Sassnitz to Wesenberg Germany days 18 to 24 - 29th July to 4th August 2012

The cycle route from Sassnitz to Wesenberg

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Downloads for this route in Garmin Google Earth and .GPX formats

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The Blog

Sassnitz to Wesenberg

Day 18, 29th July Sassnitz to Stralsund

Today we had a uniquely worrying, emotional and dangerous event. Like the Hitch Hikers Guide we would like to assure you that no one was actually hurt physically. So no need to worry.

Before we get to the main event we need to set the scene. It was a wet day when we left the massive but bland, verging on unpleasant, ex Soviet era hotel in Sassnitz.

Main roads were unavoidable and cycle paths absent for part of the way. Eventually we were able to turn off on a minor road and in the pouring rain found ourselves in the centre of the little town of Bergen auf Rugen.

Bergen is a pretty place with steep wet cobbled streets. The management stopped to check the way on the GPS. Without his knowledge, and he should have noticed, the stoker got off.

Having found the right way the management set off downhill on a very bumpy cobbled street. At the end he turned right and continued on the route for another 3km. At this point a hill appeared and it was when no one started to pedal that he realised that the stoker was not there.

He was truly shocked, his heart missed a beat. All sorts of horrible thoughts went through his head. Suffice to say he turned the tandem round and went back up the hill like Bradley Wiggins.

Fortunately he did not come across the blue lights of the emergency services tending to a stoker lying in a pool of blood. He came round the last corner and there was the tearful stoker standing forlornly in the rain.

She of course had suffered more than the management. He didn't know she was gone until he got to the bottom of the hill and then all his energy was used in getting back up the hill as quickly as possible. She had to wait and worry for over twenty minutes which felt like an eternity, knowing the possible effects of shiny wet cobbles. Meanwhile she was wondering how long to wait before getting help, and practising "Have you seen a bicycle built for two with only one person on it?" and "No, we haven't had an argument" in German.

When we found each other there was an emotional reunion and we were both enormously relieved.

We do of course have practical ways to deal with such things. We both have mobiles on and in our pockets. As anyone who has ever ridden a tandem will know it feels very different with no stoker. The management failed to notice because of the cobbles, the rain, and that it was downhill.

Compared with this the rest of the day was mercifully uneventful. The roads are rather busy hereabouts and the cycle paths, like Weymouth's, don't join up. Stralsund is a nice town and our little hotel very pleasant after last night's monolith. The receptionist directed us to a good restaurant overlooking the Baltic Sea for dinner. This may be the last time we see the sea before we reach Amsterdam in September.

Day 19, 30th July Stralsund to Nustrow

We awoke to sunshine and a good German breakfast. In contrast to yesterday at least three quarters of today's ride was on cycle paths separated from or completely away from the road. For much of the route we followed the Stralsund Hamburg cycle route.

Stralsund was a bigger town than we thought. It was about 5km on roadside cycle paths to get into the countryside. Soon after that we joined what looked like a disused railway track for about 25km. The black top surface was fine and the route through field farms and forest was very good. It was nice after two weeks of agro business estates of enormous fields to see chickens and cows along the way.

Surprisingly for this area we did not see any other cycle tourists. Perhaps the LA have not paid enough money to publicity firm Perfect Curve.

By lunch time we had arrived at the attractive ancient town of Tribsees. We cycled in through its impressive gatehouse, along its cobbled high street and out through an equally impressive gatehouse on the other side.

With the sky darkening and the odd clap of thunder we made our picnic at a bench. When it started to rain heavily we took shelter nearby then it stopped we made a run for it.

Our afternoon route took us along unmade tracks through fields of wheat, along roads which were heavily cobbled and uncomfortable or had two concrete wheel tracks, to our hotel. Although the thunder was all around us by going like the wind we avoided a soaking.

Our hotel is off the tiny road through a hamlet and in German it is called a schloss which means castle. It is better described as a very large country house in the regency style of a minor Loire chateau, the kind often seen from the road through slightly tumbledown gates.

Our room, complete with minor chandelier, takes up a corner of the property. The ceiling is over three metres high and the windows reach almost to it. We have views over the parklike grounds and garden. The tandem is equally well looked after in an empty agricultural building the size of a small aircraft hanger.

Sadly our German is not good enough to get its history beyond it being 250 years old and that it was not a hotel prior to the reunification of Germany. Perhaps leaving it to the imagination is more fun.

Day 20, 31st July Nustrow to Malchin

The management had chanced his arm today and planned a route on some very minor roads indeed. We left the fine chateau, bounced along the cobbles and turned left onto smooth tarmac. This lasted for all of 500 metres before it became a two track concrete road across fields.

This became the norm for most of the morning. We went through villages rather like Nustrow with huge grain storage barns, a few workers' houses and a grand house, though none as grand as last night's chateau. After leaving each village we were back onto concrete road.

All the villages were of course served by proper roads, they just did not go our way.

It often felt very remote in the fields which was most of the time. We sometimes saw a farm vehicle in the distance and very occasionally there was another vehicle on the road. When this happened they always drove around us, leaving the tracks for us.

We always had birds for company, including many birds of prey. It must be a great place for bird watchers.

