A day to remember - The Bartletts Bike the Baltics - CycleBlaze

May 7, 2019

A day to remember

Medieval towns, Harz National Forest and Iron Curtain

Pension Rote Rosen is a place that we will remember. It is not fancy - it offers basic accommodation yet they provided thoughtful touches and exceptional hospitality. Our room was simply furnished but immaculate with a frig, an eating area, a comfortable armchair (all too rare) and complimentary use of a deluxe massage chair.  These elements really helped Barry’s back.

Bliss for Barry today is getting the full massage treatment in this special chair.
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We whole heartedly give this family-run Pension a thumbs up.
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Witches have an important place in the history of the Harz region. Today in the towns and villagers, they are everywhere.
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It is pretty cold again and we will be lucky to avoid rain today.

Hoping to jump start our riding, Mary Ellen found alternate routes which will reduce the meandering R1 route and steep climbs  on poor surface when possible. We want to spend time in the UNESCO heritage town of Goslar and then make some distance before we stop for the day.

We keep meaning to acknowledge the excellent signage on the R1 route. Perhaps, since it is both a German route (D3) and Europe route (R1), it benefits from double investment. Only in the Harz region would you see a witch riding a bike on the cycle route signage.
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At one point we were riding on the route through the forest and we found the surface to be challenging as very old cobbles were bone jarring and where pavement had been added, the cobbles popped through anyway. At one point we tried to leave the route for a secondary road, but none of the paths allowed us to cross the train tracks and get to the main road.   When we were about to turn around, we saw a bike route sign with an arrow roughly painted over the sign. Thank you to whoever did this as it led us safely to the road and a brand new cycle lane, yeah! This gave us the impetus to speed on to Goslar.

Entering the city of Goslar, we were entranced by the charm of the wonderful architecture, the winding streets and of course this well dressed Goslar couple.
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As we walked by this market area, there was a wonderful aroma as well as a line up of locals at this traditional food van. The thought of home cooked hot food appealed to us..
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...and this spicy, tender pork dish with loads of onions was delicious.
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We love the whimsical illustrations on one the food stalls
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Where to begin with Goslar....does it sound crass to say: medieval on steroids? 

This wee house along the river did not have a square corner or a true straight wall. Pure charm.
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This building is now The Kaiserworth Hotel
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It is spectacular and one could stay here for a few days.  Founded in 922 AD, it became one of the most important seats of power in the Holy Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, Goslar was a centre of mining and religion with 47 churches, monasteries and chapels.  Narrow  winding lanes all begging to be explored, exceptional medieval Fachwerk (timbered construction) buildings, unique use of slate for decorative touches, picturesque canals lined with historic homes, a Markt Square with unique architecture, Imperial Palace....  We fashioned our own tour by visiting the Tourist Office  riding and exploring. We spent hours here and we could certainly return one day.

We had a lovely chat with Birgit and Dieter who are also on holiday in their camper van. They have visited every country in Europe and shared interesting tips and stories about where they have been. Having toured the Baltics, we appreciated hearing about their experiences there.
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A few images from the Market Square in Goslar.
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Less than 2 years ago, Goslar experienced the worst flood in over a hundred years. . We could still see the damage to the foundations of the bridge and walls, as well as neighbouring homes.As you can see in the photo on the left, work is still being done to repair the damage
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After Goslar we tried to stay off of the official route as much as we could as it would involve too many climbs in the Harz foothills and mountains. Barry needs simpler riding. As well, we prefer a more direct route -the weather has deteriorated and we need to put in some miles.

We still had to do  plentry of climbs as we are in the Harz National Forest and riding in the foothills, but it was very beautiful. Once again, we are wearing pretty much everything we have with us, and I’m sure we must look pretty menacing with our faces covered with buffs and multiple jackets, but we are having fun.

It has been a joy to explore a bit of this National Park and climb some of its foothills
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In a wee village Stapleburg, we stopped to appreciate a plaque and statue commemorating the location of the Iron Curtain. In fact, remnants of the wall remain here. It is a surreal moment to ride your bike across this now invisible line. Certainly a thought provoking moment. 

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We both appreciated seeing this commemorative statue marking the end of the Iron Curtain.
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We have set our sights on Weringerode for our place to stop for the day. We pushed on through the bitter cold and rain to find another city with much to offer. Such medieval beauty in abundance in this region. This is the downside of planning a long distance journey with a time limit, as we must choose where we can spend time. We know there is much more to see along the way.

We chose a Pension that sounded good: 50€ with a view of the Castle. That should have been a clue. Yes, the Castle is perched on high and so was the Pension. We climbed and climbed. The problem was that this is a satellite operation with no staff onsite.  We phoned and were able to get in fairly quickly. Poor Seavo though, he got to spend the night outside but in clear view of our room.

What an incredible day we have had.  And for now, Barry’s lower back seems to be happier.  Now just to get the sides of his back better. It is looking up!

Today's ride: 63 km (39 miles)
Total: 844 km (524 miles)

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Kathleen ClassenWe are holed up in our hotel room in Annecy. It is POURING. Today’s plan was a ride around and above the lake unloaded...I don’t think so. We are in surprisingly good humour about it. We will go to the museum and perhaps check out the sauna in the hotel later. Tomorrow looks better, and there is always the train hehe.
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Kathleen ClassenSunny and hot in Victoria!
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2 weeks ago