We had originally planned to cycle round the Zuider Zee (Iijselmeer)
from Amsterdam, but then decided that was too easy. We looked at the
Danube cycle route, but it seemed heavily used, and the difficulties of
getting our touring bikes to the start and end points seemed too great.
After contact with a pen friend in Dessau (former DDR) we looked at the
Elbe route, which runs for 860 km from Cuxhaven on the North Sea to
Prague. Considering the time available and the necessary train
connections we decided to opt for the section of the route from Hamburg
in the North West to Dresden in the South East, a distance of
approximately 645 kilometers.
Brompton Folding Bikes
We had discovered, while planning a previous trip down the Moselle,
that you cannot reserve bike places on continental trains on the Net,
out on early booking and special offers. Further, the costs of taking a
conventional bike by train can be quite steep - the booking clerk at
Amsterdam quipped "You could have bought a bike for that!". Folding
bikes get around the problem as they travel free as hand luggage on
both the trains and the North Sea ferry.
Having successfully completed
a tour of Belgium on our Brompton folders the year before, we were
confident that the small wheeled machines would be appropriate for a
route that followed a river valley. As it transpired the limited range
of gears of our (6 speed) Bromptons proved to be adequate for virtually
all of the terrain that we encountered, the only times we had to get
off and walk were the few occasions where the path had been dug up for
civil engineering works and the temporary alternative was too rough or
sandy for use. In practice, with a heavy load on the bike, I
hardly ever got into top gear and occasionally longed for a lower gear,
but Carol has a lower pedalling cadence and did make more use of the
full range of gears. The latest Bromptons have a wider range three
speed hub gear (BWR Sturmey Archer), coupled with the 2 speed
derailleur, and that would be
a great improvement; I can foresee future damage to my bank balance.
The Bromptons are good stable load carriers. I had the standard Brompon
front and rear luggage, but additionally carried my camera bag with a
heavy digital single lens reflex camera and lenses. I started by
camera bag on my back but rapidly transferred it to loop over the
handlebars and rest on top of the front bag. Held in place with a
bungee cord, this was a good solution.
The DFDS ferry from North Shields to Ijmuiden. Bromptons carried as
luggage at no extra charge, a very helpful member of staff carried
Carol's bike onto the ship at North Shields. Bikes were carried into
Amsterdam as luggage on the
transfer bus. Cost £271 for two returns, including bus transfer
into Amsterdam only and breakfast going out only. The evening meal on
board now costs 31 Euros, we decided to give it a miss and brought our
Train from Amsterdam to Hamburg (changing at Hilversum and
Osnabruck). Circa 65 Euros for two.
Bike from Hamburg to Dresden
Train from Dresden to Amsterdam (changing at Berlin and Hilversum) Cost
188 Euros for two, including a 10 Euros seat reservation.
The train transfers weren't too bad, there were plenty of lifts (but
Berlin station was a warren, on several levels, with queues for lifts)
The "bible" for this trip is a two-part guide from Bikeline publishers
- Elberadweg Teil 1 von Prag nach Magdeburg (ISBN9783850000307),
Elberadweg Teil 2 von Magdeburg nach Cuxhaven (ISBN 9783850000796).
Almost every long-distance cyclist we encountered had these guides to
hand. They are very detailed, but they are in German. It's possible
to follow the maps and disregard the text, but we found it useful to
have extra maps which go beyond the "corridor". These are numbers
8, 9 and 14 from the ADFC series of Radtourenkarten. All can be
obtained on the net, or by post from Stanford maps.
We had a major problem with the Elberadweg guides - they go from source
to mouth, whereas we had been advised to travel in the opposite
direction, following the prevailing wind. So all our directions were
Local knowledge was very useful, advising you which side of the river
had the best quality paths. There are numerous ferries to allow
zigzags, most cost E1 per person and bike, but we did pay up to 2.5
on one private, as opposed to state subsidised, ferry.
We quickly learned to look out for the little arrow signs on the cycle
map, as they indicate steep gradients. It is generally possible to take
an alternative route to avoid severe climbing.
We did some research into possible accommodation. We booked ahead for
the first night in Hamburg, the last night in Dresden, and the
night before the ferry in Haarlem. Everything else was "on the
hoof". For the first few days we either went to the local tourist
office or just kept our eyes open for adverts along the route, but it
meant stopping earlier than we might have done, to give time to search.
