Though it was terrific staying in the comfort of Brita's home - and the comfort of her negotiating things for us in German - it was time for us to try Europe on our own! We drove about an hour north of Hamburg to the old medieval walled city of Lübeck. We stayed away from the autobahn and took a small, secondary road through the very agricultural landscape, full of windmills (the modern kind, unfortunately). We learned that nothing is open on Sunday in Germany - other than the bars and restaurants. For that reason, the town seemed almost deserted making it seem more like a museum than a populated city! Many of the buildings in the town date back to the 1700s and the streets very narrow and made of cobblestones. This was our first introduction to towns full of buildings made entirely with red brick - more on that later.
We then had to find our first European campsite - but did so with little fuss. We immediately noticed several differences between a German and Canadian campsite: they provide sinks with hot water so you can wash your dishes; there are no picnic tables nor fire pits; the space is limited and you just park on the lawn beside the next person - no thought of any privacy; and you order your fresh rolls for breakfast the night before and they are there for you in the morning. As though someone knew it was our first night in the campsite, several hot air balloons flew over our heads - we felt as kind of a warm welcome to us.
In the morning we walked up behind the campsite into an area of community gardens. It was like a maze with narrow pathways amongst the hundreds of gardens - each about half the size of a normal city lot. Each had a crude (but sometimes pretty fancy) garden shed or day house - and magnificent gardens including vegetables, fruit and flowers.