27 April 2023

Day 16 Inner German Border Tour

Our BBF did not sleep well as he kept trying to find solutions to his flat tyre problem. We all got up as normal at 07:00 hrs and our human packed ready to go. 

Breakfast at least was good. During it our BBF considered his options. He tried telephoning the Bike shop, but all he got was an answering machine. Then he hit on the idea of trying to find an E-bike hire place. He rang the first one he found and spoke to Olaf. When Olaf heard of our problem he immediately offered to repair our bike while we took off on one of his bikes to find the end of the Green Ribon. That was an offer our BBF could not refuse, so now after breakfast he left our luggage in the Hotel and pushed the bike to the Beach Station, some 900 meters away.

Olaf gave us one of his bikes and so we left to get one of the ferry’s to Priwall. Now we had some more bad luck.

Our BBF needed to find a Loo, which he did on the Beach. He locked the bike with the two locks,  the frame lock on the back wheel and the separate wire lock. When he came out the wire lock was easy to remove, but the frame lock would not unlock itself!! Eventually he had no choice but to phone Olaf, who came out on a bike, but he could not open it either. Olaf went back to his shop to get another key, but that didn’t fix it either, so we took Olaf’s bike and he carried the other backs to his shop.

We now got to the small ferry and after buying tickets at the machine we joined a whole class of kids from Hamburg. It was but a short ride to the other side. 

The route to the end point of the Grünes Band was also straight forward and we found one memorial quickly.

The sign says, “never again divided”! And then goes into detail of the history.

The local District placed a nice stone there to commemorate the reunion.

After getting his photo taken our BBF set off for the end of the line and the bend in the fence that had been erected there. 

The Green Ribon ends here, but the fence went along the coast for another 17 kms along the line of the path behind us.

We went to the beach and had our photo taken as proof that we finally got there from Einöd some 15 days ago.

We now returned and took the other car ferry back to Travemünde. 

Back at the Bike Hire Olaf and his partner were still working on our bike. Olaf had even gone and bought a new inner tube as the worn one

had four thorns in it, like the one below.

In many respects we were lucky, for if this had occurred when we were in the back of beyond and miles from civilisation what would we have done?

Our BBF, once the bike had been repaired returned to the hotel to collect our luggage and once there he telephoned Jürgen to come and get us, which he did. Ever body should have a BBF like Jürgen. He got up early to drive here by lunchtime and return us to home. The journey back was uneventful as Jürgen is a very good driver. 

So we are home from a once in a lifetime adventure and will sleep well tonight. Our BBF has already thought about his after action report which he discussed with Jürgen who remarked that it would cost money to put it into action. Our BBF says he needs 12 gears instead of ten, better cycle gloves which work on screens even in the rain, two new saddle bags and a better cycle jacket. 

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26 April 2023

Day 15 Inner German Border Tour

This morning our BBF was keen to be off. The day started fine even if it was cold and windy. After breakfast we set off and followed the East Bank of Lake Ratzeburg North through the woods. 

This was all part of the DDR. Upon the hill at the Northern end of the lake we came to another reminder about what the border did to the people who lived here. The Municipality of Römnitz which prior to 1945 belonged to Mecklenburg vor Pommern was now assigned to Schleswig Holstein.

The going was fairly easy were it not for the wind, which again blew with a cold intensity designed to chill the hardiest of souls.

Eventually we came to Lübeck where our BBF now went into town. 

He is a great Marzipan fan and he knew of a shop where they made the best. Having made his purchases we returned back to where we had left our route. The way took us on long distance paths out of town via industrial sites and past the marina.

We reached Travemünde by lunchtime and our BBF was keen to get on the ferry and go as far as he could today. However, he thought it best to phone the next possible accommodation before we did. For Priwall which is the end of the Green Ribon Route is only a small place. Sod’s Law kicked in and the accommodation was not up and running until 28 April!!

Well we were near cafes and so our human sat and had a bowl of Soup and a Isotonic drink. It now started to rain and we bears who had been left behind on the locked up bike while he went on on foot got wet!

Fortunately it didn’t last long. Meanwhile our BBF walked to the Tourist Information Office to enquire about accommodation for the night. They found him a reasonably priced room with breakfast and now he had to walk back to where he had left us.

Travemünde boasts Germany’s oldest light house built in 1539.

Altogether again he rode the short distance to the small hotel. Now disaster struck. After carrying us in and returning for the saddle bags when our BBF now looked at the bike we had rear wheel flat tyre! His first thought was get it repaired and after asking where a Bike shop was set off there. In his rush he passed it and when he eventually did find it, it was closed for today. It only opens from 1000hrs till 1500hrs  on other days.

He returned to the hotel and locked the bike in the bike shed.  So we are in Travemünde  and our BBF says that tomorrow we will go by ferry and foot to the end of the Green Ribon, at least.

We are now by Point 59 on the Map.


25 April 2023

Day 14 Inner German Border Tour

We left the Youth Hostel after breakfast and our BBF was not in the best of moods, as the route took us back for part of the way we had come. He said he would not have bothered coming to Lauenburg had he know that! However, the other reason we came here was because it had a Railway Station and he hoped to find a DB Information centre there that could advise about us getting home at the end of the trip. Well they didn’t have one there, only machines to sell tickets!

The day started grey and cold and got colder as went. By the time we had retraced out steps to the Border Crossing at Boizenburg it was so cold our BBF put on his waterproof jacket and gloves.

