20 April 2023

Day 9 Inner German Border Tour

Our Hotel on the banks of the Ilse!

Our Pilgrim brother Uwe Wingerning who lives in Salzgitter had invited our Human out for a meal. We met him first when we walked the Via de la Plata from Seville. On that first day when it rained cats and dogs we met up in the same Hostel and on a number of other occasions on the route and then later a few times in Germany. 

He’s a great guy who has already walked many Caminos as well as running 100 Marathons. He plans to take early retirement this year when he reaches 60 and has great plans for walking a circumnavigation of Spain. He plans to walk clockwise round and has many Camino brothers and sisters that plan to walk a part of the way with him.

Our BBF said it was so nice to see him again and chat about adventurous things, best of all it was such a nice way to end an already great day. Not only that, Uwe then offered to take stuff our Human no longer needed and post it back to him, thus lightening our load.

This morning Alan went to get the charger, as our bike had been kept in a proper bike cellar where as you can see each bay has a plug to charge the bike.

He also did a small repair to the front mudguard. As we mentioned Alan had got the mudguard caught on a step on the train.

When we set off the weather was not great and it was a grey and cold day, threatening rain which thankfully didn’t materialise.

The going was good and once again our human was using Komoot to navigate with and not the COBI App.

It was bitterly cold though, so we all had on many layers but even so the wind seemed to cut through them, hands and feet were cold quite quickly.

Now that we are on the North German Plain we can confirm that it’s not all flat, we did have to climb a bit as you can see.

At yet another point on the border we found a sad story.

We couldn’t read the inscription on this stone.

But could read this. On this site there was once a Customs House and Hostel since 1714 as it was a border crossing between Braunschweig and Prussia. Names of the family are mentioned and then that the House was very popular and was called Gasthof zum Kiebitzdam and took its name from the third crossing of the Great Ditch. After the Second World War it was damaged somewhat but as it stood in the Border Zone the NVA had it pulled down.

Here you can see the Great Ditch between Braunschweig and Prussia.

Much further on our route we encountered a major problem! The whole road had been dug up and there was not way round the obstacle.

Our human went forward and spoke to the workers and they created a path for us. Thorsten was the name of the kindly Digger Driver, who made the path for us.

Once on the other side it was onwards and upwards.

Our human has been complaining that there are no Cafes or pubs along our route to stop and get a bowl of hot soup to warm up. So when we found this bench we had an enforced rest.

The trees gave us some shelter from the wind.

And we had fine views. From here we cycled on into Helmstedt. Now we began to have problems. We failed to notice the sign for the Tourist  Information Office so went round the block till we found it in the Rathaus or Townhall. The kindly lady that our human encountered said, “we are closed, come back next week or try the internet!!!”

Asterix would say, “die spinnen, diese Römer!” If he saw the  prices for a nights stay. We had the range on the bike to go on, but our human was frozen and now it did try to rain.

He eventually found a place to stay where the price was in two figures and not three, but even so he was not a happy Teddy especially as breakfast was extra.

Our room is OK, right behind the reception and close to the bar.

We cycled 60 kms today and are now by point 41 on the map.

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