Another nice day, I would have happily stayed at Elend for another day and another swim but we need to start moving or we’ll never leave Germany.
We went up the steep hill YET again and got a sense of déjà vu going along the road to Wernigerode.
We were hugely disappointed when we drove into the schloss stellplätze which we thought would be like the one we stayed at in Schwerin but it was actually just a HUGE car park in the busiest part of town. It’s nowhere near the schloss which is actually out of the town up the top of a very high hill. The only good thing about going to that car park was seeing the little Trabant parked there.
Reluctantly we drove to stellplätze Am Katzenteich that we’d turned away from yesterday and hoped that the man who’d spoken to us wouldn’t be there to see us drive in!
He wasn’t but luckily for us there was another Frankia motorhome parked in the car park and as I was walking round the car park looking for somewhere to park they called over to Darren that they were just about to leave and that there was still some electricity on the meter so they suggested we park there. It was so kind of them.
We did park there and Darren got out the chairs and table like all the other motorhomers had so we could eat outside. That’s when we got an idea of what it’s like to be an animal in a zoo, for some reason the people in the motorhome opposite were very interested in what was going on on our pitch, they didn’t just glance over at us they blatantly stared! It reminded us very much of an event that happened to us twenty years ago when we visited our parents in Guangzhou, China, we had a similar experience there when we visited the zoo. We were the only foreigners, gwáilóu (white devils) there and we received more (friendly) interest than the animals! To the point that when we sat down while Darren changed the film in the camera he looked up and a crowd had formed around us. People were peering over our shoulders to see what we were doing! It would appear it’s something we should get used to.
When the weather had cooled down a bit we cycled around the town, it was wonderful, the mediaeval streets seemed to go on forever.
I had packed a flask of coffee and we were looking for a park to sit in when I caught sight of a signpost with a sign to the wildlife park (Wildlife park Christianental) which had native species of animals in it, 0.6 km away. I’d forgotten I had wanted to visit that so we cycled along a little lane at the back of the houses and into the park.
It had lots of pens in it and the first thing we saw was an owl with a dead chick in its beak, he was under the impression that I fancied his dinner and he put the chick down and shielded it from my view with his wing! I can’t say it looked that appetising. There were two other owls in another cage, one of them only had one eye.
There were some cute goats in another pen with a ram who looked beautiful but stunk to high heaven. A tiny baby goat came out of the shed looking for his mum because it was his teatime, his poor mother looked like she was heavily pregnant again and still feeding him.
There was a stag with his females in the next area, he was very vocal. While we were sitting drinking our coffee further in the park we could hear him bellowing. He and one of his females were having a mud bath, they’d both given themselves a face pack and their faces had turned grey.
Round the corner we saw a pond with a picnic table beside it so we made our way over there. Along the side of the path there was another cage with a little wooden house in it and we could see two racoons sticking their heads out of the door. As soon as I got my camera out one of the racoons pushed the other one back inside and started posing for me in the doorway.
After we’d had coffee and were walking back up the path we looked in their cage again, this time they were both posing so I took some more photos of them, they were SOOO cute. Apparently they were introduced into the wild in Germany in the 1920’s and now they’re causing a nuisance. Rather like huge flocks of parakeets that fly around in Molesey in the U.K. now.
It’s strange because in Tännäs in Sweden they were having the opposite problem with animals that were originally native to the area. We visited the Musk Oxen Centre and were told that Musk Ox had been indigenous, migrating each year during the breeding season back to where they were born in Sweden then returning to Norway with their babies. However, during WWII the Nazis had exterminated the herds of Musk Oxen in an attempt to break the spirit of the Norwegians. Consequently the Musk Oxen Centre weren’t allowed to build their herd of Musk Oxen up because the government had decreed that only animals that had lived in the country for over 300 years were indigenous and the break where they’d been eliminated meant that the Centre had to sell any baby Musk Oxen.
We rushed back to the van because the sun was starting to set but when we were five minutes away from the site we got lured into an ice cream shop we were passing, it was called Busche’s Eis. Out of all the ice cream we’ve eaten on this trip so far the ice cream at this shop was by far the best. I had lime and lemon ice cream, it was superb and extremely creamy. In fact it was so good we’ve decided that we must sample another of their ice creams before we leave for our next stop, wherever that may be.
It was lucky we stopped for ice cream because as an added bonus, which made our wonderful day absolutely perfect, we saw the steam trains coming back to the sheds for the night, steaming along the track with the sun setting behind them as we cycled back over the bridge that crossed the railway line.