It wasn't until we reached Magdeburg that the tourist office there
gave us the free booklet which gives a full list of all types of
accommodation (Offizielles Elberadweg Handbuch), which meant that we
could phone ahead. This guide also gives straightforward distances
between stages, whereas the two "Teils" jump from one side of the river
to the other, so information is repeated.
The web site for the entire route is
All photographs (c) B. Attewell. Many of these images and more are
sale via Alamy.
We had previously cycled the Rhine (very industrial in parts) and the
Moselle (totally geared to viticulure and tourism) and thought the Elbe
similar to one or other. In fact there is hardly any industry to be
seen beyond Hamburg, though there are signs of previous activity. The
riverside is almost entirely agricultural, and indeed vast areas are
designated as nature reserves. We saw many buzzards, storks and the
occasional heron and hare and many types of
wild flowers. On some stretches the only sound we heard was the
rippling of the river itself. Some sections do not appear to be
navigable, so you
don't see the constant barge traffic of the Rhine, and you can't hop on
a riverbus when the going gets tough.
There are many cyclists making the trip, most appeared to be
travelling from south-east to north- west, but, such is the scale of
the thing, you do have the path to
long periods of time. Almost without exception passing cyclists would
shout a greeting, Hallo being the most common, but Morgen or Guten Tag
also appeared to be appropriate.
While camping in Schleswig-Holstein in 2002 we had heard of terrible
floods in eastern Germany. What we didn't realise is just how prone the
whole area is to flooding. The flood plain extends sometimes to several
kilometres, and the river is constrained along its whole length by
massive dykes or levees, and there are sluices etc. as part of an
management system. Many times we saw photos of the terrible floods of
2002 and 2006. Much of the route consists of paths alongside the
levees, or on top of them, but there are also stretches where you are
taken far from the river itself, only for it to reappear happily in a
There are many, what appear to be bird perches, along the way, and we
did see large birds of prey making use of these facilities.
Unfortunately I did
not manage to photograph this.
The villages and smaller towns are generally very attractive with
beautifully decorated churches and civic buildings, but the few larger
towns were a bit of a disappointment. The region
appears to have lost a lot of its industry, perhaps to more efficient
companies in the west, and some places felt rather rather down at heel.
There is a marked contrast between the opulent suburbs of
Hamburg and the communist era blocks of flats in Dessau, for
Generally speaking the signing was very good, you could almost have
completed the journey without the aid of written guides. Most signposts
carried the blue E sign, and were well placed.
The track surfaces were also generally very good, we were able to cycle
of the way on our small wheeled bikes bar a couple of short stretches
where construction work meant a temporary surface that they could not
cope with. The path surfaces comprised smooth tarmac, concrete slabs,
block paving and a limited mileage of unmetalled but smooth tracks. The
route does include short stretches on minor roads, on which we felt
perfectly safe. Bizarrely the worst surfaces we encountered were within
within the many small villages where the roads were made from very
rough cobbles, causing us to use the pavement (rather better laid
cobbles) or the gutter. We came to the conclusion that they might have
decided to stay with the cobbles as a traffic calming measure as all of
the normal roads are smooth tarmac.
Given that you are following a mature river, the gradients are
generally hardly noticeable, but there is a bit of climbing when the
valley begins to deepen, starting from just outside Meissen.
The Elberadweg intersects with many other local and long-distance
paths, e.g. Route 1 (St Petersburg to Boulogne) and the Havel valley
route which leads to Berlin.
Our bikes are not fitted with milometers, the distances we are quoting
below are taken from the official handbook mentioned above.
It seemed that the entire economy of the region was based upon cycle
tourism. The stops we made varied from a large modern hotel
(Dresden) to small
hotel (Hitzacker) to a farm (Balow) to baker's shop (Pretzsch).
expensive was E64 for two in Dresden and the least was E36 in Randau.
spotlessly clean. The breakfasts were all adequate, but some were
exceptional. The standard provision included a hard boiled egg, cheese,
ham, bread and jam, all washed down with coffee. Everyone was
friendly and helpful and happy to
chat - it helps if you speak German, but I'm sure a few stock phrases
would get you through. Most were surprised and pleased to
discover that we were English, as they get relatively few visitors from
the UK. After leaving Hamburg we did not hear English spoken until we
overheard a group of Americans in Meissen during the penultimate day of
our journey east.