Once past Boizenburg we found ourselves on  very new long distance cycle track, which would have made the going easier, were it not for the strong cold wind against us and then later the rain. So once again we Bears were without sight of where we were, but at least we were dry and warm, which our BBF was not. Strangely his bad mood evaporated nad he had the attitude of you can’t crack me I’m a Rubber Duck! His feet and ankles were cold and his right Achilles  Tendon was complying somewhat. He said it was good that it was cold as otherwise the infection in the tendon would get worse and he would be living on Ibuprofen!

At a time when our human was looking for a place to a stop and rest out of the wind, we came to an interesting little Cafe/Shop. We stopped and our BBF went in and found a children’s dream of a shop. Handmade sweets of every kind and description.  The proprietress was a young kindly  woman who, though she didn’t have sound made our human a fantastic Cappuccino. He was also able to use the toilet facilities. He bought some burnt sugar almonds and then we set off again. It rained again and the wind which was like a “whetted knife”, just wouldn’t give up.

We stopped again and our BBF used a bus top to get out of the wind and rain to rest. We passed an old NVA Barracks but were not sure to what use it had now been put, save to say that it had been renovated. 

The rain stopped and for a moment or too we thought the sun might come out to warm us. But it didn’t! 

We then came to a place where we learned that in 1945 there were exchanges of territory which involved the villages making a decision to go or stay. Once made there was no going back. The majority left as they were wary of the Russians.

  A little further on we came to another memorial of a Gaststätte that had been torn down as it was the forbidden Zone. 

Then there was the new bridge that had been built after the reunification to make access easier for all. The memorial there should a map of the territorial changes and of the border fortifications.

Eventually we came into Ratzeburg and our BBF fancied staying in a hotel, but couldn’t find one, but did come to the DJH of German  Youth Hostel. This is a fine modern building and he was given a nice room with en-suite shower in the staff area of the building, away from the many small children that are here.

This is the view from our room.

So we are now by Point 57 on the map and have cycled 72,6kms today.

P.S. Our BBF’s photos have not all been successfully uploaded into the Cloud, so we are no able to pos all of them. We will amend this Blog when we can.

24 April 2023

Day 13 Inner German Border Tour

In the entrance to our hotel there were two Bears to welcome the guests. We had some discussion with the host if the ferry was operating today. 

On the wall in the dining room were many stuffed fish. Something for Steve Slater we thought.

After packing and loading our wire donkey we set off first to the Bank to get some more cash as from here on we were going to be in the back of beyond where cash was king!  

Needless to say the main ferry was no running, nor was this little one. It had Monday and Tuesday off. Our BBF now had to replan the route to stay on this side of the river. He wasn’t too happy as the Green Ribon actually ran along the other bank which was flat, on the West Bank there were a number of hills that had to be negotiated. But did we have a choice, no,  so on we plodded once our BBF had the new route.

The route more or less followed the line of the river and flood plains. The sky behind us was ominous and looked like rain was coming, but thankfully we can say it did not materialise.  

Then came the hard part.

This is actually the down sign for the way we came, but just to prove that our BBF had to peddle hard to get to the top.

At the top was path to an observation tower, so we were parked and our BBF went on up to see.

We think that he was silently relieved that he could not climb up the steps!

Eventually we came to the village of Bleckede where the ferry was waiting just for us before setting off.

We rode straight on and there were only two cars on it.

No sooner were we on than it took off for the other side.

We left the ferry behind us and now cycled on the top of the Dyke. 

The going was easy until the wind came up when it needed a bit more help from the motor.

Here you see how the fence were placed on this side, the middle of the river being the actual Border. It is difficult to imagine now, but these fences and defences went all the way from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean Sea!

As the wind got up our BBF tried to stay below the Dyke to get out of it, which worked for a bit.  At this rest stop we found a talking Bank! 

If you scan the QR Code it will tell you a fairy tale.

We came to another watch tower and here the sun was out so our BBF stopped and relaxed on the bench in the sun.

And here you can see the true extent of the Iron Curtain which went across Europe.

By Boizenburg we had to climb out of the valley and found a place where the town had planted 12 trees.

They called them the 12 Apostles and there now were two different versions as to why. One said they were to honour the French Officers from the Napoleonic Wars were buried here and the other that there was a connection to the Prussian/ Austrian War of 1866 when 12 Positions were place to prevent a crossing of the river Elbe by the Enemy.

Just outside the town on the B5 road there was an actual Border Crossing point and the original Checkpoint tower was still there with information boards relating to the Border.

These two boards tell the sad tale of a Michael Gartenschläger who after spending time in a DDR prison for objecting to the border was deported to the West. He however, continued his protesting by taking down the mines on fence. Needless to say the DDR didn’t like this and laid a trap for him and actually shot him when he tried again to remove the mines on the fence.

We crosse the Elbe/Lübeck Canal and then rode into Lauenburg. Our BBF cast about for a place to stay and saw a sign toe the DJH German Youth Hostel. At the first one he came to in the old town they had no room, but told him of a second Youth Hostel which did. The description of how to get there was, “ just go down those three steps and follow the path round.” 

Do they look like three steps to you? But we managed it.

We have a room to ourselves with four bunks. One must make one’s own bed up which is the first thing our BBF did. The Bike is in a bike cellar. We have a washbasin but the toilets and showers are across the corridor.

We are now by Point 53 on the map.