Elbe River Cycle Path
The Elbe River has long been important, not only for navigation but
also as a border between tribes and countries. Today, it is mostly in Germany although
it starts in the Czech Republic. Historically, it separated frequently warring tribes
with different religions and even different races of people. In places, the river
cuts through limestone formations creating great cliffs along the river valley.
The countryside is always green and agriculturally productive. The cliffs and the
verdant landscape combine to make this river valley beautiful.
May 2004 and June 2005. This tour of the Elbe is a 14-day, 540-mile,
870-kilometer tour along the Elbe River. It starts in Bad Schandau near the German/Czech
border and continues to the river’s mouth near Cuxhaven on the North Sea. We actually
did this tour in 2 stages; the first stage was from Bad Schandau to Magdeburg. It
was a 226-mile, 364-kilometer, 6-day ride. The second stage was the following year
and we actually rode up river from Cuxhaven and ended in Magdeburg. That stage was
314 miles, 505 kilometers, and took 8 days. If you do them together, you can easily
combine the two short days at the end our stages to make it only a 9 day ride. We
took the second stage backwards because we know the prevailing winds are from the
northwest and since the ride is almost flat anyway, it will be easier time for us
riding with the wind.
The entire sign is signed but there are a few stretches where the signing leaves
something to be desired, especially between Hamburg and Cuxhaven at the end of the
ride. As can be noticed, the type of sign can change but they are easy to figure
out. Again, we get lost a couple times but that is part of the adventure too. When
you are following a river valley, I never fret about being temporarily off the path
because if you know where the river is, sooner or later, you’ll find the path again.
There are plenty of Zimmer
or Privat Zimmer and Pensionen along the way. As a choice, we
like Zimmer (advertised as Zimmer Frei) but there are also
Gasthäuser (Guest Houses), Pensionen (pensions or bed and breakfasts),
Jugendherbergen (Youth Hostels), and hotels. For a complete discussion
of the different types of accommodations and tips on reservations, see my
Overnight Accommodations page. The average
cost per night for the Zimmer will be about €45 for double occupancy (the
cost for two people to spend one night) but they vary between €30 and €60 (price
is no indication of quality - it only reflects competition).
This is an interesting ride. Many of the
communities date from the first millennium and many built walls during the Middle
Ages to protect themselves from invaders like the Huns but in reality during the
Thirty Year War the worst enemies were simply the neighbors. Consider stopping at
Dresden, Belgern, Torgau, Meißen, Wittenberg, Wörlitz, Dessau, and Magdeburg. The
northern part of the tour one needs to pay attention to Tangermünde, and plan on
spending time in Hamburg. We spent two days there but then again, Maxa went to school
there from the 1st to the 5th grade.
On this trip we used
bikeline’s Elbe-Radweg, Teil 1 von Prag nach Magdeburg*, 1:75,000 published
in 2000. And,
Elbe-Radweg, Teil 2 von Magdeburg nach Cuxhaven*, 1:75,000 published in
2001. Always buy the most recent guidebook published because the routes are constantly
changing and the accommodations list in the back is frequently updated. The first
hyperlink is to Amazon.de and the second is the the publisher Esterbauer Verlag.
Back to the top
Day 1: Bad Schandau to Radebeul (Kötzschenbroda)
The path today is paved and well
maintained however it was rolling for the first 10 miles and we found several 20
to 40-foot hills. You will see beautiful Pirna and historic Dresden before stopping
in Kötzschenbroda just outside Radebeul.
Starting in downtown Bad Schandau, we bike on the right bank
(as you look down river) until we get to the ferry at Königstein.
This is our first ferry crossing at Königstein. In addition
to the name of the little village at the foot of the sandstone monolith, Königstein
is the name of fortress that sits atop a it on the left bank of the Elbe. Visible
for miles, this 23 acre “Festung” or fortress Königstein was first mentioned
in 1241 when it served first as a monastery, later a military fortress, a prison,
and a re-education camp for the Communist East Germany. In the days of the DDR,
which was the former East Germany, some of the citizens strayed a bit from the party
doctrine. When that behavior came to light, the truant citizens were sent here to
be re-educated. The length of stay depended on how far they had strayed and how
long the local officials wanted to be rid of them. Today, it is a museum and one
can take tours. However, if we want to climb up to it, we’d either need a car or
a massive attitude adjustment for our wives. We remain on the left bank until we
cross the bridge in Dresden.
