Today we cycled for 60km from Münchberg to Blankenstein.
We were expecting showers this morning and a thunderstorm was forecast in the afternoon at 2pm, so we planned a shorter ride again.
The showers never eventuated. It was cool the whole day. We had periods of strong winds and dark bulbous clouds overhead, interspersed with sunshine. Then a shock hailstorm within a kilometer from our accommodation – we quickly rode down the road to the nearest house – luckily it was not too far, went through their gate and sheltered under a car port. The whole thing was over in about five minutes and the sun was already out when we got to our accommodation.
The ride today was all along the Saale River Cycleway, and we had a good brochure from tourist info with the distances and key towns. We passed through Schwarchenbach, Oberkotzau, Hof (the biggest town), Saalenstein, Lamitz, Hirschberg, Rudolphstein and finally Blankenstein.
The path varied from rougher unpaved stretches through forests or over farmland, to smooth stretches on roads (without too much traffic). The country-side is quite hilly, and we even pushed once or twice (near Rudolphstein).
The rear gear cassette on Jenny’s bike is slipping in the lowest gear, so she is riding without the very lowest gear.
Kris noticed that his right pedal has cracked today and he is currently holding it together with tape.
We missed a cycle route sign just after Hof and found ourselves riding through a sewage plant – sorry no photos were taken. Surprisingly it didn’t smell that bad. A friendly worker opened the a gate for us so we could get back onto the cycle path without backtracking.
Today we are in Thuringen, having left Bavaria behind. We are in the area of the former border between East and West Germany.
Our accommodation is in a nice small cafe and pension – I found it on Bed and Bike – a website for accommodation providers who focus on cyclists. They have to meet certain bicycle friendly criteria to be listed.
No one was around when we arrived, but a sign said the cafe opened at 2pm. We walked back down to the town while we waited to the tourist information office, and had a Weizenbier at the small cafe next door, before walking back. The town is very small – not much else in it apart from a supermarket. The main tourist attraction in the town is the Rennsteig, one of Germany’s oldest hiking trails. The people at the cafe told us that it has been very quiet because the weather has not been so good for tramping.
By the time we got back the cafe was open and they welcomed us in – very friendly people and a lovely large room. We ate at the pension in the evening – home made goulash with dumplings and sauerkraut – with more beer – very satisfying.