Biking Der Elberadweg – Day 5 Riesa to Listerfehrda

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Snorelab history

Last nights sleep was the weirdest for quite some time .I ended up dreaming about a dream, how sad is that! It was a retake of my favourite childhood dream of flying my merely flapping my arms, still think it would be cool to do.  Except in this one I had hit someone on take off & got told of for day dreaming! The amazing thing is that it was clearly happening in Skinner Street, Creswell. I think it was the train noises outside the hotel reminding me of where we lived in Creswell. Anyway the net result was I hit a record snore score on the SnoreLab app :-( Good job I was the only resident in the Saxonia :-)

Breakfast was a lavish affair of eggs, cheese, bread etc etc as “a treat” they had BBC world news on the TV, the first time I have seen any TV/Radio news for months & months. Really weird, although it was interesting to see Putin clenching his fist obviously getting ready to bop the reporter. Also a tag line was running about toilets in India – think I will stick to Twitter!

Outside it was a cool gray but dry morning with the wind from the North so in my face most of the day, always surprises me how the wind affects my speed. I guess I should be biking the other way like most folks.

1-IMG_3585Lots of umleitung’s today and my route only touched on the gpx file on the phone in a few places. The route was very fen like with straight flat roads & right angle bends, so all a bit dull, giving me lots of time in trying to work out to control the Luxos U dynamo/usb charger  still haven’t totally cracked it. Equally spent ages fiddling with the Gaia app, which I’m loving more & more, just wish I could work out why the screen stays on all the time (which I like)  sometimes and other times keeps switching off :-( is it related to battery percentage I wonder? The Luxos can only just about keep the iPhone running so through the day the battery percentage decreases due to stopping & low speed.

I had given myself riding to 4pm so duly went onto booking.com and found The Landgasthof Sonneneck for €39, I managed to arrive before their fax machine had churned out the booking (amazing in Germany they still uses faxes!). It seems very good, although it will be road noise tonight not rail :-)

I managed 64.4 miles and 564 feet of ascent today which you can see on Strava a few pictures of the day are here.

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Cycling The Elbe Day 4 – Dresden to Riesa

Zwinger GardensThe rain finally caught up with me and after yesterdays miserable looking folks it was good to see so many smiling Germans, they obviously enjoy been out in the wet.

I was in low energy mode after 7 days in the saddle, Strava reckons I’ve biked 367.8miles in 31h 34m and pedalled up 8,892feet in the past week (Just about what TdF riders in 1903 did in one day :-)

I didn’t make a start till after 11am without any breakfast so after an hour it was a brunch stop at the first open cafe. The path is good although it has a rather annoying habit of slipping into slippery cobble stones at random points. Also a couple of sections just stopped necessitating U turns. Most of the cafes were firmly closed too :-(

I made it to Riesa at 4pm. With internet enabled I could at last usebooking.com. I found the reasonably priced Saxonia Hotel for €38 including breakfast. It’s run by a family of Italians who apologised in advance for the birthday party tonight :-)

After my Pizza I went to explore, on foot, but some clown has built a dual carriageway cutting the hotel & station from the town. The bit I saw rather exudes a sense of hopelessness and according to Wikipedia  20.000 other folks agree  having left since 1989.

1-IMG_0116They have their own Angel of the North here, It’s  a 25 metre high 400 tonne sculpture of a tree with a shovel, fallen cross & ingots of steel (Angel of the North is 20m high and ‘only’ weighs 200 tonnes). These sculptures are obviously to remind folks of their industrial past. Although I think a better sculpture would be a pile of 400 cars :-)

Todays ride was 35.4 miles and 1,451 feet of climbing (Not so flat as I thought) the pictures are here

 

 

 

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Elbe biking day 3 – Usti to Dresden

1-IMG_3463The much vaunted rainy day turned out to be bright & sunny as I went down to a hearty omelette breakfast in the Pivobar Hotel restaurant. Several cups of coffee later and a Facetime call to Sally (since once again 3 kept me locked out of the cellular network) and off I went past the beautiful modern bridge in Usti (How do they make such beautiful curved supports?)

The bikeway was very smooth and now extended against the river in several places, especially now missing out Techlovice. I made a coffee stop in Decin outside the highly decorated wartime bunker, then started through the sandstone gorge to the German border. I spent my last 50 kroner (£1.42) on a large beer & HUGE bag of crisps which even defeated the labrador that helped me out.

Border post

Czech border post

The border post is literally just that, a stick in the ground! Thank goodness for the Schengen agreement, I still wonder if a lot of our so called immigration problems are down to the UK’s refusal to sign up to it in 1985.

