Monday 19th August. Wittenberg to Torgau. Bending the Elbe. - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 3 - CycleBlaze

August 19, 2019

Monday 19th August. Wittenberg to Torgau. Bending the Elbe.

We wrap up a dampish tent and pack our bags- early for once. Once packed we breakfast on leftovers in the kitchen. The day is brightening up - looking like a good day for cycling. 

We check the Lutherhaus museum on the off chance it might be open, and it is! Too good an opportunity to miss, we do the tour of Luther’s extensive house- and what a house it is. 

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The good thing about the museum is that it records not just his religious hi-jinks which started him on his revolutionary path but also aspects of the day to day running of his household, the guests, students and visitors, some religious refugees, who ate,  and discussed important, and possibly trivial, matters at the large dining room. Collection of firewood was an issue in the running of the house, for cooking and heating, and the museum also records the way fish were procured from the house’s own ponds and how Luther developed green fingers and an enthusiastic bent towards the growing of vegetables. 

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Modern Martin with Che Guevara
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The other aspect of interest was the major political machinations resulting from Luther’s break with Catholicism, pitting Luther’s supporting politicos like the Elector, against, eventually, Charles, the Holy Roman Emperor.

Back to the trail. Here the Elbe is like parts of La Loire, we recall - a flat track, well sealed, and a tail wind when the bendy direction allows. This adds up to a very good, for us, average speed. At times we reach the giddy pace of 25kmh+ on the flat. Much of the day, the trail is on a wide expanse of flood plain and views of the river are rare. As in Loire territory, some gardens are beautiful and vegetables seem to grow well. At one point we use a ferry crossing which adds more  variety to our day. The route runs through a number of small hamlets, but it’s not until Pretzsch, that we are able to avail ourselves of what the supermarket has to offer. Until now we have foraged on some surprisingly good damsons along the trail.  

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After lunch we try a stretch of road , which has very little traffic, though several large trucks come from the opposite direction. At Dommitzsch we get back on the cycle path and it’s so good we’re up to 28kph for a brief stretch. We come into a small village and see ‘Italian Eis’ proclaimed on a sign- this is where we break- no question. Around a corner are tables set under leafy trees- and the ice cream man! He has only 4 flavours but strawberry suits us- 2€- even better. We sit and reflect how finds like this make cycle touring worth it.

 

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We come into Torgau past the half  bridge where , in 1945, American and Soviet troops crawled over the ruined structure to embrace and celebrate the ending of war. Then on to the tourist office where we get the address of a bike shop for minor repairs. Unlike Berlin bike shops, our man in Torgau isn’t pressured by work and able to look at both bikes, so we book them in for the morning.

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Hotel Central welcomes us - we’re both dying for a shower and the bed looks very comfortable after sleeping on roll up mats. We park our bikes in the garage and walk the 100 metres to the supermarket.

Today's ride: 71 km (44 miles)
Total: 1,015 km (630 miles)

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