Day 2 – Germany: Itzstedt – Priwall – 16 May 2016

It was to be another short hop of a day to ease into our longer trekking days ahead. Cat has another good friend, Birte, who lives in Lübeck. Unfortunately, by the time they connected with each other about a possible visit Birte already had plans to be in Munich that weekend. Such is life. However, Hof duties still called to me, as I had planned a Skype call with my cohorts, Julia & Dror, to talk about the Living-Change course we are holding in late August with Portland State University at The Hof, so the aim was still to get to Lübeck by 3pm to sit and internet for a while. Cat also had some work to finish up for her various engineering consultations in Bolivia and Peru.

IMG_3999And so the day begun. We awoke in our comfy, comfy bed, migrated down stairs and reclined over breakfast with Joschka and Nele for a good hour or two before recognizing we should probably get moving. Now that we weren’t staying in Lübeck that night, we also had to consider that fact that after our work session in town we’d have to find a place to bed down for the night. All the same, Lübeck is only 45 km from Itzstedt down beautiful country roads, so we lazily packed up our bags and said our goodbyes around 12:30 pm before we were off once more.

IMG_4002The first stretch went through a natural preserve laced with occasional trails for walkers, bikers & horseback riders. Eventually I’ll get sick of writing this, but it was wonderfully refreshing. Most of our day was on these bike trails rolling through lightly forested, lightly farmed fields with no cars to be found roaring by. When we did reach the roads again, the cars weren’t quite scarce but certainly not abundant. By the time one had gone off the horizon another would come by.

It was also when the fields upon fields of rapeseed would really begin for us. This crop seems like the corn of Germany, as it’s everywhere and stretch as far out as you can see patched in between strips of forested divides. They are stunning to see, since their bloom is a brilliant yellow flower that exaggerate the faces of the hills.

IMG_4007It took us maybe 3 hours to get within Lübeck’s outer reaches, and then we fell into another park with bike lanes that bordered a small river. We’d ridden without breaking, other than little stops to consult a map or adjust something on the bikes, so when we started going over and under cute little bridges we decided it was time for a sandwich and a lay in the grass. There was a great little spot where we could dangle our legs over the water where we stopped for a good 20 minutes or so.

The rest of our way in to town entered into lanes that ran alongside little garden areas with huts in them. They reminded me of the dashniks that Anastasia talks about in the Russian book series by Vladimir Megré. Anne and Stefan also had talked about having found such a place on the outskirts of Hamburg where they could possibly rent and visit IMG_4012on the weekends with the kids. When I read the Anastasia books I had my own little created image of what these places looked like, but seeing them here, they looked quite peaceful as city weekend retreats.

Soon enough, we made it into town and found a place to get online and have some coffee fairly quickly. We each set up our little offices and conducted our work for the next three hours until the restaurant started to fill with dinner folks and we realized the sun would set soon enough. Some of our office time Cat had spent looking up campgrounds up in the Priwall Peninsula to the north by the sea. It was to be 23 km away and it was around 7pm when we got our bags all strapped on. Of course, we didn’t want to leave Lübeck without a picture by the gates, so we rode down there quickly, snapped a shot, and then off to the north we went.IMG_4013

The ride out of Lübeck was a bit more industrial than the one in. We hit a draw bridge not far out which was just going up. Coming in from sea was a beautiful three mast, old style sailboat which was a bit hilarious to watch as IMG_4016the crow’s nests slid by in front of this massive, hydraulically raised bridge. About an hour later we arrived in the cute little touristy port town, Travemünde. The ferry to Priwall ran at least until 10:45 pm, and we were starving by now, so we stopped into an old style restaurant looking out to the harbor and had some fish.

We caught the last ferry out, racing out of the restaurant on our bikes, bought our tickets and rushed on to the deck of the boat. The wind was blowing hard and cold as we huddled by our bikes in hoodies and windbreakers. Slowly the ferry pulled away from the dock and just as the tail end of the boat cleared it the front end was pulling into the dock of our destination. It was the shortest damned ferry ride I’ve ever been on in my life. Since it was dark out by now we had no idea how far we’d be going, and expected at least a 10 minute ride or so, but the ramp dropped and as soon as we were on we were off again into the night.

According to our maps and research, the campgrounds were 500 meters away from the landing, but we rode a little ways in spotting nothing but nice housing and nature preserves IMG_4026so we stopped and asked a local lady walking her dog. Apparently there had been a camp ground some years ago, but was there no more. Her recommendation was to get on the last ferry going back and get a hotel. We thanked her, rode off, and promptly found a nice spot tucked away in the nature preserve where we could drop a tent for the night.