Day 7, Dresden, 624 km
Arrived yesterday evening in Dresden, I spent the day sightseeing (a little), eating (a lot) and resting (a lot too, including a nap in the shade of an oak tree in a park, amazing!). But I do not forget my obligations to all of you who are wondering if Jay did not throw me into the Elbe because of the inhuman treatment I am giving him or if Bob did not direct his fury towards me rather than towards some wild beast and I start looking for a nice place where I can stay for a little while to give some news. I must admit that I am quite satisfied with the result:
But let’s get back to our topic and take a step back in time, two days to be precise. I’m still in Berlin, with Rémy and Stella, whose hospitality I shamefully abused during the 36 hours I spent there, and I’m getting on the road again. I get back on the bike around 9 am, under the sun, and I try to get out of Berlin first. To give you an idea of the size of the city, I drive about twenty kilometers before reaching Potsdam. Nothing particular during the crossing of Berlin, I ride along the Havel in a park for a little while, the road is quite hilly for the first time of the trip (I will do in this single day more elevation gain than in the 3 days that brought me to Berlin). Next comes Potsdam, then the countryside. It goes up and down (quite strongly, I peak at 47 km/h), I am mainly on a roadside bike path, in short, I ride. The only minor twist is that I follow the road without paying attention to the signs and am surprised that the cycle path stops. A quick glance at the GPS reveals me that I should have taken a left 10 kilometers earlier and I have to follow the road, with cars and trucks constantly brushing against me for another 2-3 kilometers … I was told to look where I was setting foot… I end up arriving in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Very pretty. I even find a local farmer who sells tomatoes and strawberries in the main square: it’s going to be a treat tonight !! I also find the Elbe again. It is quiet. I ride.
I see a sign indicating a campsite 12 km away. It triggers interesting ideas in my head: Shower. Potable water. People. Bathroom. Less Mosquitoes. Banco. I ride all the way to the campsite where I stop for the night. And it does not fail. As I walk in, I meet the gaze of a guy sitting at a table, we say hello, and I think I found a companion for the evening. After setting up my tent, I order a beer and walk over to him, smiling at the idea of spending part of the evening chatting. It turns out that my new friend is Czech (good point!), that he goes down the Elbe like me (good point!) and that he is going to Dresden the next day (another good point, at this point I think that it is not possible, everything is way too easy). On the other hand, he tells me quite quickly that his wife had a car accident so that he must be on the phone often to sort it out (Editor’s note: only material damage), which indeed happens 3 times during our 20 minutes of conversation, that he plans to leave the next day at 6am (very, very bad point) and that he is really sorry but his English is too bad to have a conversation … Destiny is indeed against me tonight and all I have to do is watch my short-lived friend return to his tent, finish my beer and go to bed …
Fortunately, I make up for it the next day by chatting with 2-3 people during breakfast. They all go the other way, but it feels good to exchange a little bit. We hit the road again. We even take the ferry across the Elbe. Jay and Bob are all excited.
I am caught by another cyclist and we start talking. He rides from Hamburg. Goes to Dresden. We ride a few kilometers together. We discuss. It’s nice. We take a break in Torgau. Pretty town hall square. It turns out he works for Accenture. It’s a small small world. We discuss the best route to follow after Dresden. We exchange our contacts. Maybe we’ll meet again on Saturday.
Then we part ways, he takes his time (Note for the Czech Republic: it can also be nice to take the time to see things on the road). I decided to be in Dresden in the evening so I have to move on. The path is generally flat and quite monotonous. The kilometers pass almost without any visible sign apart from the bottles, which are emptied and filled up again. Then towards Meißen, hills, vineyards and beautiful houses begin to appear. Much nicer.
The day is starting to get long. I was a little ambitious to plan two days in a row over 120 km, this should be avoided in the future. In addition I follow the directions of the GPS and find myself in the middle of traffic to enter Dresden by the industrial zone rather than following the banks of the Elbe. Smart. Jay is so tired he can’t even stand up for the traditional finish picture, despite Bob’s (loud) efforts. I’m not in better shape, and after a quick burger I postpone any tourist activity until the next day and go immediately to bed to take advantage of a good mattress to rest.
After a good night’s sleep and a solid breakfast, I feel ready to face the scorching sun and the hordes of tourists. I start with Neustadt (the new town), a rather alternative district where my hostel is located. It’s full of tags, a bit dirty but authentic. I find a shirt in a second hand store to complete my city attire. I stop by to see what the lady at reception has recommended to me. The Kunsthofpassage (nice), the military history museum (I just pass by to see the building), the Jewish cemetery (disappointing), the golden knight (the highlight of the show !! luckily I didn’t come to Dresden just for that … We will note the picturesque presence of worksite toilets, unfortunately not accessible to the lost tourist caught by a pressing need…) then head for the Altstadt (old town). It’s very imposing, lots of space, the streets are also reserved for bicycles and pedestrians, in short I’m glad I made the detour.
Tomorrow I will take the road again, in the direction of the Sächsische Schweiz then the Czech Republic. You will probably hear from me from Pilzen, in 3 days… Allez tchao bonsoir!