The Savannah at the Leipzig Zoo, with some of the buildings
in the center of the city in the background
What I thought would be an easy 100 km ride to Leipzig, turned out to be more challenging - hill and headwinds - and more annoying - like Wisconsin, northern Germany road have two seasons: winter and construction - I ran into more detours trying to get to Leipzig than I have run into in the rest of this trip. Every one of the detours involved bad riding conditions: I rode for many mile on cobblestone, brick, torn up, and just lousy road surfaces. I was not a happy camper! When the detours started having detours, I said very unkind things about the people that were doing this to me. When a detour forced me to ride from miles on torn up streets in Merseburg, I lost all those nice thought I had been thinking about Turingia and started thinking hateful thought about Saxony-Anhalt, the district I had just entered. Somewhere in there, I decided it would be good to take the train from Leipzig to Hamburg tomorrow in order to get the hell out of this annoying place where every road I planned to ride was close for construction and the many of the roads I had to ride instead, stunk. Fortunately, Although, B181, the road I planned to ride into Leipzig was indeed blocked by construction, I was able to ride through that construction and ride the last twenty miles in Leipzig without construction related annoyance. Things that end well help me get over being upset about the bad parts before that and I was in a good mood when I rode into Leipzig.
Riding into Leipzig on B181
The view from one of the high points on B76
I wasn't through will hilly country after all!
This telephoto image shows the haze/smog
that came with the heat
After a good breakfast and a nice visit with Frank Hauptmann, the owner of the hotel restaurant where I stayed, I headed east on B176. I planned to ride it all the way to Leipzig, or possibly to head north after Freyburg and ride B181 into Leipzig. I quickly discovered that I had been wrong about getting out of the hill country as B176 repeated climbed ridges and descended into the valleys on the other side. It was warm - hot by local standards - day and the clombing meant I was sweating a bit, but I enjoyed it. Although it was a hazy/smoogy day, it was very pretty country and B176 was enjoyable to ride.
Then, in Bad Bibra, Freyburg was crossed on the B176 sign, i.e. you can't get there on that road. Hmm, I figured I'd give it a try anyway since, on my bike, I can get through many things that a car can not. That proved to be the case. In Balgstadt, the pavement was gone for half a mile or so and there were several places where even a 4 wheel drive vehicle would have been blocked. I walked my bike bike through them and rode on to Freyburg.
Schloss Neuenburg as seen from B176 coming into Freyburg from the west
Freyburg is neat. The valley leading to it is full on small vineyards (Frank showed me some wine from one of them) and a big hill overlooking the town has Shloss Neueburg, yet another famous castle, on it. Nice.
I rode through the hilly streets of Freyburg, stopping at a convenience store/service station to get get some Coke to go with the bread and cheese I already had. Then, after my snack I rode out heading east on B176. That didn't last for long! There was another construction closure of B176, just north of Freyburg. This one looked more serious, so, since I already had thought about going north a few miles later, I took the detour. Hmm, cobblestone! It will end soon. It did, at top of a 50 meter or so climb and the road surface was good, but only for half a mile. Then it was old concrete slabs.
Thump-thump ever 20 feet where the slab edges no longer lined up. That went on all the way to Muchlen, some eight miles to the north. Then, things got better. I was on L178 and it had a good bike path. It would take me to B181 which would get me into Leipzig. Nope, another road closed detour that took me east and then north on another cobblestone road! Shortly after that particular sit bone punishment ended, I reach Merseburg. I came in from the south on a road that was passable by cars, but really trashed as they were completely redoing it. Miles of it.
A partially restored tower in Merseburg, which comes out of ruins
Since I saw no other old buildings in town, this really stuck out
Finally I got to the center of Merseburg and found my way to 181 heading to Leipzig. Half a mile later it was closed for construction. I figured I'd get through it even if I had to carry my bike. It wasn't that bad, although it did have a short section where I walked. Then, after yet another construction delay due to one lane of the two lane road being closed for half a mile, things were OK.
Riding towards Leipzig meant crossing an Autobahn. That was OK since I needed lunch and, since it was a Sunday, not much was open. McDs was right by 181, at the entrance to a Wallmart Super Store. Just before the Autobahn, I saw a tourist couple heading south on L85 which parallels it. Later, when I was near Leipzig, passed another couple who seemed to be studying maps. They followed me for a while, but I lost 'em on the next real hill. I was really focused on getting to Hilde's part of Leipzig. I hadn't been, I might have stopped and tried to visit. When I do, the common response to "Sprechen sie English?" had been a friendly "Nein."
Near the center of Liepzig, waiting for the walk light
Leipzig proved to be an easy city to bicycle in, at least on a Sunday afternoon. When I actually got into the city, I asked a fellow bicyclist, who could speak some English, how to get to the Zoo. He said straight ahead to the park through the park, then right. When I got through the park, I found a map that showed where I was - south western Leipzig and where the Zoo was - just north and west of the city center. The road by the park did indeed go close enough to the Zoo that I saw signs that directed me there. I'm glad it was Sunday since I had to turn left from multi lane roads, which is always exciting on a bicycle. I had the same problem the next day in Hamburg and almost got run over, but it was no problem in Leipzig on Sunday.
Phaffendorfer Strasse, next to the Zoo, looking north
The entrance to the Leipzig Zoo
It is very nice zoo and very popular
Having found the Zoo, I could find where Hilde lived and take pictures for her, and then, using my Autoroute 2002, I found the closest hotel and checked in. After cleaning up, I walked to the Zoo. It is very nice, but unfortunately no longer has lions, which were special to Hilde. Their big cats are tigers now and they are building a new area for them.
The street Hilde lived on, Gohlisher Strasse, looking north towards my hotel which,
because the street curves, is almost in the center of this image
It is physically the same street that the zoo is on,
but the name changes when the street curves just north of the zoo.