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back to berlin

i stayed in my hometown for about a week and had a couple of drinks with friends before i started the last leg back to berlin.

i didn’t do much research about the long distance cycling infrastructure within germany before i started this trip three years ago, back then my gaze was already fixed on more distant lands. this time i had a look and chose a route over bamberg, the rennsteig,  and along the river ilm until weimar where i planned to team up with alex, a friend from berlin.

it was still cold, especially in the early morning hours. but with the sun out it was always a promise it would warm up at least a little during the day. by the time i passed bamberg and coburg i was used to the cold and it was getting warmer every day. but when i climbed the hills of the thuringian forest the amount of snow still lying on the ground was increasing and by the time i reached the rennsteig, the bike and hiking trail on top of the range, the whole path was covered beneath layers of ice and snow.

 

 

from time to time i had to push my bike for some hundred meters as the snow was either too soft or too icy. this took a while and i was starting to worry if i would be in time to meet alex in weimar. i got up early the next morning and while cruising downhill, leaving  snow and ice behind, i made up time and arrived at the train station at eleven o’clock. alex arrived five minutes later and after the greeting ceremony we made a quick visit to the tourist information in the city center. we got a few tips what to see but decided after half an hour that we had seen enough and had a second breakfast instead of more sightseeing before we were under way. alex had organized two couchsurfing opportunities in halle and in dessau. for the last night stop we found a hostel on a farm which had its former stables converted into a basic accommodation. very much alike the one we stayed in on our trip to copenhagen around five years earlier in the mecklenburg lake district.

here you see alex resting in merseburg directly at the river saale with the dome and castle area in the background.

our goal was to reach berlin in time for my birthday. the weather was glorious until we woke up to icy winds and rain on the last day. we cycled for about an hour to the next town and decided to take the train. once in berlin it was a flashback with all the grey surroundings, the houses, the streets and the leaden sky. the humming cars, streets signs and the trains hovering above our heads. we stopped at a corner coffee store for breakfast. quite exhausted as we were, we headed back to alex’s flat and rested for a couple of hours. in the evening we met up with some friends and had a couple of drinks in kreuzberg to celebrate.

and to conclude this post and the journey itself somewhat, on a sign in the middle of the forest somewhere along the way johann wolfgang von goethe found once more the right words not only for someone being on the road.

 

the translation would read something like this:

 

if it whirrs inside your head and heart

what better thing you’ll get!

who loves no more and errs no more

is yet as good as dead.

 

so… that’s it for now. i’ll work over the summer and see once winter arrives what whirrs inside my head and heart then. thanks for reading and sharing!!

 

Categories
locations people travel

schwarzwald

i crossed the border to germany at fessenheim over the bridge at the hydroelectric power plant.  my first stop was at bad krozingen, a typical town with a pedestrian zone in the city center and its historic buildings surrounding the market square where the farmers sell their goods on a saturday morning. it was nice to order in german again. i had a nice chat with a lad who approached me and the first time since years i was addressed with the formal “Sie”.  his first question was  if i was on a longer journey with my bike… i said i was coming from paris which seemed enough at that moment.

in the afternoon i arrived in freiburg were i met christoph, an old friend from home. the first evening we just had a couple of drinks, had a look at some pictures and exchanged stories. the next morning the weather was glorious and so we decided to go for a ride and while we were on it, took all we need for a bbq with us. from the house it took us less than five minutes to get out of town and into the woods of the black forest. there were still patches of snow and ice along the way and the climb took quite some energy because the forest paths were soggy from the melting water and last year’s leaves. some collegues from christoph’s school arrived sometime later and and by then we had a nice fire going.

the next evening we met with achim,  a friend who arrived by train with his bike as we planned on cycling back to stuttgart together the next day. we choose quiet roads through the black forest until we arrived in schiltach which is part of the german timber-frame road.

the town was once part of the duchy of  württemberg until it went to baden in 1810. we passed the historic border between württemberg and baden on our way out.

we stopped in alpirsbach for the night. it took a while until we found an accommodation. achim was quite particular about the kind of bed he wanted to sleep in. it had to be one without footboard and no place in town seemed to have one without. it was dark and we were both freezing until we finally settled into our quarters, the beds had footboards, but by then a hot shower and a meal was everything that counted. thus we were a bit late to visit the brewery and felt that the next morning would be the wrong time to do so if we still wanted to reach stuttgart before dark. so we made a quick stop at the abbey instead.

we had another half day of nice cycling but coming closer to stuttgart it was getting more and more difficult to avoid roads with heavy traffic and we eventually took  a train for the last twenty miles into the city. thanks to achim for joining me in this part of the trip.