Biketour Brocken - SchierkeJuly 3 in Germany
Funny downhill with expedition and Fixie langster ;)
Funny downhill with expedition and Fixie langster ;)
The second night of thunderstorms and rain wasn't as bad as the first and it's quite useful for the rain to be over and done with in the night, leaving us with a dry sunny morning to lead into the day's cycling.
Our boat harbour campsite with us as the only guests cost €4 (plus 1€ each for the shower). THAT is a bargain. We didnt expect to get a campsite that cheap outside of Eastern Europe (well aside from the offer of free camping from the museum campsite in Lithuania). The harbourmaster was a nice chap too with the great ability to take a hint that we were ready to leave and turn it into a whole other life story! He was also of the age where he could talk about other nationalities in a very inappropriate way without knowing he was saying something a little "risky" but at the same time not meaning anything negative about them. :) On the 20 minutes we talked to him he told us alot about his life and health, as well as the life and health of an employee at the best local bakery! :D
The best local bakery was indeed pretty fine. Even better was the lovely location in Arneburg town centre where we set up our breakfast camp. A glass-covered pergola with a round table, sided with info boards all about the town. Very vistor friendly despite it being a small place.
The 90km route for today started with a Wizard of Oz "yellow brick road" style cycleway. Wide and a good few kms long, rolling through the countryside it was a great ride and an absolute cycling dream. We crossed the Elbe and then followed the Elbe- Canal for a stretch before reaching Magdeburg.
Peter fulfilled a lifelong wish of finding out where Bundesstrasse number 1 is, its near Burg and has a crazy cycle lane where both directions of cycle traffic share a single lane. For our directon of travel we were facing oncoming traffic. Despite it feeling like the most counter-intuitive thing in the world we quickly got used to it, finding the advantage of seeing the traffic rather than the usual style of having a large lorry breathing down your back - Good cycling!
Magdeburg makes a good impression to cycle into. I was last here 10 years ago and it seems cleaner and brighter. Lots of nice gardened areas, bee-meadows, modern "art" and some very amusing anti-capitalist graffiti. It was rather hipster graffiti based on the well -formed cursive script complete with punctuation and high-brow content! :D
We're now tucked up for the night in another boat harbour. €5 all inclusive bargain again right outside MD city.Read more
Wir befinden uns gerade auf dem Weg nach Braunschweig. Nach unserer anstrengenden Rückreise haben wir in Berlin übernachtet. Nicht nur darüber, dass das Toilettenpapier gefühlt 1000-lagig ist, haben wir uns gewundert - auch darüber, dass an roten Ampeln das rechts Abbiegen, anders als in den Staaten, nicht erlaubt ist.
Zeit, den Urlaub Revue passieren zu lassen - das nach insgesamt 32 Flugstunden, 4.330,75 Autokilometern (2.691 Meilen), 202 Kilometern zu Fuß (125,51 Meilen) und drei gefahrenen Automodellen (Mercedes C-Klasse, Nissan Armada und Chevrolet Tahoe):
Mit der Golden Gate Bridge durften wir die wohl bekannteste und für die meisten schönste Brücke der Welt bestaunen. Für uns in einer der schönsten Städte, die wir bisher gesehen haben. Schon eigenartig, dass genau in dieser Vorzeigestadt die wohl berüchtigste Gefängnisinsel der Welt, Alcatraz, Schwerverbrecher beheimatet hat.
Nachdem wir uns den Regierungssitz der Internetwelt, Google im Silicon Valley, angeschaut haben, ging es für uns über die schönste Straße der Welt, der Route 1, weiter in den Big Basin State Park. Hier hatten wir die Gelegenheit, neben den größten Küstenmammutbäumen der Erde (Redwoods) zu posieren.
Weiter ging es durch die bergige Landschaft Kaliforniens über Santa Barbara (hier steht übrigens der größte Feigenbaum der Welt) und den weltbekannten Strand von Malibu nach Los Angeles - DIE Stadt, wenn es um Film, Fernsehen und Promis geht. Die Universal Studios haben uns zumindest einen kleinen Einblick in die Glitzerwelt Hollywoods gegeben. Ein tolles Erlebnis!
Die nächste Autofahrt (mittlerweile im Chevrolet Tahoe - der Nissan Armada V8 war zwar absolut entspannt und gut motorisiert, wir wollten aber einfach mal eine fette, klassische Ami-Karre fahren und haben unseren Mietwagen einfach getauscht) führte uns durch Wüstenland, was wir natürlich in dieser Form noch nie in unserem Leben gesehen haben, nach Las Vegas. Eine durch Menschenhand erschaffene Vergnügungsstadt mitten in der Wüste - mal sehen, wie lange der Colorado River diese Stadt noch mit Wasser versorgt. Aus unserer Sicht allerdings einfach atemberaubend. Hier stehen immerhin Dreiviertel der 20 größten Hotels der Welt. Im zweitgrößten haben wir übernachtet - für uns übrigens die schönste Hotelsuite, die wir jemals bewohnt haben.
