Horgau – Ottobrunn, 6.6.22 (102 km)

Had to leave the hotel before breakfast to cycle the 17 km to Augsburg main station, where I met up with Phil. He came to cycle the last day with me, which was really nice. On the way to Augsburg (so before breakfast!) the route took me over a hill which provided a really nice view over the city, the Bismarck tower only opened at 9:00, though.

I imagined the trip to Munich to be basically flat, but of course I was wrong. We encountered the only percentage-signs on the trip: 13% up to Friedberg and another 8% later on. I did not even have to go down to my lowest gear for Friedberg, and it felt like earlier climbs I actually cycled were steeper, just without (warning) sign. So I feel a little proud and really pleased with my bike! And I think Covid is finally over for me.

Despite it looking threatening a couple of times we did not get wet. Although we know the area around Munich quite well, the route in was mainly new to us roughly until the Botanical gardens. We found a nice Italian to have lunch at on the shores of lake Olching.

Cycling through Munich was a nightmare, as usual. Cyclists, pedestrians and care drivers suddenly changing their minds without indicating, not adhering to the rules of the road, etc. – ah well, what’s new. A friend warned us, that the S-Bahn was not runnning, but by that time we were already committed to cycle all the way. My first ‘hundred’ this year!

Here are the pictures of the day – I do not seem to take as many, when Phil is with me. More ‘pressure’ to actually cycle ?! https://gopro.com/v/rDzMqM5ODmWzd

I enjoyed my business trip more than usual, cycling home was definitely a good idea. Every time I learn a lot about the country and areas I go through, and this time I met really nice people as well. Still a few things to tweek before I am off on my sabbatical, but the main things are working.

Geislingen an der Steige – Horgau, 5.6.22 (87 km)

My first proper night in the tent went well, the weather stayed good, I slept quite well (still need to work on the mattrass a bit) and woke up with sunrise (at about 5:15) – luckily! First thing I do in the morning? Check my phone of course, and currently mainly the weather forecast: quite bad storms predicted from 8:00 – 10:00 (they even made the national news, so they were bad!). So my job was to get up, organised, packed and on the road before that.

I left the campsite at 7:00 and found some breakfast at a Turkich bakery in Geislingen, the only place open that early on Whit Sunday morning (black tea without milk, need I say more). Set off again and got to just before the really steep bit (the place is not called ‘an der Steige’/’at the steep bit’ for nothing) when it suddenly got so dark, that I should really have putten lights on. Expecting the worst I headed for the nearest shelter, a flour mill, and stood under their yard roof. Three minutes later the heavens opened, there was thunder and lightning just above me. The heavy rain continued for about two hours.

The miller happened to be looking out of his window and spotted me. He was so nice, that he brought me a chair to sit on, very useful for the two hour wait! Then he suddenly appeared before me in his flash car and asked ‘Brezn or not?’ Well, who am I to say no to food. He sped off and about 15 mins later re-appeared and handed me a Brezn and a coffee from his car window and was gone again. Wow! Just like that!

I had been wondering what had happened to my fellow cycling campers, and just before the rain stopped father and son came to ‘my’ shelter, totally drenched. Apparently they managed to pack up before the storm hit, but Carlos was just getting up… Ah well, early rising does seem to have advantages.

The incline out of the valley was something else! The first time in ages I had to push some of the way. I get the impression that bike paths are only made with ebikes in mind these days. I kept an eye on the rain radar all day, had another break in a bus shelter for rain, during which I ate some of the first cherries of the year, that I had bought at a strawberry stand. Once I got wet, but not really, as it was so warm that the water evaporated as soon as it hit me or the road.

At about 16:30 I could hear thunder again, and the rain radar revealed another front coming my way. I had planned to reach Augsburg, but seeing and hearing the evidence I looked for a hotel, and was really lucky to find one quite quickly – had not seen any for many kilometers. As soon as I was settled in the room the heavy rain started again.

So apparently today I cycled over the Alb – not bad for somebody who avoids hills at all costs normally. The route was quite interesting, bits were rural, went through some nice places (Leipheim and Günzburg), and the last bit was through the Naturpark Augsburg forest – so a bit of everything. Pictures can be found here: https://gopro.com/v/2RbV7emqVPEn5

Bietigheim-Bissingen – Geislingen an der Steige, 4.6.22 (85 km)

While I was having breakfast it started raining, so I waited a bit before I left. Seemed to feel much better today – just as well, as I had to get from the Enz to the Neckar over some hills. Much better today than yesterday.

In the pictures, link below, you will see a water tower, something normally built on the highest point, and I was right next to it. The way down into Stuttgart was very interesting, past a lot of car selling places, through a beautiful park and then over the building site of the station.

Along the Neckar is very industrial in this part, the bike path basically goes through the Mercedes works. It stays fairly built up and industrial even along the Fils till about Göppingen – after that beautiful countryside.

The route took me through Landkreis Esslingen, which is twinned with my own Landkreis München. I am planning to come here again in early August, watch this space.

