Day 12: Another Successful Day! July 12
Probsteizella to Philippsthal - 44 miles
Breakfast at the guest house next to the campsite was at 8am so we tried to get packed as much as possible prior to then. We had laundry up on the line and a tent to pack away. The laundry was still a little damp in places so we left that and groundsheet from below the tent hanging until after breakfast. They put out a good buffet for breakfast with lots of german cold cuts and coffee. We smuggled out a little liver pate for the cute yard kitties, that then promptly tried to bite Bruce's finger off thinking it was a sausage. After finishing up packing and break tweaking we started cycling at about 9:15am. We continued cycling along the Werra cycling trail which was sometimes on an old railway bed other times on dirt paths, pretty though. The path surfaces varied a lot today which is surprising as this is such a well used route by the locals and light touring cyclists. Sometimes the path is dirt single track with no signage other times the asphalt is pristine and the signage is top notch. This variety would be nice on a day trip but gets trying when you are trying to pick up some momentum. We passed through Spichra, Horschel before crossing from Thuringia back into Hesse and into the town of Herleshausen. Then downhill cross the Werra and a rebuilt bridge into eastern town of Lauchröden. There was a nice exhibit of pre and post border opening pictures. We took a bit of a break and admired.
We made our own detour from Neustadt into Gerstungen as prescribed trail was dirt, longer and went up into the hills... Not gonna happen. Coming into Philliphstal, we see these huge flat topped white and grey mountains! These are actually man made, massive salt waste piles from potash mines. They are enormous, with huge machinery on top bringing more and more to the pile.
While cycling along, we like to come up with amusing anglicized names for the german towns we can't pronounce such as "Dank marshmallow" for Dankmarshhausen. It is amusing and keeps us thinking while we pedal along. Andrea is pilfering cherries again.... since apples are not ripe yet... Getting there... We got a little lost in Heringen. Half way up a pretty steep residents only street an old local man who spoke English helped us and told us there was an open ice cream cafe 100m up the hill... What a nice guy! We made it to the top of the hill and to the icecream shop. A maxieiskaffee and maxieisschoko were ordered and devoured promptly. At the cafe we met up with Otto again who we last saw several days ago on the Elbe River. We chatted to him for a bit and we cycled together for the last few kms into Philippsthal. He was heading further on so crossed the bridge. We found a hotel just off our route and checked in. Then we rode the bikes unladen down to Vacha which was in the east. We saw the Unity Bridge built in 1342 which the GDR used as part of the border fortifications. Also the divided house which was partly in West Germany and partly in East Germany. The GDR part was bricked up for decades. It felt really strange and wobbly to ride unladen. Especially uphill over cobbles... Who knew you can actually pick up speed up hill? Then back to hotel for showers and dinner. The daughter of the owner spent a year in Vancouver so we chatted with her for a while until she got told off by her mom!
Another successful day.
The World is Ours!