Nach zwei Tagen und um einige hundert Dollar leichter ging es wieder in Richtung von Mutternatur erschaffenen Wundern. Dabei nutzten wir nicht nur die Interstate (zu deutsch: Autobahn - überholt wird hier links und rechts, Motorradfahrer nutzen einfach die Fahrbahnbegrenzungen zum Überholen), sondern auch Teile der Straße aller Straßen, der Route 66. Dabei fühlten wir uns, als befänden wir uns in einem klassischen Westernfilm. Nach 5 Autostunden erreichten wir den Grand Canyon. Man kann es mit Worten leider nicht beschreiben. Auch Bilder sprechen in diesem Fall keine Worte, denn diese gigantische Schlucht mit unglaublichen Bergformationen muss man einfach live sehen!
Das nächste Naturwunder auf unserer Route hieß Antelope Canyon. Durch Wasser ausgewaschene Gesteinsformationen unter der Erde? Richtig! Wahnsinn! Wunderschön! Auch das ein absolutes Highlight, was wir nicht bereuen.
Um uns weiter vom Großstadttrubel aus San Francisco, Los Angeles und Las Vegas zu erholen, hieß unsere nächste Station an Tag 11 unserer Westküstentour „Zion Nationalpark“. Dass dieser Nationalpark nicht unbedingt zu den bekanntesten in den USA zählt, verstehen wir nicht ganz. Wir fanden ihn wunderschön und durften sogar unsere erste richtige Klettererfahrung machen. Nach circa 2,5 Hiking-Stunden erreichten wir den „Angels Landing“, die Spitze eines schmalen, angsteinflößenden und zugleich atemberaubenden Aufstiegs. Impressionen anderer Bezwinger findet Ihr bei YouTube!
Da unser Reisegeld knapp wurde (*Ironie Off*), steuerten wir ein zweites Mal Las Vegas an. Dieses Mal mehr oder weniger als Zwischenhalt. Auf dem Weg dorthin stoppten wir noch am Valley of Fire. Wir waren mittlerweile zwar schon ein wenig abgestumpft, was Naturwunder angeht, wurden jedoch auch von den roten Feldformationen in diesem Valley überrascht. Auch diesen Stopp würden wir immer wieder machen!
Nach einer Nacht in Vegas, dieses Mal im „New York New York“ mit eigener Hotel-Achterbahn und nachgebauter NY-Skyline als Außenfassade, führte uns die nächste Autofahrt in unserem Chevrolet Tahoe zum heißesten Ort der Erde, dem Death Valley. Mit 57°C wurde hier die höchste Temperatur seit Beginn der Wetteraufzeichnungen gemessen. Wir hatten „nur“ 40°C oder 104°F (die Umrechnung haben wir ungefähr nach einer Woche gegoogelt - wir sind aufgrund unserer Eindrücke einfach immer wieder drüber weggekommen). Zum Wetter insgesamt: An insgesamt 21 Reisetagen haben wir einen einzigen Regentropfen abbekommen (auf dem Angels Landing im Zion - es war tatsächlich nur einer, danach schien wieder die Sonne), ansonsten durchschnittlich 10 Sonnenstunden und 25-40°C. Glück gehabt!
Da uns auch die 40°C mittlerweile zu schaffen machten, steuerten wir nun die kälteste Station unseres Trips an - den Yosemite Nationalpark. Bei 25°C Tagestemperatur hatten wir hier auch das grünste Erlebnis - wirklich die „Arche Noah Kaliforniens“. Die vielfältige Fauna, Flora und Naturwelt lässt sich unter anderem durch die Wasservorkommen (hier fließt einer der höchsten Wasserfälle der Erde) erklären, die es an den vorherigen Stationen unserer Reise nicht gab. Beeindruckend! Einen Bären haben wir leider nicht gesehen, dafür einen riesigen Raben, der für unsere Kamera posierte. Immerhin!
Nach zwei Nächten in Oakhurst nahe Yosemite Valley und rund 20 Hike-Kilometern machten wir uns nun auf den „Heimweg“. Da wir zwei Puffertage für eventuelle Zwischenfälle eingeplant haben, konnten wir noch ein wenig entspannen. Den Puffer brauchten wir nicht, unsere Excel-Tapete war mal wieder ein zuverlässiger Begleiter, sodass jede Buchung und jeder Plan funktioniert hat. So soll das sein! Der zweite Puffertag endete in einer spontanen Kneipentour - den Abflugtag starteten wir also nicht gerade fit, trotzdem haben wir die letzten Stunden an der Küste San Franciscos (Fisherman’s Wharf) verbracht.
