Oder Neisse Bicycle Path
The Oder-Neisse bicycle path (Radweg) is long but well worth the ride.
There are few hills and much scenery.
2011. This is a 335-mile, 539-kilometer tour following first the Neiβe (Neisse)
River and then the Oder River from Zittau to Seebad Albeck on Usedom Island in the
Baltic Sea. In Germany, the cycle path follows the German-Polish border. We rode
from the tri-point where Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic meet near Zittau
to Anklam close to the Baltic Sea.
OK, the bikeline guidebook starts in the Jablonec, Czech Republic but we believed
that part of the path might be hilly so for now, we ignore that part, confining
our tour to the German part. However, if they ever level out the path from the spring
that is the start of the Neisse River to the border with Germany, then we will go
back and ride that portion. It should only take a day or two since it is only 55
kilometers (32 miles). A more likely scenario would be that Matthias Mundra, who
accompanied us on this ride and who lives only a few kilometers from Zittau, will
ride it one day and let us know about the hills and towns. If you ride the entire
tour described in the guidebook, it will be 391 miles (630 kilometers) in total
distance. Additionally, we cut 68 kilometers off the north end of the tour due to
illness. I was fighting a cold and Maxa was coming down with it too.
The entire path is excellently signed
although the path signs in the Czech Republic are different from those in Germany.
The Czech signs are numbered 3038 and 3036 but they nevertheless follow the river.
I also understand that the signs in the Czech Republic are not as numerous as they
are in Germany. The photographs of the signs below show typical signs found along
the route in Germany. Note the last photograph on the right has several path sign
symbols hanging down.
are a few Zimmer or Privat Zimmer along the way; they advertise
themselves as Zimmer Frei or Zimmervermietung (sometimes in two
words Zimmer Vermietung) in signs along the path or along the streets.
Pensionen or Pensions are the most frequent and of course there are a few
Gasthäuser too but hotels are the most numerous. We try to stay in the
Zimmer when we can. For a thorough description of the different lodging
possibilities, see our Overnight Accommodations
We did a little smelling of the roses
at the following: Rosengarten (no pun intended), Forst (Lausitz), Görlitz, Guben/Gubin,
Eisenhüttenstadt, Frankfurt-Oder, Küstrin, Criewen, Vierraden, and Ueckermünde.
Of course, the tour ends on Usedom near the Albeck Bahnhof so you will get a taste
of the Baltic vacation area there.
On this trip we used the
guidebook by bikeline Oder-Neisse-Radweg, von der Neisse-Quelle zur Ostsee,
1:75,000 published in 2010.
Day 1: Zittau to Görlitz
Getting to Zittau was a little
more interesting than we like. We took a whistle stop train (Nahrverkehr),
you know the type, and they stop at every little village. After we boarded with
our bicycles and the train departed, they announced that the train would only travel
as far as Hagenwerder, about 20 kilometers from Zittau. The reason had to do with
a labor union issue about salary parity with other train personal. We had purchased
tickets all the way to Zittau but we were told that the ticket would be honored
by the bus company and there would be a bus waiting for us at the Hagenwerder Bahnhof.
OK, fine. And the bus was there but after everyone else from the train got on the
bus, standing in the isle cheek by jowl, the three of us were left standing with
our bicycles and no room on the bus. The driver explained that another bus would
be by in an hour but seeing our sad faces he broke company rules and allowed us
to load our bikes in the entrance steps where no one is allowed to be when the bus
is in motion. It worked though and our sad faces turned into happy ones.
Even before the bus deposited us at the Bahnhof in Zittau it started to rain.
It rained steady, even hard at times, until about 3:00 PM. Much of the path was
gravel through the forest alongside the Neisse River so everything got pretty dirty
from the mud picked up by our tires; our bikes, our panniers, our water bottles,
and our bodies. Fortunately, it was not hilly, just wet and sometimes a little sloppy.