In Germany the track is as smooth as anticipated and really busy. The track is entwined with the railway & river through the narrow Elbe gorge. In fact with the train frequency it occurred to me that you could probably rent a bike in Prague and just spend a long weekend biking the Czech part of the Elbe and then getting the train back from any of the numerous stations.

My first German beer in a beer garden cost €2.50 (£2.15) a tripling in price over a few miles. (A waiter who I spoke to said they do all their beer & fag shopping in Czech). Since I was so lucky with the weather,I kept hearing thunder storms and when I glanced behind it was very dark & gloomy, I decided to pedal onto Dresden, also no shops were open in the small towns (well it was Saturday afternoon :-) )

Since I had no internet because of 3, lack of phone shops to purchase a SIM and the dreaded locked down  WiFi. Interesting all of which are first world problems! The so called second/ third world has plenty of open WiFi & the ability to buy internet SIM’s from just about everywhere, any time, and low cost. This meant I was clueless as where to stay :-(  when I entered Dresden.

Bomber Harris had cleared the city of any cheap Gasthaus’s plus 20,000 inhabitants :-(. I spotted a hotel but it was way too expensive for such a crummy place. In the centre I spotted a Gasthaus but incredibly it was just a restaurant! The waiter pointed on my Gaia map (Thank goodness I had downloaded all the OSM for my route at home) to the Motel One which he said was reasonable.

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View from Room 281 Motel One, Dresden

I arrived at the uber modern Motel One with its fine view (Room 281) over the reconstructed & gilded Zwinger. Where the receptionist promptly chose to misconstrue as to what was included & whether I wanted to pay in Euro or Pounds needless to say all errors were in the hotels favour :-( so it ended up costing £74.95!

However, she did point out where the Vodafone shop was and that it was open, Vodafone wanted €45 for 250mb and made it plain they didn’t  really do PAYG any more (obviously to down market for them) but told me to go to Saturn Electronics. Amazingly I was told that it was now illegal to sell SIM’s to anyone without a valid German address (Surely anti EU competition laws?) One advantage, for me, of having an address book stuffed with names around the globe is I was able to get a SIM for €24.99 with 1GB of data on O2 for 28 days so I can use booking.com and make Facetime calls again :-)

Whilst in Saturn I treated myself to a Ultimate Ears Boom battery bluetooth speaker grossly overpackaged but a good sound :-) Amazingly they don’t take credit cards from Germans but the tourist plastic is OK. What a strange country this is. Hopefully it will stand the vibration in my saddle bag :-)

I pedalled 63 miles with 2322 feet of ascent. The morning Strava is here and afternoon here with the pictures here

 

 

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Elbe route Day 2 – Melnik to Usti via Terezin

Hotel Jaro Bedroom view at sunriseAfter a wonderful sunrise awakening it was down to a very cheesy breakfast. It was drizzling as I fixed the front wheel back on after it’s puncture repair but that soon cleared away as I zoomed down the hill back onto The Elbe.

It was staggering to see the height of the floods on 14th August 2002   marked about 30 feet above the current water level!  It will be interesting to see how much of the new super duper bike path survives the next flood.

Whilst having a coffee in Roudnice I met up with the two guys from Hamburg, they are doing one week of biking  with their old town bikes, actually one of them is on his wifes small wheeled electric bike! He was complaining that when he put on the brakes the motor surged into life wanting him to go faster! Highly dangerous – He didn’t take me up on the offer to cut the electric supply cable :-)

I then noticed that 3 had cut of my account with the cell display resolutely displaying “No Service” Even though I paid them another £5  this morning for another days Euro Internet Pass – that will teach me to even get a local SIM for 2 days of internet use. Hopefully, I will be in Germany tomorrow so I can get a local SIM & it will be goodbye to 3 until I get home.

1-IMG_3444After coffee I took the ferry to make a tour to Terezin where major atrocities took place in the second world war. There is a poignant memorial to the 22,000 Jews whose ashes were thrown into the river in 1944, although it’s now surrounded by a golf course. Interesting how time changes events especially after  my recent visits to memorials in Vukovar, Vietnam  and Cambodia. It still had a very creepy feel to it.

I then bumped into my Dutch acquaintance again who was telling me about his custom made SNEL bike from Utrecht, especially designed for easy welding & repair in remote places. Maybe for Africa….

Going up the 25% hill, yes I made it! at Cirkvice I scored another puncture, this time a thorn in the rear tyre, this had to have a inner tube change. Finally making it to Usti.

I managed to get in the rather deluxe Na Rychte Hotel cum brewery for 900 kroner (£26) including breakfast.

The paths are starting to get very busy with bikers, some of which are scary huge guys on mountain bikes with an evil look as they pound towards you! Give me an artic. any time..

The Strava for the day shows 50.6 miles biked and 855 feet of climbing. the pictures are here

 

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