Day 3: Markranstadt - Grampies Cross Europe Germany to Spain Fall 2023 - CycleBlaze

August 29, 2023

Day 3: Markranstadt

Birgit and Juergen met us at Leipzig's large station, which also has a major shopping mall attached. No look around this time, because it was late and we were truly beat. Even the fast looking ICE train had managed to come in 30 minutes late, and often seemed to trundle rather than zoom across the countryside from Frankfurt. Frankfurt and Munich are about equidistant from Leipzig, and next time (there will surely be a next time) we might try coming through Munich, just for fun.

Reunited at the train station.
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Markranstadt is a self contained village on its own, but being just 15 km from Leipzig it would now have to be considered a suburb.  Despite being a real village, Markranstadt is a little short on stand alone bakeries. The best ones are located inside grocery stores. These however are not really part of the groceries, but are operated by independent companies.

All this was in aid of what is almost my favourite thing in Europe. That is waking up and preferably cycling to a bakery for fresh bread for breakfast. Because of the bakery quirk of Markranstadt, Juergen and I actually drove  the the "distant" ReWe supermarket, which is all of 2 km away.

At the bakery, we chose the characteristic seeded buns, which are called brotchen here, but semmel in Bavaria. Juergen of course knew the bakery lady, and explained to her that the poor Canadian here ordinarily has no access to such stuff. This is sadly absolutely true. We also threw in some cheesecake for later. This one is debatable. There is certainly cheesecake in Canada, but most bakeries will whip it up from some kind of substitute, while a real one is made from heavy, costly, cream cheese. Here it is made from "quark", which is widely available and not costly, so no need to adulterate it. 

At the bakery
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Our next stop was a bakery that is not so good on the brotchen, but which has "lerchen" (larks) which is a local specialty almond tart. We loaded up a six pack, while can be relied on to power us tomorrow well beyond Aachen.

Lerchen, and some more fuel added by Jeurgen.
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Outside our window. Like at home the red squirrel is native. Unlike at home they have not been driven out by the grey ones.
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This ended our bakery odyssey (until tomorrow!) and we returned home for the  standard wonderful breakfast of brotchen and many kinds of cheese and cold cuts.  Juergen, a long time reader of these blogs, proudly pointed out that this was a "ten jammer" by virtue of the table holding a minimum of ten jam types, and including two home made honey concoctions.

Dodie then set about organising our gear and loading the bikes. To achieve this she assigned Juergen to get me out from underfoot, with another expedition into the town.  Our first target was the nearby bike shop, where we offered them the gift of a good condition 400 wH Bosch battery and charger. The reason was that I had earlier sent a 500 wH battery and bigger charger to the house from amazon.de. Somebody will be able to use the smaller and slightly weakened battery effectively for local trips.

Only a few of the bikes at the shop. Kalkhoff has long been a major brand here.
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Soon this mess will be resolved!
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Next we ran around looking for scissors and a knife with sheath, stuff we could not take on the plane, because we did only carry-on. We made our way outside of town, to a huge shopping center that included among at least 200 stores, Ikea and Decathlon. This had us remarking on how since unification, former GDR towns like this have full access to all the familiar consumer goods.  We also passed Media Markt, there, so full of tempting laptops. Sadly they are too heavy to include in our kit.

Back home, lunch consisted of rouladen (rolled steamed beef strips), rotkraut (cooked red cabbage), and kloese (dumplings). We are clearly not in Cobble Hill any more. (These people have never heard of A&W, let alone root beer!)

Although we unfortunately are only here for  one week day, at least part of the extended family came out to visit with us. We had the family head - Oma Kate (now 87 and in great shape), Birgit's brother Stephan and his wife Pia, and on a video call, daughter Anja. We sat around eating brotchen, cold cuts,  cheese, and many cold concoctions quite late into the night. A big topic of conversation was the upcoming wedding of son Christian to Zahra. Christian originally came to stay at our farm, forming the enduring (16 year) link between us and his family here back home. Christian met Zahra while he lived in Victoria, and their wedding will be near there, in October. Twelve members of the family here will flock to Canada for the wedding. We, paradoxically, will be "here",  probably around Toulouse!  The wedding will feature a line dance which everyone will be invited to join. Birgit and Anja have been training hard for this, but I have been banned from circulating the video of where they are at so far. I think they are really good. I played them the video of John Travolta and Uma Thurman  dancing in Pulp Fiction, for some extra moves, but I think they are sticking with their current routine!

Oma Kate and Stephan
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Suzanne GibsonIt would be great if you came through Muich next time! I'm afraid we couldn't treat you to the kind of welcome you get at Birgit and J├╝rgen's place, though!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Suzanne GibsonWe would love to see you and we are sure your welcome would be warm, and really that is all that matters.
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1 month ago