After some showers roundabout lunchtime, for which I sheltered, the weather significantly improved – so I decided to camp. Found a great little camp site in Geislingen an der Steige, extremely friendly. After I had set up my tent, Carlos, with a very similar bike to mine and general set – up, arrived and we ended up chatting about cycle – touring until the sun set. On my other side are a father and his (just) twelve year old son who had cycled 90 km and climbed over 1000 m – cudos!

Anyway, here the link again. There is one picture of a Hundertwasser – house in Plochingen: https://gopro.com/v/EDZlW3MzDgddy. And here is the route, somehow the other ways of sharing are not working : https://flow.polar.com/shared/7e6628ec34d01e8c945ddaff2b212630

Karlsruhe – Bietigheim-Bissingen, 3.6.22 (91km)

After I had finished the meetings with work I set off a bit later than ususal, but in best weather. According to the rough route I had I was aiming for Stuttgart. I had even looked at where there is a campsite there. The route involved a bit of climbing, but in principle I am not afraid of that so much anymore. Ah well.

Started off well, but it got hotter and the air felt that a thunderstorm was going to burst any minute from about lunchtime on. In the end it never did, and I did not even get wet, partly due to well timed cake breaks. But I seemed to have become more sensitive to weather since my Covid-infection, so I found it very hard going. I was going up slight inclines in my second lowest gear. So that was one of the reasons that I decided to follow the Enz from Pforzheim, a river going vaguely East. I ended up a bit North of Stuttgart, but at least the cycling was not quite so strenuous, and mainly off road on nice bike paths – well, apart from construction works that meant they led us cyclists up into the hills for a while.

I learnt that Karlsruhe and Pforzheim are in Baden, and entered Württemberg somehwere along the Enz. I liked that some of the places take cycling seriously, they even have town/village signs on the bike paths. I am also very much in a wine-growing area now.

Despite the weather I kept a look out for camp-sites, but there seem to be none in the area. Then I also got a thunderstorm warning on my app, so looked for a hotel room – not very easy around here, either. As I am on my own I managed to find something in the end. I did more than 700 m climbing, although I avoided a lot.

Still working on a solution for this blog, so the pictures can be seen here: https://gopro.com/v/dMEwRzbB2QQJd

Ottobrunn – Karlsruhe, 2.6.22 (30 km)

Learntec in Karlsruhe is an important fair for work, and this year I was allowed to go. Since the date was close to a long weekend (Whit Monday) and we can work from home anywhere in Germany, I decided to take my bike there by train and cycle back – any opportunity. Also the kilometers count for ‘Mit dem Rad zur Arbeit‘.

So I had to leave Ottobrunn at 4:45 (in the morning) to catch an early train. This time the train journey was very pleasant all the way, despite the expected chaos after the introduction of the €9-ticket. From the station in Karlsruhe to the fair was even signposted, and the last bit leads through greenery (the fair is a bit outside of Karlsruhe).

The fair itself was very useful and gave me new impulses for work. Unfortunately I could not take any of the interesting give-aways, as I did not want even more weight on the bike. I am staying in a Bett&Bike hotel, and used the opprtunity to walk around Karlsruhe in very pleasant weather in the evening.

As usual at the moment, the pictures can be found behind this link: https://gopro.com/v/o6qbPdMN6NakJ

Berlin – Ottobrunn, 28.5.22 (16km)

The hotel was skanky, but the location excellent. Lack of alternatives made us decide to return home today by regional trains, at best a 10 hour journey, but in our case (see below) a 14 hour journey. Anyway, it started at Banhhof Zoo, right next to our hotel.

We had at least four different trains to catch. The first and second ones were fine, but then there was not enough space for our bicycles on the train from Leipzig to Nürnberg. After a two-hour wait, we luckily managed to be first in line for the next train, which was also very full.

Luckily we had enough need for rest, reading material and people to watch to pass the time. The architecture of the Leipzig station and the sunset (see pictures in link) were also worth seeing. From Munich main station we then cycled home the last few kilometres, to get at least a bit of exercise.

All in all this was a brilliant holiday, very varied. We cycled through typical coastal weather, saw and learnt a lot about part of the German Baltic coast and the Mecklenburger Seenplatte (lake district of Mecklenburg), ate a lot of local fish (in my case) and just totally forgot about anything outside the daily impressions (apart form that one time when our son had locked himself out of the house at home).

Here is the customary link to the pictures: https://gopro.com/v/wE70mwNd4lD6R . The gpx tracks can be found on komoot.de and strava.com, should anybody be interested.

Waren (Müritz) – Fürstenberg – Berlin, 27.5.22 (99 km)

After an excellent breakfast, of which we had several during this trip, we started cycling into and around the Müritz national park. Very green, quite interesting, and today extremely windy. Again luckily again we had mainly tail winds or from the side, which was strenuous enough. Also it was much more undulating than I had expected of the ‚Norddeutsche Tiefebene‘ (Northern German flatlands), we climbed about 500 m throughout the day.

