Cycle Tour Odense-Hamburg
Day 2: Flensburg-Neumünster-Hamburg
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Added on 04 May 2014
on 31 May 2014
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by Ottocolor on 04 May 2014
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Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, DE (5 m NHN)
Hamburg, Hamburg, DE (12 m NHN)
29 Apr 2014
Still wonderful bike weather with sunshine, a bit cooler (17-18°C) and slightly more wind from east and south east, so I had side og headwind today.
DE-20359 Hamburg-St. Pauli
A day on the bumpy, rugged bike paths of Northern Germany. They run along all major roads, and thank you that they exist, but they definetely need more maintenance, as one constantly has to look out for holes and especially bumps from the road side tree roots. First a nice earth path in a wood in Flensburg along the railway tracks. Then one of the above type of cycle paths all the way to the small ferry at Missunde. From there on minor, quiet roads through the Huetten hills. Then again a bike path along a major road into Rendsburg. After the very special hanging (floating) ferry across the Kiel Canal a stretch along the same on a path made of large concrete slabs. It was nice cycling here. From Schuelp on a bigger road, partly with bike path, but only little traffic. Smaller and absolutely quiet road from Heinkenborstel to Krogaspe. From here a bike path along a former, but now closed major road into Neumuenster. Had misplanned my route across a closed railway bridge, but got some help from a local resident. Train from Neumuenster to Hamburg Dammtor station. From here a short, but rather challenging (especially for my GPS) route to my stage goal in the quarter of St. Pauli. Bike path along a massive road with lots of cars, but I had to abandon my plans of cycling through the park of Planten un Blomen, as it was forbidden to ride a bike on the paths. Across some big traffic ligth crossings, where I had problems reading the gps map) to hostel Buch-ein-Bett.
The second stage from Flensburg via the little ferry across the narrow Schlei fiord at Missunde, the lookout point of Aschberg in the Huetten hills, Rendsburg with its impressing Parade Square and the 'floating ferry' across the Kiel Canal to my Dad's birth town of Neumuenster, where I immediately took a train to Hamburg. Alighted at the station of Dammtor and cycled the 2.5 km to my hostel at St. Pauli.
After a good and nourishing breakfast in the hostel canteen, where I sat almost all to myself, I packed my bike and rolled down to the bike repairer in Rote Strasse. He had, though, no time to adjust my gear and sent me on to a collegue in the pedestrian street. But I didn't manage to find his shop, so i abandoned the plan and cycled on my route to the south. I just had to stay on at least the fourth biggest rear cogwheel. That meant I had to wheel up the steeepest passages as the spiral at the railway station. Now I was on the main road towards Schleswig, but a minute later I left it for a small earth track along the railway tracks. It led me onto the main road to Eckernfoerde. This suited me fine, because it led down to the ferry across the fiord of Schlei at Missunde. But it was still far to go, and as the bike lane along the road was full of holes and bumps from the road side trees, it took some while to go down there. One has to appreciate all these bike lanes along the German roads, but they sure could maintain them a lot better. In Boeklund, the town with the famous (in Germany anyway) sausages, I had a break at a bakery with a cafe attached. The other guests there asked my curiously about my biking plans of today, and I liked that. I was now cycling across the peninsula of Angeln, which is situated between the fiords of Flensburg and the Schlei. Its name is important, as its inhabitants, the Angles, together with the Jutes and the Saxons some time in the fifth century A.D. decided to leave their home country in order to conquer and colonize the British isles. The Angles gave name to the new land of England, which thence became the homeland of the most versatile and internationally widespread language of English. Funny to think about that here. And so I made it to the ferry across the Schlei. That way I shortcut the town of Schleswig, not because it is worth shortcutting, not at all, but I had seen it many times before and wanted to stay in the countryside. And the ferry is a cute little contraption. The crossing takes only a few minutes, as the Schlei is very narrow here. The ferry is pulled along a wire, lying on the bottom of the fiord. And it costs just a few pence, then I was on the peninsula of Schwansen, situated between the Schlei and the next fiord down the coast, the one of Eckernfoerde. But I soon left the road to Eckernfoerde and cycled through a beautiful landscape with pleasently smelling and sounding wood- and heathlands towards the hills of Huetten. The sun was shining and on top of that I now had a nice tailwind.