Ein Uber (unser zuverlässiges Fortbewegungsmittel, wenn wir nicht gerade selbst gefahren sind) brachte uns gegen 14 Uhr dann Richtung Flughafen. Gegen 18:15 Uhr hob unser Flieger Richtung Istanbul (ein unnötiger Zwischenstopp, der Gabelflug sparte aber immerhin 300 Euro pro Person) ab. Nun machte sich unsere Kneipentour vom Vorabend bezahlt. Wir konnten nach dem Abendessen alle einschlafen und sind zum Frühstück wieder wachgeworden. Nach 12 Stunden Flug war es schon wieder Abend? Richtig, durch unseren Ostwärts-Flug war der Tag halt 9 Stunden kürzer. Jetzt, immer noch im Auto nach Braunschweig (wir haben soeben eine Vollsperrung passiert), haben wir leichte Jetlag-Symptome, die allerdings keine Chance haben, unsere wahnsinnigen Erlebnisse der letzten drei Wochen zu trüben.
Danke an alle, die unseren Blog verfolgt haben! Macht’s gut!Read more
Off we went from Quedlinburg, only a single night stay which has been quite unusual for us on this trip! Filled up beforehand on a hotel breakfast of course, before walking the 10 minutes back to the train station. 90 minute train to Magdeburg where we had 30 minutes to grab some lunch and change trains to another 90 minute train to Dessau.
Here we weren't actually staying in town, but in an old tollhouse right on the river, about 5km north of the town. It was pretty rural, though the train station was about 10 minutes walk away across a highway bridge. Very surprised to learn that pets cost an extra 8 euros per night, as that wasn't mentioned at all on the listing! And that the "included breakfast" was only included if you paid 11 euros per person per night! Complete rip-off, and we weren't very impressed.
Our room was OK, it's in a large farmhouse building but we're on the upstairs level, essentially in the attic. We have a lot of floor space in the room, but most of it isn't that usable since it's underneath a sloping ceiling. You have to stoop quite a bit in places, and it's very easy to hit your head. Not super impressed again! Decided that we'd head into Dessau proper and have a look around, even though we'll be going through there quite a bit over the next few days.
First stop was the large gardens area just near the station, which is a fairly unimportant part of a larger World Heritage site, the larger more important part of which is elsewhere. But it was again decent weather, so we had a wander around the gardens in the fading light. As it got dark we walked into the main part of Dessau where the Christmas market was kicking off. First night of the season! We had a look around and ate a few things - sausages, waffles, chocolates. A few interesting looking things to buy, but obviously we resisted!
It's funny, they're such a romantic idea, the Christmas markets in the snow with cute candies on sale, delicious German food and of course steaming hot mulled wine, but when we visited a few years ago we found them quite underwhelming. They're nice, but after a couple they're basically all the same. Oh well, the first one for the season is good! Had a cup of gluhwein of course and filled up on various treats before catching the train back home. The walk across the highway bridge was a bit hairy since it was completely dark, and there were no lights on the bridge!Read more
Back on the move today! Left Hanover around 10am, sad to leave the nice apartment though it's in a bit of a funny spot. Couple of hours on the train to a place called Halberstadt, then another 90 minutes on the train to the little town of Quedlinburg. Had a minor disaster on the train, where it stopped for a while at one station and we didn't fully investigate why. Turns out the full-length train split into two separate trains with different destinations, and we were on the wrong one! Only figured out our mistake when the train left the station going back the way we'd come! But we hopped out at the next station, waited about 20 minutes for the next train heading back, then arrived back at where we'd made our mistake, and still had to wait another 20 minutes for the next train. Oh well, at least it only cost us an hour!
Quedlinburg is a very beautiful little old town, picture perfect with old timber-framed houses and classic styles, much like Bruges I suppose, but it's in a fairly out of the way place and thus doesn't get much in the way of tourism. Quite nice!
We walked the 10 minutes from the station into the centre of town and to our hotel, where we checked in with no issues. There's a couple of world heritage spots here, all from the same listing, and since we only had a couple of hours of daylight left we got stuck in to filming. The key things are the main square, the church, and the castle which we had a good look at - this area was foundational to the modern German identity as it's where the first Holy Roman emperors were crowned.
It's kind of weird to think about, but the Holy Roman Empire was technically an elective monarchy, where the death of the ruler meant an election where all of the princes, dukes, archbishops and so on could vote for their preferred candidate. In practice it worked much like a typical dynasty anyway, but it meant the royal court moved around quite a lot and wasn't situated in one place in the way French monarchs have basically always been in Paris, on the English in London. So Quedlinburg was once very important, but not anymore.
