Thursday, July 5, 2012

EuroCycle 2012: Germany (part 2)

21 June - 4 July 2012
  • Cottbus - Bad Liebenwerda: 107km
  • Bad Liebenwerda - Leipzig: 106km
  • Rest day in Leipzig
  • Liepzig - Naumberg: 65km
  • Naumberg - Erfurt: 77km
  • Erfurt - Eiseanach: 75km
  • Eiseanach - Bad Hersfeld: 95km
  • Bad Hersfeld - Grunberg: 86km
  • Grunberg - Runkel: 105km
  • Runkel - Limberg: 11km
  • Limberg - Burgen: 107km
  • Burgen - Bernkastel-Kues: 106km
An abundance of cycling routes, bakeries, and historic towns made for a surprisingly good two weeks cycling from east to west across Germany. I say "surprisingly good" because, well, I was surprised at how good Germany is to visit. Highlights for me included a night out in Leipzig (a cool city), the Cherry Festival in Naumberg (where I didn't see any cherries but instead enjoyed a variety of live music, beer and food), and cycling alongside the Mosel River (where a path sandwiched between the river and vineyards connected a string of pretty towns).

Indeed I found Germany to be full of attractive and historic towns and cities. I was continually arriving into impressive town squares, passing medieval-looking buildings on cobblestone streets and looking up at castles.
At various times in Germany I followed cycle route signs labelled with numbers, letters or a range of symbols, including once what I think was a cartoon of a cycling radish. Taking cycle routes certainly has advantages in terms of safety and scenery. For instance, by taking the "Iron Curtain Trail" I cycled along quiet country roads that brought me to historic sites.

But scenic routes tend to be longer than the main, more direct roads. So I was often faced with a choice: take the shorter but busier and less interesting road or the longer but safer and more scenic route. I generally chose the latter, especially at the start of the day, but when I felt the need to clock up some kilometres I would switch to the former.

Speaking of clocking up kilometers, I cycled over 100 kilometres on five days in Germany. I hadn't been sure if I wanted or was able to get all the way from Poland to the ferry in France just by cycling. After crossing Germany I happily realised that I would be able to reach Cherbourg in time just by pedal power.

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