My digitally downloaded route and the one signposted did not always converge, but we found our way. Our first break was at the café of the Schliemann museum, lunch was at a fish-snack-stop that was also frequented by canoeists. This happened to coincide with our first rain shower of the day – luckily we could shelter. The second shower got us really wet, but the wind dried us out quickly. During the first hail shower we were in a café in Wesenberg, a bit of luck is needed on days like today.

From Wesenberg on we looked for accommodation, our aim was to find something at the latest in Fürstenberg. Ah well, absolutely nothing to be had, as we later found out nothing to be had in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg or Berlin! So after 91 km we did not know, what to do.

Int he end we took the train to Berlin. We thought we would have several options from there. Taking the train straight back to Munich that evening/night was not possible due to no bicycle places being available till our booked train on Monday. Finding a hotel room was a nightmare. In the end we bit the bullet and paid more that three times as much as we had so far for a skanky place without breakfast. The receptionist even told us to take the bikes into the room, which did not prove easy, but was possible.

Again, the pictures under the following link give a bit of an impression of our day: https://gopro.com/v/4yzXgL9GGwKrX

Inselsee – Waren (Müritz), 26.5.22 (81 km)

The area is rife with mosquitos, but we managed to keep them away from us by keeping the windows closed – did not improve the air quality in the room, though.

It is ascension day, or fathers‘ day, in Germany. In this area they call it ‚Herrentag‘ , which could be roughly translated as (gentle)men‘s day. In the pictures (link below) you will see some men in a kind of carriage being towed by a tractor, apparently the traditional way of celebrating – with lots of beer. When no tractor is at hand any kind of motorised bike, but especially motorbikes in any size, seem to be the way to go. During the day all the picnic places we wanted to have a break at were occupied by these drinking parties

It was an extremely windy day. We were lucky in several ways: we cycled mainly through the woods, so we heard the wind, but hardly felt it, and it was mainly a tailwind. When it came from the side keeping the bike under control was quite hard.

As we are going through the Mecklenburger Seenplatte (a kind of ‚lake district‘ of the North-East of Germany), we have still not left the water as a constant feature of our tour. I am still trying to eat as much local fish as possible – very nice.

On arrival in Waren (Müritz) there was a big fair, including ferris wheel and all kinds of unhealthy food. Only after having ‚dived in‘ did we realise it is the ‚Sail Müritz‘, which mainly consisted of this fair, and rich people sitting on their large boats along the promenade and looking down on the normal people.

As I still have not found a solution to integrate the pictures again, please see here for some impressions of the day: https://gopro.com/v/pJ1kVVv5aaGLa

Warnemünde – Inselsee, 25.5.22 (75 km)

After saying our farewell to the very orderly beach in Warnemünde by paddling in the Baltic Sea one last time, we set off for Rostock.

Unfortunately the way there was not very nice for cyclists, but the town itself is quite impressive. The spirit of the Hanse is still palatable.

It did not take too long to get out into the countryside of Mecklenburg. The route Berlin – Copenhagen is very well signposted, even in the opposite direction.

Our lunch-break in Schwaan was in a bit of an eccentric café, where we were told on entry that they did not have cake. Luckily their soup was delicious and filling.

On our way we saw several impressive brick churches, that apparently belong to the oldest of the country. Unfortunately we could not see the castle and grounds of Güstrow, as it is being renovated. It seems we did not want to be away from water – our hotel for the night is on lake Inselsee.

Unfortunately I have an issue with this WordPress site (not enough storage for all my pictured), so you might want to have a look here instead, for the time being: https://gopro.com/v/4yzqWW08M9aXn

Wismar – Warnemünde, 24.5.22 (92 km)

We had planned roughly 20 km less or today and/or to go a little further, but then human incompetence and too much reliance on electronic ‚helpers‘ struck… We had wondered, why we were cycling along main roads and where our views of the Baltic Sea had gone, but only when we were stuck in a gravel pit, did we really look at a map…. About 20 km and many unpleasant roads later we saw the first cyclists and knew we were on the Baltic Sea coastal bike route again. No pictures were taken on this bit, there was nothing worth taking pictures of.

Luckily, one of the first things we saw was a village museum with a bakery, that had its baking day! So we got our very nice and extremely fresh second breakfast (we ate stale bread and old cheese in the room in the morning, because breakfast in the hotel was too expensive in our opinion) in a very pleasant environment.

From here on the route was really nice again, you can see what advantages it has, to follow a touristy route in this area – the ‚Hinterland‘ we saw is devoid of niceties. Lunch was had at the little harbour/beach place of Rerik, when a message from my brother reached me, that my father said it was going to rain soon – two minutes later it started. So the next 1.5 hours we had some rain, which of course did not deter us.

From here on the coast has a string of very posh resorts, Kühlungsborn and Heiligendamm are even connected by an hourly steam train.

As we decided to head in the direction of Berlin from Rostock, this is the last night on the coast. We looked for a hotel in Warnemünde with a sea view and were rewarded with a spectacular sunset!

We loved the bit of the Baltic Sea coastal cycling route we saw, from Kiel to Warnemünde. Some bits were quite challenging cycling and there was more up-and-down than one would maybe expect for a coast. Another great advantage was, that there are public toilets all along, in fairly short distances from each other.