One of the reasons we settled on the Biscay area for our winter quarters was that it would be easy to visit friends and family on the Continent over the non-sailing months. At the end of November we left Fettler snugged down in Mortagne and headed for Germany. After a week with my parents in Berlin we started to criss-cross Germany using the excellent car pool system, a bit like organised hitch-hiking and possibly the cheapest way to travel Germany short of hitch-hiking itself. First we visited friends in Darmstadt (the ones who introduced us to sailing some 15 years ago by chartering a boat on the Norfolk Broads and inviting us along) and then hopped back north to reunite with the Roede Orms, last seen in Porto Santo.
Roede Orm is now tucked up in a big barn for the winter, but the Conrads are just as welcoming in their land quarters by the Kiel Canal. The sailing season here is over for all but the hardiest, with Baltic temperatures of down to -10C at night.
It's nice to be in Germany at Christmas time with all the good old traditions that this entails: advent calendars (not just chocolate and not just for kids, with options ranging from lego to tea) and adventskranz, Christmas markets with mulled wine and, of course, Feuerzangenbowle.
|The Kiel Canal, linking the North Sea to the Baltic|
|Roede Orm in her deluxe winter storage, a big barn on a farm|
|Buelk Light House, on the foggy Baltic coast|