Day 41 – Dresden to Torgau – Along the Elbe River Route (Elbe Rad Weg)
KM – 116.2
Avg – 19.6
Saddle Time – 5:55
I was still undecided whether I was going to stay another day in Dresden or head off. An hour or so research helped me obtain itchy legs and I felt them jiggle like I had ants in my pants – ooop time to go that means – I felt as though I saw a lot of Dresden last night so it was good timing plus I found an awesome route that I wanted to take – so it was packing time and heading off. I was pretty proud that all my gear and breakfast took me just as long as the other people in my room who had to leave same time as me. They just had backpacks and I had all my gear and we left same time – WHOOP WHOOP. So I found this route that follows the Elbe river for 850km or so. I will follow it for about 3-400 as it goes in the direction I would like to go. Now listen up all you tourers (and non tourers even) this route is amazing. If you’re a beginner tourer or someone wanting level terrain and easy directions and want to ease your way into touring or just have a lovely ride – this is the way to go. If you were to dream up a bicycle route you would say…..Hans, put a castle up there high in the mountains. Ghert….Put a nice coffee shop right there on that bend. Freiderich, can you put some horses there please. Helga, there’s some space – wack a forest there and for good measure make sure you put a beer house that serves awesome meals in there too. – now at about this mark – pop your head up anyway along the route in any town and you can look around at the history and the cafes and the war torn buildings – an amazing experience. Very easy riding and easy signage – it takes all the pressure off and you can just ride.
It’s strange coming from Poland which is very difficult to do anything regarding camping, eating, talking, navigating etc etc. The roads are really bad and you really have to work for each 5-10 km’s. There is something empowering and confidence building about it though. When you really worked hard mentally and/or physically and you have finally reached somewhere you feel like you’ve accomplished something really amazing and it makes you feel stronger – give or take a few dummy spits here and there of course so as I was saying this place is a dream compared to Poland – I did love Poland though – as you’ve read – you know the good and the bad already.
I was about 50km into my ride today and popped my head up like a meerkat (on wheels) into one of the towns and asked for a take away coffee – it took seriously 15 minutes and (see pic) I get it in a clown cup with an in built straw hahah that was my funny for the day – I kept the cup and am using it now stil – it hangs off my shoes on the rear of my bike.
So i ended up doing a certain amount of k’s today but i’ll take it easy tomorrow as I really want to soak this easy riding up – what a difference it is – a dutch couple was telling me how bad they think it is in this part of Germany – ha ha – this is like heaven I said to them – they looked at me strange – I explained everything that I seen in the 7 hours in Germanyand how many good things when you look but they thought the routes were hard to navigate and bumpy – to be honest it’s 90% flat, no bumps, perfectly signed excellent route along the river with all provisions (except internet) – anyway – it was interesting to se ethe difference of opinion – even without having hard riding previously I still would’ve thought the same – no offence to Dutchies cos I do luv yas. They were nice enough to give me a guide book on the Elbe so i’ll be using that to find good spaces to eat and sleep
SO i’m camping now in Torgau and set up my tent, paid my dues…It’s amazing how much German I can understand – I can’t speak it but I understand a lot as it’s close to Dutch BUT I didn’t understand the bit where the owner said the showers are only two minutes and it’s 1euro each time and you need a special coin for it. I got the special coin bit so I got one of them but the shower stopped – AWESOME so I was half soaped and enjoying this hot shower then BAM it stopped…so I went to the sink and used the extendable tap hahaha and then hosed off in cold water – ahhh that’s better. I’m the only one here and camping next to these horses that want food all the time – I hope they like pasta, rye bread, eggs, cheese, zucchini??????
Day 42 – Torgau to Wittenberg – 84.6km
KM – 84.6
Avg – 18.5
Saddle Time – 4:34
Woke up to the groundsman on his ride on mower going around me at 8am – I really enjoyed that – not like he could’ve started on the other side considering I was the only one there – perhaps he was bored and wanted a laugh – well I wasn’t that’s for sure. Up I get – 8am isn’t early but it is when you said you wanted to sleep longer as the sun was quite nice on the tent – now with my allergic reactions I was sneezing like crazy – damn red head, pale skinned allergy kid – thanks mum and dad.
Took me ages to tinker with my bike, clean and oil chain, eat breakky, pack up, go shopping for the next couple days and then head off. It was almost lunch time by now. That’s ok though – i’m on target to hit Netherlands when I plan to and the days events unfold as they do don’t they.
I ended up doing 70 odd but some riding around town upped that a little once I set up camp in Wittenberg. My 70 odd k’s felt like 120 today and it just dragged on although the Elbe route still amazed me but I was struggling. I found a nice campsite but I know I’m back in a more western c0untry when you’re charged extra for internet (that didn’t work anyway), and charged per wattage of electricity used and rules coming out of your behind. Pros and Cons to countries I tells ya.
A pretty uneventful day BUT I loved every minute of it (except when I didn’t want to go on sometimes but kept pedalling). My bottom bracket is creaking a little more so I better check that out soon – I am pretty sure it’s either the bearings or just needs re-seating – as I stated earlier I couldn’t convey that message at the last shop – lets hope Thor holds on a couple more day until I hit a professional bike shop. Thor is strong I know he can do it. He has been a champion so far – of the 15,000km I have ridden him, I haven’t heard a peep from him and no troubles.
Along the route today I met a great guy from Dresden that had very similar gear to myself. He is an engineer and designed himself a converter so he can charge his laptop from pedal power – amazing – wish I was that smart. He was a top bloke and nice to chat to **waves** hello Holger
After riding around Wittenberg for a while I headed back and dozed off – uneventful but great to be on the road.
