Parchim - Schwerin - To France the Long Way - CycleBlaze

June 30, 2009

Parchim - Schwerin

Our room in Parchim was excellent value - 40€ including breakfast which also included an interesting conversation with our friendly host, our age and eager to share stories from his past. He told us about his life as a sailor which had allowed him as one of the privliged few to travel outside of the GDR.

Parchim's cobblestone streets and the late start persuade us not to spend any more time looking aroung town. Our route is pleasant, the weather is warmer than in the past days and the sun comes out.

Tree-lined roads with guardrails: protection for the trees or for the drivers? The drivers of course!
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Detour sign - ignore it!
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We don't have to push very far.
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The approach to Schwerin, capital of the state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania), is on a wooded path along the shore of the large Schweriner See. The sun comes out and for a second or two the water, the blue sky and the articficial sandy beach evoke a Mediterranean feeling - but just for a second or two.

Path along the lake approaching Schwerin
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Last year on the Lido of Venice - no, it's the Schweriner See
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We struggle a bit finding our way to the center of Schwerin. There are signs for bicycles to the center of town but we are feeling arrogant - we have a GPS! - and think we can find a better, more direct route. Alas, we are wrong. Construction sites, detours and the castle park are all in our way and we end up riding many extra kilometers.

Actually, today is a special day for two reasons. I say 'actually' because the day doesn't feel special, more like full of obstacles. The specialness is that it's Janos's birthday. I suppose we should have cycled 71 km today to mark the years, but we fall 20 short. Janos would be happy if he could reduce the years as easily. Our other notable statistic today is that we have reached the 1,000-km mark on our trip.

So far on this trip - 1,000 km - and may we cycle many many more!
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Our problem with Schwerin is that the Bundesgartenschau (also abbreviated as Buga), a biannual Federal horticulture show, is in full swing. This is a very popular event and indeed there are no more rooms to be had.

A view of the castle park where the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Horticulture Show) is being held
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Unfortunately, we passed the only camping ground many kilometers back and are not keen on backtracking. Since the tourist information office isn't able to find us a room, our last resort is an Internet cafe where we google for a room. Lo and behold, a room, one room in all of Schwerin, is available. Not a cheap room, but a room and it is Janos's birthday after all. Later, in the hotel we are informed that a reservation had just been cancelled about 10 minutes before we made our Internet reservation. What luck.

Here I am babbling on about trivialities like finding a room in a booked-out city and not writing anything about Schwerin itself. But in the moment when you don't know where you are going to sleep, it is the only thing that counts. Schwerin is a pretty city and, being the victims of our mood, we didn't appreciate it properly. But how many of our likes and dislikes while travelling are dictated by our emotional and mental ups and downs?

Enough philosophising, we shower and rest in our room, tiny but expensive, and go out for a lovely birthday dinner at an Italian restaurant. Today we don't eat plain old pizza, but as is fitting for a birthday, we have antipasto, fish and a fancy dessert.

Surrounded by flowers in the garden of a little Italian restaurant: Happy Birthday, Janos!
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Today's ride: 51 km (32 miles)
Total: 1,024 km (636 miles)

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