Day 15, Tour09 Calau to Wittenberg, Germany

The doors on which Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses

There are few acts in the history of western civilization that had more impact than the act that happened in Wittenberg. I rode here because it is on the Elbe River, but I also wanted to visit the spot where Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation. When I rode into Wittenberg after leaving the Elbe Radweg and going to the train station to see about getting to Uelzen tomorrow, I set my GPS to show me the way to things with the word Luther in their name and visited the start of a lot of European history. Then I went looking for a place to stay.

My first destination today, Luckau

I left early today, before 8 AM. Partly that was to take advantage of the better weather early in the day, but mostly it was to be nice to the guy who was responsible for the hotel in the morning. I think I was the only guest last night and, with me gone, that fellows life became simpler.

My first riding was north-west to Luckau. It was great because It was mostly flat riding with a cross/tail wind. Most of my riding to day was with a cross/head wind and some of it was right into a pretty strong wind, so that first 20 km was the easiest riding of the day. I was cruising at 13 to 14 mph most of the way. After Luckau, I was headed west and sometimes south or south-west and my cruising speeds sometimes dropped to below 10 mph.

Power lines coming from the big Wind Park between Luckau and Dahme
You can see a small part of the wind park behind the power towers

The next section, from Luckau to Dahme, was windy and hilly. In fact it was windy because it included a plateau. I must have seen well over 1000 megawatt wind machines today, spread out over five miles or more on top of the plateau. It is the biggest 'wind park' I have seen in Europe.

Dahme was a interesting city with way too long a cobblestone street through it

I had planned to stop in Dahme, but the best places to stop looked to be in the smaller towns just east of it. Dahme itself was a long stretch of cobblestone with nice old buildings but the smaller towns had Gasthauses that looked more promising than anything in Dahme. I did stop at a bakery to get some pastries. They were OK, but I've had better.

After Dahme, the road headed southwest into the wind. That was hard riding and it got even harder when the rain that I had been able to see ahead of me for hours, created a storm front that blew in my face and rained on me enough that I turned around and rode back to shelter. I think I only caught the edge of that storm, but the wind was strong enough to make walking into, much less bicycling into it, hard.

When I took shelter from that storm. I felt quite weak. i wasn't sure that I could ride on, but once the winds died down a bit I did ride on, for another 5 km with light rain and a bad wind. After that things eased up and the riding wasn't as hard. I stopped for lunch - I should have stopped sooner, at a down home German fast-food and ice cream place. The proprietor and his customers all has waist sizes much larger than their inseams ;-}. Lunch was quite good .

My first view of the Elbe
That is the cable ferry at Elster

At Elster, I was able to get on the Elbe Radweg for the first time on this tour. That was kinda neat, so I rode it about 16 km to Wittenberg. There were a lot of tourist on it, but there wasn't a lot of variety in them. As I approached Elster, I saw a gaggle of older tourists - the ones I associate with the Danau Radweg - folks about my age and older ;-} riding city bikes. They weren't moving very fast and there was no way to pass them on the radweg, so I diverted off it a bit to 'answer a call of nature.'

The radweg in Elster was brick - mildly bumpy - but it changed to smoother asphalt
Unfortunately, it changed back to bumpier brick several times and to cobblestone for a few blocks

The other two types of tourists I saw were couples and families with kids. Their luggage was mostly the setup with the rear panniers and bag over the rack that is common here. That was covered by a one piece rain cover, bright orange or yellow, on most of the bikes that I saw today. Interestingly, the bikes I saw today were not as overloaded as the bikes I saw on the Order-Niesse Radweg.

The radweg as seen from the top of the dike it runs next to when it is near the river

A nice set of German panniers
The suitcase in the middle goes on top of the two rear panniers

My 16 km ride was, except for the bumpy bits, easy and fast riding. I was surprised when, just after Elster, the radweg dumped me back out on B186. That was no problem for me, so I assumed I would just ride the highway into Wittenburg, but a few km later I came to a nasty stretch of road construction and the Elbe Radweg reappeared next to the road. I got back on the radweg and rode it the rest of the way into the city.

Competing steeples on the skyline of Wittenberg
The big one on the left is part of cathedral where Martin Luther posted his Theses
The smaller - and farther away - pair in the the Middle is Martin Luther's church
The others are part of the cathedral complex

I used my GPS once I got into the city. I'd looked up the train station location using AutoRoute, so I just used the GPS to show me where I was and where the roads were that took me to the station. At the station, I found that I could take a train at 9:11 the next morning or others at two hours intervals during the day. Having a good train system makes getting around Germany, even with a bike, really easy.

Knowing my train options, I set out to explore Wittenberg and find a place to stay. My GPS turned out to be very useful for exploring, but not for finding a place to stay. I went back to relying on instinct rather than technology and, heading towards the river from the churches, found a nice small hotel that was both inexpensive - 35 E with a great breakfast, comfortable, and conveniently located relative to the train station, the old town, and the radweg. There was a Subway across the street - B187 so it is hard to get across - so, on a comfort food whim, I stopped there for supper before checking out the hotel. I enjoyed my sub, drink and cookie, but they cost, in dollars, more than 50% more than in the US. And the meal deal only included one cookie!

I may come back to Wittenberg on Sunday and ride the Elbe Radweg back to near Hamburg. If I do, I'll definitely stay at the same hotel. I could see both the Elbe Radweg and the churches from my window, the wireless worked well, so I was able to get on the net for the first time in four days to put up my web pages and post my ride reports, the room was very comfortable, and the breakfast was great. Definitely the best value hotel I've stayed at in German on this trip. It is on the north side of B187, roughly midway through town. There is an Aldi store and a Subway across the street. Its name is Hotel Am Anker or something close to that.

Looking towards the old town from my hotel window at sunset
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