We start the tour at the Zittau
Bahnhof. Our first task is to check out Zittau by riding through the Altstadt
(old town center). Zittau is an old city and in the Middle Ages it was a powerful
and rich city. A member of the 6-city Lusatian League along with Bautzen, Görlitz,
Kamenz, Lauban, and Löbau, Zittau prospered economically for 500 years during the
High Middle Ages until as late as the mid-19th Century. (The Lusatian League was
founded 1346 and was extinguished in either 1868 or 1815 depending on your view
of historical events.)
The purpose of the Lusatian League was trade and mutual protection. It ran afoul
of the Holy Roman Emperor during the Counter Reformation. In Zittau’s Altstadt,
we pass a tourist information office and ask how to find the tri-point monument
that marks the place where all three countries meet.
Then after a few photographs, we head southeast out of town in the direction
of the marker. We do not find it within what we thought should be the correct distance
so we give up and head back toward the river on an unmarked path. Suddenly, we see
it in a park surrounded by picnic benches.
photograph on the right is of the church in Hirshfelde. As we ride along the river
in the rain we notice a couple in a rubber raft with a guide paddling the raft.
I bet the young couple's earlier conversation went something like this, "Honey,
if we don't take the rafting trip now, we'll never have a chance to do it again.
I bet you will remember this for the rest of your life." And she said, "Yes, I undoubtedly
will. It will remind me of how stupid the man I married is."
The sun came out and we
stop for the night in Görlitz. It is a short day because the morning was taken up
with the train/bus ride and some sightseeing in Zittau. We made advance reservations
here because today is Pfingsten (Whit Sunday), a four-day weekend and many
lodgings are full. We are at Peco Bello Pension, Uferstrasse 32, 02826 Görlitz.
03581/420010, the website is http://www.picobello-pension.de/.
We paid €56 for two people for one night including breakfast. This is a Bett
und Bike establishment. (For more on Bett und Bike establishments,
go to the bottom of our page on Overnight
Back to the top
Day 2: Görlitz to Bad Moskau
Today is full of hills starting
with the 170-foot hill just getting out of Görlitz. Most of the hills are less than
25 or 30 feet in height though and none of the hills except the first one required
any dismounting and pushing.
downtown Görlitz we climb a huge hill on cobblestone (for a description of cobblestone
see our Path Conditions page). The hill finally
levels out at a cemetery.
Passing through Zodel, I
snap a photograph of the community church.
We ride past an amusement
park named Kulturinsel Einsiedel (roughly translated as “cultural island settlement”).
Construction on the park started in 1989, just prior to the collapse of East Germany.
It was designed by some very creative people. The whole thing is constructed from
either natural material, primarily wood, or from readily available stuff like wrecked
cars and old bicycles. They have tree houses that you can rent for the night if
you call ahead. If you are traveling with kids, this is probably a great place to
pause, if not spend a night.
picture of the black, red, gold German border post shows a red and white matching
post on the Polish side of the river - the countries' national colors. The bridge
here was destroyed near the end of WWII by the retreating German Army. Close on
their heels was the advancing Russian Army and the Germans hoped to delay them a
bit at the river.
is the center of Rothenburg on the Oder. There seems to be too many Rothenburgs,
Rottenburgs, or Rotenburgs in Germany; the famous one on the Tauber, another on
the Fulda, one near Bremen, and one here. I sometimes think that in the days of
old, the task of naming things in Germany fell to one dim witted individual, perhaps
a map making monk. If he could not think of a nice new name for a place, he just
used one he had used before; perhaps changing the spelling slightly or adding the
name of the river nearby.
In Sagar, you can find a
Museum. We didn’t stop because the path turned off just before entering the village.
After a rolling landscape
of mostly small hills, we arrive at Bad Moskau. We stay overnight in Pension Turmvilla;
address Hermansbad 9; telephone 035771/50029. Pension Turmvilla has 16 large rooms,
a nice view, and a great breakfast buffet. We paid €57.50 per night for two people.
