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The Baltic Sea Trip with a total of 1,215 kilometers in eight stages was the replacement for the Tour Transalp, which was postponed to September. Already for quite a while I had the idea in my head to cycle from Dresden via Stettin to Usedom. Since a trip via Poland seemed too insecure to me due to the Corona situation and I had a complete week of time, I planned a a similar trip: Starting towards the Oder-Neisse cycle path to Stralsund and then further along the coast to Hamburg. I canceled the planned return trip along the Elbe from Hamburg to Dresden at short notice. Instead, I included a night in Lübeck and spent Sunday at home.
Day 1: From Dresden to Oder-Neisse-Cycle Path and further to Eisenhüttenstadt
My last trip was quite a while ago. So I was excited when it started with my small bikepacking luggage. The departure was delayed. And I forgot the water bottles.
The day was hot. And I was not used yet to the sudden heat. It was like going to Turkey in the summer and starting a 200-kilometer tour immediately after arriving. In this case the biggest problem is not the route but the heat. I couldn’t eat practically anything during the day. It didn’t go down a bite. On the other hand, I couldn’t drink enough. After a while, even water didn’t help. The body could no longer process it. Completely exhausted, I arrived in Eisenhüttenstadt quite late after cycling about 210 kilometers.
Highlights of the day were the Bärwalder See and above all the park and castle in Bad Muskau. Eisenhüttenstadt was also a nice surprise.
Day 2: On Oder-Neisse-Cycle Path to Gartz at Oder
The entire second day I cycled on Oder-Neisse-Cycle Path. Always straight ahead. Always in the sun. But at least with tailwind. I was able to cope with the heat better than the day before. But no tree, no bush, no possibility to protect from the heat. No bench to rest, no way to take drinks. “Cooling” the legs with the much too warm water from the drinking bottle helped every now and then for a moment. Finding gas stations near the route. But where? Once I cycled a detour across the border to the next gas station in Küstrin in Poland.
I would never have voluntarily bathed in a river. After seeing the first bathers, the urge was great. The Oder was green and a little slippery. I could not wait for it. The cooling was fantastic. I didn’t want to go out of it anymore. I didn’t dare to swim. But putting my head under water was just great too.
Also on the second day the temperatures were still over 30 degrees. It wasn’t quite as hot as the day before, but the heat was still exhausting. In the second half of the route there ware at least a few opportunities to have a drink on the bike path. The stage dragged on. Especially again the last 40 of the 173 kilometers. At around 5:30 p.m. I finally arrived at my pension. Just in time for the soccer game.
Highlight of the day: Without any doubt bathing in river Oder.
Day 3: Straight towards Stralsund
Another hot day. According to the weather forecast the last one. Even if not as bad as the days before. Still, drinking a lot was again the most important thing to do.
It was good to leave the Oder-Neisse cycle path behind me. Nevertheless, it was again almost only straight ahead. But at least sometimes in the forest and in the shade and a bit up and down.
In Pasewalk I made a drink and breakfast stop at a gas station. On that occasion I heard the heavy traffic on the main road behind me. This made me switch to a different and somewhat longer route. But I could cycle on back roads. And it was the right decision. The 18 additional kilometers were well invested.
I liked Greifswald a lot. But after Greifswald started the impossible: practically continuously cobblestone until Stralsund. On the old street parallel to the new one. And there was no explicit ban on bicycles on the new one. Much more subtile. There were signs with a minimum speed of 30. Practically the same. If you cycle on the federal highway, the drivers show what they think of it. That’s Germany. Five or ten percent is easily enough to give you a bad feeling and a bad mood.
The hotel in Stralsund was the first on my Baltic Sea trip that wanted to see a corona test. I could have done one in Greifswald. In Stralsund everything was supposedly already closed. But the hotel had one for me for 10 euros. That’s the differences: In Brandenburg nobody asked about it. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania it is the first question.
Highlight of the day: The first look at the Baltic Sea in Mönkebude. And seeing Stralsund knowing that the cobblestones were finally over.
Day 4: Roundtrip on Rügen
During breakfast it started to rain. The heat was over. After an extended breakfast, the rain was already over. And it was the first day with the feeling of some euphoria. Rügen! Cape Arkona! In the end, only the anticipation remained. And the conclusion that Rügen is not really suitable for road bike cycling. A considerable network of cycle paths of different qualities. Unfortunately, the poor outweighed the better ones on my tour. There is a considerable need for refurbishment. In between streets with a lot of traffic and stressed vacationers. The highlight of my trip was a flat tire right at Cape Arkona.
