The Grand Tour Blog is a record of my occasional ventures from the UK into mainland Europe. Such trips are invariably to do with art or photography or music, and the blog takes its name from a five-week music-themed rail tour I made back in 2008, which is documented in its own website. Subsequent trips, described here, have included return visits to some of my favourite Grand Tour cities in eastern Germany, and my first journey by rail down through Italy, as far as Rome.
Now I'm a few days away from a return to Germany, this time following an almost straight line from Köln to Lübeck, and taking in Wuppertal, Hannover and Hamburg. In the 13th century Lübeck was birthplace of the Hanseatic League, a kind of trade-based forerunner of the EU that finally fell apart when it got too big for its boots. If all goes well I'll take a look at the Baltic from the island of Rügen – the most north-easterly point in Germany – before an overnight stop in Berlin, one of my favourite cities, and a fast train back to Köln.