Day 1 Amsterdam to Hamburg
The ferry from Newcastle docked at Ijmuiden at 9:30 am, and we took the
transfer bus into Amsterdam (with the bikes in
the luggage compartment). Changing at Hilversum and Osnabruck we
arrived in Hamburg at 6:20 pm. We knew we had to get onto the riverside
to join the route, and luckily we chanced upon a German family who were
going in that direction, otherwise it would have been complicated
(the German guide gives detailed instructions for getting through
Hamburg, but assumes you are already on the cycle way). Eventually we
followed signs for Ochsenwerder, our stop for the night. Our host, Axel
Motullo is a German American, so language was no
problem, and we were made very welcome in his
lovely home. The village
is only a few miles from the busy city, but was very secluded and
peaceful, and bed and breakfast for two cost 58 Euros. On Herr
Motullo's recommendation we ate at the local pub,
Landhaus Voigt, where a good meal for 2 with beers cost E19.70.
Day 2 Hamburg to Hitzacker 107 km
Herr Motullo gave us detailed advice for the first 50 miles of our
journey and advised us not to follow the marked route, but rather to
the minor road out of the village which hugs the river, and which had a
cycle path at the side. This was our first instance of a superb
tarmac'd surface, alongside a 5m high levee, which was to be
repeated many times. The wind was behind us and we flew along at a good
We crossed onto the south side of the river as advised, via the bridge
at Ronne, and continued on through pretty villages until we approached
Neu Bleckede in the early afternoon. The castle houses a museum and
information centre for the surrounding nature reserve.
Bleckede had been our planned second stop, but we were so far ahead of
schedule that we continued on. Just before Darchau we made a
"kaffe und kuchen" (coffee and cake - strawberries were in season, so
the cakes were generally strawberry and cream) stop at the Katemina
Ladchen cafe. A helpful poster
on the door warned cyclists not to continue on this side of the river
because of the poor pathway, so we took the ferry across to the
right (i.e. east) bank.
An interesting sculpture!
We had to cross by ferry again to reach our next nightly stop,
Hitzacker. This is a lovely little town, famous for its craft workers'
houses from the seventeenth century. Several houses have information
panels outside, showing the history of that particular building,
including previous owners and old photos. Elsewhere there were lines
showing the extent of the 2006 flood, which cut off the town
completely. The tourist office pointed us in the direction of the Hotel
Luneberger Hof (E64 for a double room in the annexe, dinner courtesy of
the local LIDL supermarket @ E6). Our trip coincided with the
World Cup - we watched Spain beat Germany.
White storks nest in Hitzacker
Day 3 Hitzacker to Balow 104km
Another ferry crossing took us to Domitz, a rather sorry town, but with
a handy ALDI to buy lunch. After Domitz we decided to cut off a corner
heading along the B road to Lenzen. Here we found the first of many
beautiful little Lutheran churches, with characteristic towers and
internal galleries. We were fortunate to hear the organist practising
for a music festival, on the instrument that was reconstructed by
Gottlieb Scholtze in 1759.
We kept on the quiet road to
Lanz, Cumlosen and Wittenberge, which was quite disappointing for a
However, we regained the riverside, but after following the
route markers a little way out of town, we were unsure of the way
forward until some locals told us that there was now a temporary
route via a right turn into the industrial estate. At one point
crossed a pontoon bridge, with a roughly-surfaced track, but shortly we
were back on track and heading to our next night-stop, the
village of Balow. An attractive sign for accommodation pointed us
right at the crossroads- we were housed in a farm complex right on the
river, which included self-catering apartments (Familie Zander E46 per
room with breakfast) .
Here we met 2 cyclists who had grown up in the
DDR. They were very negative about Re-unification; more unemployment,
less community spirit, people leading a more sedentary lifestyle etc.,
although they conceded that there had been "some disadvantages" - e.g.
The local pub provided our evening meal,
matjes (marinated raw herring with sauté potatoes, very tasty @
each). Again there were many photos of the 2006 flood, which came up to
the farm's outer wall. The nearest town, Ruhstadt, boasts a
stork-protection club of 80 members, and the birds were to be seen
Day 4 Balow to Tangermunde 82 km
The forecast said 34 degrees, and it wasn't long before this was
reached. At first we had easy riding along the top of the dyke. Civil
engineering work meant a slight detour as we approached Havelberg, and
here we met the 2 East German cyclists again. Havelberg is a pleasant
with a striking church and pretty riverside. It is the starting point
for the route up to Berlin.
Heading south towards Sandau, we decided to
stay on this side of the river rather than cross the ferry to rejoin
the official route, which seemed very tortuous. This meant travelling
alongside the road on a separate path. At Scharlibben we sat behind the
church to have lunch, and cooled our feet in a water butt. After Klietz
we followed the marked route to Arneburg on the other side of the
river. From the ferry we had to walk the bikes, due to major roadworks,
and after passing through the village the surface was rough but
manageable, climbing slightly and passing a wind farm.
