Elbe Idyll

The only question this morning is whether this is the loveliest campsite I have stayed in, or whether it’s the loveliest campsite I have stayed in.

Delightfully named Krautsand (sorry, my German friends, but we Brits do sometimes still tease you as Krauts), the site is on the southern bank of the Elbe estuary north-west of Hamburg opposite the equally delightfully named Glueckstadt – Happytown.

See pic, giving me a chance to show off my smart new shades – annoying, actually, as they were needed to replace a better pair left behind yesterday in a campsite washroom.

An arch of stars last night and the slenderest of new moons; frogs croaking, moorhens calling in the night, swallows dipping this morning over the little lake (lovely swimming)… An Elbe idyll.

I have to say I was quite happy to get to Happytown last night, and to the Elbe ferry crossing, after a, for me, spectacularly fast wind-propelled ride west from Lubeck into the late evening past no campsite after no campsite.

What was intended as a 50-miler day turned into a 95-miler, arriving here in Krautsand only just before dark at half past eight. But well worth the enjoyable slog.

Lubeck was charming – see pic of the former Hanseatic city’s dreaming spires and its dumpy, trademark city gate. The beauty augmented by rear view of Raven, with the day’s washing hung over my panniers to dry…

But while a great day’s ride, yesterday also illustrated – and fellow cyclists please note – how following tourist bike trails, however well-marked, slows you down.

Between Lubeck and Bramstedt I followed the official Monk’s bike trail as it’s called, crossing the base of the Schleswig-Holstein/Danish peninsula through woods, round fields, along dusty tracks and generally meandering.

I reckon it took me three times as long to cover that distance as it would have on the ordinary metalled roads – so was relieved to get back to using my 1:500,000 map (1cm=5km) and taking advantage of the wind again.

One of the things I’ve found as the trip has progressed is how much more fun I find it to cycle than to stop and sightsee, increasingly so in fact as I’ve got seriously fit and into the daily rhythm of 7-8 hours in the saddle.

A bloke thing, clearly.

So, on today a very gentle 30 miles or so to Otterndorf, twin town in Germany of Sheringham in Norfolk where I spent half my childhood and where mother Audrey and brother Pete still live.

An interesting coincidence – I realised yesterday that Otterndorf is only a few miles from Itzehoe, twin town of my present-and-future home in the UK, Cirencester, though I clocked the connection too late to go there before crossing the Elbe last night.

It’s a small world.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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