We left Dresden early on Tuesday the 13th August and drove an hour to Meissen where we toured the factory and showrooms of the Meissen company, the most famous porcelain in Germany. The tour was extremely well organised with a group entering several rooms progressively to watch an artisan displaying their various skills with porcelain from the initial stage of forming the porcelain on a pedal driven wheel and then pressing the clay into a mould (they have
over 200,000 moulds for their porcelain)to handpainting pieces and forming by hand many small decorative pieces that are then added to the inital mould. The information was given over a loudspeaker
but Maurice and I had very good headsets with a person speaking beautiful English explaining each process to us.
As we passed Leipzig airport it was most unusual to see a Condor plane cross the bridge directly in front of us and Maurice said that it serves as part of the taxiway.

There are windfarms everywhere in Germany and in an Autobahn service station we passed three very long semi trailers with the blades of a wind turbine.  They looked enormous lying there.  When they are attached to their poles they don’t look so big.
We continued then onto our friend Helga in Dollern which lies to the east of Hamburg. We again encountered two lots of “stau” traffic jams and some detours. The most cars that seemed to pass everyone on the Autobahn were black station wagons. You hardly see a 4WD or SUV at all.

It is very hard to estimate arrival times to anywhere in summer when most of the road works take place and which cause many traffic jams. We found that the drivers in the former “East Germany” tended
to race far more than those from the west and several friends agreed with this.
It was lovely to see our friend Helga again and her family and our friends Helmut and Margaret.
We even caught up with our friend Olaf from Norway who was making his way from Norway to Leipzig on holiday. He came and ate with us and we spent a few hours together which was lovely.
The following day we went with Helga into the historic old town of Stade where most of the old buildings have been restored beautifully.
Maurice came up from his ironing in the cellar the next morning to the kitchen to find Helga and I having a glass of wine at 10.30am but we decided that was OK as I was also cooking lunch!
It was nice to cook in a kitchen with a bit of space and the friends enjoyed the Italian meal that I prepared. We went for a long walk afterwards around the fields and by the railway line and forest to walk some of it off.
Helga is just as active as ever at 78 doing all the housework, cooking, mowing the lawn and trimming the  hedges and is also a lot of fun and has a very young and tolerant attitude to everything.
Last year people were drinking Aperol and Prosecco as an apperitif but this year I tried another favourite which is called “Hugo” which is Elderberry syrup with Prosecco,mint leaves and lemon which is also very tasty.
Maurice on reading up on the internet about stays in Europe discovered that we were over our allowed 3month stay in most of the countries of the EU which rather surprised us as no-one over the last 18months of us travelling has either known or mentioned it. Jude and Joan who are living with our friend Mary near Florence said that they needed a visa for their 6month stay but we thought that that was because they were working.
We decided then to cut our stay short and move on up to Lubeck to see our friends Ruth, Irmi and Katrin for the weekend. We had two days without rain and got to go with Ruth to the Willy Brandt museum which was very informative and interesting and to look  at various small shops and the old streets and buildings  in Lubeck.
We went to a fantastic new bar/cafe/restaurant right on the river Trave called “Bar Celona” one night and to a great restaurant in a beautiful garden setting in the historic part of town.  Ruth our friend invited us all to dinner on our last night in town in her lovely old style appartment.  We left Irmi’s the next morning and set off for Horstel near the Dutch border for the night on our way to Hook von Holland and England on the 20th August.

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