Elbe Bike Path - Day 2
It's Monday, it's rainy and we are on holiday
After a typical breakfast (cereal, ham x 3 types, cheese x 2 types, yoghurt x 4 types, coffee, tea, fruit and boiled eggs - we always forget to say 'kein Ei' (no eggs) when we check in) we set off under heavy cloud (and only 22°C) aiming to go east and south until we "hit" the Elbe. We only see a few (6) riders all day but found Funfhausen on the Elbe. The path seems to follow small disused railway lines (used for building the dykes?), now long gone, and we see plenty of fruit and flower production. It turns out that the area to the east of Hamburg is a big fruit and flower growing area. Very easy flat riding and we even stop for coffee and cake in Altengamme at an otherwise clean cafe that is infested with loads of wasps. I have now idea how the staff can put up with them as they are swarming all over the food. It's noticeable that we see many wasps during the two weeks and the Germans just let them walk on the food.
Finally we find the Elbe and follow it past a lot of hotels, restaurants and boating areas. We find a great solar panel / wind turbine / water storage power centre (yes, you can visit and we see a German engineer hopping over fences to have quick look) and even a lido. At Tesperhude the bank climbs onto a cliff and we do 8km in a beech forest, which in places is just too steep to ride a fully loaded bike. I guess we could have avoided this by going onto the left hand bank but it is still very pleasant. At Launenburg we book into Hotel Moller for €80, which is right on the river bank and bike storage is in a cellar below the restaurant. The town has lovely reconditioned houses (and lots of flood warning signs), fine views and a hidden tourist information office on top of the cliff, plus 5 or 6 restaurants and two large youth hostels. There's even a lido hidden away in a chine. The whole place is made up of half-timbered houses down on the river with 1930s villas on the cliff side and official buildings on the top.
We ate at 'Shiffebourse' - too much meat (I normally only eat a little meat during the week) but very good nevertheless. We drank Federweisse (partially fermented grape must which is cloudy, sweet and fizzy).
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