Section 5: Seehausen - Stendal, 2.8.98, 80 km

This is the cyclist's pleasure: lying in the bed awaiting the new day and then listen to the pouring rain outside. So the weather forecast was not quite correct. But after breakfast the rain stops and we can start in an autumn-like morning. The next town is Osterburg and we pass a long distance through forests, this would have been too much yesterday. The rain was not so bad for the quality of the path but has washed the air. At Osterburg the Pfarrkirche St. Nicolai is open because we have Sunday and the worship will begin soon. The female pastor in her robe shakes hands to every visitor and we apologize, that we will not participate in the worship. Unfortunately there is not enough time for a guidance now because three or four older women have arrived for the worship. We get a paper describing the peculiarities of the church. We play the reverent observer and then leave this holy place.

We continue somewhere behind the railway station on a narrow beautiful alley. We wonder about the former purpose of this path for there is only place for an equestrian perhaps or - as today - for the thankful cyclist. At the next village Düsedau one is lead into temptation to choose shortcut. But then we had not seen the Schlosshotel Calberwisch or some nice churches behind cemetery-walls. In the field we meet a man with a snarling dog, but fortunately this is on it's leash. We reach Walsleben which shall be one of the oldest spots around. We cannot observe too much interesting and get a wet bum at a bench in front of a graveyard.

The Altmark circuit now meanders towards Havelberg on the other side of the Elbe, via Jerichow and Genthien. We cannot stay to this route if we want to return to Stendal in time. If we had one more day things would work better...

We enjoy the northern wind for we now turn to the south. At Hindenburg there is the origin of that famous aristocracy of Paul von Hindenburg (winner of the battle of Tannenberg, Worldwar I). So they have a monument and this is an arc of rocks with a stretched sword. The church is built by field stones as well. It is to be read, that there are 200 roman churches of field or brick stone in the Altmark (field stones are reminiscences of the ice age).

At Hohenberg-Krusenack we leave the bike trail and use the road to Arneburg. This is a nice little town with small lanes and crouched house fronts. The town is located on a bluff high above the Elbe stream. We meet another cycling couple - the first at all. So we wonder why there are so few cyclists though it is Sunday and holiday time as well. May be the Altmark trail is not known yet. This cannot be caused by the lack of rural and  scenic attractions. So let us keep this matter as a secret - even one of the best. Let the crowds swarm out on the Danube or Weser trails.

Meanwhile we have found a flower garden and a viewpoint to the Elbe while the other cycling couple climbs up to the Burgberg. We continue to go south and pass a huge field of sun flowers. The sun is just not shining so the photo is somewhat bleak. We reach Hämerten and once again the main attraction is the church, this time decorated by an octagonal tower. The last section to Tangermünde is not so interesting though we see the skyline of Tangermünde far ahead. And this town is the jewel of the tour. It is impossible to find out all of the charme during a short visit. We try our best and look at wall gates and town hall, the consistent half timbered storefronts and end with a reflective rest at the dike of the river Tanger with a fine view of the skyline. Above all there are the towers of the PfarrkircheSt. Stephan. For the literarily interested reader we have to mention Grete Minde, the tale of Theodor Fontane. Tangermünde was the place of the action, as it suffered from a big fire in 1617, which was said to be caused by this Grete Minde. In 1980 they have produced a movie of this stuff. But at that time the DDR still existed so they produced the take-ups at the town Hornburg near the Harz. We are sure that the backdrop of Tangermünde would have been more suitable for this medieval action.

Back to our bench on the dike. We do not only enjoy the skyline but watch a stork family in the meadows. The youngsters are clever and for their start to fly they climb up the dike before. Then they swing up above the roofs to their nest which is just on the highest pinnacle of the town hall. The clattering proves them to be rather successful.

For the day's end we have a last section of 15 km to Stendal. But despite the final headwind we reach Stendal before 3 pm and immediately go to the station to look at the timetable. And as it is, the next train will leave in 15 minutes. So once again there is not enough time to visit the town of  Stendal , excuse me please, I have added a link instead.

We have various experiences concerning the transport of bikes by the Deutsche Bahn. This time there is a new story. Let me tell: at first the transport all over Sachsen-Anhalt is free, at second we have a fire red double dekker waggon with large bike compartments, at third the conductor not only helps to step in but moreover explains where to get off and how to cycle back to our car - it is one station before Salzwedel, and at fourth we are invited to sit in the first class compartment, it is reserved just for us, as he says. So this time Many Thanks, four times.

So we have a fine end of our five Altmark sections. As I have said before and if you have read this report: keep the Altmark trail as a secret!

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