Day 12: around Kiel

No cycling but lots of walking, and a few buses.

Our first port of call, according to my photos, was to Swedenkai. This is on the west side of Kielförde (Kiel fjord), and Norwegenkai is on the east side of the Förde. Yet, last time I looked, Sweden is east of Norway.

Kiel seems to be in a decades-long, and effective but not oppressive, track of rebuilding and refreshing itself – it seems easy-going and yet organised. Or perhaps we are just seeing the tourist-friendly bits. Perhaps that explains why Swedenkai has a donkey bridge, and why the two Kais are the wrong way round – someone held the plans the wrong way up.

We then walked a bit further north to the Schifffahtsmuseum, via Kiel’s porno-zone. This (the museum, not the porno-zone) was wonderfully informative. If only I could remember some of it. I hadn’t realised that Kiel had been Russian before it became Danish – and then German. (I had heard a little about Bismark etc, but I dumped history at school as soon as I could, because the teaching was all about kings and queens and big battles, and got as far as the middle-ages. For me, these were nothing to celebrate: who cares if some sword-wielding toff decides he [or she, or it] wants to take over some land by offing his/her/its seventh cousins twice removed? Had they taught how society developed, history of ideas, history of technological development, I might have been interested. And I’d love to know how the toffs got – and still get – people to be cannon-fodder. Or maybe I wouldn’t – it might be too depressing.)

Anyway, here are some photos from the Schifffahtsmuseum, raising some important questions:

  • How reminiscent is Kaiser Wilhelm of the current UK monarchy? Look at the eyes and cheekbones.
  • Why is a young boy humping a fish?
  • How did Richard Branson go back in time to join the crew of the König?

Then Getränkepause at the next-door café. It seems the water and cola do good things. Near the café was a former light-ship’s light-tower.

Our 9-euro train tickets were also valid on local buses, making the journey to the mouth of the Nordosrseekanal much easier than cycling in the sweltering heat. I’ll leave you to translate the information boards. The photo of a random woman is because she asked to take a photo of me, so I asked her to reciprocate. We didn’t exchange contact details or even names. Hmmm – am I afflicted by classic English British reserve?

More buses then took us to Strand Hasselfelde, a small but quite popular beach on the east bank of the Förde. The water was quite warm, but salty – I didn’t stay in for long, just enough to say I have swum.

Buses then took us back to the hotel for more discussion of what to do when we return to Kiel. We have a train booked to Osnabrück, about 180 miles from IJMuiden. Normally we’d be able to do that in the 3·5 days we’ll have before our ferry departs for Newcastle, but neither of us are currently up for three 60-mile days. We’ll get to Osnabrück about 6pm, provided train-changes don’t delay us. That allows us to then get a train to Amsterdam, arriving at 11pm. Then, we hope, we can go to Zaandam for 3 days of thumb-upbum-and-mind-in-neutral*. However, the Hauptbahnhof ticket office was closed by the time we got there, and booking bike-places online wasn’t possible. So will we end up stuck in Osnabrück? Or forced to cycle hundreds of miles to get home? Find out in the next thrilling episode of Digital evidence that Bruce might have a life!

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