Continuing along the official route, we came to Tangermunde, a lovely
town with many old buildings, of which the Rathaus (town hall) was the
most interesting. We found a room in the Alte Stadt Pension, in the
square. Opposite was the church, again with an imposing tower, where a
wedding was taking place. Alongside was an old tavern, where the menu
was also an amusing and well produced history of the town. Here we had
an excellent meal of salad
with the inevitable bratkartoffeln, followed by ice cream and
strawberries. Other highlights of the town were an old church
turned into an
arts centre, the quayside (public thermometer 40 degrees) and the
town gate. The Pension was very comfortable, with literally a
birds-eye view of a stork's nest, the birds making their trademark
clacking sound with their beaks.
The digital thermometer was on 40 degC, but as I struggled to get my
camera out, it clicked down to 39!
The town hall or rathaus in Tangermunde, note how the digital
thermometer display above mimics the shape of this facade.
One of the many attractive doorways within Tangermunde.
Day 5 Tangermunde to Randau 82
Another very hot day. We set off through the town gate, heading south
on the same side of the river until we reached Rogatz. where we took
At Schartau we stocked up on a basic lunch at the village
shop. It was here that we first encountered the dreaded cobbles. We
took a wrong turn before regaining the road to Niegripp. At Hohenwarthe
the route deviates to take in the impressive Wasserstrassenkreuz (the
Elbe canal crosses over the river at right angles on a newly built
aqueduct). This is engineering on a massive scale.
Shortly afterwards we reached Magdeburg, which was very
disappointing, although it did contain this very interesting modern
building by Hundertwasser.
We had expected to see a beautiful medieval city, but it
had obviously been heavily bombed and rebuilt with 60s boxes. However
was in the tourist office
here that we were given the official handbook. As we were almost at the
mid-point of the journey we had to find a launderette, which we
eventually found on the Leipziger Strasse to the south of the city
centre. It's on the left-hand side, just after a row of shops with a
cafe, where we had a refreshing iced coffee while the clothes were
washed. We got back on track by returning to the centre, then crossing
the river by a bridge which had been given over to a funfair. As we now
had comprehensive information about B&Bs, we were able to phone
ahead to Randau, about 10km further on.
The accommodation was in
formerly a home for the widows of the local
priest. The comfortable room cost E50 and included the very best
breakfast. On arriving we were offered a very welcome cold beer! It was
here where we watched Spain beat Holland in the final of the world cup,
I like the Dutch, but the best team won.
Day 6 Randau to Vockerode 87 km
Pretzien is obviously a holiday destination, with many holiday homes
grouped around small lakes. We were now used to temperatures in the
high 30s. This meant getting on
the road by 8.30 at the latest, in order to get as many km under the
belt as possible before burning began at about midday. Thereafter the
going became quite challenging, the feet mechanically pushing the
pedals and fighting the heat, so we were glad to come upon the old
restored castle at Walternienburg, where a friendly volunteer sold us
iced water and gave us a guided tour.
Watching the TV news we learned that the area was experiencing a freak
heat wave, the air conditioning systems on some of the crack ICE trains
had failed and that passengers had been taken to hospital suffering
from heat stroke. In those circumstances it was definitely preferable
to travelling by bike, where movement through the air provided some
Then followed a long stretch
woods to Steckby - good for shade but poor surfaces. We crossed on the
ferry at Aken (thermometer 42 in the shade!), then followed a long and
boring path next to the road into Dessau.
Again we were somewhat disappointed with Dessau, with the exception of
the famous Bauhaus building, where we had a rather nice kaffe and
kuchen. We had
pre-booked a hotel, but on sight this proved to be very expensive (E120
for the room) and in a
run-down area, so despite being very tired and hot we elected to push
on. Coming out of Dessau we skirted the grounds of the Schloss Luisium,
which did look to be very interesting, but time was pressing and we
reached Vockerode by tea-time. Our motel style room at the Kleine
cheap and comfortable at E46 for B&B. The evening meal was
a tad prefabricated, but acceptable, and the breakfast was the most
basic of the trip.
Day 7 Vockerode to Pretzsch 55km
As we were now one whole day ahead of schedule, so we felt we deserved
leisurely ride on this leg. We passed the Worlitz Park, which again
looked worthy of exploration, but bikes were not allowed.
