Wernigerode to Telgte days 39 to 45 - 19th to 25th August 2012

The cycle route from Wernigerode to Telgte

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The Blog

Wernigerode to Telgte

Day 39 19th August Wernigerode to Langelsheim (Day ND 0)

Leaving the lovely town of Wernigerode was not nearly as easy as it should have been. We probably missed the signs, seduced by the cycleway which spirals over the complex of rail lines, giving us a good view of the 9.42 steam train leaving.

Having spiralled down the other side we were not where we wanted to be. Undaunted the management found a narrow footpath beside the track which eventually got us back on the route. We then took to the forest trail for about 18km.

We know it is 18km because near the top of yet another steep climb nanny packed up for what transpired to be for ever. It was very inconsiderate of her to die now before we left the mountains and on a day when the temperature was the hottest in living memory at 36 degrees.

We modified the route to make it as easy as possible but in truth it probably made little difference except that we avoided most of the off road sections.

Being used to a Weymouth Sunday we were caught out by almost everything being closed, and we had no food and not enough water for a day like this. Had we stuck to the planned route we would have had no lunch and had to beg for water. As it was we were saved by a Doner Kebab pizza house and a petrol station.

We have been reliably informed that Doner Kebabs are now the national food of Germany. Having allowed Turkish people in to do the nasty jobs Germans would not do the Turks have naturally branched out. Now Turkish Doner Kebabs are the easiest food to find everywhere and a lot better than the "food" most of the well known fast rubbish food joints push, although not for us.

We each managed to wolf down two full sugar soft drinks with pizza specially made for the management and chips and mayo for the stoker. Energy was more important than diet.

We arrived at the very nice friendly hotel mid afternoon. Despite the temperature the management tried everything to get nanny going without success. As neither the old nor the new motor would work it is unlikely to be a motor problem. He also checked and rewired most of it and it was still dead. He thinks that the complex electronic controller for the brushless motor could not stand the strain and/or the heat.

Drastic action was needed if we were to go on. We decided to send almost everything we didn't need to lighten the load and make us viable for non auxiliary motor use. It was a sad time sorting the stuff to go which just had to include our smart clothes for the captain's table on the ship home.

The management talked to the chef who very kindly found a super strong melon box which we filled with our stuff. If you are even slightly anti computer mapping this may help change your mind. We found the exact location of the nearest post office. We do not have paper maps but the management found it easily on the electronic map of the whole route downloaded before we left. To do this he used the Orux maps app off line on the Asus Transformer running the latest version of Google Android.

Day 40 20th August Langelsheim to Hullersun near Einbeck (Day ND 1)

At 3am this morning the temperature was still 30 degrees and was at least that for the whole day. Before breakfast we loaded the melon box into the trailer and took it to the post office. It was addressed to our neighbour Barry Scutt who has kindly agreed to receive it but at 22 kilos we will have to email him advising him not to lift it.

We managed to leave the hotel at 10am, after breakfast, and with invitations to stay on from the very friendly and helpful staff who were concerned about the heat. It was later than we would have liked on such a hot day but we felt that we had already achieved a lot.

It is now very obvious that we are out of the old GDR part of Germany. Gone are the awful five storey blocks of flats crumbling at the edges. Most of the villages are picturesque with streets lined with beautifully kept timber framed houses. There are also plenty of shops though there does seem to be a lackadaisical attitude to when some of them open.

And as for the cycling it was great and though we found it tough the route was good as were the surfaces. It was hard going with three or four long climbs which we found very difficult in the heat of the day without nanny. But being 22 kilos lighter than yesterday definitely helped.

We arrived in Einbeck thinking that we had finished the ride so explored the town by tandem. We still however had 4km to go but the cycle through was very worthwhile.

Having completed our first full ride in hilly country in very hot weather without nanny has given us the confidence to go on. We also did it in a reasonable time for us.

