Two more Unesco medieval cities - The Bartletts Bike the Baltics - CycleBlaze

May 8, 2019

Two more Unesco medieval cities

Wernigerode and Quedlingburg

Staying on high above Wernigerode gave us a lovely vantage point. It does pay to wake up at dawn as the feeling is special.

Our room had walls of windows, which was a bit unnerving but at the same time gave us a lovely view.
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 On a cycle tour, it can be a bit overwhelming to be able to take in all that the route is offering us in terms of nature, medieval Unesco towns and all that it entails. This is in no way a complaint. . It is just an acknowledgment of the richness and opportunities presented by our route.  Experience has taught us that one can’t see everything.  It is a delicate balance, trying to sightsee while also honouring the joy of being on the bike and seeing the world from such a unique and intimate perspective. 

Our hotel offered great value in terms of price. Our Budget room included a four poster bed which was so large it pretty much took up the room and had to be placed on an angle against one wall. It was strange to sleep up against a window. The larger apts. were lovely as was the woman who handled our check out. 

Schloß Idyll represents a new trend of accommodation, perhaps like an upscale Airbnb. No one resides here - all rental rooms. When we arrived in the rain, and after climbing the hill, we had to phone for someone to come. He said, where are you? I have six houses. All I knew was that we were on the hill. For us, we will avoid places like this which lack a personal touch. Also, beware the descriptor: “design hotel” as the style is high on trendy but low on function.
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Another memorable view from Schloß Idyll of Schloß Wernigerode.
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A whimsical water feature in the town.
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The Markt Square in Wernigerode is beautiful. Featured are the Rat House on the left and the Tourist Office located in a heritage building from the 16th century.
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We love this detail under the eaves of wooden carved figures which are representative of the time: baker, butcher, chimney sweep, farmer.
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Horse drawn carriages offer tours of the historic centre. We hope the cobbles aren’t too hard on them.
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This small house below has a total living area of 10 square metres. The birth of the “tiny home” movement truly began centuries ago.

This wee historic house is the smallest “fachwerk” home in Weringerode. It is a museum and like the size the price is low at 1€. The woman leaving is not very tall, yet she has to bend over to get through the door.
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In the Harz region, in Pagan times, witches were worshipped. After the arrival of Christianity, witches escaped to the mountains yet were still beloved and worshipped by the people. To this day, on the eve before May 1, people dress up as witches and warlocks, light bonfires  on the top of Bronck Mountain, the highest peak in the Harz.

Witches are very emblematic of the Harz region.
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This beautiful building constructed in 1674 is renowned for the intricate carvings on the exterior, thought to be one of the most unique in Europe.
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Built in 1678, their building was used as a blacksmith shop and the horseshoes have been mounted above the door to signify that.
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A wooden carved head of a horse was also on this ferrier’s building.
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It was wonderful to chat with this couple who are also touring. As they are entering Russia twice, through Kalinigrad and St. Petersburg. We asked them how they dealt with the restrictive time frame of a regular visa. Their solution was to get the business visa for 3 months, which is more expensive but practical for cyclists who do not have a precise schedule. A good tip. We also enjoying talking to them about their extensive travels by bike through Asia and Europe. 

This is a first for us on this trip - we have encountered fellow cycle tourists who are riding the R1 (they to St. Petersburg and we to Tallinn-Helsinki). They are from the Netherlands and ride beautiful Santos bikes with Rohloff hub and Gates belt drive
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As we are following the same route for the next 2000 km, we hope to see them again.

Riding to Quedlinburg, the weather continued to deteriorate as has been custom lately. The side winds were fierce and made it pretty crazy riding. At one point, Barry yelled back to me, just hang on to the bike. For once, I was happy to be on a heavy bike that held its own. Today we really got to experience the hills of the Harz region. The upside was that we worked so hard that it kept us warm!

When we arrived in Quedlinburg we were instantly captivated by the charm of this place. We rounded a corner and met a large group of locals dressed in traditional medieval dress. This man is holding a very special breed of chicken which has importance but I couldn’t understand. They are celebrating the anniversary of the beloved King Heinrich 1st from the 10th century.
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More revellers celebrating Quedlinburg and King Heinrich.
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Arrived in Quedlinburg and we can’t believe that another Medieval wonder awaits our exploration.  We did some sightseeing before looking for accommodation. What a wonderful end to a busy day of exploring Wernigerode, riding through the hills of the Harz battling heavy winds, and then finding this special place. We are so lucky in our travels.

Today's ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Total: 887 km (551 miles)

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