Firstly a thanks. The cycle community is a tight knit one and remarkably friendly who are always willing to assist fellow riders and others on the road. Last night we decided to take a different route from that previously planned. This involved gettting access to a desk top computer in order to re-route our direction of travel on STRAVA.
For all it’s positives you can’t create a route on the Strava app on your phone. I reached out to several friends and family (including wifey) who have used Strava. Most were busy doing “stuff”. A certain Bernie.K and his delightful wife Sarah were more than happy to help and re-routed our ride for today.
To them, from us, I say a massive thanks and dedicate our ride today to them.
We’ve camped ourselves tonight in the very small hamlet of Badetz. Approximately 35 km south of Magdeburg on the Elbe River
We weren’t in a rush to leave Schöningen. Quaint little town that built its fortune on mining salt.
As we left town we also came across a 100+ ha open cut brown coal mine. Tim.I informed us that the 10 most pollutant electricity plants in all of Europe run on brown coal. Most of those being in either Germany or Poland.
Schöningen bikes with colourful character .
A Schöningen book exchange . Simple German values of trust and respect ensure these booths are uitilised and not vandalised.
Shortly after leaving the open pit coal mine behind us we came across the remains of the wall that went up in 1961 dividing East Germany from the West. We were initially sceptical that there would be any structure reminding people of a bygone era. Especially here in rural Germany. We were wrong to doubt.
As we headed down a non descript piece of country road and just prior to entering a small village we came across what was once “the wall “. Complete with a series of well put together information boards. The once necessary watch towers were also still in place. All in all quite an emotional experience given the remoteness of the location yet the sense of just how divisive and destructive to local life the wall must have been.
If you look closely enough at the map above you will see a small pink dotted line that runs through the “C” in the name of Schöningen where we started today. That is the regional border line of today and also marks what was once the wall that divided Germany in two
Almost instantly there was a discernible difference in the lack of upkeep of the roads and appearance of some houses. Neither obvious in the Germany we had just ridden from.
That’s not to say the scenery wasn’t lovely. The roads were traffic light and with an undulating terrain and a slight tailwind we made good progress eastward towards Magdeburg.
Not all roads were unmarked stretches of bitumen. Some off-road cycling also ensued. Good spine jarring stuff too.
99.9% of the time riding with Gareth.W (aka The Cyclepedia”) is full of conversation. On the odd occasion something happens internally to his system. Usually within 5km of “Kaffe n Kuchen” where he finds an extra gear or 6 and leaves you wallowing in his wake.
As is our established custom we hoped to stop at the 25 km point of the days ride for our regular coffee. However our choices were slim and following advice from a local we made a 10 km detour to source our caffeine hit for the day. A well worth detour it was too. Had we blinked we would’ve missed it, but behind a very bland shop front lay a lovely garden and rotunda. Both bathed in eastern German spring sunlight.
A conglomeration of cycling and walking signs, but the only relevant one for us to follow is the top one. The Elbe Radweg.
The team on the first sighting of the Elbe with Magdeburg City behind us. 187 km after leaving Hannover and 3 days of ostensibly heading east we now head directly south along its banks to Prague.
We had first crossed the Elbe on a bridge then re-crossed it again via road before our final crossing of the day was on a piece of engineering brilliance. A current driven ferry. Ostensibly the ferry pulls itself up a long line of wire anchored to the bed of the river some 100 meters upstream. The act of winching itselfup the wire and against the river current creates a pendulum effect thus driving the ferry across the river. Quite a sight to witness . Being on a ferry with no engine.
Here we turned south and followed the river upstream and south towards the small town of Barby some 25 km away. Not before stopping riverside for a delightful lunch in the spring sun.
The final 10 km of the day were along wooded lanes on empty and well paved roads and we finally made our stop at possible the largest farmhouse-turned-accommodation establishment I have ever stayed in. Domäne-Badetz. Quite a staggering renovation project that has resulted in the establishment of 50 rooms .
Observations of the day -
Like the western part of Germany, cash is king. What credit card machine?
There really is a difference in “feel” between what what was once West And East Germany. Quality of roads a good starter.
We have been pleasantly surprised at how friendly everyone has been and eager to assist with either directions or where to source the best whatever it is we’re after , usually coffee. Also pleasing to encounter is a genuine interest from many in where we’ve come from and headed too.
If you travel with two cyclists whose knowledge of nature and wildlife make Attenborough’s look limited you learn a lot about the world you’re cycling through. From Martens to Deer to Eagles to Pine Trees to Crops there’s not much that passes us by without some sort of comment from either Tim or Gareth.
I have an App on my phone that enables you to take a photo of a wine bottle label thus giving you access to a whole ream of information about that particular vintage , where you can best source it and reviews of the wine including average pricing .
Tim has an App that allows him to take a photo of a piece of grass or a flower and then spits out every conceivable piece of botanical fact about what ever he has photographed .
Me wine , Tim plants . That about sums it up perfectly .