Shirley Milligans Report
We went to Mecklenburg in 1996. What a wonderful trip. We drove a rental car from Amsterdam, which made many Mecklenburgers scratch their heads in wonder. I guess they don't see many "dutch" tourists. One man stopped us outside our gasthaus and was talking a "mile a minute" in what I think was Dutch. When we told him we didn't speak German, he was still perplexed and I think it was because of the license plate on the rental car. He went away shaking his head. We never did know what he was saying.
Our first stop in Mecklenburg, was Celle where we visited the embroidery museum and the schloss. 4 of us (the women) were very interested in the embroidery. We found the people very friendly and when we became lost in Celle, a kind lady who spoke excellent English offered to lead us to our hotel/motel. It was several miles from where we became confused, so it was a most welcome help. This was May 1st and so there were many little stalls downtown for us to sample the food, and we enjoyed trying almost everything.
I wish I could remember the name of where we stayed. We were most pleased and the owner had an adjoining restaurant. The food was good. If I can find the name of the place, I'll send it.
Then we drove through Lubtheen on our way to Schwerin. Lubtheen is where 2 of my great-grandparents were born. We were unable to make any contact with the pastor, so we will have that to do next time.
In Schwerin, we were fortunate to drive up to the Inter City Hotel on its opening day (without reservations). We were treated very nice and they even went to the trouble to make a menu in English for us, which pleased us very much. The boat trip on the lake was wonderful and so was the castle.
Everywhere we went there was scaffolding on all the buildings (even in Berlin) I think all the scaffolding in the world was in Germany in 1996. They were refinishing the outsides of all the buildings and making much needed repairs.
Here we split our party some wanting to go directly to Berlin, but my cousin & I went further east to try to find several villages that I had "thought" might help with my genealogical searches for other great-grandparents. We found out later that we were within 5 miles of the correct village, but did not confirm that until we were back in the States. We stayed at a little bed & breakfast called the Praalank Cafe outside of Neu Strelitz. It was so restful and beautiful there next to the lake, that we stayed 2 days just to enjoy the atmosphere. The owners spoke English, and kept a very neat & clean place with delicious food.
Then, on our way south to Berlin, we stopped on a Sunday in a little village and I cannot remember the name. The church was built in 900. The pastor gave us a tour even though his service was completed. The ceiling was painted with sort of a map of the heavens. Blue with the constellations identified and the sun & moon. Very fascinating. The rest of our trip was south to Berlin & Dresden & even further south. We never felt aprehensive or felt in danger at any time which is quite different that traveling in the states.
We found that banks can charge "any" fee for cashing a travelers check. So, we traveled the whole trip on "plastic money" which was soooo much easier than cashing travelers checks. The Geldautomat (ATM) asked us what language we wanted to use, and after that, it was easy. When we got home, we found that there was very little charge (if any) for the changing of the $ to DM on our accounts. In our estimation, that's the ONLY way to travel. Not all Geldautomats are hooked to the same "system" so you may have to try several in a big city before you can do this, but then things might be more universal now after 4 years. We loved our trip and would do it again (remember we spoke only English). We traveled a total of over 2,000 miles in 3+ weeks and never had a problem. We got lost several times on back roads, but always felt we were o.k.
I was so aprehensive but after studying the booklet on street & hiway signs, felt a little better as the navigator while my cousin did the driving. We were not intimidated by the Autobahn. It was easier to drive than the Los Angeles freeway system.