Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Below the Wall

Elster (Elbe)  -  Belgern     71.1kms             290’ ascent
The statistics indicate that this was not an arduous day although our old friend nostril wind was apparent for most of it! One advantage of a wiggly cycle track is the constant change of direction so nostril wind doesn’t have it all its own way. Otherwise the route was well signed and well surfaced so we did have a chance to observe events at a level above road surface.
As we were now to follow the river Elbe, I was looking forward to watching the flow of the water, the river traffic and the ducks. Not so. We saw the river around three times and one of those was taking a very short ferry crossing from one bank to the other. At this stage in its passage, the river has formed a massive flood plain and, in order to utilise the land to best advantage, the land has been protected from flooding by a series of levies, which when you are only 5’2”, are as good as castle walls!  We passed through Thorgau which had seen its fair share of activity during WW2 but had managed to retain some of its beautiful buildings. Outside the towns, the land was used mostly for arable farming, and farmers were working with very heavy plant to harvest crops (and the odd cyclists who got too close). Other workers, however, were sitting/lolling around drinking bottles of beer by nine o’clock! Alan’s theory is that they drink so that they are in no fit state to take their women shopping! I did point out that, actually, women don’t need lifts; they can drive.
We have enjoyed an early finish today, but I fear tomorrow will be a tad longer and wetter. It is probable that access to the internet may be sporadic over the next few days, so I should like to take this opportunity to thank all those of you who have contributed financially to Medecine sans Frontieres and to all those of you, through your comments, who have kept our spirits high. All your efforts are much appreciated.

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