July 5 – Meldorf to Glückstadt
“How’s the weather looking?” was my first question of the day as Steve peered outside.
“It’s wet and windy,” came the reply.
OK, looks like a sequel to yesterday.
We layered up, loaded up and put foot to pedal into the blustery conditions again. It was windy, but I don’t think it was as blowy as yesterday as we made our way out of Meldorf and then onto a traffic free path alongside a railway line. It was quiet and peaceful and we tootled along the sealed strip either side of the grass. They really are great, the cycle routes that are developed over here. It seems wherever there is a possibility to create a path or a way through for cyclists, away from traffic, the route is developed and sometimes signed. It’s brilliant. Where we’ve been would be a great place for anyone who’s never cycle toured before, to have a go, because it’s flat and most of the routes we’ve had, have been on cycle paths and traffic free paths and very little road riding at all, which has been fantastic. The infrastructure and forward planning that allows it to happen is to be roundly applauded! If only we had such forward thinking at home and more cycle friendly places to allow people to explore easily and safely. Again, so much we can learn from.
Before long the rain came down and Steve finally pulled over and out came the Orange Wonder. He’d been holding off, but that ol’ rain was getting heavier, so we were back in our uniforms. We rode through a little town and the rain was getting a little more serious, so when we spotted a bus shelter, we took advantage of the “shelter” aspect of that little structure and huddled inside, hoping the downward water might stop. Good ol’ bus shelters, they really have helped us out on this trip, giving us shelter from the rain more than once and giving us regular elevenses spots to sit in shelter from rain or wind. Another one came in handy today.
As soon as it looked like petering out, we were off, back on a path beside the road and pedalling along in the wind again. We stopped in Brunsbüttel to pick up some elevenses and while I went in to get Steve’s bread and some fruit for me, Steve waited with the bikes.
“I’m getting cold,” was the first thing Steve said when I returned. It means something if Steve says he’s cold, because he doesn’t feel the cold at all. Once we’d stopped and were standing in the wind and the wet, it really was chilly. We saddled up and rode out of town, getting the legs working and trying to warm up. Getting out of town meant getting over a river, so we rode down a street and at the end of the street was the ferry, quite literally. The street ended with the ramp onto the little boat, so we pedalled off the road and straight onto deck. Then…choof and rock and sway and we were on our way over the water.
Once we were over that little bit of water, our onward ride took us along a familiar river. We were back to the Elbe. We rode along the Elbe from Dresden to Lutherstadt Wittenberg and here we were again, reunited. The scenery here was very different though and we rode through industrial areas, past electricity pylons and along a part of the river that looked to be the shipping channel, with cargo ships and barges making their way up and down the river. There wasn’t much to see in the distance, across the water, but fog and rain clouds and there were times when the ships looked like ghost ships, disappearing into a grey curtain.
We started scouting for elevenses locations. It was wet and windy and…wiffy! We were riding through a sheep toilet and the path was a bit squelchy and very pongy. The only place we could spot to sit was a bench right amongst it all. I tip-toed around the dollops, trying to find a spot to set up the camera and it was a very swift elevenses indeed, as the cold wind whipped off the water, the wiffy pong whipped off the path and then the rain came down again from above. We were getting it all!
In under five minutes we were back on the wheels and then…up ahead…there they are! The critters themselves. A big flock of the woolly ones were standing or lying around on the grass and on the path itself.
Steve went to pedal through, at regular pace and I called out.
“Stop, stop, stop. Go really slowly. Don’t scare them and make them jump and run.” So Steve curbed his speed and wheeled through slowly and quietly and those sheep did not move. They just quietly stood and looked or stayed lying down. Those on the path ambled out of the way, but they just quietly watched him pass by. I followed on slowly behind. A sheep stared at me.
“Maaaaaa,” I said, in my best impersonation of a sheep.
The sheep stared.
“Maaaaaa,” I said again.
“Maaaaaa,” replied the sheep.
“Maaaaaa,” added the sheep beside it.
“Maaaaaa,” said I.
“Maaaaa,” said the sheep.
Those sheep had been as quiet as quiet until now. I kept up my “Maaaaaa” as I rode past them all and do you know what? Those sheep all chimed in! I rode through the flock of them with a chorus of “Maaaaaa” replying to me!
I spoke to them…they spoke back. They hadn’t made a sound until I started with my sheep impressions.
“Maaaaaaa….maaaaaaaa…maaaaaa…maaaaaa,” we said to each other as I pedalled along. Who knew I could speak sheep! I have no idea what I was saying to them, but it must have been something because when I gave my “Maaaaa”, they stopped and looked up and replied, “Maaaaaa” right back to me! It was hilarious! That quiet flock of woollies had turned into a vocal chorus of bleating as they answered my sheep lingo! I may only speak one language and that’s English and I may make feeble attempts at speaking other languages as we travel, but I think I can now say I speak two languages and I’ll officially add Sheep to my CV as a language spoken! Should that be Sheepish? Sheepian? Whatever it is, I think I’m now baaaaalingual!
We pedalled on, me with a big grin on my face from the ridiculous fun I’d just had. There was no one around to see me behaving like such a twit and that, my friends, is another advantage to travelling by bike and being on out-of-the-way paths with no one around for miles! One has the opportunity to act like a prize pillock and get away with it!
The path by the river took us all the way to Glückstadt, our pitstop for today. We settled in, then headed out for supplies and a look around. What a lovely little town, with a small harbour and central marktplatz. It dates back to the 17th century, when the King of Denmark decided to establish a fortified town here and establish a maritime trade. The town itself was established in 1615 and was designed for a military purpose with straight streets leading off the central market place, like spokes from a wheel and the houses were to have no balconies that could provide enemies with cover. Over the years it became a garrison, fortress and an international harbour and trading centre. The original design of the town is still visible and it’s a pretty little place, with its boats in the harbour and bunting draped streets running off the central market place. Another little gem of a find that we didn’t know was here.
Another fun day, albeit a cold, wet and windy one. I shivered, Steve got cold, there wasn’t a whole lot of scenery to speak of, but it was another top day. The path we had was great, traffic free and peaceful. We saw a few other cyclists and walkers and we gave and received smiles, waves and greetings, as we passed more friendly people along the way. It was also a day when I finally had some success with language! I may struggle with German and Danish and have blundered my way through Croatian and Slovenian, but I can speak fluent Sheepish! As far as international languages go, I’ll take that as a win! Maaaaaaa!!
Distance ridden: 53.3 km
Time in the saddle: 3 hours 17 minutes
Weather: chilly, grey, drizzly then rainy, windy, 16C