At Coswig we
crossed on the ferry, which used the strength of the current to provide
propulsion; a reaction ferry. As I understand the principle, the boat's
hull is angled to the flow, which provides a force vector at right
angles to the flow. The vessel is restrained by cables that are moored
upstream, and it rotates about an axis some considerable distance
The mechanism of the reaction ferry at Coswig, windlasses are used to
adjust the angle of the vessel to the flow.
We then followed the
straight road into Lutherstadt
Wittenberg. The road was lined with industrial workings, both current
and disused, but impressive features included a huge church with gables
in the roof, and a row of workers' cottages at Apollensdorf.
Wittenberg was very pretty. The main church has a striking tower, with
the words of Luther's famous hymn around the top - "Ein feste Burg ist
As we headed towards Elster it was again very hot, and Carol was very
The church at Schutzberg
We crossed the river to Pretzsch, which had once been a very
important town. It had a huge castle and an impressive church. We found
lodgings next to the town bakery, run by Herr Schutze (E40 for B&B)
who thankfully had beer immediately to hand!. He gave us directions for
an evening meal, and at the Park Hotel we had the most exotic meal of
the trip, but only costing E35 for 2 including a drink. It transpired
that the main dining hall was occupied by a Trabant themed evening,
with carburettor soup etc, intended for older East Germans to
reminisce, but we were happy to sit on the terrace . There was also
pizzeria right next to the bakery, which looked a reasonable
alternative. During the
night there was a terrific storm, with continuous flashes of lightning.
Day 8 Pretzsch to Gohlis bei Riesa
The storm had cleared the air, and we set off with overcast
skies, at one point needing the capes in a short
rain shower. We timed ourselves on a stretch with a good surface
34km in 2 hours to Torgau, where the American and Russian armies
met at the end of the Second World War.
The town itself was quite
attractive, with a market in the square. ALDI provided our basic lunch
again, then we headed off, finding a "cyclists' church" at
Wessnig. The church had been radically restored, with the
usual galleries in the nave, this time totally enclosed with glass
windows. Cyclists were invited to mark their home towns on a large map
of Europe - the UK was not included so we had to mark Washington in the
Cyclists' church at Wessnig
We saw buzzards every day, circling lazily over the fields. Dragonflies
seemed much bigger and more colourful than in England. The occasional
heron stood by the river, while storks were sometimes seen floating on
In the heat of the day we stopped for a very expensive, but welcome,
glass of lemonade in Strehla, which is a holiday town. We had intended
to press on to Riesa for the night, but we found a lovely B&B
(Familie Wagner) right on the
route at Gohlis. Again this was a
self-contained suite normally used for long stay guests, costing E50
for 2. The owners directed us to the local leisure centre for a meal,
and Carol was able to indulge her craving for bratwurst. As evening
fell we were able to watch barges go past on the peaceful river, and
Bryan set off to take sunset photos of Strehla across the water.
Day 9 Gohlis to Radebeul 48km
At Riesa we encountered some interesting art work, but not much else.
However this was the start of the most picturesque stretch of the river
- the wine route (Muller-Thorgau etc.). The river passes by steep
cliffs on the eastern side, and the banks are dotted with small
villages with castles like Schloss Neuhirschstein and Schloss
A pusher barge with the church at Zadel in the background
For the first time we saw pleasure boats coming
from Dresden and Meissen, including steam paddle boats.
Zehren was particularly pretty,
although the track surface was especially bad, and we had
to make the only real climb of the trip.
As we approached Meissen the huge castle came into view, with its
cathedral rising above. We walked through the town, which has
wonderfully restored buildings, and climbed the hill to the church of
St Afra. Another interesting interior, especially the decorated fan
vaulting. We crossed the river to take a panoramic view, and also to
cool our feet in the river we had followed for so long. After a short
way we stopped for a refreshing glass of the aforesaid wine - very
As we neared another town called Coswig, we found an unusual drinking
fountain, then we continued into Radebeul.
We phoned ahead for
accommodation, and after some wrong turns found the Pension Haden, with
a large garden full of small animals. Cost E36. The landlady
pointed us to a nearby pub, Die Scarfe Ecke, where we ate a fine meal
of salad and potatoes for a reasonable sum. The lady was determined
that we should see as many local sights as possible, and gave us
several brochures and maps. We talked to a friendly German family
from Hamburg who were visiting their partner city Dresden (presumably
linked by bombing).
Day 10 Radebeul to Dresden - the direct cycle path is about 10
km, but we detoured to Moritzburg!
