Rides Days 1 to 3, April 19th-21st (see below)
I’m sitting at a desk in a hotel room in Magdeburg, Germany. It’s a budget hotel with not much of a view, but it has some things going for it:
- a private wc and very hot water
- good, big radiators for drying our sink-washed clothes
- a noodle house next door where we purchased hot food and cold beer
- an elevator (first one we’ve seen)
- close to the elbaradweg (the Elba river cycle path we’re following to Prague)
It’s been 5 full days of riding, but before I write about the tour, I want to mention the most awesome thing we saw in Hamburg: Miniatur Wunderland. It’s not just model trains, although there are plenty of those scooting around, there are trucks, cars, even jets taking off and landing. The place is massive.
There are rooms and rooms of this stuff! Night falls, and you can see scenes inside the windows. I was in tiny heaven.
Now, about that ride.
Ride Day One: to Horst, Germany
On April 19th, we took our time getting loaded up, and chatting with our host, Christiane. Her English was better than our German, and we were able to have fun, fumbly conversations.
That day we rode to Horst, which you might have trouble finding on a map. It’s about 7 km before Boizenburg on the Elba. The path varied from city streets in Hamburg (dodging tourists), to nicely paved trails, to a pretty hilly stretch through some woods.
When it was getting close to sunset, we used the official elbaradweg guide (in German) to find a cheap place to stay. Camping was out. It was going to go down to -2c that night, and we don’t have the gear for that kind of cold. I think we surprised the family in Horst. They spoke some English, so we got things figured out. It was a private home with an upstairs loft and attic converted into a kitchen/lounge and rooms. We were the only guests. In fact, after reading the Gästebuch we determined that we were the first visitors of 2017, and the first non-Germans they’d ever had.
They had horses, a friendly barn cat, and an awesome labrador.
Having a kitchen and a big lounge was a treat. We were very, very glad we didn’t try camping.
Distance: 67 km (approx.)
Ride Day Two: to Dömitz, Germany
A sunnier and slightly warmer day. The path was great; mostly paved paths on top of dikes next to the river that wound through green pastures.
We stopped in a larger town called Dömitz, bought supplies at a grocery store and checked into another Zimmer. Again, it was a room in a private home, though this one had an historical plaque (which we couldn’t read). Like in Host our room was the former attic: sloping ceilings and exposed wood beams. This time one of the other 3 rooms was occupied. In the morning we met the other couple. They were from Bonn, also doing the radweg, but traveling lighter and so doing more kms per day. Their English was very good, and over breakfast we talked about the route and our plans.
Distance: 71 km (approx)
Ride Day Three: to Hinzdorf, Germany
Mostly dike riding again.
For part of this day, and most of the previous day, we were riding on what was the East German side of border between East and West Germany. The river Elbe served as the border here, and the green fields were once killing fields. Some watchtowers still stand, dark and creepy. Our Bonn friends said they were told some of the older people here still had an “East German mindset” – distrustful of foreigners. We haven’t experienced that yet.
We went just a little past Wittenberg, to a village called Hinzdorf. We surprised another Zimmer owner. This man spoke zero English, and, we gathered with our smattering of German that his wife was out and that she was the one who handled the room. Using Google Translate (how I love it), we told him we’d come back after eating at the local Pfankuchenhaus (basically, “pancake house”). It wasn’t an IHOP, but the portions were American sized. Deb’s was wrapped around a whole wheel of camembert.
Distance: 61 km (approx.)
It’s getting late. If I’m going to ride tomorrow, I’ve got to go to bed. Hopefully we’ll hit another wifi hotspot soon.