Bad Moskau is an interesting little city. The New Palace in Bad Moskau was built
about 1815. However, it was destroyed by arson in on April 30, 1945. WWII ended
in May, 1945. Perhaps the arson was in protest to the location of the German-Polish
border, which some residents of the Polish border region had hoped to include a
larger portion of Germany into present day Poland. In any event, planning for the
reconstruction of the New Palace took from 1993 to1996. Actual reconstruction for
it started in 1996 and is now nearly complete.
Back to the top
Day 3: Bad Moskau to Guben
To start the day we ride on top
of the Neisse River dike. It is flat, paved, and smooth. Totally we drop over 400
feet in altitude today if my barometer watch is any indication.
Leaving Bad Moskau we head toward
Gubin – we think. We stay off the mapped cycle path through Bad Moskau to avoid
a steep hill that is depicted in our map and guidebook. We are not entirely successful
though because we still have to climb a 22-foot hill before rejoining the cycle
path before Köbeln.
In Zelz, they have a bridge
into Poland, which is a border crossing. Apparently there is a parallel bike path
in Poland that cyclists we met told us about.
This is Klein Bademeusel
so somewhere there must be a Gross Bademeusel. Why? Because Klein means
small and Gross means large. We pass it just a bit down the path.
is Forst where we take our morning coffee break. Two cups of coffee later and a
photograph of the church here and we are back on the cycle path. There are three
destroyed bridges in Forst probably taken out by retreating German Troops as they
beat feet back to Germany followed closely by Russian forces.
In Gross Gastrose, I took
a picture of the maypole here with a dead tree on top of the pole. They put the
tree up on Mayday, which was 45 days ago. Someone ought to take that tree down.
There is another destroyed bridge over the Neisse here too.
As we enter Guben, we meet
two other cyclists in their mid-70’s who see us studying our map. They ask if they
can help and we inquire about an information sign or service where we can find an
overnight accommodation. They recommend a hotel on the Polish side just over the
bridge and near the McDonald’s, ahh … “restaurant” they call it here. They tell
us the hotel is quite nice, inexpensive and their restaurant serves high quality,
inexpensively, food as well.
This is the bridge into
Gubin, Poland (separated from Guben, Germany by the Neisse River) and of course
the border crossing into Poland. The sky looks dark and ominous. We had better hurry
and find our hotel or we will be soaked by a thunderstorm.
We find Pension Retro exactly
where we were expecting it. Maxa and Matthias are inside registering when the sky
breaks open and pours down buckets of rain. The high wind lifts every little bit
of litter and fallen leaves whipping them horizontally around the streets and yards.
I am outside watching over our bicycles but fortunately I find shelter under an
Retro proved to be very nice, just as the two cyclists we met earlier had promised.
We pay €35 (140 zlotys where 1 Polish zloty = $0.36US or €0.25) for two people for
one night including breakfast. The hotel has fewer than 15 rooms but the rooms we
had were huge in comparison to what we have come to expect. The family that owns
and run the hotel are very accommodating and allowed us to store our bicycles in
their banquet room overnight. Their restaurant did have inexpensive and tasty food
just as promised by the cyclists we met earlier.
enjoyed walking in the small city. The city hall is beautiful (photograph on left)
and next to it (top right) is a large former church that today is nothing but a
roofless shell. In its time, though, it must have been as impressive as any small
Matthias is a great source of knowledge about Poland, their culture, their language,
and the border region in general. He has visited it many times since he lives near
the border. He told us that Germans frequently cross the border to purchase cheaper
gasoline, groceries, cigarettes, and liquor. Many things are about half price in
Poland, especially cigarettes, liquor, and gasoline. Few Germans speak Polish, although
Matthias speaks enough to make himself understood. Many Poles in the border region
speak German though. For the Poles, it is an economic necessity. In schools, German
is normally a second language in Poland where English is the second language in
Germany. Why do not more Germans speak Polish? They would say, “Why should we, the
Poles speak our language.”
The Polish language, like Russian, does not use articles (e.g., a, an, the, etc.).