Dresden is at once beautiful
and historical. A power center of Germany for centuries, there are many grandiose
buildings and museums. On Augustus Strasse you will find a mural painted in 1870
called Fürstenzug or Procession of Princes is a 120-meter/334-foot long mural depicting
a procession of rulers of the House of Wettin since 1127. The House of Wettin is
the basis of the monarchies of several European countries including Belgium, Bulgaria,
Portugal, and the House of Winsor in England. Miraculously, this mural survived
the February, 1945 controversial allied fire bombing of Dresden at a time when its
population was swollen with thousands of war refugees. The loss of live was between
40,000 and 200,000 people. The entire downtown area was destroyed including the
grand Cathedral Frauenkirche. Today (2004) the reconstruction is almost complete
and will be complete and open for business in the fall of 2005. During the DDR times,
the Frauenkirche was left in ruin as a war memorial.
Just north of Dresden is Radebeul
and one of the parts (in German, Stadtteil) of that community is Kötzschenbroda.
We stop here for the night because there are many choices of accommodations. We
chose Pension Zwiebel in Altkötzschenbroda on Grasteg 1. We enjoyed this community
they have many restaurants and Biergarten.
Back to the top
Day 2: Radebeul to Strehla
The ride today is all paved (except
for short gravel parts). However, some of the pavement is rougher than gravel. Part
of the path is atop the flood control dike and, though paved, it is quite narrow.
If the bike path is 1.5 meters wide and the average bike is 60 centimeters wide,
two bike passing have just 30 centimeters to spare – that works out to about 12
inches between meeting bikes. Be careful out there.
Ferry at Kötits.
This is the Altstadt
and the center of Meissen (or Meiβen – it’s not a “B” it’s a double “s”). The Cathedral
or Dom here is famous and so is the porcelain factory. The Porcelain factory has
tours in English every 10 minutes for €4.50. This stuff is EXPENSIVE. Prices start
at €75.00 for one cup. Maybe, that’s why I prefer Corelĺe by Corning. I know, the
only taste I have is in my mouth – and there is some argument that I have any there
Steps in bike path. Steps are too hard to ride over so we
have to walk our bikes. We met a group of bikers coming towards us so we had to
wait for them to clear the steps before we can proceed. We see this type of thing
every now and then on our rides. They give you a chance to dismount and stretch.
The ferry to Strehla costs €1.00 each bike and rider. We
stop here at Elbhotel August der Starke, Oppitzscher Weg 18, 01616 Strehla, Saxony,
Telephone 035264-90863, fax 035264-90864. Small rooms but clean €68 double. €7.20
buys Sauerbraten, yum!
Day 3: Strehla to Torgau
Today we plan a short day because
we want to spend tomorrow night in Wittenberg.
In Belgern, we learn about
another Roland. Not the famous Roland who was the subject of the “Song of Roland,”
this guy (see photo) was a local hero who saved the town from something. Actually,
I am a little confused as I write this. I recall reading something in Belgern about
a different Roland but from my Internet search of both Belgern and Roland I learn
that a statue of Roland does stem from the Song of Roland and it has meaning about
freedom to make laws and the right to hold markets during the Middle Ages. Nevertheless,
in 1610, the people of neighboring Torgau (undoubtedly young ner’do-wells and hooligans)
swiped the then wooden statute causing the Belgern folks serious consternation.
They pursued and caught the thieves and relieved them of their booty. Thereafter,
perhaps fearing another attempt, they made the statue from sandstone. It stands
almost 6 meters high. The leaders of Torgau, in apology for their first theft, lined
up and kissed the big toe of the sandstone statue. Politics!
In Torgau, we stopped for
the night at Das Alte Bootshaus and enjoyed a visit to their Schloss Torgau nearby.
In addition to being a real castle with a moat (now filled with bears instead of
water), a drawbridge, and everything.
