Germany
Landkreis Wittenberg

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  • Day282

    Day 283:Garden-Kingdom of Worlitz-Dessau

    November 24, 2017 in Germany

    Woke up to the sound of Schnitzel retching and spewing all over the floor. In the process of cleaning that up we discovered that he'd also spewed on the bed! Couldn't get worse I suppose! Until of course the sink clogged as we were trying to dispose of the chunks, so our sink was full of gross coloured water and half-chewed dog biscuits. Yuck.

    Decided to press on with our day anyway, a visit to the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Worlitz - one of the oldest and most famous English gardens on the continent. Managed to explain to the cleaning lady (who spoke no English) that the sink was blocked, though we didn't specify what had caused it. Also managed to explain that most of the lights in our room didn't work!

    Just made it to the station in time for the train - it's super weird here since there's three trains per hour, but they're all within about 20 minutes of each other. 40 minutes past the hour, 50 minutes, and 55 minutes - then nothing for 45 minutes. Go figure. But we made it, thankfully.

    Got to Dessau with 15 minutes to spare until our connecting bus, so Shandos grabbed a croissant and I went and bought tickets from the machine. Waited at the bus stop and the bus never came, and a man said the bus had already left! Realised that we'd been looking online at an old timetable, and that the bus was at 5 past, not 13 past. And of course the next one was in an hour! Could this day get any worse?

    Back inside the station where we settled into the coffee shop again, I had a coffee and Shandos had another croissant. Eventually we headed back outside for the bus, and when we boarded we discovered this was a private bus, and so the tickets I'd spent 10 euros on didn't apply as they were only for the public bus services! Another 10 euros. Fucks sake.

    Thankfully the 30 minute bus trip out to the park passed without incident - we were the only people on the bus the entire way! After all of that, the park was lovely. Free entry, dogs and filming allowed, and only a couple of the attractions were covered in scaffolding for restoration. This was one of the first English gardens in Germany, and the aristocrat who designed it (Duke Leopold III) had just been on a Grand Tour of the Europe, and wanted to bring the ideas of the Enlightenment back to his home duchy.

    So the garden has a synagogue designed like the Tivoli Villa in Siena, a scale model of the Pantheon in Rome, and strangely, a fake volcano apparently inspired by Mount Vesuvius! It does "erupt", but sadly not during the winter months. We weren't quite the only people in the park, but not far from it! It covers an enormous area, but we just wandered around looking at the various follies and filming where we pleased. And the rain mostly held off too, which was nice!

    Decided to head back on the 1:10 bus, which turned out to actually be the 1:25 bus. So we arrived back in Dessau with about 15 minutes to the train, and very hungry since we hadn't had lunch. I went over to the information counter and pleaded my case, and thankfully the nice lady refunded my ticket purchase from this morning, so the day improved slightly!

    Grabbed a roll from Subway and made the train before walking home. The apartment was clean, the sink was unblocked, the lights were working and the sheets had been changed. There wasn't any dog vomit around when we left, so I don't know what the cleaning lady made of the brown stain on the sheets. Best not to ask!

    Later on Shandos walked back to the station where there was a supermarket, and grabbed a couple of things for dinner. That's the main disadvantage of staying somewhere out of the way without a car - you feel quite isolated and don't have many options should you need them! But at least the awful day was over, and wasn't too bad in the end - most issues had been resolved.
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  • Day284

    Day 285: Lutherstadt-Wittenberg

    November 26, 2017 in Germany

    Much clearer day today - no rain, though it was quite cold! Below zero overnight, and plenty of frost outside in the morning. Today we were heading for Wittenberg, aka Lutherstadt, the home of Protestantism. We were out before 9am - very early for a Sunday, and walked across the bridge to the station. Two trains and 90 minutes later and we were in Wittenberg.

    German cities are very quiet on Sundays as a rule, and this was no exception. There was almost nobody around as we walked the 10 minutes from the station into the main centre of town, where of course most shops and restaurants were closed.

