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North European Plain 1 - Introduction, maps and general trip information
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Apr 19, 2021 12:03:02   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
I am starting up another travelogue, covering this time a swath of land in the northern part of Western/Central Europe, concentrating mainly on Northern Germany. Being of Swiss origin, and still frequently returning to my native land, I had a decent knowledge of some of the southern parts of Germany. At the tail end of our drive through the Baltics and Scandinavia in 2011 we covered also a bit of the very northern part of Germany, bordering on Denmark. But for a long time, we had been planning to explore the flatlands stretching from the very West in the Netherlands to Western Poland and to visit a number of the towns there, which seem to fall mainly under the radar of most visitors to Europe, except of course to well known cities such as Berlin, capital city of Germany or Gdansk, the famous port city on the Baltic coast in Poland .

In the fall of 2016, we finally sized the opportunity, having first attended a family baptism in Luxembourg, and headed with our leased car north to this magic stretch of lands with castles, mighty religious edifices and decorative half-timbered houses often pleasantly associated with fairy tales. But unfortunately over the centuries this region also came to know wars and the ravages that these bestowed upon the land. We didn't even realize that this swath of land had a geographic name but when researching it, we finally stumbled upon the label "North European Plain" or in German "Mitteleuropäische Tiefebene". From a "geomorphological" view, this is a part of the more expansive "Great European Plain" which stretches all the way from the Pyrenees mountains and the French coast of the Bay of Biscay in the west to the Russian Ural mountains in the east. With the land being flat and easily navigable, it lent itself to the easier flow of people (including armies) than the more hilly or mountainous areas to its south.

Before we started our drive, we basically knew very little about the history of the area and of the towns dotting the landscape. Of course we knew of Berlin and Gdansk/Danzig, two of the major towns in the are but had never set foot in them. Luckily, in the spring of 2016, I visited Oman and the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula, which I covered in a lengthy series in the fall of 2020 on UHH. That was a trip with a small group totaling 4 persons, including a couple from Berlin. When I mentioned that we were planning to head to this general area in the fall, including their hometown of Berlin, we got a generous invitation to visit them and even to stay with them in Berlin, and also received a number of good pointers on what places to visit on this drive from the West into the East. Many of the places they recommended we incorporated into our drive. Staying with the general theme of visiting a German-speaking area, we extended our drive into the Western Part of Poland which was part of Germany during much of its more recent history and visited some exciting, but not really well known towns in that area.

In the Middle Ages, a major force in this area was the German Hanseatic League, which unified the area from an economic aspect, fostering close ties between the cities and furthering the development of trade and communication as well as sciences during that time. Many of the towns that we visited were part of or associated with the Hanseatic League, even places that were not directly on the coast. While the Hanseatic League diminished slowly after 1450 and now no longer exists, the name is still living on strongly in Germany, being incorporated into the name of its national airline: Lufthansa.

A word on my photo coverage in this upcoming series. Normally I present a rather large number of landscape images, coupled with street scenes, historic buildings, flowers, animals and just about anything else that strikes my fancy as being recordable when on a foreign trip. The drive we did through this particular area was in very flat lands and really just at then end when working on the photos I captured did I realize that I have a great dominance of historic buildings and street scenes, but almost no pictures of landscapes or associated views of flowers or animals. Towards the end of the drive, we were supposed to spend a number of days in a well-known hilly area of Eastern Germany called the "Sächsische Schweiz/Saxon Switzerland" and here we intended to do a number of hikes and generally experience more of a landscape environment. Unfortunately I caught a bug while in Poland, got pretty sick and we had to cut short our drive at the end of the Poland segment and head just about straight back to Germany (with an overnight stop in "Bamberg/Germany" from where luckily I can post a few pictures). Hence the entire upcoming presentation will be heavy on historic buildings and street scenes but extremely light, bordering on total absence, on landscapes. - My apologies for this turn of events!