So life could be just glorious, but suddenly it wasn't. As I had not prepared a lunchpacket at the hostel in Flensburg. I should have asked for that. Or bought a sandwich. Now my only thought was to find a place to eat. Well, stupid. Already in Fleckeby I started to look if there was a grocery store or bakery open. But no, neither in Hummelsfeld or Lower Huetten. Quite a bummer. Otherwise even smaller German villages tend to have some sort of food service. So it had to wait for Ascheffel. It looked somewhat larger on the map and lay at the foot of the day's steepest climb, the 98 m up to Aschberg. So before this 'mountain' I would certainly like to have some fuel. But it failed! On the contrary, I felt teased in a rather bad way, as the increase already started in the village itself, but I could see the bakery just up the hill. But then he had closed for lunch, that lazy dog. A stork sat in his nest up high and was quite indifferent to my anguish. I rolled down to the main road again, as there was probably an inn there. There was indeed, but it was closed. Surely succumbed to competition. But then I saw a sign for an inn further up Aschberg. Okay, but when I got close to it, it was obvious that it was also closed, even some time ago judging by the dilapidated appearance. Again a sign gave me courage, namely, to a place called globetrotter lodge. It was certainly in the direction of Aschberg, I could see. It turned out it was at the very top, which I therefore had to bike up in the provision of my (almost) last effort. NOW, I was starving! The restaurant was on the ground floor of a newly built tower, and had, I guess, outperformed the businesses down in Aschberg. It looked a bit posh, but, nevertheless, I was served a large platter of sour meat with fried potatoes and a beer, which I ate and drank with ravenous appetite. This done, I could concentrate on the beautiful surroundings. From the terrace, where I ate, the view already was good, but now I took the elevator up the brand new tower. The builders were still in the process of finishing it, I could see. It's built in a very peculiar, not very beautiful, architecture, which doesn't fit in to the surrounding area. You could see far in any direction in the clear spring air. And from here one could not see the tower! On one side I looked down on a statue of the old Germand Reichs chancellor Bismarck, which I had a look at afterwards. It was moved from Knivsbjerg in Southern Jutland after the region's reunion with Denmark in 1920. Here the German minority still keeps a place for socializing. I suppose they were afraid that the Danish-minded Slesvigers would 'take revenge' on Bismarck for 56 years of oppressive occupation. But then, fine he is here and has to look on the ugly tower every day, haha.
Soon I rolled down the mountain with Rendsburg as my target. It was a little to the west, and that rendered me a nice tailwind.
Now that I had eaten on Aschberg there was obviously a grocery store in every village as usual. Via lake Bistensee, which had been clearly visible from the lookout tower along with its larger colleague Wittensee just south of it, I came to Alt Duvenstedt after crossing the A7 motorway. Here I filled my handlebar bag up with cakes and chocolate, and a liter of apple juice on the back carrier. Now I was ready to go sugar cold. Amazingly, one makes these beginner's errors after all the kilometers on the bike. But now I had at least supplied for the rest of the day. Soon I approached Rendsburg's suburbs and the car traffic increased, but the cycle route into town led me safely there on bike paths. This old Danish border town seems somewhat larger than the 27,500 inhabitants, it has. The center is very stately with beautiful stone houses from the Middle Ages and later. Because of its location on the river Eider, Southern Schleswig ends here. On the other side lies Holstein, it too being old Danish country after all. But it was just the Eider policy, i.e. the Danish government's wish that the Danish southern border should run along the Eider that led to the war of 1864. The Great Powers of Europe had guaranteed the inhabitants of Schleswig-Holstein that Denmark not could associate Schleswig closer to it than Holstein and Lauenburg. Furthermore, King Christian I in the Treaty of Ribe of 1460 had promised them to be 'up ewig ungedeelt' (forever undivided). So the Eider policy was doomed to fail even without the fairly militant Prussian chancellor of Bismarck, whom I just had seen a statue of on Aschberg. With him at the helm it turned out a welcome opportunity to teach the Danes a lesson. And the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein still bears this motto in his arms. Today the Danes in Schleswig are happy where they are. They have every opportunity to live out their Danehood. And they have their own party, the South Schleswig political association with one or two seats in the Landtag in Kiel. It's just funny that when you cycle past a Danish school, you hear all children speak German with each other in the schoolyard. While the lessons are taught in Danish. This makes perfect bilingual children, and in this way I myself, in the opposite way grew up linguistically. My goal in Rendsburg was the beautiful Parade Square. A very large square, designed by Christian IV in the Baroque style. It depicts a view of the royal dining table, and the streets ray out from it to the south. And the street names reflect the table order at the court of that time. So everyone was seated properly. It all seems posh and well maintained. To the north stands a statue of the Schleswig-Holsteiners' hero Uwe Jens Lornsen, who defied the Danes. To the south lies the main guard, which is now a restaurant. Instead I went into a small cafe on the west side and had a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. Then I rolled down to the Kiel Canal. Today, the Eider has lost its traffic significance to the canal, which the last German emperor Wilhlem II had cmmissioned as a militarily facility allowing him to move the Grman fleet from the Baltic to the North Sea without having to sail north of Jutland. All bridges are so high that even ocean-going ships can pass through the canal. And now I cycled down to the old railway bridge on which the train from Flensburg to Hamburg still runs. Underneath the old iron bridge from 1910 hangs a ferry and it floats back and forth with a maximum of four cars, bicycles and pedestrians. A small technical masterpiece and it's fine, it is retained in its proper function today. For it must cost a lot to maintain the old structure instead of just running a normal ferry, like in many other places along the canal, and they are all free. This was done to compensate for the fact that the canal intersects the province in two, as bridges lack due to the required height. There is also a single tunnel, also here in Rendsburg. When I reached the ferry, it was about to float along, but the guard saw me coming, and I was allowed to come on. Thank you.