We had lunch in Neukalen and soon after that were back onto more popular cycle routes. From here we cycled to the lake Kummerower See where rail car cycles were being hired out to be pedalled along a disused railway.

Malchin is a pretty walled town with preserved gates and some remaining wall. It also has its own port. The hotel restaurant was good value and pleasant. It is a shame that such an interesting mediaeval town has been spoiled by a mass of dreadful 1950s and 1960s flats.

Day 21, 1st August Malchin to Sommerstorf

For anyone reading this and wanting to get to Berlin in quick time, forget it for at least the next couple of days. We are going the pretty way, taking great sweeps and enjoying the journey.

Up by the church got us out of town on the main road with a separate cycle track. We were not on it long before the GPS said turn right. We were on a broad unmade track which after a km or so turned along the lakeside onto a nice smooth tarmac road.

Just as we had got used to the smooth luxury we were on two lane concrete. We then had unmade tracks and, worst of all, cobblestones.

There were rewards for taking this route. The scenery was lovely and a great change from the flat lands of this tour. We saw almost no vehicles and few people.

To our great surprise, after climbing a huge hill we came to a sculpture park which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. We spent ages admiring and photographing the sculptures. Although we could not do them justice we have put some pictures here and on the photos page. The blue fibreglass cows are in contrast to the concrete cows in Milton Keynes.

After a brief foray though somebody's front garden we found the road towards lunch. Horror of horrors it was miles, that is to say about 3km, of rural cobblestones. If you go along normally you are bounced to bits. If you stick to the edge you risk being prickled, stung or fall off and the middle is not usually any better.

Before making our fine picnic lunch spot at a quiet lakeside beach we had one final set back. Ignoring a cycle route closed sign we had to retrace because a bridge was down.

Compared to the morning the afternoon was a doddle, a pleasant ride on hilly country lanes got us to our rather upmarket hotel. What a lovely day.

Days 22 and 23, 2nd and 3rd August Sommerstorf to Waren and a day off in Waren

Just to reinforce the concept that the journey is more important than arriving we turned left out of the hotel. This was instead of turning right which would have got us to Waren in about 45 minutes.

As it was we were rewarded with some lovely cycling on minor roads and forest tracks. The management was so laid back that he took a wrong turn and did not notice until the stoker pointed out that the route did not go that way.

We were now in a land which the village notice boards proclaimed to be so poor for agriculture that it was only suitable for forestry and tourism. Some of the cycle tracks were rather sandy and we needed to be very careful as we try not to do falling off.

The first highlight of the day was when a small herd of red deer crossed our path. There is a huge variety of wildlife where it is little disturbed. We seldom see mammals but often see birds which we can't name. There are several varieties of birds of prey, and very occasionally we have seen storks.

The second highlight was when we finally joined up with the D11 Copenhagen to Berlin cycle route. We had last been on it a couple of weeks ago when we were in Denmark. Then it was called "Route 9" going north to Copenhagen. Once we were on this route we had mainly tarmaced dedicated cycle paths beside the lake and beneath the trees into Waren.

Our rest day was spent at the Radlon Fahrrad hotel, a fine modern hotel designed for cyclists. The ground floor is half bistro and half cycle shop. A very good selection of spares is kept together with hundreds of hire bikes of most types and configuration. The rooms and all its facilities are upmarket and modern.

Waren is situated in an enviable position in the centre of a huge lake complex. In size it is comparable with the English Lake District. It is however situated in an almost entirely flat heavily forested area making it ideal for leisure cycling. The streets and trails are filled with cyclists of all ages, sizes and levels of fitness riding all sorts of bikes. Long distance cyclists mix with those just going to the shops.

Waren itself not only has everything we need for a day off but is also an attractive place to be. The cobbled main street and ancient buildings are complemented by a busy harbour with very large river launches and boats of all kinds. Real sea is certainly nicer but this lake is very relaxing.

Day 24, 4th August Waren to Wesenberg

We left our cycling hotel by the lake bright and early. The cycle route out of town and through the forest was quiet and peaceful. The well kept tarmac surface would no doubt be full of bikes in a couple of hours but now we had it almost to ourselves. After about 10km we swapped the cycle path for country lanes passing through villages and hamlets in the sunshine.

For most of today's ride we were in and near the Muritz country park which has a huge variety of countryside and is dominated by a very large number of lakes. Some parts of the ride felt extremely remote, on cobblestones and two track concrete roads whereas in other parts it was full of holiday makers.

As we neared Wesenburg we followed the Copenhagen Berlin route signs. We had made good time and did not mind that it went through the forest and beside the lake and was twice as far as the road.

We did mind when we came across a tree fallen across the path which had obviously been there sometime. But much worse was to come. There was a board walk about 100 metres long which had completely collapsed in two places and was rotting and dangerous for most of its length.

By now it was 8km to retrace and another 4km into Wesenberg whereas the boardwalk was only about 1km from Wesenberg. By careful placing of planks and judicial use of Nanny, aided by the stoker and directed by the management, we traversed the longer gaps. By walking as lightly as we could on the rotten planks we made it across without mishap. We were checked into our pension for the night within a few minutes.

At the Wesenberg end where at worst you would do an extra km to retrace there were route closed signs and diversions. We saw none for cyclists going in the Berlin direction. ;