Day 43 – Wittenberg to Magdeburg – 125km
KM – 125
Avg – 18
Saddle Time – 6:56
Leaving at 9 (which is good for me considering it takes about 1:45 to pack up, eat and go) I weaved in and out of forest, river bends, creeks, paddocks, wide open farms, cattle, villages following the Elbe signs – totally amazing this Elbe route – the best designed bicycle route I know of and also ridden. So well signed and riding through the best spots possible for 800 odd k’s or whatever it is – totally amazing. I was in heaven.
Thought for the day (here we go again I hear you say)
The sun was just popping its lazy head up through the trees in the morning whilst I turn the corner and cross the ferry designed only for bicycles. It’s just me on this ferry and I pay 1 Euro to cross the Elbe and continue the route on the other side. A couple wave to me and a cow moos on queue – The next song that comes into shuffle in my one ear that has the headphone in is a fitting one on this serene path of bicycling joy……Ice cube – Cop Killer bwahahaha – it made me laugh – I thought ‘This is inappropriate for such a lovely day on Thor and in the sun in Germany’……………So I changed it to Rammstein – more fitting don’t you think? Well I am in Germany.
So after two hours of just looking around and being guided effortlessly through all these amazing sights I said – hmmm time for my first break…..at that very moment – a break in the forest appears and a small quant little hut like cafe appears in the middle of nowhere and it served me a plum strudel that was out of this world and tasted like it was made 5 minutes ago and great coffee (7.5/10).
The Germans have great quality bikes that’s one thing – very good quality and roads that go with it.
My goal was Magdeburg which was around the 120km mark but I did sayto myself……SELF….. if I can’t be bothered I will just wild camp on the river as there are so many spots here. – I just loved the riding so much and kept going – had three small stops for the day but had a great time. Here’s where the story gets interesting though – I wanted to get something to eat and surf net at same time and found a kebab house that had internet – after 5 minutes their modem stopped working and he said he will fix it tomorrow – DAMN IT!!!
Anyway that’s not the interesting part – The owner (Azhar from Pakistan) and the next door neighbour (Ingo from Germany) were both eating dinner and we ended up having a few drinks together. I at least knew the hostel where I wanted to stay and it wasn’t far so that was ok. After a few drinks Ingo asked where I was staying I normally just say something like ‘down the road’ at first and not be too specific and Ingo asked me if I wanted to stay at his place. My first thought was just hang back a bit and scope it out. It’s a strange feeling when someone asks that as you may well know Martino hehehe. So my instincts kicked in and I was in ‘scoping out mode’. I assessed the situation and just said I can’t do that and we kept having a few. I made sure not to drink too fast as before I knew it my other kidney is gone – one is in Italy already I don’t want the other one in Germany.
So we ate another meal (I was still hungry) and I thought about it and Ingo showed me his place and his wife and I did get asked in front of the kebab shop where people could hear and I went on instinct again – strange feeling to go by huh – you may read this thinking I am crazy – maybe I am – but it does sound worse when you type it rather then actually being there and scoping it out for yourself and judging the person yourself – anyway – i’m along this ride for the experience and this has been a real whirlwind. I found a iphone app called ‘warm showers’ – and you can sign up and it’s very popular – a lot of travellers that I speak to do it all the time and you stay at random peoples houses as long as they can do it when/if they come to your country – I won’t be signing up for that as I don’t want to do that that often but it was nice to know that i’m not crazy hehehe.
Anyway so a couple hours passed and I ended up taking his offer and we had a few more drinks at his place. I slept in the spare room and his dog (Maggie – see pic) best dog in the world – slept on the floor beside my bed. I did awake to Maggie finding her way nestled in next to my legs though the cheeky thing.
Day 44 – Riding around Magdeburg, fixing bike and researching
Ingo woke me up and made me breakfast and then said – right – get ready I am taking you on a tour of my city….I was like……..LETS ROCK N ROLL whilst being amazed at his generosity. Did I mention that he wouldn’t let me pay for dinner or drinks – I just left money on the counter last night and ran but that didn’t work either – I found that back in my room where he put it.
So Ingo cycled with me for hours and was a great tour guide – explaining all the old buildings even knowing the width and height of the oldest church in Germany. We finished back at the Donor shop of course and awaiting was a pizza we shared and Azhar wouldn’t let me pay for it. They both said that they have never seen an Aussie anywhere near Magdeburg cycling through Europe and thought I was ‘super tough and strong like a German’ as they say hehe Ingo had this attitude and passion that i’ve never seen before – he was so enthusiastic about life and his city and everything – like a crazy Swedish traveller if that makes sense – so Azhar and Ingo – you’re generosity to an unknown stranger (and red head) is astounding and thanks for making my holiday that one notch better – thank you for the food, drinks, friendship and tour guide – I won’t forget.
Ok enough deep talk – I headed off and thought of getting my bike looked at as it still wasn’t right. Then head to Hanover. Three bike shops and two hours later I found someone who had the knowledge to help. This dude knew what he was on about and I didn’t have to say anything. He was a real pro and fixed it in minutes. I was right about the problem too YESS!! **pumps fist** the crank and pedal needed tightening and I didn’t have the right tool for the bottom bracket so finally – I can cycle in silence without it having to go creek creek.
About now it was too late to head off as the sun was slightly setting so I headed to a hostel and needed to wash my clothes as I have only done so ONCE in 43 days hahaha I am a stinking BUM. Only to find out this place doesn’t have any washing machines – might as well keep my tally going though then – see how many days I can get up to. I need to do some research anyway so until soon…thanks for reading my ‘up close and personal’ journal and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy living and sharing it.
Route of last few days
Total route to date – Rough and not exact roads but main towns
Photos from last few days along Elbe River