FROM DETMOLD AND ACROSS THE WESER


Apart from the scenery - long wooded ridges or prominent little knolls, a real treat after days across the Dutch and Westphalian - the highlight was finding a bakers van parked in a hamlet and selling not just bread but delightful Kuchen of different varieties. It was this that designated it as our lunch spot.

The rolling rolled on to Hoxter, reached by a lengthy downhill freewheel that demonstrated just how many metres had been ascended. There a few miles of flatness commenced. The Germans have many river valley cycle paths - indeed, we have been told by one chatty local rider, that there is no significant city with a significant river that cannot be passed through along a riverside. Will test it out sometime.

Our river, the Weser, is already a wide one at Hoxter. Following it to Holzminden was a happy interlude before the climbing began over to Stadtoldendorf and Einbeck. the value of these relatively flat river paths, often covering many, many kilometres, was evident form the range of people touring (a guess from the size and number of panniers). All ages, including families and what would once have been described as stout German burgers; one pair of such tourists carried wine in a mesh pocket of a rear pannier. I initially congratulated them. However, on reflection, exposure to the afternoon heat may well have done little to benefit the flavour.

For me, this has been the best day of riding. A mixture of hill and riverside making it more challenging, but also changing the view at each turn or hilltop. The mandarin cheese-cake form the van was very good, too.

Today’s ride was through countryside that I’d regard as typically German. Yes, there is much more to Germany than this, i know, but the forests and the step hillsides seem to fit in with my perception of the Brothers Grimm’s inspiration. A little way from Detmold, in the Teutoberg Forest Germany reached written history for the first time, as far as I am aware. Hermann of the Cerusci, leader of a union of tribes defeated the Legions of the Roman Empire and so kept imperial ambitions south of the Danube.

Tomorrow we will ride into old East Germany. We anticspate some differences in infrastructure as we skirt to the north of the Harz mountains. The old towns along our route were, in many cases, important in the middle-ages when the rulers of the area either became Kings of Germany or challenged for power. The mountains has mineral wealth, there was silver in them there hills and warrior lords were quick to see the value of that.

Today’s distance was eighty-one miles, and undulating ones at that. This has required several beers and a schnitzel with bratkartoffeln and a gemischter salt grossed to be consumed to prevent energy deficit. And on the basis that we have time for another beer, that is the end of today’s lesson.

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