It's three weeks since I returned from my trip home to the UK for Angus's funeral and to see friends and family.
We've now reached the furthest intended spot for this year, Schwerin at the northern edge of the Mecklenburg Lakes. Our normal modus operandi when boating is to take our time getting to where we want to be, then either running out of time to actually get there and stopping short or having to dash back to meet a deadline. This time we have done it differently, in that we've pushed ourselves to get here at a not uncomfortable but steady pace and we'll now take our time going back through this lovely area and stopping for a few days where the fancy takes us. We did linger in Berlin for a couple of weeks and hope to do so again on our way back.
|Is it a boat, is it a caravan?|
Well, it's a caravan on a catamaran!
It seems almost as if we've had all four seasons since we set out 12 weeks ago on 13th April. It was cold, wet and miserable for a good few weeks, we could see our breath condensing every morning when we woke in Holland, the first job every morning being to mop up condensation and we used a good bit of diesel keeping warm and went round even inside the boat with many layers. It felt like we'd never be out of fleeces and into tee shirts! Now, 12 weeks later we are basking in temperatures of 39/40 degrees and having electric storms the like of which we've rarely seen before. And hot, hot nights where it's so uncomfortable to sleep....how we miss Liberté's master cabin air con!
|A very soggy day!|
We were in Oranienburg, just north of Berlin when I returned to Meander and true to my word the first shopping trip back was for the purchase of a cycle helmet which I have worn on every cycle trip since! We spent a couple more days there in cold wet weather and met our one and only British couple so far on a cruiser, moored next to them and spent a pleasant evening on board nattering. I meant to take a photo of the two Ensigns flying side by side but most of the time they were just drooping in the rain!
And so we got on with our travels to the Mecklenburg Lake area, through varying scenery, pretty villages, narrow water lily lined "ditches" and lakes of varying sizes.
We had a couple of days hold up when my arthritic knees played up and swelled so much that they looked like chicken drumsticks and I could barely shuffle. That was fun, (not) neither of us being able to walk and having two lively dogs is not a good situation to be in. It was a Sunday morning, NHS direct website symptom checker suggested urgent medical attention. Nigel hobbled to the hafen meister who was nowhere to be seen but a kind holiday boater who could understand the situation rang the emergency doctor then took us in his car to the surgery where I was given cortisone and diplofenac injections and told to rest with my legs up. I did as I was told, was looked after and waited on by Nigel and the dogs managed with comfort walks again like they'd had to while I was back in the UK. After a couple of days rest the pain and swelling subsided and we were able to move on again, across the vast Muritzsee and many other smaller lakes, along the Alte Elde and then StorKanal and eventually to Schwerin.
|Nice little mooring on the Alde Elde Kanal|
Put us in mind of Froncles.
Along this stretch we've had some wildlife highlights too, the list one day was:
Polecat or other large mustelid
European Beaver swimming
Constant chirruping from Yellowhammers, chiff chaffs, chaffinches, reed warblers plus many others that we don't recognise.
A better mooring we couldn't have wished for and were amazed that it was free (i.e. available) With the backdrop of the wonderful Schloss, a lively restaurant within 20 metres and as we were to find out later, an open air theatre just opposite with the opening night of La Traviata underway, it really felt special. After the opera had finished, the Schloss was floodlit and looked magical from our bedroom windows, even with the crane!
Night two followed the hottest day of the year so far, we don't have a thermometer on board so can only guess it was in the 40s, as dusk began to fall and the second night of La Traviata was heading towards the interval, we felt the atmosphere change, rumbles of thunder began in the distance and flashes of lightning far away gradually got nearer and nearer and much more frequent. Suddenly the wind got up and torrential rain began to fall, the opera audience started running for cover and we battened down our hatches after Nigel secured the boat with a few more lines, unfortunately the wind whipped a boat hook off our roof never to be seen again. The storm lasted an hour or so, such intense lightning from so many parts of the sky we've never seen before. The dogs were both in a state, it's the first time Dash has ever seemed to notice but I found him cowering in a corner. It was good practice as we had the same again last night, this time we had everything down and zipped before the rain actually started but as we are now moored a little further away in a yacht club we had the added entertainment of the soundtrack of rigging and halyards wailing and a couple of escaped fore sails flapping with gusto. Today it's cooler with a stiff breeze, so hope we don't have a thunderstorm hat-trick!
|Schwerin Schloss from the Gardens|
|Our current mooring,|
we are still in view of the Schloss!
|La Traviata open air opera|
as seen and heard from our deck