June 22, 2012 (Day 10) Bike Day 4
Bike from Waren to Krakow
55.6 km (34.5 miles)
weather: started out misty, a little chilly, but turned into a gorgeous, sunny day. Windy, too.
9:30am – 4:00pm
This morning started with the birds outside our window chirping. There must be a nest on top of the roof outside our window. I woke up due to the birds chirping like crazy (and I can sleep through anything). I thought for sure it must be 8am already, but no, it was around 3:30am, the sun was rising and the birds were chirping. It was way too happy for this time of morning, so I got up and shut the windows. =)
Finally, it was actually time to wake up. We need to get our luggage to reception by 9am each morning on our bike tour so the Mecklenburger Radtour guys can come pick it up and deliver to the next hotel. With so many other people on our tour, we saw that there were actually two vans outside this morning to grab our luggage.
Breakfast was the usual fare. I’m typing this up on July 3rd, so I can’t really remember much about each breakfast anymore. =) We biked in to town first to see about purchasing some new Teva sandals since ours were completely falling apart after all the rains. However, the stores were selling them for about 100 Euro, and there was no need to pay so much for something we could get in the States for probably less than half that. So, we hoped our super-glue work on the sandals would hold and we took off.
Today was quickly turning into a beautiful day! Almost all of our ride today was on dedicated cycle paths. We biked around many small lakes and saw many other cyclists out on the paths. At one point we passed by a high ropes obstacle course up in the trees that looked like fun to me. It didn’t look open at all, but definitely something I would do.
Another highlight of the morning was biking past some baby miniature horses! We had to stop and take photos of those. There have been plenty of farm animals on our trip, and several miniature horses, but these are our first babies.
We saw some bikes stopped at a grocery store, so we stopped as well to see what was there and check out the map. We didn’t need anything, though. We did see on the map that we had missed the turn off to see a farm of European bison, but we’ve seen plenty of the US variety, so we didn’t go back. The day was turning out to be so much nicer than it started. We quickly removed layers and enjoyed the sunny day. I take many more photos on sunny days than on rainy days.
The turn into the national park provided us with some more dirt and gravel roads and lots of trees and flowers. In the middle of the park at some sort of visitors center of sorts, we found a wall xylophone called a waldxylophon! Basically, there were different types and sizes of wood hanging down and sticks with which we could use to play music. Mark was much better than I at finding a good rhythm and tune.
I’m not sure if I mentioned before, but we have been biking through all kinds of wheat, oat, barley, or other types of grain fields. In the wind, the grasses blow like waves in the ocean, and sometimes we just stop to watch the waves of wheat. Of course, I ended up spending nearly every day singing the tune, “Oklahoma!” in my head and especially the line: “…the waving wheat, can sure smell sweet, when the wind comes right behind the rain…”
Another great thing about all the cycle paths and cycle routes in this area (in addition to the lack of car traffic) is all the covered benches available for breaks complete with maps and even trash bins sometimes. We realized that we were not going to find lunch soon, so we stopped at a bench to munch on some snacks. It took a lot longer than we thought to find a town with places open for lunch. The easiest way to find an open cafe/restaurant is just to look for a group of parked bikes outside an establishment. We know they cater to cyclists and also that they are open.
At this place we stopped at, we had some yummy German food. Meat and potatoes, of course, but we both got our schnitzels covered with a mushroom cream sauce that was delicious.
After lunch, we had our first view of a German highway as we had to cross over the overpass to get across. It reminded me a lot of crossing over 59 in Houston on a street like Woodhead. Back on our beautiful country cycle paths, though, we stopped when we came to a detour around a 200-year old tree. There was a big sign in front, all in German of course, telling us about the tree. We could see some interesting scientific instruments in the tree measuring something. It’s too bad we don’t know more German.
We also found a multi-level tower along our cycle path. We think the goal is to climb it to spot birds nests, but instead we found a magnificent view of the wheat fields down below, a blue lake in the distance, and green trees lining the whole scene. There were some sailboats in the lake and we spend some time up on the tower until a small tour group showed up in a cart being pulled along by a tractor from some nearby hotel.
The cycling today was just gorgeous. All along our paths we are seeing lots of cute little German houses and I can’t always grab photos as we bike by. When we finally reached the town of Krakow, we were rather surprised at the lack of cyclists and people along our route. We figured by now we would have found some of our other cycling friends on our tour at least. There were lots of little fishing huts lining the whole lake. We cycled past them all and found our Hotel Seehotel Krakow just on the shore of the lake very easily. We didn’t see any other bikes tied up here and it seems as if we are the only ones on our tour that are at this hotel.
The reception lady spoke only German, but we politely nodded along as she gave us the tour of the hotel and then took us up to our room. The room was great overlooking the lake and we would see both sunset and probably sunrise out the window. This was also the first hotel on our trip that they actually took our luggage up to our room. Perhaps this is because we were the only ones staying here. In previous hotels, we would just find all the luggage in a pile near reception when we arrived after biking. We usually have our saddle bags, our camelbaks, our helmet, and then something else in our hand, so it was always two trips to the room to get all situated. Having the luggage in our room reminded us of the Sicily biking tour.
We walked around town to look for some ice cream, but we found the town rather deserted and closed. Apparently small town Germany is just never open. We didn’t find our ice cream, but we did fine a place to buy some more super glue and also we took some time to take photos of some neat looking buildings in town. We ended up back at our hotel on the deck overlooking the lake to have ice cream. It turns out they had plenty of options and it was a beautiful day.
We pretty much spent the evening out on the deck, with Mark sipping a beer, and me working on the blog, typing away as fast as I could. I haven’t posted anything in days due to both the lack of wifi connections and just the fact that I’ve been lazy about typing an entry every night. Eventually we let them bring us menus and a yummy dinner.
This hotel is the first one with a wifi connection so far on this bike tour, so I tried to take advantage and post a blog entry. However, I managed to spend several hours becoming quickly frustrated with the terrible internet speed and connection instead. I was able to post, however, I couldn’t get my photos to load. I finally realized that I had to keep just re-editing the post and uploading one photo at a time to get it all to work okay. But, I did stay up late into the night to get that one blog finished and posted. I know we are very much delayed on the travel blog this trip, so I was starting to feel the pressure. 😉