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Day 4: Torgau to Wittenberg
Nice riding today. The path is
mostly paved except for about 4 kilometers just before Wittenberg. No hills. Wittenberg
is well worth an overnight stay. We were not able to see the inside of the Schloβkappelle
(where Martin Luther preached) on the afternoon we arrived so we waited until the
next morning to go in.
We stop in Wittenberg for
the evening and plan to learn a little more about Martin Luther. It was at the palace
chapel here that he posted his 95 theses on the door. Although there is some controversy
about where he actually posted the list, what I want to know is why only 95? Why
not an even 100? Back in those days, everything was written with a quill and an
inkbottle. I am guessing that by the time he had written 95, we was tired of scribbling
(it was in Latin, you know) and just called it good for the day. To paraphrase his
problem with the Church of the day, he simply thought it a bit unholy to let the
rich people buy forgiveness by paying for indulgences from the Church. However,
it was the money from these indulgences that afforded many of the wonderful churches
and ecclesiastic buildings. Is it just me or do I note that since 1517 when he posted
his theses, construction of fancy church buildings seem to wane?
Day 5: Wittenberg to Rosenburg
Again, mostly paved but our guidebook
shows a lot of gravel between Coswig and Dessau. Some of the path is quite narrow
though. It is as flat as a Pfannkuchen too. Our guidebook also says that
the signage after Dessau is spotty, that is certainly an understatement. But then,
we think we were off the path anyway.
Coswig Ferry. Some of the signage
is either faded or broken or, as this sign on the path that would have you turn
left to the ferry landing is both faded and broken. Examples of the signage are
shown at the start of this page.
The map shows gravel path
between Coswig and Wörlitz but it is newly paved. The Schloβ is from 1769.
This is Dessau.
After brushing a wall in
Kühren, Maxa does a summersault into drainage ditch. Because she did not let go
of her bicycle handlebar, it landed on top of her at the bottom of the ditch. Eckhard
and I remove the bike from on top of her and pull her out of the water at the bottom
of the ditch. It has been raining hard so the water is about 8 inches deep, plenty
deep enough to soak her clothes through and through. We bandage her road-rashed
knee and pedal on another 12 kilometers to our lodgings for the night in Rosenburg.
By the way, "road rash" is the abrasion you get from sliding along a road.
Road rash can be avoided by staying upright, or, the German imperative, bleib
Klein Rosenburg is next to
Gross Rosenburg and both are at the confluence of the Saale and the Elbe. We overnight
at Pension Rosenburg; address Klein Mittelstr. 20, 39240 Klein Rosenburg; owner
is Dirget Wiegand; Telephone (+49) 0177 - 7 36 74 66; email is
firstname.lastname@example.org. They charge €24.50
per person in a double room. They also have great food but they are closed Saturday
and Sunday (Ruhetag). This is a Bett und Bike accommodation, which
means that they have bike tools and know the local routes, etc.
Back to the top
Day 6: Rosenburg to Magdeburg
We start at the confluence of the
Saale and the Elbe (sometimes called the Thüringische or Sächsische Saale because
there are two rivers in Germany named Saale). First we cross the Saale on a ferry,
and then we bike overland to Barby and cross on another ferry before we can ride
north along the Elbe again. Expect some primitive path conditions today. Besides
cobblestone, you’ll find cement plates with rough joints that are called Plattenweg,
pavement, dirt, and the worst of all is deep sand. There are some hills north of
Dornburg in the recreation area near Pretzien.
After two ferries and some challenging road conditions, we
ride through Pretzien. From here we take an alternate toward Plötzky. Once there,
we take the main road into Schönebeck. There is a path along the side of the road.
We stop at the city limit
sign for pictures. This is the last day we have with Eckhard and Vivi-Anne until
we get back to the Seattle area. We’ll spend the night here and tomorrow take two
separate trains, they to Frankfurt and Maxa and I will go to our German home in
Kassel. We aren’t going to mention our accommodations this evening but I will say
they were inexpensive. Enough said.
Magdeburg Bahnhof. This
ends the first stage of the Elbe River Tour.
Second Stage: The second stage was done the next
year and we actually started in Cuxhaven. If one started in Bad Schandau and followed
the river all the way to the North Sea Cuxhaven would be the end of the Elbe Tour.
