Mildenberg – Berlin 64kms 144’ ascent.
This day began very well and even ended well. The morning commenced with breakfast taken outside in the sunshine. We considered that we had been well organised this morning and had everything packed and ready for the off before we took breakfast. We were put to shame by the family in the photo. Despite having two small girls, four bikes and goodness only knows how many panniers, they were still on the road at least 15 minutes before us. Seeing whole families on bikes with camping gear has not been an unusual sight, and one about which we are enthusiastic. This particular group were typical, in that they were taking two weeks to cycle to their destination, a week in a cottage and then the train home. And the kids loved it. We wished them well and left shortly afterwards.
Our route today has been without much in the way of gradient. Hoorah! And has been generally well signed and surfaces okay – just the odd few cobbles to keep us in training. Following a canal made navigation, very straight forward for a time until the path ran out along with the signs. Hoping for divine intervention, Alan set off in the wrong direction. Divine intervention was at hand in the form of a voluble German lady on a bike who made it clear by gesticulating wildly, that we were heading in the wrong direction. ‘Kommen mit mir!’ So we did. If we had any thoughts that this was to be a brief encounter, we were wrong. After 20 plus kilometres of following our lady friend, whose handbag swung dangerously close to her front spokes, at speeds rarely dropping below 20 kms/hr, she finally stopped. ‘I live here. Would you like a drink of tea or coffee?’ My understanding of the language was just sufficient to understand all that. We declined the kind offer and said we would locate our track and carry on. This divine creature insisted on ensuring we found our right path and did not leave us until she was satisfied that we were heading along the right route for our destination. Many thanks to that lady who probably saved us at least an hour and many arguments.
Arrival at our hotel for our stay near Berlin was early and gave us a chance to take stock and explore the options of visiting the great city on the following day without bikes! Crucially we need maps for the next stage of our journey. Divine intervention is unlikely to occur twice!