One of the recommended sights was the light steam railway which ran
from Radebeul into the hills at Moritzburg, where there is a fine
baroque castle. This involved a substantial detour from the Elbe route,
but the track follows the railway line for some way, at one
point very steeply, then heads off across the fields to the town.
Moritzburg is obviously a "getaway" for the people of Dresden, it's
also an equestrian centre. Unfortunately the castle/Schloss was covered
in scaffolding, but it did look impressive on the banks of a lake. We
met the steam train on its way up the valley, then headed off to
Dresden itself. By this time a fine drizzle was falling, which made for
Many of the important buildings in Dresden, notably the Frauenkirche
cathedral, have been restored after the heavy bombing of February 1945,
so there are pleasant walks around the two main squares and along the
riverside. We thought the interior of the cathedral was far better than
exterior - tier upon tier of galleries with tastefully decorated
balustrades, but photography within is prohibited.
There were still extensive building works in the main square; it looked
like an underground car park. We ate at a vegetarian restaurant -
Aha - a fine meal consisting of Sulze (vegetables in aspic) @ E35
We stayed in the City Herberge,
a nice enough modern hotel, very close
centre, costing E64.
Day 11 Dresden to Haarlem
The railway station was a short ride away. We caught the train to
Berlin, where the 1.5 hour wait was taken up with finding our way
through the multi-level warren. The station is provided with many
lifts, each taking 3/4 bikes, but the queues for them were
constant. As the train left the station we managed to glimpse the
Reichstag and the ruined church on the Ku'dam. The air conditioning
failed in several coaches due to the extreme heat, but we found
a comfortable seat. Changing again at Hilversum and Amsterdam, we
arrived in Haarlem, and found our hotel, the Malts. It was convenient
for the city centre, which is very interesting, with many old
buildings, but it was the most expensive accommodation of the trip @
E88 for B&B. Restaurant prices here were also steep compared to
eastern Germany. We finally found a reasonable pizzeria over the road
from a "Coffee House", where it was interesting to watch the antics of
Day 12 Haarlem to Ijmuiden
It was overcast as we headed out to one of our favourite villages,
Spaarndam, just north of Haarlem. There was an Art and Crafts market in
progress on the Saturday morning, with some very interesting work on
display, it's as well that we were unable to carry anything on the
bikes! As we left the market it began to rain in earnest,
so we pressed on to the ferry port. We stocked up on food for the
ferry trip at the local supermarket, ate chips and mayonnaise
for lunch, then, the rain having ceased, rode out towards the sand
dunes, where we
watched sand yachting and kite flying.
We boarded the ferry for Newcastle at the end of a very enjoyable trip
What did we like most? Well the lovely peaceful countryside, pretty
and small towns, many dating back to the 17th century and beyond, were
superb. Our favourite towns were Hitzacker and Tangermunde, real gems,
while Meissen was also very nice, but there are loads of interesting
old towns and villages scattered along the route.
The cycle tracks were generally excellent with smooth sealed surfaces,
the Germans must have spent a fortune on this route. Judging by the
number of cyclists we saw using the paths, cycle tourism must be a
major earner in these parts. "Build it and
they will come"; UK please take note! Then there was the cheap,
and comfortable accommodation, with welcoming hosts. The reliable
folding bikes gave us total flexibility
and cheap train fares, while we cannot fail to mention the glass of
cool beer at the end of each day's cycling in the sweltering heat.
We did like the tastefully decorated interiors of the various Lutheran
churches that we visited, they strike a happy balance between the
spartan white interiors of UK religious buildings and the OTT guilded
decoration found in the Catholic cathedrals in Spain and Italy.
If we were to look for negatives, the east German cities were generally
disappointing, sadly flattened during the war and rebuilt under austere
circumstances. If you are making this trip, enjoy the
countryside to the full and don't sprint
on to get to the larger towns! The paths were good to
excellent, but when the surfaces were bad, as you passed through the
cobbled streets in the villages, they were very bad (particularly
for small wheeled
Bromptons). Then there were the mosquitos, don't forget to pack
your insect repellent and sting treatment!
But they are all small gripes, overall it was a very enjoyable trip,
definitely worth the cost and effort of
there and back, and highly recommended.
If you have a free choice of bike for this trip, then a standard
European style large wheeled tourer would be good, providing some
insulation from the vibration from the cobbles within the villages, but
the advantages of the folding Bromptons are hard to ignore.
All photographs (c) B. Attewell. Many of these images and more are
sale via Alamy, please click on the symbol below.
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