It was actually quite nice and sunny which we enjoyed, though definitely not warm! Got all of our filming done and were satisfied with our exploring, so we headed back to the room to relax. Later in the evening we ventured out to a burger place nearby that I'd seen; it proved to be a good idea since the burgers were very tasty!Read more
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.Read more
Incessant rain had drummed on the roof all night, and when we woke up this morning not much had changed. It was raining - a lot. Though we'd expected it, so had planned for today to be a mostly-inside day, rather than going to a parkland or something! Got dressed and headed out around 9am, straight back into Dessau as usual.
Here we headed to what was the second home of the Bauhaus School, a design and art college that had a tremendous impact on almost every field of modern art. Although founded in Weimar, it was based here for about 5 years before moving to Berlin in 1931, where it disbanded two years later (the Nazis considered it "un-German" and a hotbed of Communist liberalism).
The two main buildings of the college are still standing and that's where we headed first. Although it's still mostly used as a technical school, large parts of the building are a museum. Unfortunately we couldn't take Schnitzel inside as expected, so we did rock-paper-scissors for who'd go in first and who'd stay in the cafe with Schnitzel first. I lost.
So Shandos headed off into the museum, while I settled into the cafe with a cappuccino and a blueberry muffin. 90 minutes later she returned, and we traded places. I really enjoyed it, because even though in places there's not much to see, everything feels very familiar - from the layouts, the stairwells, even little touches like the light fixtures and the doorhandles which were designed by Bauhaus students. All very modernist, with straight lines, 90 degree curves, interesting uses of colour and materials.
The philosophy is quite interesting as well - that function should dictate form, but that functional items should also have beauty. It also blends together ideas of craftsmanship and artisan items with new techniques of mass production - all very interesting. I particularly enjoyed some of the displays about course curricula, since they were so obviously foundational and done from first principles. I mean, rather than studying "painting", you spend a couple of years studying art history, colour theory, anatomy, materials science and so on.
Eventually I finished up, and since we'd already spent 3 hours combined in the cafe we figured another hour wouldn't hurt, so we grabbed some lunch too. And hey, it was still raining outside.
Last thing we wanted to see here were the Master's Houses, a series of modernist houses about 500m away from the main school building, which were designed by the first architecture students at Bauhaus. Despite the names, the Masters of the school only lived here for a couple of years before the school moved off to Berlin. I filmed a bit more, but we haven't quite finished the video as there are more buildings to see in Weimar, where we'll be in a couple of days.
So we walked back to the station in the rain, caught the train back north to our little town, walked across the highway bridge and arrived home. Absolutely nobody around - it's quite spooky to be in a 15 room hotel with no other occupants! And as far as I can tell, the workers all go home at night too so there's just nobody else around at all.
Though we did manage to find the proprietor who we'd spoken to on Airbnb. We told him that since it didn't say we had to pay extra for the dog, we weren't going to, and that he needed to update his listings to mention the extra charges. He wasn't that happy, since apparently we were already getting a huge discount, and that on Airbnb he can't write "pets allowed but cost extra" and a few other crap excuses. In the end we got our way which was nice!Read more
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.Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, ساكسونيا أنهالت, Саксония-Анхалт, জ্যাক্সোনি-আনহাল্ট, ساکسۆنیا-ئەنھالت, Σαξωνία-Άνχαλτ, Saksio-Anhalto, Sajonia-Anhalt, زاکسن-آنهالت, Saksi-Anhalt, Saxe-Anhalt, Saksen-Anhalt, An tSacsain-Anhalt, Sagsainn-Anhalt, Sahoña-Anhalt, Saksen-Aanhoalt, סקסוניה-אנהלט, सैक्सोनी-एन्हाल्ट, Saksko-Anhaltska, Szász-Anhalt, Սաքսոնիա-Անհալթ, Saxland-Anhalt, Sassonia-Anhalt, ザクセン＝アンハルト州, საქსონია-ანჰალტი, 작센안할트 주, Saxonia-Anhaltium, Saksonija-Anhaltas, Саксон-Анхальт, जाक्सन-आनहाल्ट, Sassen-Anholt, Saksonia-Anhalt, سیکسنی آنہالٹ, Saxônia-Anhalt, Саксония-Анхальт, Sasko-Anhaltsko, Saška-Anhalt, Саксонија-Анхалт, รัฐแซกโซนี-อันฮัลต์, Saksonya-Anhalt, Саксонія-Ангальт, زاکسن-آنہالت, זאקסן-אנהאלט, 薩克遜－雁候, 萨克森-安哈尔特