They do have genders and the endings of nouns and adjectives reflect the gender
and case. There exists an uneasy peace between the two countries and their people.
Some Poles refuse to speak German to those who do not speak Polish. When Matthias
speaks in their language, they seem to warm to us immediately. We did not try it
but I suspect we would be more warmly received if we spoke in English rather than
German. While we purchase supplies for our picnic lunch, in the morning a German
woman approached us to warn us not to leave our bicycles unattended because, she
tells us, “These Poles steal everything they can.” She tells a story about a previously
trusted Polish handyman who did some work for her and allegedly stole some of her
property before he disappeared. That story may or may not have merit but we are
always careful with security no matter what country we are in. She may be somewhat
dismayed if we told her that we are also careful in Germany, her country. Matthias
told us that Poles do not trust the Germans. Germany has overrun and occupied Poland
several times during the last thousand years. Of course, they do not trust the Russians
either, and for the same reason. Temporarily at least, Poland is friendly to Germany;
again, this too is probably an economic necessity.
Back to the top
Day 4: Guben to Frankfurt Oder
The path is flat again today but
there are a couple minor hills near Brieskow-Finkenheerd. There is also a major
hill (about 120-foot) just before Frankfurt but the slope is gradual enough that
we did not have to push. The path is paved all day except for a couple places where
repairs were underway from the flooding that occurred in August of 2010.
After a nice experience last evening
and this morning in Poland at Pension Retro, I reset my odometer at the cycle path
on the German side near the bridge into Poland.
Ratzdorf (actually Neissemünde Ratzdorf), we say goodbye to the Neisse River as
it flows into the Oder River. There is a high water observation building here that
we climbed to snap a picture of the confluence. Climbing on this building is
Verboten, according to the signs but I do so anyway. The picture shows another
cycling couple doing the same thing. We chat with them for a couple minutes before
continuing on our way. Interestingly for us, maybe not for you so much, is that
we will meet this couple tomorrow when we stop for coffee and three more times along
our route until they leave the trail in Ueckermünde.
Eisenhüttenstadt, an industrial city famous in the east as an iron ore mining area.
The photographs are of the Eisenhüttenstadt Rathaus and the St. Nikolaikirche near
ride through Aurith but after some confusion. About 2.5 kilometers back there was
a Y in the road with a non-descript bicycle sign pointing to the left. We thought
it weird because our map shows us going straight ahead. We opt to ride toward the
village we can see in the distance and sure enough, it is Aurith and we see the
Oder/Neisse cycle path signs again confirming the correctness of our decision.
We climb a small hill near
Brieskow-Finkenheerd and then we climb another long 125-foot hill just after we
leave this small city.
As we enter Lossow on the
outskirts of Frankfurt we notice a couple manikins on top of a garage. Some people
are quite creative.
We stop at the Tourist Information office in downtown Frankfurt Oder for lodging
recommendations. We learn that the city has been inundated by many "industrial workers"
(Monteuren) in town for some construction project or another and many of
the inexpensive accommodations are taken. At Matthias’s suggestion, we ride across
the Oder into Stubice for another evening in Poland.
We end the day at Hotel Kaliski
in Stubice, whose address is: ul. Jednosci Rovotniczej 13, 69-100 Stubice. The telephone
number is 0957583735. It is a three star hotel (cheap and cheerful) and it is clean.
Their breakfast buffet is fantastic.
Back to the top
Day 5: Frankfurt (Oder) to Kienitz
We start the day touring the
Altstadt of Frankfurt on the Oder. The path is paved today and mostly flat
except for a couple hills before Lebus. (One problem with pressure operated altimeters
is that as the weather changes, so does the altimeter. I measured a gradual uphill
followed by a gradual downhill but we were along the river the whole distance and
I know my altimeter was reacting to the weather, not the terrain.)
