Zeven to Bad-bremsteht
“n another campsite and there is loud “Oktoberfest” music playing from somewhere in vicinity. It’s damp, and I’m sitting in a lean-to sheltered from the spitting rain. I seem to be on a regular bike-touring path as there is a old cycling dutch couple on the pitch next to mine, and a french couple on the opposite side. The weather is supposed to be improved on Tuesday.
I woke this morning in my tent in Zeven at around 5am, then dozed until about 7am and planned my breakfast, I didn’t have much, just some bread, peanut butter and coffee. I packed my stuff up and left the camp ground. I wanted to use their WIFI to download the map, but it was €5 euro for an hour, or €10 for a day, so I didn’t do that. Fortunately the map I needed was quite small (161mb) so I downloaded it on my phones 3G.
I was heading to Hamburg, but I decided to plan a bit further ahead and got some google directions to the Danish border (~300km away). Surprisingly it did not suggest going through Hamburg, and the two routes it gave me seemed less than optimal, one of them did however go over the river Elbe. The problem with the route is that Hamburg is slightly out of the way due to the river cutting so far into the land, the google directions showed that there was a ferry crossing. I could avoid Hamburg altogether and save both time and 20km of distance. But my first stop was to be Buxtehude and I decided to delay my decision until then.
I managed to stay on a minor road which cut a pretty straight line to Buxtehude and as usual had a good cycle path.
My starting point on this tour was Bielefeld, famously known in Germany as the “Town that does not exist” - a rumour started in a usenet group on the internet in the 90s. Chancellor Angela Merkel even alluded to it once after giving a speech there “.. if it exists at all … “, “I had the impression I was there…”.
Buxtehude has a similar association, it is known as the “Fairytale capital of the world” due to a Brothers Grimm fairy tale being set there, and therefore it is sometimes claimed that it “doesn’t exist”.
Brand new jet
I stopped in the town for a cake and a coffee, there was a school band (or at least a group of children) playing songs such as “Greensleeves”, it was very busy. I checked my map and planned my route. I was in the center which is already 2 past the road I wanted to be on to Hamburg, and there was a ferry crossing immediately north, so I would try the ferry.
I cycled on a road which ran adjacent to a canal and soon I was close the ferry port. I rode over a bridge, and only realised 2km later, that the ferry was supposed to be at the bridge I passed, but I could see no signs there, I didn’t want to go back and there was another crossing further down. So I continued.
Another feature of Buxtehude is that it houses a division of Airbus (the airplane manufacturer). I encountered their huge facility on the ride to the ferry and rode around it. I could see brand new jets as if they had just been unpacked, almost as if they were wrapped in cling-film.
The ferry port was in the town/village of Finkenweder. I asked a lady on a bicycle where the ferry was she looked non-plussed and gave me directions.
At the ferry port I searched and found the ferry and rode down to it, the ferry was there and gangway was down, but it was beeping, it was saying “Stand back” - it was about to close, I hesitated and then rode straight into the boat over the imminently closing platform amid some gasps from the passengers (I didn’t know how often they ran so didn’t want to miss it).
The ferry was part of the public transport system, and there was a ticket machine board, I payed €1.60 for the multi-stop crossing and got off at the first stop on the other side where I sat down and had a can of baked beans and the small piece of remaining bread from breakfast.
Following the marked route on my map I travelled down the promenade until there was a beach and to my right a path that said “No Cycling”. Hmm. What to do, I didn’t want to go back. The main road was above me and could be accessed by the path and about 4 flights of stairs. I decided to carry my bike up the stairs, the bike is heavy, but I find if I grip the frame under the chain I can carry it up stairs without breaking my back.
For the next hour I threaded my way through dreary suburbia, networks of small roads having constantly to refer to my GPS in order to reach the main road and resume my journey.
Having downloaded the map in the morning, I had a good overview of where campsites and hostels could be located. The road went pretty much straight north and the first potential stop was Bad-Bremsteht, the next was Neuminster a further 18km, but the campsite was out of the way.
With some luck I should be able to get to Flensburg tomorrow, which is near the border to Denmark, and depending on accommodation options, possibly pass over to Denmark.
Flat terrain, forest and fields