Unfortunately this is my second attempt at this blog as the WiFi at the hotel in Nachterstedt didn’t work properly and consequently I lost most of the text, so this has been a bit shortened (a relief to my readers, no doubt!)
I slept really well last night and my back felt a lot better than yesterday.
Breakfast was a slightly strange affair as there was just me and a lady and a strange selection of food – a jug of milk and cereal bowls but no cereal. The other lady explained that she had poured out some cereal and it was full of ants so they took it away!
Anyway, this lady and I got chatting. She was Dutch and lives in the Hague but has been in the Dessau area for three weeks preparing some event for the Dutch Queen (an opening of something but I didn’t quite catch what). The lady was having troubles over the hotel bill for her and her party and was also very concerned to discover that no hotel staff were on duty overnight last night – in fact, none of them were in the building. This seemed rather strange to me too, but for this lady who has epilepsy it is potentially dangerous. Anyway, I left at 8:15 whilst she was still arguing about the bill with the hotel manager.
I had already decided not to follow the route in the book to get to Dessau, particularly as there is a perfectly decent road going straight to Dessau and the Dutch lady told me she’d previously cycled it and it had a cycle path all the way.
So I set off, enjoying the sunshine. Today I was wearing my long-sleeved Help For Heroes jersey as I wanted to give my arms a rest from the sun. I had also put lots of sun cream on my face and my legs in the hope that I would last out the day without getting too red,
The main road went through Mildensee after crossing the A9 Autobahn and then I arrived in Dessau. I wended my way through it on the excellent cycle paths alongside the road and at one point found myself passing the Technik-Museum Hugo Junkers with an aeroplane outside. I bet that would have been interesting to visit but this isn’t really a museum-visiting tour, not with all my luggage on the trike anyway!
After Dessau it looked as though the official R1 Radweg route was reasonable so I followed it to Aken and then Reppichau. By this time (21 miles) I was ready for a break but the weird ghost-town feeling of East Germany was continuing. Reppichau was really interesting as it had statues and wall paintings everywhere, loads of different subjects including things to do with Martin Luther, old calligraphy, farming and more. However all I was really looking for was a café or ice cream place but there was nothing. So I carried on.
I went through Osternienburg and then the most fantastically-named Pißdorf.
I could see a larger town in the distance and in due course arrived in Köthen which was an unusual place in that I passed about eight kebab shops before I found the first bakery – and I’m not joking about that. They need to get their priorities right – cakes are more important than Döner!
Anyway, the bakery provided the necessary sustenance – an iced doughnut and a cup of tea.
My trailblazing route after Köthen involved the major road the B185 (B roads are equivalent to our A roads in the UK). This road didn’t have a cycle path alongside it and wasn’t the nicest bit of road to cycle on so I decided to take my alternative, slightly longer detour onto quieter roads at Trinum. I turned off and discovered now that I was going over quite a hill. This is the view back to the B185.
And this is what I saw when I got to the top of the hill.
A fairly traditional East German view – lots of wind turbines.
Alfie having a rest beside the road.
After Mötz I went on to Wohlsdorf, then Poley and then across to Bernburg which lies on the river Saale. I thought it was time for some lunch so found a nice Italian café in the market square.
They had a special offer on pizzas – 5 Euros each! And it was a big one!
They also gave me a free scoop of chocolate ice cream as a dessert which was a bonus!
I admired the river Saale on my way out.
I had two possible routes to get to Staßfurt, both of which involved B roads. I didn’t fancy it if there wasn’t a cycle path but didn’t know how to find out – until I remembered Google Earth. I had a quick look on my phone and could see there was no path on the B185 that went west out of Bernburg but there was one on the B71 which went north; the distances would work out about the same so I took the north route through Strenzfeld, then turning off at Neugattersleben to Hohenerxleben. I liked this sign I saw at Strenzfeld!
When I got to Staßfurt it was only just after two so I thought it worth carrying on a bit. The next bit of ‘official’ route looked reasonable and would take me to Neu Königsaue and, after that, Nachterstedt which seemed to have a decent hotel.
Unfortunately the cycle route was pretty bad – very overgrown (I was constantly mowing down plants growing at the side of the path) and it was a huge long climb up in very hot weather (27 degrees) past oilseed rape fields which were making my nose itch. I didn’t enjoy the last ten miles much and this was exacerbated by me deciding to follow the route again as it was clearly shorter than going on the road and was marked as an asphalted cycle track (it would probably shave over a mile off my remaining four miles). So I set off on this and then discovered after half a mile that they had closed the route completely, there were lots of warnings not to go past the impassable barriers, so I gave up and retraced my route, pretty cheesed off!
I was relieved to finally find Nachterstedt though I stopped at the village before which had a bakery to buy something to have when I was in the hotel. Alfie was installed in one of the large reception/dining rooms at this huge hotel.
I went to my room with my cup of tea and got out my mysterious iced sponge cake thing I had bought, only to discovered it was an iced doorstep of bread. That was a bit of a surprise but it was still quite nice!
What wasn’t nice was the WiFi as it barely worked. Occasionally I was able to read something but it wouldn’t let me send any data anywhere (no emails, no facebook posts, not even completing information on a hotels website to say I was looking for single rooms etc). This was incredibly frustrating, even more so when I realised I had lost this original blog post that I had written as it hadn’t uploaded. I asked the hotel owner about it but he had no real idea, and I couldn’t be too forceful with him as half an hour earlier he’d read one of the leaflets on Alfie about my Berlin to London ride and had given me a 20 Euro donation! So a Wi-Fi-less evening loomed and annoyed me as I wanted to plan my hotels for tomorrow. No luck there, I’d have to wing it.
Today had been incredibly hot and I was glad I had worn my long-sleeved jersey. However it was pretty clear by the end of the day where the cuff went!
Apart from the WiFi the hotel was really good and I treated myself to Asparagus Soup (as it’s Spargelzeit and the Germans go mad for it)
And afterwards I had a salad – I didn’t feel like eating much because of the hot day.
After more pointless attempts at the WiFi I settled down to read a book, listening to thunder and seeing flashes of lightning and hearing torrential rain drumming on the roof.
Statistics for today:
Distance travelled: 65.05 miles
Moving time: 6 hours 39 minutes 22 seconds
Maximum speed: 23.8 mph
Average speed: 9.8 mph
Average heart rate: 120
Maximum heart rate: 179
Calorie burn (estimate as heart rate monitor didn’t always get a reading): 3,500 calories