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Elbe Bike Path - Day 7
After a very good breakfast, we left late and rode along the Elbradweg aiming to make a detour off the route to get to Bad Wilsnack and its spa. The local council's workmen are out improving the paths and signs. The fog burns off, but then it starts to rain. We spend time looking for beavers (too far away and we reached no agreement on whether we had actually seen any beavers), fish and swarming caterpillars. Roads are very clear of cars. Bad Wilsnack's bridge is closed for rebuilding but we get in by following the 'Umleitung' (detour) and cycling through a park.
Bad Wilsnack is famous for two things, its salt water spa and the discovery of a number of pieces of the host (wafers of bread used in the Christian mass) with blood on them after a fire. As a result of the blood the town has a massive church which has been a site of pilgrimage for many years (since 1300-ish). Basically, the church appears to be the largest store of red bricks ever seen and the blood may still be significant for the faithful. All this was explained to us by Tourist Information which is on the main street right by the huge church. (What a great idea, makes it so easy to find unlike every other one along the Elbe.)
The 60km of yesterday had taken its toll on our bodies so we decided to spend the afternoon at the spa. We checked into Deutscher Hof which is 5 minute walk away. I didn't expect it but 4 hours in a salt water spa was fantastic fun (see below). Our hotel was packed with wedding guests so supper took a little more time than usual but was suitably filling. For once we had to leave our bikes outside rather than in the usual stables or shed.
Bad Wilsnack Spa
Salt spas supposedly make people better by a number of strange processes:
putting salt into the atmosphere via large frames dripping salt water
absorption of salt through the skin
sitting or lying in coloured light (of course)
yoga, massage and reiki
Here at Bad Wilsnack this is what you do:
Take a towel, shampoo, a costume (not mandatory) and flip flops.
Buy a ticket at reception - I reckon you will need between 2 and 4 hours, 2 hours is too little unless you bore easily. It's in the region of €10 to 15 depending on time, extras etc.
Use the bar code on the ticket to access a changing space which has a door at each end. Go into the changing chamber, close the door catch behind you and the one in front will also lock.
Strip down and get into a costume (or not) and open the door ahead of you (and the one behind you will open).
Put your clothes into an open locker and put the ticket into a slot at the back of the lock. This allows you to lock the locker and pull out the key. Fit the key strap to an arm or leg and tuck the key into the strap to avoid cutting anyone.
Shower and then walk into the pool area. It is forbidden to "bag" a seat with your towel (but the Germans will want to..) so no need and best to leave the towel in your locker or put it in the pigeonholes provided in the pool area.
Work your way around the pools going up in salt concentration. Take care to keep the salt out of your eyes and face by showering as required.
After a little time you may want to chill out in the pink rock room where various coloured lights will shine on you.
In 4 hours you should be able visit each room twice. If bored, drink beer.
I think the high spot is the 12% 36ºC pool where you bump around on your back like a small ocean liner. In fact Mrs Bilbo bumbed into a large log and ended up wrestling with it. It's like being in the Dead Sea.
Maps and stuff
If you want maps to help you plan a bike holiday have a look at MyBikeGuide.