Day 41 21st August Hullersun near Einbeck to Hoxter (Day ND 2)

In view of the still excessive heat we decided on an early start and finally left at 9.15. It would have been earlier if we had not spent time chatting to the friendly owner of the guest house. He had kindly served up a tasty pasta for us last night even though he does not have a restaurant, saving us a long round trip to Einbeck.

In the first village we came to there were major road works which extended a good way along the R1 route. As usual in Germany there were properly signed and well thought out diversions for cyclists. We have always felt in Germany that bikes are considered to be important. Not only have the facilities been good but other vehicles have always been considerate even when we have made a mistake.

We now had about 500 feet of climb to get out of our valley and into the next. The R1 route here does quite a lot on unmade tracks almost parallel to the road. We decided to stay on the road. There was very little traffic and quite a lot of roadside tarmaced cycle paths. Riding on tracks without nanny is very hard work.

Having climbed over the ridge we decended down to the river Weser at Holzminden. This is a busy place, quite large with lots going on. It was yet another contrast to the old GDR towns and much more like the UK. The R1 route was carefully planned to take us along quiet back streets to the river.

Our route of about 15km from Holzminden to Hoxter followed the meandering Weser radweg which runs beside the river. It feels better than the part of the Elbe route we did a few days ago because we were right beside the river rather than on, or worse beside, dykes. We were going up stream which was a shame but there was a constant flow of cycle tourists and day trippers going down stream. The Weser radweg is about 550km long running from Hann.Munden north to Cuxhaven on the coast.

Hoxter is a busy resort town and full of cyclists, campers and all sorts of holiday makers attracted by the Weser. It has some lovely old buildings, some fine icecream shops and a good selection of restaurants.

So far travelling without nanny has meant being on the road about an hour longer each day. Today with the still high temperatures it also forced the management to take a longish nap to recover enough to eat icecream.

Day 42 22nd August Hoxter to Detmold (Day ND 3)

It is hard to find the energy today to write the diary. It was a perfect route and ride in lovely weather but we missed nanny. She would have made the difference between feeling ready to explore Detmold and taking a nap before dinner. On the good side it is much easier to carry the bags up to the hotel room.

Each evening the management looks at the route and tries to see whether anything can be done to make it easier. It was carefully planned before we left but with nanny the odd pretty diversion or climb was unimportant. He had his ideas for today but the route was so nice we followed it to the letter.

We wound our way out of Hoxter through the back streets, lined with the ancient half timbered houses of a prosperous town.

Once out of town we followed a lovely smooth tarmaced path running parallel to the road but usually at least a field's width away from it. It seemed rather like a disused rail track but may not have been. We were constantly climbing but our new morning legs coped.

We reached the highest part of the climb somewhere near the little village of Eichholtz. The route then very cleverly took us on tiny farm roads through fields of corn. The harvest was in full swing and the only vehicles sharing our route came from the farms.

It was quite windy and though a welcome relief after this week's oppressive heat we would have preferred it not to have been a head wind.

After lunch, with only an hour and a half's cycling to go, we decided not to try short cuts but to stay with the route which had so far been so good. It was worth it though it did involve even more climbing through the forest but again on well surfaced roads.

When we had had our nap and looked at the GPS we found that we had done over 1500 feet of climb today. And when we went out to eat we had a chance to explore the centre of Detmold. On our return to the hotel we received an email from our neighbour Barry saying that the parcel we sent including nanny had arrived in Weymouth in two days.

Day 43 23rd August Detmold to Gutersloh (Day ND 4)

A grotty ride to Gutersloh? It was by German standards though by UK standards it was ok. The fact that we even mention it is because we are both in need of a day off and therefore a bit tetchy.

The ride was almost the opposite from yesterday's. Much of it was in urban conurbations, beside main roads or on unsurfaced tracks through the woods. It also often wandered off in the wrong direction reminding one of the rolling English drunkard. And Germans like their beer so there may be a similarity.

