town’s center. The front features a grand facade, that was built only for the purpose of showing off the town’s wealth. We took a walk through the building and its gallery. Apparently, they house Europe’s largest Gothic cellar vaults. Quite spooky wasn’t it?.
Steve: Very spooky! I really thought-
Linda: After Stralsund, we crossed the bridge to arrive at the Island of Rugen. Rugen was amazingly beautiful, probably the highlight of the whole journey for me. The island has this untouched picturesque serenity. It is surrounded by vast stands of white sandy or pebble beaches set against chalk white cliffs. There seems to be a long precedent for tourism in Rugen as the seaside resorts looked very established and highly luxurious.
Steve: It really was amazing, I enjoyed the drinks we had at the Sellin, a bistro built on the pier. Afterwards, we made tracks en route to Bad Doberan, a very quaint Germanic town. I think it’s most famous for the 19th century “Molli” steam train, which I just had to take a ride. The ride was sensational, full of character, it rolls through the town’s center to arrive at Kühlungsborn. I enjoyed every minute of it and struck up a friendly conversation with the conductor who told me much about Bad Doberan’s history.
Linda: It was very cute, it felt like a moment out of the Orient Express. Later we headed out to Schwerin to see the Schwerin palace. Unbelievable, it’s a veritable Disneyland castle! A white castle with everything; turrets, fortifications and elongated spires. How I would love to call something like that home! So romantic!
Steve: What? Are you considering a new occupation of princess in distress waiting to be rescued?
Linda: Well put me up there and I promise I won’t complain too much.
Steve: (turns to me) Almost worth it, isn’t it? After Schwerin we travelled on to Lubeck, known as the queen of the medieval Hanseatic league. It abounds with beautiful scenery, grand brick gothic architecture, given ambience by the River Trave.
Linda: Do you remember we also had some excellent marzipan there? Apparently they were the ones to discover marzipan out of a period of famine.
Steve: Sure, if you can’t have bread, why not marzipan? Sounds obvious to me.
Linda: Hmm, I got to admit sounds weird, but that’s the local legend
Steve: We left Lubeck on the Autobahn 1, it was great racing down that highway-
Linda: Ahh, you said no more on the car!
Steve: Sorry, sorry, you almost got me. It was just a few hours drive from Lubeck to Hamburg on the Autobahn, very smooth. I tried to race up to-
Linda: Ahem. Hamburg is such a fashionable and artistic city, spent most of our time in Hafencity, looking at the galleries, dining, shopping, it was all very avant garde. Later on we caught a musical in Reeperbahn a very hip red light district of Hamburg.
Steve: Yeah, Hamburg was a fun, loud and buzzing contrast to the quiet and sleepy towns that we had just been through. All in all, it was a great trip and one that I think we would both recommend.