All day long on I saw fields and another time endless straight roads. The sea rarely flashed out. I had imagined my Baltic Sea trip on Rügen differently. The crossing with the Wittower ferry was nice. After that, the traffic was quieter for a while.
Prora impressed me. Fascinating like so many Nazi buildings. I hadn’t noticed that Prora had never been finished.
Fish rolls should be eaten, wrote Tour magazine. Almost back in Stralsund, I saw the first hutwith fish rolls. Was it because of the route chosen or is there really such a small offer. In any case, the route from Tour was nothing special.
In the end, it’s nice to be able to say, I’ve cycled on Rügen. I don’t mean I regret it. Not at all. But I will probably not go again on this or a similar trip.
Highlights of the day: The ferry in Wittow, the flat tire at Kap Arkona and Prora.
Day 5: Along the coast line to Rostock
I was somehow out of place with my road bike among all the tourists with their e-bikes. Still, it was a very nice route. It cycled along the coast for most of the time. Sometimes on the dike, sometimes behind the dike, then through the forest. Baltic Sea. And you could really see it. It had become fresh. Not even twenty degrees anymore. I only took off the arm warmers in Warnemünde.
With all the cycle paths that are sometimes better and sometimes worse, you don’t feel welcome on the road. The cyclists are so nicely stowed away to their bike paths. And you should kindly stay there. Despite all the bike paths, I wouldn’t enjoy road bike cycling like this in the long run.
Just like the tour on Rügen the day before, I just had to do for once the tour along the coast. A tour of the Baltic Sea. Unbelievable but I have never been here! It was great to cycle a road bike on the coast. But I probably don’t have to repeat that.
Highlight of the day: Warnemünde and the cycle path along the coast line.
Day 6: Cycle paths towards Schwerin
From Rostock I cycled back to the coast to Heiligendamm. From there, I continued on bike paths with a view of the sea. There was not much traffic. Now and then I was on tourist routes. But mostly quieter than the days before. I took a lunch break in Wismar after 75 kilometers. Gyros roll at the Pizza-Greeks-Döner-Man. Curious. He could not be drawn out of what his real home was. I liked Wismar a lot and it was definitely a positive surprise.
The weather was fresh again. Like the day before, I didn’t want to take off the arm warmers until the end of the tour.
Highlight of the day: The Schwerin Castle.
I was really curious about Schwerin on my Baltic Sea trip. After a long day on the bike, I didn’t really feel like taking a walk through Schwerin. Nevertheless, I made a tour to the castle with a view of the city center. Despite the initially little desire, the very nice evening sun made it quite easy.
Day 7: Nothing exciting along the way to Lübeck
Drizzle in the morning in Schwerin. The first rain on the Baltic Sea trip. But only briefly. At least I didn’t have the rain gear with me for nothing. The way led back to the coast on bike paths over fields. Lonely streets. Hardly any pictures to take. There was nothing to take a picture of. It was always somehow similar. And similar to the days before. I saw few vacationers before reaching Travemünde.
In Travemünde I took the ferry. At a bakery in Travemünde you were allowed to sit outside with the Luca app. Then there was more hustle and bustle again in Timmendorfer Strand. And here were also noticeably young vacationers on the Baltic Sea. Completely different from before.
Highlight of the day: Holstentor after the trip.
My route led via Bad Schwartau to my destination in Lübeck. Bike paths into the city like in a third world country. Bumpy footpaths, oncoming traffic very close, sudden end, change of sides. Incomprehensible.
Day 8: Final sprint on the baltic sea trip to Hamburg
On the last day I went via Ratzeburg to Hamburg without any real highlight on the trip. Only a little over 100 kilometers I cycled. Something between the last day dragging on and boredom because of the little varied route determined the day. Every now and then I asked myself whether I shouldn’t have gone on. Keep the original plan and cycle back to Dresden along the Elbe. But cycling three more long and boring stages. I am sure it was the right decision. Less is sometimes more. It was right to focus a little more on fun instead of fulfilling the plan. And Eva is happy too. So she can try out her new e-bike on Sunday.
Highlight of the day: The trip around Außenalster after the day trip. Great!
Breakfast in Hamburg
In the morning I had the confirmation: It was the right decision to shorten the trip. It was better to do a Baltic Sea tour than a Baltic Sea Elbe tour. I would have had to cycle been two more days of with two more long stages of just under 200 kilometers. It wasn’t hot anymore. I would probably still have enough strength. But absolutely no desire. The Elbe could have been be as beautiful as it wants.
Return trip of Baltic Sea Trip with an IC train
From Hamburg to Dresden with change of trains in Berlin and Bahncard for 50,10 €.