    First stop for us was the castle church, home to the famous doors where Luther nailed his "95 Theses" document. Of course, the actual doors are long gone, having been lost in a fire in the 1760s, but the replacements are made of bronze and have the theses moulded in. Did some filming, though we couldn't go inside the church since it was a Sunday morning and in use for services.

    Luther's main argument with the church was over the idea of purchasing indulgences - the concept that one could pay an "indulgence", or essentially a bribe, to the Pope, and that that would absolve one of sin. It mean that the rich could almost literally get away with murder, and also implied (in Luther's eyes, incorrectly), that the Pope - not God - could absolve one of sin.

    We wandered around the town for a while, and also checked out the town church, known as the spiritual heart of Protestantism. It's here that the first Protestant services were conducted, with Protestant ministers, and it's here that Luther was married as well (despite being a Catholic monk, he married not long after his excommunication).

    Again, it was closed for services so we just looked at the outside. Wandered around the town a bit more, looking at the monastery where Luther lived for much of his life, both before and after his excommunication. Finally the churches were starting to open up after services, so we went inside a couple of them to check things out. The man at the town church was very nice and allowed us to carry Schnitzel around inside, rather than taking turns while the other shivers outside.

    By midday we were finished and had to decide whether to hurry back to the station for the next train, or to have a good lunch and get a later train. There was a nice looking brewery and traditional restaurant that looked quite nice, so we opted for that - it's been a while since we've had a big sit down lunch! We both had a large beer and a pork schnitzel with mushroom sauce and roast potatoes. Nice.

    The bill took ages to arrive so we had to hurry back to the station in the end, but just made it. Back home where we stayed for the rest of the day.
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  • Day29

    Obstacles on the way to the Elbe

    June 26, 2017 in Germany

    We were late leaving our Pension in Berlin, then we had to go to the Hauptbahnhof to organise train tickets to Dessau on the Elbe river. The Hbf in Berlin is big, Mary would love it, 16 platforms on several different levels. Jan managed to work out how to buy tickets from the machine, easy getting ours but it wasn't clear how to get the bike tickets. Our train went from platform 13, the lifts to this platform weren't working, so it's up 2 flights of stairs, luggage on and off the bike, bikes are too heavy fully loaded to carry them up the stairs.

    Finally on the train. Dessau looks very drab, particularly the Bahnhof. We find a bike shop with a pump outside so we manage to pump up our tyres, finally on our way about 3pm. No problem only 40k to go. At last we get to the river, a gorgeous covered bridge, things are looking up. And then a Biergarten, even better, of course beer gardens also have tea and cake.

    There had been a big thunderstorm a few nights ago, lots of trees down. A couple of times we had to take the bags off to get over or around the fallen logs.

    Ferries across the Elbe work on an interesting cable system, they're slow and only take a few vehicles, but there are usually more bikes than cars. This one was nicely decorated with pot plants. Only 3 Euros for 2 plus bikes.

    We had to ring up to get directions to our accomodation in Wittenberg, a cruise boat doing a stint as a hotel before cruising again in September. We had passed it but didn't realise it was the one, we didn't have a name on the booking sheet, and we thought the one we passed looked too grand.

    Then at last, a beer on the top deck of course, while we pretend we're cruising. We even had dinner on the boat rather than go into town looking for the cheap eats. The current was so strong that if you didn't look to closely at the far bank you could imagine you're moving. A great ride once we got going and a lovely evening.
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  • Day31

    2 days on the Elbe

    June 28, 2017 in Germany

    After the end of our "cruise" we made our way through the town of Wittenberg. Martin Luther is big here and 2017 is an important anniversary year, so the town was buzzing with tourists, at least 10 tour buses were parked just outside the old town. The town recently changed its name to Lutherstadt-Wittenberg.

