Day 15: Push it Real Good! July 15
Fladungen to Coburg 54 miles
Love starting the day off with a good breakfast spread. Bruce had to leave the city walls to get internet to start the tracker but we packed up the bikes and were out by 9am. We stopped at the Rewe super market on the way out of town to stock up for the day; salami and cheese, an avocado, 3 bananas, 2 yogurt drinks, and a candy bar... Set for the day! Down the valley we rolled to Mellrichstadt , nice and easy. We saw our first field of sunflowers today, so exciting! We lost the Radweg at some point but we went on the main road instead, which was perfectly fine. We had an uphill out of Mellrichstadt to Sondheim which was piece by piece not that bad but it was an uphill, so... Yah... But we got to cross the autobahn where the last rest area in West Germany was before the push to Berlin. Cool. Lunch was lovely in Herbstadt. We set up our chairs in the shade; spread out the food, cut up the perfectly ripe avocado and went to town. Nothing tastes so good as lunch after a long up hill... Well maybe Eiscafe... But lunch comes in a close second. Frustratingly, the tracker was quirky in middle of day and stopped tracking our location but Bruce sent a quick email to tech support and even though we got no response the tracker app fixed itself half way out of town... Yay!!! We cycled out of Alsleben through rolling wheat fields... Like you do... It was getting hot and we were getting a bit cranky when we saw a little picnic table under a tree... These are very common in Germany along with benches... Everywhere!!! But we stopped to get a bit of rest and some shade. Right next to the table we saw this stone horseshoe filled with water. It turns out we had happened upon the source of the River Saale. This was the actual spring that feeds the whole river! The water was so cold and clear. We dipped our buffs in the water and rinsed our necks and foreheads in the freezing water. There was a little place where the water poured from the well area... So of course we tried to dam it with rocks... Unsuccessfully... We played in the cold water for a few more minutes, undid our dam and headed off much refreshed and ready to push on. We got a little turned around in Gompertshausen but found our way after chatting with a hilarious older couple that was sweeping their dirt driveway. We call them Oma and Opa. They gave us directions which we did our best to try and understand and took photos. They were awesome! We had a lovely cycle down the valley to Gellershausen. It is fun traveling with a human GPS, when the route map doesn't quite direct us on the shortest, flattest, most efficient route between two points...
We take the "Brucie Radweg"( the Bruce bike path). This Brucie Radweg was excellent. We pushed up into Heldberg where we got an ice cream cone and decided to push onto Coburg, a big city for these parts and way farther than we thought we would get to today. Down to Lindenau and then up and over to Ummerstadt which was the smallest city in the GDR. Then uphill again and finally down into the outer areas of Coburg. We were beat but we knew we just had a little further to go, so Andrea got a Coke to perk her up for the final few miles... Oh yeah one whole liter of caffeine and sugar at 5pm!!! Woo Hoo!!
Signage and directions are a little confusing getting into Coburg although at one point where we stopped to look at the map, a motorist stopped to assist us... Literally stopped right in the middle of the road.... You just don't do that in Germany! And then he was joined by another local resident who spoke more fluent English. In tandem they directed us into Coburg. Little did we know we had to coast down a very steep hill signposted at 18% to get there but we did it! We found our way to the marktplatz after going down some narrow alleys, zig zagging between very old, very beautiful buildings. We got a hotel room on the main sq (in the hotel called The Square) after calling the owner as no-one was in the hotel. This s another strange thing for us... No one at the reception of a hotel, just a phone number stuck to the door. The owner spoke English which is always helpful and gave us the codes to get keys out of this little dispenser box behind a door. We ended up getting a lovely modern room with views of the square and the bikes had a whole garage to themselves. So we brought up only what we needed, changed, and went out for dinner and a walk. Dinner was in a brauhaus (pub)with a two person speciality which included pork steaks, chicken, beef, two types of cabbages, and polenta all washed down with their local brews. Our waitresses were Bavarian beer wenches... In Bavaria! We saw one pick up 6 beer steins in one hand! We cleaned the plate but could barely walk out of the restaurant we were so full! Now off to bed... In an actual double bed rather than two twins pushed together! We are so tired but we cranked out 54 miles! Longest day yet.
The World is Ours!