However, the second year, we started in Cuxhaven and rode upriver to Magdeburg.
For this webpage, I simply reversed the sequence of towns so one will have some
mileage (kilometerage?) that would logically follow after Magdeburg. The actual
notes about each little kilometer point follow in the reverse order that we actually
rode them. Simply click on the day title and you will jump down to the description
of that day. It will be backwards but if you stand on your head and look at the
text through a mirror . . . well, you will certainly look silly trying to read backwards
Back to the top
Day 7 Magdeburg to
Schartau (Burg) (click the link to read about
Schartau. We didn’t actually
stay here, not many offerings, but we stay in Burg, 5.1 kilometers to the east.
Day 8 Schartau
(Burg) to Tangermünde (click the link to read
about the day)
Day 9 Tangermünde
to Havelberg (click the link to read about the
Day 10 Havelberg
to Lenzen (click the link to read about the day)
Day 11 Lenzen to
Bleckede (click the link to read about the day)
Day 12 Bleckede
to Hamburg (click the link to read about the day)
Day 13 Hamburg
to Glückstadt (click the link to read about the
Day 14 Glückstadt
to Cuxhaven (click the link to read about the
Second Stage: What follows is the second stage
that we took the next year. We started from Cuxhaven riding upriver but downwind
to Magdeburg. It is backwards from the guide book but it (at least in theory) is
also downwind. I’ve hyperlinked the days above to the days below so you’ll have
an idea of the mileage and the travelogue.
Back to the top
Day 1: Cuxhaven
Most of the day you will ride along bike paths either on the dikes
or on small roads. There is minimal gravel and no hills but the signage is poor.
There are pasture fences that cross the path and if there are animals (sheep mostly)
in the pastures then each rider must negotiate a gate in the fence. Also we have
to contend with sheep on the path and when there are no sheep to dodge, we dodge
their droppings. By the way, my tip of the day is, “don’t lick your tires – ever,
especially after this stretch of the tour.”
Cuxhaven Bahnhof. After spending our first night at Hotel Zabel,
78 Hinter der Kirche Strasse, in the Cuxhaven suburb of Döse, we headed for the
Bahnhof to meet up with our traveling companions Eckhart and Vivi-Anne. Döse is
a little bit east from downtown Cuxhaven but it is a pretty area and close to the
Elbe Ferry, which costs
€1.50 for a bike and rider, sails every 30 minutes between May and September.
We stop for the night in the middle of Glückstadt at Hotel
Matjes; Am Markt 5/6, Telephone 04124-91690, €73.00 for double occupancy (the cost
for two people to spend one night). We had a nice meal here of matjes,
which are young, supposable female herring. Matjes are in season in early
summer and they are fat and tasty. The word “Matjes” is Dutch for young
girl or Mädchen in German. Being matjes also means that these
herring are virgins. I do not have any idea how the fishermen know this nor how
they know which small silvery slippery fish is female and which is male. They must
have really, really, good eyes and a very small questionnaire that each fish must
fill out and sign. The paperwork!
Day 2: Glückstadt
There are no hills today if you
don’t count the climb up on the various dikes. There are a couple stretches of gravel
- maybe 15 kilometers in total. We also negotiated about 1.5 kilometers of sidewalk
on which we are supposed to walk our bikes. I am not saying we did or not, mind
you; I am just not saying.
After following the guidebook’s
alternative route to Neuendeich (by mistake), we cross the Pinnau river. Had we
been more on the ball, we would have turned right at Esch and crossed the river
at the bridge on the Elbe dike. However, if you do make the right at Esch I note
that in the guidebook, it says that the bridge over the Pinnau dike system operates
hourly Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:45PM to 3:45PM. Thursdays and Fridays
the opening hours stop earlier at 1:45 and 12:45 respectively. Saturdays, Sundays
and holidays it’s different too. So, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to ride a little
out of the way and cross at the always useable bridge in Neuendeich.
On the edge of Wedel-Schulau.
This is the northern limits of Hamburg. Notice the representation
of the sun here? This is one of those displays made for school children so they
can appreciate the scale of the distance between the planets in our solar system.
I have seen several of these along bike paths in Germany. This particular model
stretches from beyond Glückstadt to the northern city limit of Hamburg.