Our breakfast this morning at
Hotel Kaliski is perhaps the best we have ever had at a hotel. The options were
many and the food was very tasty. We start the day looking at the many sights to
see in Frankfurt. We meet a policeman, Herr Müller, who tells us that the population
of Frankfurt is 18,000. The old Rathaus was burned after the end of the
WWII presumably by the Poles because they wanted the boarder to be further west
than agreed to by the Allied powers at the end of World War II. This would have
given Poland a larger piece of prewar Germany. Of course, at the end of that war,
the Russian military was the occupying force in this part of Germany. As it happens,
they were enamored by the wonderful 14th Century stained glass windows in the Marienkirche,
Frankfurt’s largest church. Most of the windows were destroyed by the fighting but
three windows remained. And the Russians shipped them to Mother Russia. (For safe
keeping? I doubt that.) These windows were finally returned to Frankfurt in 2008.
Russia is a little more civilized now.
Back at the bicycle path we reset our odometers at the bridge to Stubice. Leaving
Frankfurt, we continue north along a flat cycle path.
stop briefly in Lebus for a breather. There are a couple of hills on the way here
but nothing that required pushing. Keep in mind, we are not finely tuned athletes,
we are lifetime members of Over-Fifty-with-Bad-Knees club (OFWBK). Truth be told,
we are now over sixty and starting to push the next decade mark. Hills that we push
up most kids can power up in middle gear. Matthias is the youngest of the three
of us and he is also the strongest. He has some weird ideas about when to shift
down, though. He would rather waste his knees than risk damage to his bicycle.
We end the day in Kienitz,
a small village on the Oder. We find only two lodging possibilities that we could
reach by phone. We choose Gaststätte Vier Jahreszeiten, owned by the Münzenberg
family. The address is Strasse der Befreiung 44, 15324 Kienitz; telephone 033478-420.
The cost was €50 each for the 2 bed bungalows. Their email is
email@example.com and the website
(The name of the Gaststätte means “four seasons” and the Münzenberg means
mountain of coins” that is if you care about such things – some of my translations
are a stretch of reality.)
When we arrive at the restaurant/store listed in our guidebook, we find a sign
in the window saying that they will return at 4:30PM so we have to wait for half
an hour. When they do arrive, after we have said our hellos, the owner hops into
his car and says to follow him around the corner to the rooms, which turn out to
be simply another home nearby.
are a few seconds slow and his car disappears from sight so we only know about the
first turn. We get lost immediately and end up returning to the restaurant/store.
They send us off again with somewhat better directions and we locate our lodgings.
The rooms are comfortable, clean, and, well, ahh … a bit artistic perhaps. Some
of them even have small kitchens. The Münzenberg family also runs a small store
next to their small restaurant. The merchandise is limited but it meets our needs
nicely and we would surely recommend this establishment.
After dinner, we cycle around the village and snap a few pictures. The monument
of a Russian tank is a gift of the Russian government to the village in commemoration
of their occupation after the war. In the morning, we enjoy breakfast in the same
small restaurant and it is one of the better breakfasts we have had so I reiterate
Back to the top
Day 6: Kienitz to Schwedt
Today is flat and paved all day
long. That is, assuming you are on the correct path, which we were not. Since I
hate to retrace our path when we find our selves off the mapped cycle path, I will
describe the erroneous path we took instead of the better, flat and paved marked
path in the guidebook. Our route is much more interesting but that said, I do not
We experience a strong headwind
leaving Schwedt. It is so strong that we must gear down two or three gears and keep
our head and shoulders down to minimize the wind resistance. To get some rest from
the wind, we take our first break at the Zollbrücke, a restaurant along the bike
path. We notice that same couple that we chatted with yesterday at the confluence.
Again, we chat and learn that most of yesterday they rode along the Polish side
of the river and they said it was good riding. We will meet this nice couple again
down the path.
