Day 7: Itzehoe to Erfurt – via Wernigerode
I knew when I got up that today would be a long day of driving. Erfurt is in the middle of Germany. Itzehoe in the North.
After breakfast I packed my things and at 10 o’ clock I was ready to start – the first aim was to get clear of Hamburg nice and early.
After packing the car I waved goodbye to my hosts Barbara and Albrecht and headed for the Autobahn, stopping just before joining to fill up with petrol (€71.50 per tank out here – just over £60).
Then it was on to the Autobahn. Traffic was light with plenty of opportunity to take advantage of there being no speed limit – I made it to Hamburg in no time. Had to slow down for Hamburg, of course, a speed limit of 80 km/h limit applies here. With traffic light I did in 45 minutes this morning the same distance I did in 2 hours on Friday afternoon.
From Hamburg, the first section of the journey was easy enough – follow the A7 (the main North-South Autobahn) as far as Hannover, then get on the A2 and go as far as Braunschweig (Brunswick). A couple of slow sections through the roadworks, but otherwise a fairly clear run.
I made it to a motorway service station just outside Braunschweig in 2hrs 45mins and decided to stop for lunch. There was a hut inside the service station selling the traditional German Currywurst with chips – so that was my lunch. Quick, cheap and easy… and then it was back on the road.
During my journey to Erfurt, I detoured through the Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt) region and stopped at the town of Wernigerode to visit the air museum (Luftfahrtmuseum). Taking up a space of 4 hangars, the museum displays an interesting collection of early planes and helicopters.
From Wernigerode the journey on to Erfurt would take another 2 hours. The first half of this was without Autobahn, following the local roads, with some very interesting countryside and some picturesque towns and villages. Tomorrow I will be going in to the country to properly explore, I will go up to the highest point in the Thüringen region.
Before long I reached the Autobahn network again. The Autobahns of the old East Germany are great to drive on: No traffic, with plenty of opportunity to go fast.
Over the final 50/60km stretch in to Erfurt I was able to be doing in the region of 160km/h all the way, apart from one tunnel (80km/h limit) and one 2km section of roadworks (60km/h limit). Otherwise, apart from the odd vehicle the road was deserted.
By 6 I was in the centre of Erfurt, the State Capital of Thüringen and had found a parking space in the multi-storey underground carpark at the Domplatz, just a short walk from my hotel.
After checking-in and unpacking the car I went for a walk around the city and found the Zitadelle Petersberg, the town fortress which was restored after German reunification and is now open to the public as one of the city’s historic sights.
Then it was dinner time and I went to eat at the Greek restuarant attached to my hotel – the Restaurant Kreta. It seems the Germans don’t eat out on Mondays though, it was empty apart from me and one other table.
Tomorrow, some more sightseeing in and around Erfurt, then I’m heading back to the Rheinland to spend my final night in Germany in Cochem (Mosel Valley).
Today’s Mileage: 307.5
Accumulative Mileage: 1229.6