The ferry at Teufelsbrücke.
You are about half done with the gravel path.
Just past the Hauptbahnhof
in Hamburg, we stop for the night at Pension Schmidt, 14 Holzdamn, Telephone 040-2802119 &
2808390. The cost is €65.00 double occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one
night). Pension Schmidt is clean but there is some noise from the tracks in the
back or the street in the front.
Hamburg: Die Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg
or in English, “the free and Hanse city Hamburg.” That is what the double HH means
on the automobile license plates. We spent a couple days here on our way north to
meet Eckhard and Vivi-Anne in Cuxhaven. Hamburg is located at the confluence of
the Elbe and Alster and has been a community since Charlemagne built a fort here
in 808 CE.
Today, the city has grown into a modern metropolis of 1.7 million inhabitants
within the city-state. The 1,200 year old harbor is as modern as they come. Hamburg
saw a growth spurt during the existence of the Hanse or Hanseatic League (about
1300 - 1750). The Hanseatic League was a conglomeration of cities in Northern Europe,
mostly along the Baltic, that established a trading monopoly among themselves. They
were so successful that the nearby monarchies, especially the King of Denmark, became
jealous and tried to abolish the league because it had become powerful as a trade
association and more wealthy than the monarchies themselves. The league, based partly
in Lübeck, was able to boycott kingdoms and cause economic strife if the kings,
dukes, and earls, did not atone to the trading practices of the Hanseatic League.
The Hamburg Rathaus or Town Hall was built in 1886 on the site of St.
Johannes Closter which was founded in 1230. The preexisting Rathaus was
blown up in 1842 in order to save some apartment homes when the city was burning.
There are more bureaucrats in Hamburg than in the entire EU government.
The Hauptkirche, St. Michaelis ("der Michel" as it
is nicknamed) is not only a grand building architecturally it is also the trademark
of the city. While it has the 16th tallest tower in Europe at 132 meters, it is
only the third tallest church in Hamburg. The tallest is St. Nicoli at 147 meters
tall and the next tallest is St. Petri at 133 meters. The Michel was originally
built in 1648 but in 1750 it was struck by lighting. The church burned again in
1906 but was rebuilt in 1907 to 1912 only to be damaged again during World War II.
Although the city, like other cities in Europe, suffered several disastrous fires,
the worst was during World War II when between July 24th and August 2, 1943, it
was targeted and nearly wiped off the map by allied bombers as part of Operation
Gomorrah. Approximately 40,000 people died in this single attack. In all, over 50,000
residents died during WWII.
Hamburg is also famous for its St. Pauli Entertainment District, especially the
Reeperbahn (a street named after the rope makers who plied their trade next to the
old harbor). Prostitution is legal in Germany, if one obtains a license, but pimping
is illegal. The St. Pauli district has many clubs touting the seamier side of life
and pimps are evident in spite of the illegality of the occupation.
Back to the top
Day 3: Hamburg to
Inside the city of Hamburg, don’t
look for signs, they are few and far between. But once outside the city, the signage
is normal. The terrain is flat again today.
We cross the river on a bridge at Geesthacht. Not realizing
we were on an island, I exited the roadway as soon as I could only to be stopped
by a local farmer asking where we wanted to go. I told him where we were headed
and he explained that we’d have to swim unless we went back up on the bridge and
continued crossing the river. We did not have swim suits with us so we thanked him
and took his suggestion.
After being caught in the open and suffering through one
of the worst downpours in our bicycling history, we ride into Bleckede. Here we
spend a enjoyable evening drying out and dining at the Zollhaus, a local restaurant.
We are driven to the restaurant by our host who takes pity on us for being wet.
We stay with Frau Strahusen who owns a Ferienwohnungen und Gästezimmer
(vacation cottage and guestrooms) at Sannemannweg 1; 21354 Bleckede; telephone 05852-3322,
fax 05852-2288 This is also a Bett und Bike accommodation, which means
that they have bike tools and know the local routes, etc. The price is €40.00 double
occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one night). It is right on the bike
path a little bit east of the center of Bleckede. Her breakfast is to die for and
in addition to German she speaks both Swedish and English – which Vivi-Anne (Swedish)
and I (American) enjoy.
