It was hard to leave the floating lands but we did. We headed on crossing back into another area of beautiful tree lined Germany. Our destination was a rural town called Rhauderfehn. The name of this town has a beautiful ring to it when you say it!! Definitely off the Rick Steve’s tourist trail. In fact our Airbnb host wondered how two Aussies found her rural stay as she had never had Aussie guests before!!!!! This is definitely one of the bonuses to having your own car.
We whole heartedly love rural off the beaten trail stays. We wanted to experience how the German’s really live, work and play. Not a tourist fairytale version.
Rhauderfehn is a pretty idyllic rural town. Agriculture and nature are immersed within the town’s lifestyle. Houses are set back from the road with beautiful well maintained gardens. Every house backs onto a nature reserve or rolling agricultural fields or pastoral land. It is so refreshing to pass yellow fields full of tiny whisky yellow flowers.
Our street has a narrow canal running directly down the centre of it. In the middle of the canal is a man made duck house. A sign that locals here encourage wildlife to live with them in harmony. I spotted a mother duck sitting high on her throne like a queen inside the duck house. Ducks happily flapped their wings as they enjoyed the tranquillity of the peaceful Spring waters. You can see exactly what this town values. No words needed!!!!
Our cosy cottage looks out onto a picture perfect lake with the young owner’s pitched roof house next door to us. They have created a harmonious space with vegetable gardens and ‘free willing chickens’, that roam free in the surrounding woods. They are the most happy and contented chickens we have ever seen. They enjoy nestling into our garden bed for shade. One is the biggest chicken we have ever seen. The owners have built them a beautiful,’door less’, timber chicken house with thick straw nesting boxes. These happy free spirited chickens do gift the owners with golden eggs in appreciation for a free life. We were gifted with these prize eggs on arrival. Now I understand how chickens should be treated. The free willing chickens as they call them, are a step up from the free range chicken. They are treated with the highest of respect. When driving in this part of Germany we have seen wonderful examples of free range chickens in huge fields scratching about. The fields have no barns to lock the chicken away from its natural surrounding or sun light. Black low lying tunnels form shelters for the chickens from the heat and cool weather. Being a huge fan of Hugh Whittingstall and River Cottage has made seeing how these chickens live even more inspiring. As Hugh also says any farmed animal should have a good life. It is a shame that In Australia our chickens need to be fenced in to protect them from predators like snakes, foxes and wild dogs.
We were also graced by the presence of the owner’s beautiful 12 year old dog. A glass jar of special home baked doggie treats were given to us to fed their dog. She regularly joined us for treats.
The town and surrounding village is pretty. It is lined with canal draw bridges, lots of windmills, canals, bike lanes and dappled tree lined narrow streets.
Our walk around the lake lead us past honking geese, wild ducks, sand mining areas, green pastures that were home to Black Beauty, fields of green with fresh tractor tracts and plump dairy cows enjoying the rich splendour of the juice green grass.
We celebrate with another splendid bottle of German wine overlooking the lake. We added in our freshly picked frozen strawberries and we called it strawberry smash.
I got smashed as Rob got blissfully blinded by the 6-00 pm blazing sunshine. It was 25 degrees at 6-00pm and the strawberry sun had three more hours before descending homewards on the horizon.
Bird life was singing many joyful melodies. This property was filled with bird boxes welcoming winged merry singers into the joyous lake terrain.
We enjoyed the pleasures of this hidden gem for two nights.
Our graceful Sunday journey towards Kiel took us driving along the German autobahns. Highways with no speed limits. Autobahns are really built for the Bat Mobile. So Rob was my Batman. Speed demons ricochet past our car, over taking us at gut curdling speeds. Each time our Bat Mobile got pulled along in the wind currents.
We arrived in Kiel and made our way to the harbour front where we both gasped at the floating giant city that was to carry us and our car over the North Sea to Oslo in Norway. Norway is the land of Vikings and Trolls something that we are yet to learn about.
We will be on board this floating giant that rises 15 stories high out of the water for at least 20 hours. A luxury over night adventure.
Our cruise ship is called Colour Line. We casually showed our passports and tickets and then drove through the ticket office and waited in line to drive our car aboard this floating giant.
It was all very causal driving aboard and parking on a floating underground car park. There was no stress parking amongst semi trailers probably full of pretty flowers and decked out camper vans.
We flung our overnight bags over our shoulder and walked through a sliding door into a marvellous magical floating city. No security checks!!!
We made our way like King and Queen along plush carpet and past glass lifts to our ocean suit which was fitted out nicely with great views.
We explored the outdoor deck where many people were enjoying the sunshine.
There are sixteen restaurants/ cafes aboard, a water park, massage and beauty salon, a casino, a gym, teens lounge, arcade games room, night club and a whole floor of shops including tax free shopping.
This floating city interior is overwhelmingly decadently decorated. I just thought we were going on a car barge across a passage of water from Germany to Norway!!!! Rob thought he was going to drink coffee in a styrofoam cup.
Gosh were we wrong!!! Now we understand how the Norwegians and Germans travel!!
We celebrated by having a mojito in the dining lounge that made us feel like we were aboard the Titanic.
We headed for the night time fantasy live musical show which was just incredible. The theme was French Riviera. The singers and dancers were brilliant. Two of the singers and dancers were from Australia!!!! The costumes and their singing was just amazing. They had songs from some of my favourite movies Dirty Dancing , Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast.
After the show we braved the cool breeze to watching the sun sink into the sea at 9-00 pm!!
Our boat cruised smoothly through dark murky waters in the night. Our round circular window woke us to a calm smooth tranquil grey water way with land in sight. We were now in Norway.