I made it through Germany! 801 kms from the Thuringian Forest to the Baltic Sea and further on to the ferry that will bring me north. My first destination was the island of Usedom, which is a popular Baltic Sea destination for many Germans. There I met up with a very good friend and spent a couple of days relaxing and enjoying wine, fish rolls and good conversation. It was a very welcoming treat after having cycled through empty and silent lands in northern Germany.
I initially headed out cycling to get away from all the turmoil and chaos that we face these days. But little did I know about what waited for me. Once I left the major cycling routes and major recreational areas, I barely saw anybody anymore. I cycled through villages in Sachsen-Anhalt where I did not see any sign of life. I cycled on roads where I wasn’t passed by any car for hours (which definitely is not because of my pace!). I cycled along major German rivers and I started to wonder who on earth would voluntarily cycle such a dull cycling path like the Elberadweg especially in Sachsen-Anhalt! It’s flat, it’s straight, it’s lonely and many sections are on a damn next to the river. I struggled to enjoy riding it. But as the saying goes „Emptiness shapes!“. So I started to distract myself with music and yes, singing … no, yelling, along! Remember, no people around who could care about that crazy female cyclist. Also listened to tons of podcasts and audiobooks. Eventually, when crossing into the provinces of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the scenery got more interesting as the sandy soil of the German north makes for a lot of pine trees, and the forces of the ice ages left a landscape with rolling hills and many lakes. But still, the land remained silent and empty. It was peaceful, but it took some time to get used to it.
Apart from having met up with a friend and spend some quality time together, I very much enjoyed staying in extraordinary guesthouses. As I still had to work online, I made sure to have a good internet connection and a place to stay each night (working in a different time zone comes very handy here). Especially in these empty lands in the north of Germany you can find little gems: old manor houses that got remodelled to hotels. With these manors mostly come lovely hosts, sometimes horses, almost always a lovely park-like garden to hang out, and either a house cat or a dog or sometimes both to pet. My favourite approach to a manor was over a century-old cobblestone alley of old gnarly linden trees. Quite impressive, however, cobblestones are not a cyclist’s favorite.
Eventually I made it to Travemünde! Oh my, I made it through Germany and I am about to roll on a ferry to Helsinki. I am beyond excited! Let’s go north!