The first chance we have
to get lost is across from Hohensaaten. The path appears to go straight but with
another path coming in from the left. There is no sign here so we ride straight
for a few meters before one of the locals, noticing our panniers, suggest that we
missed the left turn behind us. We go back because ahead is a dead end. We cross
a bridge to what seems like an island and want to continue across the next bridge
to the town of Hohensaaten but again, someone points out that we need to ride north
on the “island,” which is really not an island but land between a canal and the
river. In spite of the lack of signage, if one were to look more closely at the
guidebook map, one could have detected the correct way even without the help of
the locals. Looking at anything closely is not one of my strong points. I am a “decide
now and wonder later” kind of person. In long distance bicycle touring, it is more
like “decide now and wander later;” because I will be off the path and lost. When
you get here, the local bike club and the local government will undoubtedly have
corrected the lack of signage problem. There is a small handmade sign on the “island”
in German but since it is not an official sign, I missed it. Even Maxa and Matthias,
our two native German speakers, missed it too.
Just past a small building
we turn left. Here again there is no path sign but painted on the pavement is an
arrow and the words, “Alternative Oder/Neisse.” One could take that I suppose but
there is nothing to see except more of the wetlands. And, you will probably end
up where we end up by misstate later on. The regular path to the left is our recommendation.
We find a couple of kilometers
of “Plattenweg,” see our Path Conditions
page for photographs of this type of pavement. This particular section is not near
as bad as some of the Plattenweg we have found in the former East Germany.
In Stolpe, a village originally
inhabited by Ukrainian people, has been a community since the 7th Century. The defensive
tower, Stolpe Turm, was built in 1200 in the tradition of Danish Royal Castles with
a ring wall, a tower hill with a tower, and a rampart. It was reconstructed in 2008
and is open to the public. Why, you may ask, is the tower Danish design? The answer
is that until sometime in the 13th Century, this area was part of the Kingdom of
Here is the bridge to Gehegeberg.
If we understood more of the current path condition, we would have crossed here,
and then continued along the north side of the canal into Schwedt. But, nooo! We
continue straight oblivious that the main cycle path was washed out in 2010 by a
flood. Not far beyond we stop at a map board along the path and study it carefully
(the map was installed before the flood and has no reference to it). Then, for no
reason under the sun, we turn right off the path into the wetlands alongside the
river. Believing we are where we are supposed to be, we continue on a gravel path
further and further into the farmland/floodplain of the Oder.
Whoa! What is this, the road is simply gone – replaced by a deep gouge that we
have to walk pushing our bikes around. And, this is only the first of such washouts.
We study the map again and decide that, yes, we are off the path and not where we
think that we are.
However, the good news is we can see a distant bridge over the Oder River about
5 kilometers ahead. We know that we can follow that road into Schwedt and that would
be shorter than backtracking. With some friendly advice from a couple of local picnickers,
we proceed and calculate that we will travel only about 3 or 4 kilometers more than
if we had crossed the bridge and taken the alternative route through Gehegeberg.
In reality, this is just another one of those memorable escapades on bike tours
that happen to us now and then.
We stop for the night in
Schwedt at the Privat Pension Stahr, Flinkenberg 13, 16303 Schwedt/Oder. The telephone
is 03332/22790. The cost is €47 for two people for one night. Pension Stahr has
5 rooms and is a Bett und Bike establishment. That means it is bicycle
friendly. We describe Bett und Bike lodgings at the bottom of the
Overnight Accommodations page. We found
this Pension by stopping at the tourist office in downtown Schwedt.
Back to the top
Day 7: Schwedt to Löcknitz
Today has several hills. While
only one is steep, the others gain and lose about 100 feet more than once. We find
the first hill, a 30-foot one, north of Gartz. Fortunately, the path today is all
paved. Leaving Schwedt, we pass a construction site where several men are obviously
digging out an old septic tank. We notice one of them carrying away a table with
coffee cups and a coffee pot. They have just finished with their morning coffee
break. To the left is a picnic table with open beer bottles. A German working man’s
tradition has it that without beer, no work will take place. This photograph is
proof of that tradition.
After riding though a conifer
forest we ride through Gartz. The landscape here is gently rolling agricultural
land punctuated by small woodlands.