    It was a long day to Torbau, about 74K, but we got to know the character of the river. It meanders through the valley, lots of billabong and side streams. It is very prone to flooding and there are flood levees all over the valley. Towns don't have river fronts, they're behind the levees. Consequently our path meanders and we only see the river occasionally. Many of the towns favour cobble stones, very hard to ride on.
    Our host in a small Pension liked to chat so we heard a lot about how life had changed since the "change", reunification.
    Torbau is an important renaissance town, as well as another important Luther town, apparently he visited 40 times.
    Our afternoon tea stop on the way to Torbau was at a Schloss cafe, obviously the only cafe in this little town.

    After Torbau we headed off to Reisa. Nothing special about it, just the right distance before Dresden.
    Thunderstorms were forecast, but just as the downpour started Jan spotted a restaurant that had been advertising along the route. It proved to be a huge dark empty venue, however they were happy to get us a drink. We were the only ones there until another cyclist came in to shelter from the rain so we had a fine chat over tea and beer, then headed off after the rain cleared. Another storm came about 10k from our destination, this time we found a picnic shelter.

    We found the Irish Pub in Reisa for dinner tonight, very nice, rated the best restaurant in town.
    We are used to seeing cigarette vending machines but outside the bike shop here is vending machine for tubes. I'm not sure what that says about the paths around here. Lots of empty shops in the Hauptstrasse, the town has seen better days.
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  • Day4

    Ankunft in Wittenberg

    June 3, 2017 in Germany

    Der Skategott war heute nicht auf meiner Seite. Die letzten 15 km durfte ich laufen weil der weg mit jedem km immer schlechter wurde. Aber es musste natürlich zu allem Überfluss über 2 Stunden auch noch regnen. Jetzt ist hier aber gutes Wetter und ich hoffe das es morgen besser wird. Btw.: die ersten 100 km liegen hinter mir.

  • Day5

    Fahren bei Wind und Wetter

    June 4, 2017 in Germany

    Aufgrund der Tatsache dass es heute in einer tour regnet, entschied ich mich dazu meine route zu verändern und den Elberadweg nach Dessau zu nehmen statt dem Europaradweg. Warum? Die Strecke ist um 20 km kürzer. Und wenn ich schon im regen fahren muss, dann wenigstens nicht solange.

  • Day2

    Wir sind unterwegs

    September 10, 2017 in Germany

    So, die erste Etappe ist geschafft. Es ging nach Coswig an die Elbe. Oder gibt es noch andere wahre Flüsse für uns?
    Es ging nach Osten, weil heute und morgen dort das schöne Wetter ist. Nach 80km Autobahn sind wir den Rest über Landstraßen gefahren. Ein Highlight namens Glövzin entdeckt. Müssen wir uns später noch mal anschauen.
    Nun stehen wir in der Marina Coswig und genießen die Abendsonne.

  • Day3

    Morgenstimmung in Coswig

    September 11, 2017 in Germany

    Der Morgen begann schon mal richtig schön. Kurz vor sieben auf der Hunderunde.

    Zum Frühstück gab es Leckeres vom Grill, der heute mal Outdoor Kitchen war. Der kleine Buddy macht sich immer mehr Freunde. Unsere Nachbarn schauten schon mal neidisch auf unseren üppigen Tisch.

  • Day3

    Kurze Runde durch Coswig

    September 11, 2017 in Germany

    Mittags sind wir kurz durch Coswig spaziert. Der Spaziergang endete pünktlich mit dem einsetzenden Regen. Der Ort versprüht wie viele Orte in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern und Brandenburg diesen leicht morbiden Charme. Viele alte Häuser sind liebevoll restauriert , andere haben es noch vor und manche verfallen.

    Blöd gelaufen GRRR. Unsere Aufbautür lässt sich nicht mehr von aussen öffnen. Müssen morgen in die Werkstatt.Read more

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Landkreis Wittenberg

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