Section 2: Klötze - Gardelegen - Klötze, 60 km

Just a week later we start for the second attempt, on the Friday between Ascension Day and weekend. I have studied the timetables thoroughly, it is possible to go by train from Salzwedel to Klötze every two hours. So we could start at Klötze, go to to Gardelegen on the road, return on the cycle path and then continue to Salzwedel. We will see, that this will not work.

Today we use the huge caravan of Thomas. The bikes are put into a large self-made box at the backside, the front-wheels dismantled. Near the car dashboard there are small inlets for the coffee tumblers for the large vehicle toddles like a ship sometimes. We start about 8 am.

From Oebisfelde we pass parts of the Droemling countryside, a swampland and one of the jewels of the Altmarktour. But we will not come back by bike today, the weather forecast has announced some rainshowers. In the moment there is a fine sunshine.

At Klötze we park the travel van just at the railway station. As usual the owner of such vehicle cannot start immediately thereafter but has to fumble here and there with this and that. Meanwhile I walk over to the timetables and verify the departure times. Afterwards there is enough time to turn the face into the sun until the fumbling camper enthusiast is ready for take off.

We use the road straight ahead through the forests. We have to surmount a hill (127 m) and a head wind. We usually have western wind directions but as we like to go south the wind likes to blow from there. As we rush down to the village Schwiesau the frantic ride bust be interrupted for a nice view of some yellow contrasts of buttercups and a rapeseed field.

From Schwiesau we can use a traffic free country lane and have to pass the up to the 160 m high Hellberge. After we have surrounded a former LPG we enjoy a fine path up and down and with sandy holes. Once we cross the cycle route and the area here is named Zichtauer Schweiz. We will come back from Gardelegen and will not miss any section of the path.

Eventually we hit on the B71 and this is only usable by cyclists on a brand new bike path. We pass a field of asparagus, we have full season now. There is a booth selling the delectabilities, but it is hard to transport a portion by bike. But it is Mother's Day on Sunday - let us discuss later about it. Some time later are some alotment gardens and we shout: "The potatoes look fine!". "But the frost may come yet" someone answers. We still await the Eisheilige (ice saints) in the middle of May. Just now (10.5.) there are up to 28 degree in southern Germany and the beer gardens prepare for the crowds.

Apropos beer. At Gardelegen we once again pass the Salzwedeler Tor and the brewery. And the baker's shop and we get the last two cups of coffee from the empty coffeepot. A piece of buttercake, and meanwhile we learn, that the dog of the baker in the morning has shit on the carpet and now they have covered it by newspapers. This is the stuff that they discuss over the counter hereabout.

At the next coffee shop we have another cup - the single one of the baker's was not enough. Thomas has an additional piece of cake, and as he appears with crumbs at the corners of his mouth I have taken a photo of the city hall meanwhile. We head for a short distance to the south - well known - and then hit on the cyle path and turn right. Now the real cycle tour begins but the sun has gone and dark clouds come up. We like to go west and the wind likes to blow from there as well. We roll on a perfect 2-laned concrete surface and we argue about the purpose for this Autobahn. We cross the creek named Milde, a heron flies along. To the left there is an old mill, the Hoppenmühle. At the building there is an old sign for the former toll fees if someone wanted to cross the bridge. Today it is cheaper.

We continue at the edge of the forest towards the village Ziepel. We now wonder about the numerous nest boxes, dense together and sometimes with two entrance holes. Entrance and exit or one hole for each member - we can only discuss the matter. Near Weteritz we get lost at the construction site for the new ICE-railtrack. We stay to the path parallel to the railtrack and soon reach the underpass of the station Solpke. Here the cycle path appears again and some things happen: we put on the rainwear, I find a ballpointpen and a demolished sign of the cycle path. I take the sign as souvernir but do not want others to do the same...

Now we have a tail wind and roll along a wide forest aisle, a big gas pipeline was installed here. We pass a nice birch forest and now reach the hilly region of this morning. And the rain stops and the sun is coming back. We discuss the chances of a central database service for residential homes...

Some time later we pass a remarkable barn built of field stones. We now discuss the chances of the professional import of field stones for garden pools and decoration purposes...

At the way on we observe a certain beetle which is not the Maikäfer (may-bug). At the Altmark a favourite sport is horsing and this is to be seen by certain relicts on the path. And this is the joy of those bugs, they are clumping together at this stuff (dung-beetle). Many are dead already, may be they were overfeeded. We curve around these settlements and as we raise our heads again we have arrived at Klötze.

We return to the railway station, the caravan is still there. But the bunch of keys to unlock the door is missing. May be this has fallen down as we pulled our ranwear out of the pockets? We have 3.06 pm and a sweet little green railcar is just coming. A girl stands waiting at the platform. After the railcar has gone, the girl is still waiting, the world has not changed for her.

Meanwhile Thomas is nearly undressed during the search for his keys. At last his face uncramps, the keys are found in one of his numerous pockets. We have coffee and think about the continuation of the day. The weather is mixed and we are a little bit chilled through. The next section - the Drömling - is a delicacy, and we think, that this would not be the right for today. There is someone of us who loves to drive a car, especially a caravan, and this one suggests to go to Salzwedel by car. These would be 37 km. So we start for an investigation of this town.

We reach Salzwedel at the Neues Tor and pass every available traffic road of the town before we find a central parking lot. There must be a festival or something like that, there are many colorful dressed up people. We ask someone and learn that they celebrate the Schützenfest (shooting match). Within a short time they will get the mayor from the town hall. We jump with our cameras to get a good place among 10 other partly interested viewers. Eventually some pennant bearers come along and finally a small intimidated man framed by two officials wearing Zylinders (tophats) appears. We think of these new rites hereabout, how they have changed the former socialistic representations by those club-like affectations as they are spread all over Germany.

We continue our inspection of the town. Near the church the river Jeetze flows beneath some houses. Such a situation is usually called Klein Venedig (Little Venice). Some houses are properly restaurated but others are urgently to be renewed. The problem is to find investors. It is not sure, that shops or bureaus later on can be run with profit. There have to be lots of customers, but the region is rural and the tourism not the only solution.

At the pedestrian area we enter a coffee shop of Tchibo. I buy a spectacle case for the Mother's Day. Thomas buys a bike bag - but not for the Mother's Day, this would be too underhanded. Eventually we find back to the caravan and return on the B248, a road that leads directly to our home.

Now we will have a pause in our explorations for other activities come up.

Chapter 3
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