After stopping for a break
at the Altes Zollhaus in Mescherin, we ride along the shoulder of a medium traffic
road climbing some small hills totaling 100 feet or so until Staffelde, about 2
kilometers. I mention it because we rarely share a road with cars along anything
but very low traffic roads. In fact, most of the ride on this tour has been on bicycle
paths. The guidebook map does show some hills ahead before we get to Penkun.
In Schönfeld, at the bottom
of a series of stair-step hills, again climbing over 100 feet, we stop in a cute
little city park for our picnic lunch provided to us by Frau Stahr, our hostess
last night. Photo 553 Brick Church Mile 29.3 (47.1 km): We slow down enough to take
a couple pictures of the quaint village of Penkun.
we ride past Wollin, a dark cloud overhead starts to rain on us. We pull into the
village and find a small festival honoring the volunteer fire departments of a couple
local communities. They have Bratwurst stands and beer wagons, which are
typical of fests in Germany. The beer tastes great as we wait out the rain shower
under one of their fest tents. In the church yard (and in the rain), a minister
is going on and on in both German and Platdeutsch about how grateful the communities
are for their fire departments. I am guessing the audience would rather be in the
tent with us than standing in the rain. Perhaps they have consumed more beer than
The shower is short lived
and we press on into Krackow.
A couple more hills and
we turn off the low traffic road just before entering Löcknitz onto a dirt forest
path. Along this path is a sign saying that the grizzled old oak tree here is over
1,000 years old. I wonder how they know and Matthias tells me that they use a core
drilling and count the rings. It is called dendrochronology. I am impressed.
Along the bike path we see
a Zimmer sign and we stop to enquire. It turns out to be a good choice
so we stay. Unfortunately, we have lost our notes so we cannot name them.
We dine this evening at Hotel am See, in Löcknitz. Am See 5A, 17321 Löcknitz
telephone 039754/51930. At the next table is the couple we first met at the Oder/Neisse
confluence. We join them after dinner for a nice conversation.
Back to the top
Day 8: Löcknitz to Ueckermünde
Almost before we get started we
are completely lost again today. The problem is following the directions given by
a local who knows better than following the cycle path. All is well that ends well
and our escapade turns out well again. The path today has very few hills and while
the path is mostly paved there are some stretches of gravel, even a little sand
close to Glashütte.
In downtown Plöwen, we encounter
an elderly gentleman who suggests we ride a better route than is shown on the guidebook
map. By doing so, he tells us, we will avoid a hill and some traffic. That sounds
good to us. We ride off following his directions but we must have missed the first
turn because shortly we pass a dead end sign but continue into the forest. In about
a kilometer, the pavement ends (as advertised by the dead end sign) and a single
track gravel path begins. We continue though because we have ridden on much worse
paths that this and it has been the correct marked cycle path. However, further
on, the path peters out even more and we end up pushing through deep sand for 2
kilometers before coming to a paved road, less than a kilometer from Blankensee.
We are back on the official cycle path. Yea!
In Blankensee, we ride past
a former East German collective farm. There are several of these along the way but
this one, like most of the others, is apparently abandon and used only for equipment
We stop for a short break
in Glashütte. Matthias tells us that before the WWI, Glashütte was so named because
of the presence of extremely fine sand in the area that can be made into beautiful
glass. The factory closed during or shortly after WWI and today the community is
barely a wide spot in the road with a stop where a cyclist or hiker can get a snack
and a cup of coffee. It is helpful to travel with someone who knows the history
of the areas you ride through.
Riding through the afore-mentioned sand, both Maxa and I fell but given our dead
slow speed, neither was hurt at all. For about 400 meters, the cycle path is rough,
eroded, uneven, and pocketed with deep sand puddles. I was glad to be wearing gloves
though; otherwise my hands might have had some road rash (abraded skin).
After riding along a gravel
railroad grade for several kilometers, we come to a wooden monument that is pictured
in the guidebook. The path is the remnants of a narrow gage railroad first constructed
in 1897. It moved goods from Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland) to Ueckermünde.
