Elbe Bike Path - Day 3
Tuesday, a little saddle soreness. Lauenburg to Ventschau
We got plenty of sleep last night (these German guys do get to bed early, I think the streets were empty by 9pm), despite being awoken by the town re-building work starting at 7am. We had another good buffet breakfast overlooking the Elbe. There is a fair bit to see in town:
a large ship builders,
the junction with the NS canals to Lubeck and Luneburg,
a ship museum,
a brass statue of man who used to shout at boats (really).
Well, we almost saw the historic "palm lock" on the way to Lubeck but it turned out to be inaccessible due to a large Irish cardboard manufacturer building a fence on one side and a live railway line on the other. So we turned round and went to the ship building museum which is part of the ship repair yard. As an engineer, I just love those old factories. Then we crossed to the south side of the river and rode along for 20km or so on the dykeside route. We saw many more birds and some very tall pear trees but only one place to drink (all morning!). I didn't order any food but still got a giant 12'' sausage which bounces off the plate. Luckily the staff are able to catch it (one hand, one bounce) and put it back on the plate. We visit the old walled village of Bleckede and see their bio-sphere in an old chateau. It's a bit chilly and the interactive elements are fun but the show-beaver is in hiding. (Yes they have over 500 beaver dams along the river.)
We use Tourist Information in the chateau to book tonight's hotel which is Heil's hotel in Ventschau, south of Darchau. It turns out to be up in the hills but it does have an indoor swimming pool and we get there just as the rain and winds really set in. I guess in the summer it is a nice place to base a walking holiday but right now in mid-September the place seems like the German equivalent to the Psycho motel (you know, even the curtains look like the 60s) with no other customers and the winds howling. Despite this the staff are helpful and supper is pretty good in a schnitzel, pork and potatoes sort of way.
All the way through this holiday we are only using a Blackberry to give us GPS, local maps we pick up in Tourist Information and the Elberadweg touirist guide (a small A5 booklet). These are enough. You can buy a variety of books and maps but if you have what we had you really don't need them.
While we find each Tourist Information knows a lot about their local town they seldom know much about the next town. Every area produces a list of all the local accommodation but they don't always tell you about the cafes and restaurants. This is not such a problem as many food places are weekend only.
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