Not a hot weekend as in "hot" (i.e. escaping somewhere with a lover), but as in high temperature hot. The first weekend of July broke some temperature records in Germany. My Mum reported 41 Celsius on her balcony on Sunday afternoon - in the shade!
What to do to keep cool, especially if you live in a very average German house, which means there is no AC? To be honest, I don't want to keep cool in summer - summer should be sunny and warm, sometimes hot, and it is perfectly normal to sweat a little on a hot day. Just wear something suitable, make sure you drink enough water and don't eat too much or over-exert yourself, and you should be fine.
But that weekend, along with three of my friends, I travelled all the length of Germany from the south to the north to visit one of the ladies of our original group of friends. She moved there six years or so ago, but we have managed to remain close and see each other about once, sometimes even twice, a year.
She lives somewhere between Hamburg and Lüneburg, in a small town (Mölln) in an area known as Lauenburgische Seenplatte, a kind of "lake district" really. Her town alone is built around three lakes, and her house is right next to one. As there is no heavy industry nearby, and the whole region is very well cared for and clean, people who live around the lake usually go for a swim whenever they can. Our friend is no exception - she swims in the lake every morning, temperature permitting.
We were all very much looking forward to seeing our friend and the beautiful place where she lives; so far, we'd all seen it only once, in February 2010, when the lake was frozen over and there were snow and ice everywhere.
After a rather tiring trip, involving four different trains and a total delay of a bit more than an hour (which has, sadly, become normal for train trips in Germany), we finally reached our destination.
The sight that greeted us on/from our friend's balcony was this:
See the red arrow pointing to a house somewhere to the left of the church? That is the hotel where one of my friends and I were staying; the other two opted to stay at our friend's place.
We brought along a basket full of typical Swabian food and drink, as a culinary reminder of our friend's old home:
After enjoying a refreshing glass or two of prosecco, we went for a walk around the lake, our friend playing guide. It felt so good to finally move about on our own feet instead of depending on the whims of trains!
I took plenty of pictures, but I'll show you only a few now and the rest in a seperate post.
I have not yet found out what the connection between the town of Mölln and George Bernard Shaw is, but this plaque on a wall near the church made me want to do some research on the subject:
Sunset over the lake:
Time for bed! It had been a good and long day, and tomorrow was going to be even better.
The hotel was alright; the landlady could have been a little friendlier, but the room was clean and the beds comfortable enough.