Just past Rieth, we stop
at an Imbiss (an Imbiss is a place to eat a small bite – in this
case a canvas covered picnic table next to a house) snack of Bratwurst,
homemade potato salad, and homemade soup (and beer of course). As we leave here,
the dark clouds overhead and the strengthening wind is our signal to put covers
over our panniers for when the rain comes. The short video here can be played with
Windows Media Player or Quick time. I took it with my point and shoot digital camera
as I rode behind Matthias and Maxa.
We enter Ueckermünde through
the suburbs and then along a beach, then though a city park.
In the center of Ueckermünde,
we stop to arrange train connections for Matthias so he can travel back to his home
tomorrow morning. Ueckermünde has a picturesque town center around the town’s market
square. It is close to the harbor, and that is where the retail stores and restaurants
can be found.
Then we ride another couple kilometers to our evening’s lodging, Pension am Rosengarten,
Ravenstein Strasse 1, 17373 Ueckermünde. The telephone number is 039771/54111. Their
email is Wegener@pension-am-rosengarten.de.
The website is www.pension-am-rosengarten.de.
The cost is €60 including breakfast. They have 8 rooms. They also have the Bett
und Bike certification I mentioned above. We heartily recommend this Pension.
Later in the evening we want to go back into the center of town for dinner but by
the time we are ready to leave, it is raining cats and dogs. Bicycling the two plus
kilometers back to the restaurant district seems a poor choice so we call a taxi.
The taxi driver, Rosi, not only recommends a nice restaurant but also agrees to
meet us 2 hours later for the ride back to the Pension. While we are eating, who
should come into the restaurant but the same couple that we have talked to several
times over the past week. We invite them to join us at the table and we talk all
through dinner. They are a fun couple.
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Day 9: Ueckermünde to Anklam
I have been fighting a cold since
the first day. I am over most of the bad symptoms but my voice is still a little
gravely. Today, Maxa starts to demonstrate symptoms too. Shortly into our ride,
we decide to cut this tour a little short and simply ride to the railroad station
in Anklam rather than take the ferry across Stettiner Haff (Stettin Bay) in from
the Baltic Sea to the north. On an earlier tour of the
Baltic Coast we rode on the island of Usedom to
Seebad Ahlbeck so we know that part of Germany. I make a promise to myself that
someday, I will finish this tour as well as the earlier tour through the
Mecklenburg Lake District. So the day is short
but certainly interesting as we ride along a nature reserve consisting of wetlands
bordering the Stettiner Haff. The cycle path to Anklam is paved and flat. If we
were to continue on to Seebad Ahlbeck, we would take the Fähre (ferry)
from Kamp across to Karin on Usedom Island rather than ride around through Anklam
itself and cross the bridge onto the island. The ferry will cut 35 kilometers off
the longer, cheaper path over the bridge. Once on Usedom Island, it is simple to
make our way to Seebad Ahlbeck and the train back home.
After riding through the
forest for a way on a good quality gravel path, we enter Bugewitz. The guidebook
shows gravel ahead but we find it to be recently asphalted and in perfect condition.
There are thousands of water birds cavorting in the wetlands to our right. They
are a pleasure to watch. We even get close to a swan nest with young cygnets.
At this point we have a choice
to turn right to the ferry or left to the Anklam Bahnhof. We choose to turn left
but for your information, we snap a picture of the sign that describes the ferry
and its operating times and periods. Note that it says that the ferry route will
shorten the cycle path by 35 kilometers.
This is the Anklam Bahnhof
and the end of our tour until we get a chance to come back and finish the
travelogue to Seebad Ahlbeck. On our way here, we had to ride along 3 kilometers
of historic cobblestone road. I snapped a photograph that shows a tiny dirt track
that bicycles use to avoid the teeth jarring ride on the cobbles.
One of the train stations where we must change trains in order to get back to
our home base in Kassel is Berlin. The photograph shows Maxa and in the background
is one of the Berlin U-Bahns. "U" either stands for underground, or ubiquitous,
I always get the two confused.
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