As some of you know, I keep my images in albums on a personal picture-website. After I completed the "Northern European Plain" albums series, I posted last September here on UHH a first preview with some "taster" images. In case you are interested in having a look at these at the onset of this UHH series, I invite you to click on this link:
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-666098-1.html

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Today's presentation is an introduction to the upcoming travelogue, providing a title page with brief introduction, a time line of the drive as we undertook it, as well as maps and reference information that can be reverted back to during the entire presentation. The individual maps will be posted again with their respective geographic areas, but I thought it might be a good idea to have all the maps together in one place for better continuity. I will reference this introductory page on all my subsequent posts.

I hope you will find this introduction post interesting and enjoy receiving and answering your questions and observations, which I consider to be a very integral and important part of posting a series here on UHH. - I would also recommend that you view the images in download to get better clarity of the texts incorporated in these images.
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1 - Introduction page to the overall trip with a title shot providing first information on the entire trip
1 - Introduction page to the overall trip with a t...
(Download)
2 - Map of the entire trip
2 - Map of the entire trip...
(Download)
3 - Time-line, routing and distance information, listing of places visited per day
3 - Time-line, routing and distance information, l...
(Download)
4 - Comparative data for the three countries visited: Netherlands, Germany and Poland
4 - Comparative data for the three countries visit...
(Download)
5 - Detail map of our first city: Groningen in the Northern Netherlands
5 - Detail map of our first city: Groningen in the...
(Download)
6 - Detail map of our drive through Northern Germany
6 - Detail map of our drive through Northern Germa...
(Download)
7 - Detail map of our visit of Berlin, capital city of Germany
7 - Detail map of our visit of Berlin, capital cit...
(Download)
8 - Detail map of our drive through Western Poland
8 - Detail map of our drive through Western Poland...
(Download)
9 - Detail map of our visit of Gdansk/Danzig, port city in northwestern Poland
9 - Detail map of our visit of Gdansk/Danzig, port...
(Download)
10 - Farewell page to the North European Plain
10 - Farewell page to the North European Plain...
(Download)

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Apr 19, 2021 12:04:40   #
kpmac Loc: Ragley, La
 
Let's go, Joe!

Reply
Apr 19, 2021 12:08:33   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
kpmac wrote:
Let's go, Joe!


Thank you Ken - it feels good to be "on the go" again!

Reply
 
 
Apr 19, 2021 12:26:13   #
John from gpwmi Loc: Michigan
 
Looking forward to the rest of the story, Joe!!!!

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Apr 19, 2021 12:36:53   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
John from gpwmi wrote:
Looking forward to the rest of the story, Joe!!!!


Thanks John, it's going to be "a long story" as they say, but more in pictures than in words, so I hope you will have the patience to stay with it - have a great day.

Reply
Apr 19, 2021 12:55:49   #
RichardTaylor Loc: Sydney, Australia
 
Looking foreward to travelling with you.

Reply
Apr 19, 2021 13:30:05   #
UTMike Loc: South Jordan, UT
 
Let's go, Joe!

Reply
 
 
Apr 19, 2021 14:06:13   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
RichardTaylor wrote:
Looking foreward to travelling with you.


And I am looking forward to having you along on the journey Richard - on the way we will be spending a little bit of time in Goslar in the region for which you have a particular affinity. Welcome aboard again!

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Apr 19, 2021 14:06:32   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
UTMike wrote:
Let's go, Joe!


Thanks Mike, we are on the move ...

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Apr 19, 2021 15:04:29   #
NMGal Loc: NE NM
 
I’m ready.

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Apr 19, 2021 15:18:04   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
NMGal wrote:
I’m ready.


Great to hear Barbara, welcome to this tour, you are a veteran of many previous ones already - so make yourself very comfortable as this will go on for quite a while!

Reply
 
 
Apr 20, 2021 07:29:39   #
yssirk123 Loc: New Jersey
 
Looking forward to your posts Joe!

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Apr 20, 2021 08:09:00   #
jaymatt Loc: Alexandria, Indiana
 
Looking forward to this.

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Apr 20, 2021 08:49:39   #
blacks2 Loc: SF. Bay area
 
I am looking forward to it Joe.

Reply
Apr 20, 2021 11:10:25   #
lnl Loc: SWFL
 
I can see you have been busy preparing for this next trip. No grass growing under your feet! We (UHH community) will be happy to travel with you on another adventure. Thanks for sharing this newest presentation. Let the trip begin!

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