(written by Nancy)
We had a lovely Sunday with Ela and Tobi yesterday. We made them egg and bacon rolls for breakfast and I think their clean plates at the end of the meal were a good sign that they found them pretty tasty. Their apartment will probably smell like bacon for the next several weeks, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for a good egg and bacon roll. After breakfast Dave and I spent a couple of hours cleaning the bikes – always such a fun job but good to get done.
Sunday afternoon the sun was shining so we headed to the local park. The park is clearly a favourite spot for the neighborhood, with lots of people lounging about. It was interesting to see all the different games and activities people were involved in at the park. There were people playing soccer (football), football (gridiron), frisbee, something called “cube” or Swedish chess (weird game with sticks that you try to knock down by throwing other sticks at them) and volleyball. There were also people juggling balls, knives, pins and fire, and then several people walking on slack lines. These are essentially straps that are tied off the ground between trees on which people walk (if they are talented) or fall off of (if they have no balance). This seems to be a popular ‘sport’ with climbers and we saw it in Croatia as well. Dave tried a few times and made a few steps before falling off. I declined the chance to break another bone. I did, though, join in the dangerous game of going to get an ice cream and had to carry three ice cream cones back to the park while they dripped down my wrists…
We had a dinner of pancakes that Ela and Tobi made for us, which was tasty and something we haven’t had in many months. Then it was off to bed after another nice chat of all things bicycle touring. This morning we had a nice breakfast of rolls and jam and fresh fruit before we had to say goodbye to Ela and Tobi. We had a great time staying with them, hearing the stories of their trip and exchanging touring tips – there are always new things to learn from other cyclists. Thanks again Ela and Tobi for such great hospitality!
We took a bike path through the forest to avoid the morning traffic and get out of the city. It was a nice ride and very quiet. We finally popped out of the forest back on to one of the main roads after the traffic had died down. We were off and on bike paths a bit today. The signage in Germany on the bike paths seems pretty good so we didn’t have too many “lost” incidents. Most of the day was spent riding through pine forests or fields of wheat or corn. Nice riding, especially in the sunny weather.
We did make one stop at a phone store to see if we could figure out some other way to get the phone tethering to work. Actually, we stopped at two – both Vodafone shops where we were given different answers. I am sure it is partly due to the language issues but gosh, the phone companies sure make it hard to get information. Anyway, at the second shop I finally got a new sim that should allow us to tether the phone – I guess if you see this post tonight it worked. Usually I stay outside and watch the bikes while Dave goes in to do battle with the shop employees, but this time it was my turn. An hour later we were on the road with the new sim.
We hadn’t been on the road very long when we came around a corner and there was a bakery – well, we had to stop at our first German bakery… We practiced our 1,2,3s and ordered a couple of things while the shop assistant laughed at our bad German. With that nice sugar hit we were on our way again. It was a flat ride today, a nice change from recent weeks. Perhaps all that flat riding will get boring after awhile but we’ll take it for now.
We rode by lots of ponds and lakes today. Tobi told us that many of them are not natural lakes but old mining pits that have filled with water. Regardless of their origin they are very pretty now, often filled with ducks and swans.
We have ended up at a campground on the Senftenberg Lake. I think we were both expecting a small little campground but this one is quite big and it is very full. The tent area is packed with tents but we found a spot to put ours up and right now are just hoping that the kids playing badminton right next to us don’t go for a diving point right into the tent. The mosquitoes seem pretty heavy but unfortunately the kids do not seem bothered by them. Hopefully it will be dark soon and they will head to their own tent (which given our luck will probably be the tent right next to ours…)
Tomorrow we continue our path northward to another lake near a town called Friedland, about 80k or so from here. There are at least 4 campgrounds on the lake so perhaps they won’t be so crowded (probably wishful thinking). Oh well, we will just be thankful for the sunny skies that are forecast for the next several days. Blue skies makes riding feel better any day.