Even the mountains of the last few days were reluctant to give up their hold on us without a fight. We had about 15km of mainly climbing beside busy roads to get out of Detmold. It is a pleasant place but would be a lot better for cyclists if it had not been built down a great big hole.

Once over the hill the land suddenly became flat but Route R1 was different on the road from the management's map. On the first occasion it disappeared south when we were going north so after a km or so we retraced. The second time it disappeared north when we were going east.

We were in a forest at the time and the management's map showed a good track eastwards which he took. This would have worked fine except that a farmer had blocked it, a small field's width from the road. Naturally we went across the field but there was no outgang and the farmer was roundly cursed.

We again retraced but this time on a path where the stoker's reading of the sign said that "hounds were loose". The management is seldom put off by dogs and was not in a frame of mind to be this time and it would have been a brave dog that challenged him. As it was a very small dog attempted a chase but soon gave up.

Just before we arrived at our rather nice modern hotel in a park outside Gutersloh we had our picnic lunch in a very accommodating cemetery. Picnic tables and huts have been in short supply on the cycle routes today.

Day 44 24th August Gutersloh to Telgte (Day ND 5)

Rather than again doing circles in German woods the management had a go at replanning the route which on the whole was fairly successful. We followed the morning commuters through central Gutersloh and were soon out of town. It was hard to get our heads round it being completely flat and after a couple of weeks in the hills and mountains riding felt very easy.

Once out of town it was like turning a switch. We were riding on tiny farm roads with only the occasional tractor. Agriculture here is on a fairly human scale and with at least a few cows and chickens around.

The first town we came to had the amusing if rather unfortunate name of Harsewinkle. For generations the German language has given much amusement to English travellers and we are no exception. We particularly like the word Fahrtenstoppers for speed humps which could well be adopted world wide.

After a short stretch beside a busy road we came to the outskirts of Warendorf. Riding along a wooded country lane we came across a country mansion. It would be more accurate to call it a complex of mansions. All the buildings had heavily thatched roofs. The structure was the usual wooden frame with stone or brick infill but the scale was much larger than anything we have seen. There were thatched towers and secret windows. It appeared to be unoccupied but in good order. Perhaps the wealthy owner had forgotten about it, sad.

The Warendorf area seems to be considerably wealthy with big houses near and beside the Ems river. We should be pleased that the cycle routes exist but being contained between fences is not nearly as nice as being in the open countryside.

Warendorf centre is extremely pretty with a pleasant town square and rathaus. As we cycled in over the cobblestones there was a wedding in the rathaus. With Felicity and Graham getting married in December the stoker was keen to see what happens here. There was a white Rolls for the getaway car and a red carpet in front of the rathaus door with a white box the size of a large picnic hamper at the end of it.

She talked to the man supervising front of house and was advised that all would be revealed when the couple came out in a "moment". The management, aware that this moment could be some time, found a comfortable seat on the other side of the square in the sunshine.

To cut a long story short the box was full of white doves or possibly homing pigeons which the bride released. It was a Turkish wedding and custom, which according to the man making a living with his birds is now being adopted by Germans. There must be a huge number of people of Turkish descent here.

From Warendorf to Telgte we attempted without much success to follow the river Ems cycle route. The planners obviously have eyes on the cycle tourist Euro but they will need to spend some money on a decent route and some signs to get any.

Day 45 25th August day off in Telgte (Day ND 6)

Telgte is a lively little town and ideal for a day off. We have a large self catering apartment on the top floor of a building on the edge of town. It was amusing checking in, the landlady and the family in the bar reminded us of Mrs Brown's Boys but none the worse for that. We can watch UK TV on the internet when we get good wifi which is not very often. We have a VPN which gets round the BBC's silly block but this costs and is often used by criminals.

To the stoker's delight Mrs Brown took in our washing, enabling us to explore the town and have a relaxed day once the other chores were done.