Day 4: Bleckede to
Nice flat bike path along a newly
repaired dike on the east side of the river but on the west side of the river you
will encounter some hills, some of them are indicated to be steep.
After we cross the river on the ferry at Bleckede and set our
cyclometer at 0 on the ferry. As we pass through Neu Garge, road construction causes
us to take a detour that will be unnecessary by the time you read this. It probably
adds 15 km to our mileage. As we cross the river, we are crossing into the former
East Germany and there is an old guard tower here.
This is Hitzacker, a picturesque
town that is well worth looking at. We cross back across the Elbe River on another
We are in downtown Lenzen. Between here and Dömitz we rode
over about 10 kilometers of either gravel or a paved surface typical of eastern
Germany that consists of two parallel tracks made from short concrete slabs with
holes in them for handling tools. This kind of pavement is called Plattenweg.
While technically this is paved, it is rough pavement and I have ridden on smoother
gravel roads. From here, we are given instructions to Hof Janisch am See, which,
to our surprise and amazement, turns out to be another 10 kilometers uphill (170
feet) from Lenzen. The address is Leuengarten 1, telephone 038792-7488. The price
is €40 double occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one night) including a
Back to the top
Day 5: Lenzen to
eaving Lenzen yesterday, we followed
the B195 highway northeast to our overnight accommodation Janisch am See. Today,
rather than backtrack, we continue on that road to Lanz where we took smaller roads
and eventually reconnected with the bike path on the dike. The nice part was that
it was somewhat downhill from our Zimmer. By following the dike rather
than the trafficked roads, we get a little lost around Quitzöbel and encounter some
rough gravel. Most of the dike route is paved that is excellent riding but partly
because we got off the trail we have about 20 kilometers of gravel to negotiate.
This is downtown Lenzen again.
As I say above, we do not really go back to the downtown area to reset our cyclometers,
I just compute the distance from that point to be a navigation aid to those who
use these readings.
We are finally back on the
dike after taking B195 and sharing the road with fast traffic for about 7 kilometers.
This dike has been repaired and heightened after the 2002 flood. On top of the dike
the path is gravel but there is a paved path next the dike on the land side (away
from the river).
This is the northern edge
of Wittenberge. Just a few kilometers south of here is Rühstädt (the name means
calm city) where we found a Storcheninfozentrum (Stork Information Center).
It was fun to learn a little about these seeming ungainly yet stately birds. I have
not seen as many stork nests in one place before. Storks return to the same nests
year after year. In the spring after wintering somewhere in Africa or Spain (depending
on the stork and his or her travel agent), the males arrive a week or two earlier
than their mates. Storks do not have success laying eggs every year. If one or both
is late arriving and there isn’t time to hatch an egg and grow the chick to the
age where it can fly to Africa for the winter, they just don’t lay an egg that year.
Interestingly, after raising the youngster, it is the young storks that first leave
the area in the fall. The young storks fly to Africa (or Spain) following only their
instincts. They are then followed two or three weeks later by their parents.
Between Nitzow and Rühstädt, the easiest way for cycling
is to stay on the dike and follow the alternate route shown in the guidebook. There
is a little wickedly rough gravel along the way but the route is scenic and shorter
than staying on the trafficked roads.
We stop for the night at
Hotel am Hafen in Havelberg. This is where the Havel conflates with the Elbe. The
Havel starts in the lake district north of Berlin, flows thorough Berlin where it
is joined by the Spree, then joins the Elbe here. We plan to ride the Havel in 2011.
Back to the top
Day 6: Havelberg
It is mostly paved and flat today.
Only a couple of 30-foot hills just south of Arneburg. Our goal today is Tangermünde,
a quaint walled city at the mouth of the Tänger River. (German lesson: If you know
a little German, you can tell a little about its location from the name of the city.
A mouth is a Mund and “münde” is derived from the word Mund.
So, cities like Tangermünde and Peenemünde are at the mouths of the Tanger
and the Peene rivers. Havelberg, on the other hand, probably means mountain on the
Havel but coincidentally, it too is at the mouth of the Havel. Oh well, names don’t
have to be consistent.)