On arriving on the south bank of the Kiel Canal, now in Holstein, I cycled a stretch along the canal tow path in a southwesterly direction. It was nice to ride my bike without cars with green hedges to one and the canal on the other side. A few large cargo ships were sailing along, which I easily overtook on my bike. When time came to turn away from canal at the guard's house in Schülp, I made a little break. I noticed the orderly and well-groomed appearance. There was also a large dolphin with a sign that forbade children to climb on it. Here I put my water bottle and left it when I cycled on. Stupidly, for soon I was thirsty when I made another rest at the roadside. Now the wind came diagonally from the front, and I could gradually feel the many miles I had cycled since Flensburg. Fortunately my gps told me all the time how far it was to my goal, the railway station in Neumünster, where I would take a train to Hamburg. The last part into Neumünster, I had the wind from the front and I went rather slowly. In the village of Gnutz I went into the inn to get something to drink. I drank one beer and a lot of water at the toilet. Through Timmaspe and Krogaspe I made it to the city of Neumünster. But even though it is big, it has not really things of interest. It is only a very large pile of bricks, you might say. But bikers have good conditions on the old road to Rendsburg, as it is closed to cars. But at a railway bridge, I had it wrong, when I planned my route as I could not pass by bicycle. Fortunately, a local cyclist saw me and showed me the easiest way across the tracks. Now I rushed to find the station, but now my navigation unit was of great help. On the whole it was a pleasure to follow the magenta-coloured line on the display. So I was sure I followed the route. I found a ticket machine, bought a ticket plus bike ticket and was soon after on the way to Hamburg by train. There were still 70 km to Hamburg, and I wanted to be in time to watch the evening's semi-final of the football Champions League between my favorites from Bayern Munich versus Real Madrid. I almost made it for the start. The route from the railway station in Hamburg Dammtor where I got off the train and hostel Book-a-bed at St. Pauli, I had also downloaded to the navigation unit, but again I had not been careful enough with the route selection. And in a the traffic of a huge city that really costs. Twice I was confused, unable to read the route properly. And once I had chosen a flight of steps in the Planten un Blomen (Low German for plants and flowers). And I wasn't allowed to ride my bike on the paths, signs showed. So I continued along major roads, but all had a bike path. After a huge crossing with traffic lights I dove into the entertainment district of St. Pauli's small alleys. And suddenly I was standing in front of my hostel. Yihaa. Now I just entered the code that I had received by text message, and I went in. But what about the bike? Should I leave it on the street? No way, but a bicycle storage facility was not to see, so I parked it in the hallway inside. Then they can learn not to give one message on where to put it. But it stood there without a fuss all night. Inside the room there was a TV which I immediately turned on and after some difficulty found ZDF, Germany 2, which carried the match. And then I climbed into one of the two bunk beds in the room. Both lower beds were occupied, but the guests were out. I watched the game lying on my back while I was munching cake from the bag. It became quite a hammering of Bayern. They ended up losing 0-4 at home and were out of the CL, where they were defending champions. Booo! After a bath I went into town to find something to eat. My mood was not too good, but it was still cool to be in Hamburg and feel the city life down at the Reeperbahn, the cheeky street with many sex shows and gambling houses and all sorts of other entertainment. I did not find any restaurant and went in to eat at McDonald's. Then I crossed the street and got some offers from the street prostitutes who are quite pushy here. Well, I do not have the need, I thought, and instead went back to the hostel. Right next door a little goop was still open and I went in to have a beer. It was a favourite bar of the football club St. Pauli's fans. It is something of a cult club which plays in the 2nd Bundesliga. I guess, they like the Hamburg football flagship fo HSV's downfall this season, which ended with very near relegation. Now I wanted to get into bed and sleep. I had just laid down when my roommates showed up. A man and a young woman. Perhaps father and daughter. She lay in the bed beneath mine. The beds creaked terribly, when one of us turned around, but we slept well all of us, I think.