Kiel is the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany, located on the Ostsee (Baltic Sea), pop. ~240,000. During WW2, it was severely bombed because of its submarine-producing shipyard. Both civil and military ships are being built in Kiel today. Water has been important to the history of Kiel and continues to be so. Be it the annual Kieler Woche or the fact that the German Navy used to be stationed here and still enjoys a major presence. Kiel is very flat – bicycles can be hired at various places. It’s quite an easy day to ride from Kiel to Laboe, catch a ferry to Strande, and cycle back to Kiel. The main tourist attraction is the Kieler Woche at the end of June – it’s the world’s largest sailing event and one of Germany’s largest festivals. Apart from the sailing, the entire town center is transformed into an international food and craft fair and big name performers appear nightly. If you intend to visit Kiel during this time, book your hotel well ahead and bear in mind that the waterfront and major parts of downtown will be inaccessible for cars.