Today was an easy 43km ride along good bike paths – from Gera to Altenburg. The countryside is definitely getting flatter and the bike paths easier to follow.
We rode through Collis, Ronneburg (where we stopped to photograph the castle), Posterstein, Schmolln and Saara.
We arrived early in Altenburg just after 11am – to find the town center full of people and half of them in running gear. It was a Saturday and the Altenburg City Marathon was in progress. There were also lots of children who had evidently taken part, with medals around their necks. And adults still running on the course. The finish was in the town market square in front of the church – there was a lot of noise – PA systems and live music.
We stopped at a busy outdoor seafood cafe and had some fish sandwiches and a beer. After a stop at tourist info, we decided to ride around the town and explore a bit. We ended up doing another 10km around town. It was a little frustrating as we kept on crossing paths with the runners. There is a big lake with a little island (with an animal park) in the middle.
There is also a castle on the hill, but we couldn’t get close to it with our bicycles (because of stairs). The solar farm in the city suburbs was also interesting – the marathon went right past it too.
Later in the evening we walked around the town some more. Although it is very nice in the center and there are lots of well preserved old buildings, we also noticed many crumbling, abandoned old buildings – unusual for Germany. It looks as though there are economic issues here, maybe people are leaving the area and where there is no demand for these buildings they are no longer maintained.