Just after leaving Havelberg,
we cross the Elbe at the ferry to Räbel and ride toward Werben.
We find a great place for
a break at Büttnershof.
Rittergut. We are riding
west and soon we will turn south, then south east around a thing identified as a
Gewerbegebiet (industrial park), which we learn later is really a nuclear
power plant that was completed by the former East Germans in 1989, just as the nation
was reunited. Unfortunately, the nuclear plant did not meet the higher Western European
standards and so was never started up. Now it sits, rusting. What a waste.
Schloss Storkau is the location
of a 5 star hotel and some nice gardens. If it were not a little cold and rainy,
it would be another nice spot for a break.
We are at the center of
the nearly 1,000 year-old walled, market town of Tangermünde and quite an impressive
city it is. There are many half-timbered buildings and two impressive old church
buildings. We spent the evening here and really enjoyed the town. The accommodations
here were interesting. Due to a fair in town this weekend, we were lucky to get
the last room in town. The host was super accommodating but the building itself
needs some work before it can meet the expectations of most western travelers. Nevertheless,
we had an adventure and we loved it. Our breakfast in the morning was outstanding
and the table was festooned with rose pedals and various greeneries from the extensive
garden behind the building. We stayed at Pension zum Wohlfühlen. Wohlfühlen means
to feel healthy, comfortable, and sated; a sense of well-being.
Day 7: Tangermünde to Burg
It is flat again today; and paved.
What more can I say.
This is Kehnert. It is hot today with thundershowers forecasted.
We feel like one is about to hit so we take shelter in this former East German Collective
Farm. Some enterprising firm has started to turn it into an amusement park for children
but stopped shortly after starting. I don’t doubt that the project was someone’s
altruistic dream but then stopped by some banker’s vision of the reality of not
being able to recapture the money they were about to loan.
Another thundershower catches us in Rogätz. This time,
the accommodations are much more pleasant. We take cover in a restaurant and drink
beer (and tea) while we watch Mother Nature unleash a downpour coupled with half
an hour of serious thunder and lighting. At 41.5 kilometers, we cross the Elbe on
the ferry here in Rogätz. The cost is €1.00 for an adult with a bike. On the other
side, we head towards Burg, off the path perhaps but a town with lodgings.
This is the city limits
of Burg but our hotel is at the far northeast corner of the city (5 kilometers more
from the city limits). I have to say, it’s worth the ride though. Not only was our
hostess and host accommodating in every way but they have a covered pool here (unusual
by East German standards) as well as a nice restaurant. Even though the restaurant
is closed, they cook us a simple meal because the next closest restaurant is several
kilometers away. The hotel is called Pension/Restaurant Eschenhof, €46.00 per night
double occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one night).
Day 8: Burg to Magdeburg
A short 15-mile ride from Burg to Magdeburg today. Of course, the path is flat and
it is all paved. It’s good that the ride part of the day is short because we need
to catch a train back to our home base in Kassel. We’ll be home for supper, as they
say. The interesting thing we discover is the relatively new construction of the
Elbe-Havel-Kanal. You probably already know that Germany (like France, Holland,
and Belgium) is criss-crossed by shipping canals. The Elbe-Havel-Kanal is part of
the Mittlelandkanal or the Mid-Germany Canal.
The day begins with a leisurely
ride through Burg. Not a terribly interesting town from a tourist perspective but
we enjoyed looking at the buildings anyway. At the bridge, we ride past the
Knackebrot factory and the smell is enough to make your mouth water. Knackebrot
(aka, Knäckebrot, Crispbread) is the dry rye cracker type product that
is popular not only in Sweden but also throughout northern Europe. It’s great for
scooping up herring in sour cream. Am I digressing? Is my mouth watering? Anyway,
we ride back to Schartau on the bike path and set my cyclometer to zero Then we
proceed on to Niegripp.
This is where we first see
the canal crossing the Elbe River. It is strange to be able to see a boat, floating
on water, as if on a bridge across the real river.
After a sunny ride through
a nature preserve/park on the outskirts of the city, we cross the “Alte Elbe” bridge
This is the end of the Elbe
River ride at the Bahnhof in Magdeburg.
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