Wartburg, the famous castle in Eisenach

I had a very good day today. To start with, it wasn't raining this morning, and this afternoon I needed suntan lotion! Tomorrow is supposed to reach 30 C - it has been 20 C or less for the last week and not above 25 C for the last two weeks. There is a good bike shop in Eisenach where I got a replacement tire and chain for my bike for 25 Euros and my hotel let me work on the bike in their Biergarten area which was very nice. They also let me use their computer to do internet access without charge. All of this kind helpfulness, a very good breakfast, and one of the nicest rooms I've had on this tour cost 50 Euros. It is a small hotel located on the edge of the center part of Eisenach - a ten minute walk to the bike shop and many other shops. Hotel & Restaurant Galleria; www.hotelgalleria.de. If you are in Eisenach, I highly recommend this place and the people (the family Parche- Danz) that run it.

The Hotel Galleria - my room was the one at the back on the first floor
it would be on the second floor in the US

I spend the morning getting my bike back in shape and then had an excellent lunch at a restaurant recommended by the folks at the hotel. I left my loaded bike in the Beirgarten at the hotel while I had lunch. Then I rode to near Wartburg, but decided that it wasn't worth the climb since I really don't care that much about Castles. Castles seem to always located on hills, just like the churches in many places I've been. The castles and churches were the places of refuge when the bad guys came around. Anyway, Wartburg is a major castle and there are lots of tourists in Eisenach because of it. There are also lots of hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. All the standard services and the Zentrum is fun. Not at all like my initial impression!

Leaving Eisenach

Getting to the flatter lands

I headed out of Eisenach on B84, climbing with a good bit of traffic and many more little black bugs. The sun was shining, I was sweating, the cars - no big trucks - zoomed by and I kept brushing the little bugs off my jersey and trying to blow them off my glasses. The didn't do me any harm, but the tickled a bit on my face and they were annoying as they walked around on my glasses. I also picked up quite a few bigger bugs, as I discovered when I emptied my jersey of them when I stopped for break. None of them caused me any damage, but they were annoying at times.

One of the many small towns after Bad Lagensalza

The traffic was also annoying at times, but not a problem as I climbed gentle grades over the ridges north east of Eisenach. I'm reaching the edge of the hilly part of Germany where the ridges are gentler and then land becomes almost like the plains of the central US. I still climbed several hundred meters getting from Eisenach to Bad Lagensalza twenty miles away, but it was on longer, gentler grades than yesterday. After Bad Lagensalza, the hills flattened more and by Sommerda, I was riding on gently rolling plains. There were lots of the big wind machines on those hills, in groups of up to twenty machines. After Bad Lagensalza, riding on B176, I counted 27 machines on on one ridge; 11 on one side of the road and 17 on the other. Germany has invested a lot of money in wind power.

B176 - looking like the plains

B176 where it is bricks!
Fortunately, that only lasted for a mile

I only had one road change to make today; from B84 to B176 after Bad Lagensalza. I managed it OK, but then, in road construction after Sommerda, I made another change without intending to. I ended up riding L1058 for a kilometer or so before I realized that I was on the wrong road. The road markers that Germany uses aren't very obvious, but once you get used to looking for them, they are useful.

The road I shouldn't have been on - real flatland.

I considered stopping in Sommerda and rode around town exploring. Some of the cobblestone streets were really bumpy! It was five PM and the there was a street fair in town so that part of town was quite lively. Much of the rest of town seemed really dead. I decided to ride on, knowing that I might need to ride another 40 mile to find a place to stay. Riding was good and, with little wind - the wind machines weren't turning today - it was easy to maintain a good speed. I ended up stopping at an attractive hotel just past Kolleda, the next town after Sommerda. I'm at Zur alten Molkerei Hotel and restaurant. It is comfortable, inexpensive and supper was quite good and also inexpensive. This is, I think, the first time on my trip that I have been at hotels on successive nights that were in the Autoroute 2002 database. I didn't use it to find either one.

Tomorrow I have another short days ride to Liepzig. Then, if the good weather looks like it is going to hold, I'll ride to Hamburg. Liepzig is a special place to me for several reasons, the most important one is that my much loved friend, Hilde Hoffman, grew up there. She escaped from the Nazi's by going to England when she was 18, just before Krystal Nacht. Her older brother emigrated to Palestine before that. Her parents, who felt more German than Jewish, were killed by other Germans. She hasn't been back, but she still loves the the good times she spent there as a child. I want to visit, and photograph for her, where she lived and the Zoo that she loved as a child.

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