9-10 July – Westensee (Germany)

A delightful village in Schleswig-Holstein, Westensee is on a lake, and a paradise for biking. All flat, not like in Tuscany, and bike lanes everywhere, on every minor or major road. Our home was an apartment in a house owned by a local lady, furnished with a lot of taste (Valeria liked the blue bathroom tiles) and with direct access to the lake. The robot was keeping the grass immaculate, and we enjoyed our dinners (more matjes!).

We did a 36km tour to Nortorf, nothing special but a good way to test our biking after so much time. It was impossible to bike in 35 degrees at home, so we like being able to bike with a sweater and a wind jacket on.

8 July – Lübeck (Germany)

We came to Lübeck with some expectations (the capital of the historic Hanseatic League, a port on the Baltic Sea, birthplace of Thomas Mann, Gunther Grass lived her…) but I must say we weren’t impressed. The city center is the usual row of soulless chain shops, the same as in other German city (or European nowadays). The port is nice but it extend for many kilometers away from the historical part of town, so you only see a small bit, with not so many ships. Even the old buildings are a bit weird in their choice of materials and the way they are arranged in space. Perhaps we are spoiled with Italian art and architecture, so here simply does not compare. Nice dinner at Fangfrisch though, which helped saving the day. We stayed at an oldish hotel, which had the charm of tired interiors maintained spotlessly, a bit East-Germany-like.

The following day we travelled a short 20 minutes to Travemunde, a beach town full of tourists, all of them from Germany. Thanks to the nice weather, the huge beach and the nice matjes we had for lunch, we enjoyed the few hours we spent there. Valeria even managed to exercise on the beach, while I was happy with the 10,000 steps I managed despite the pain in my leg.