Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 51: to Neuzelle (86; 3291)

Friendly World Cup watching with my host and a Czech couple last night (Chile vs Brazil, went down to the final penalty). Then v interesting conversation with my hostess over a delicious farmhouse breakfast this morning. I learnt that the stately park I had been admiring so much yesterday was designed by a local Anglophile nobleman, who'd been and studied how the English made them. And that the two schlosses were completely flattened during WW2 when the Russians and Germans fought heavily on this border, and rebuilt only after German reunification.  Best of all, that they (the guesthouse owners) used to keep sheep but had too many problems with wolves! Good to know when you've just spent the night in a tent.

Most of the day was along a dyke through lovely water meadows, punctuated with small villages and a strong head/side/tailwind as the river wound its way along. This was lovely cycling in the warm morning as I raced the thunderclouds that were nipping at my heels.

They caught up with me as I lunched. With a 50 zloty note burning a hole in my pocket I was determined to get a Polish-side meal and did so in Gubin/Guben in the company of a German publisher / army officer who grew up there. The town is now mostly unified but he remembers of course when the bridge was impassable. So strange as always to remember that these events really happened in what is now such a peaceful landscape.

I had an increasingly wet afternoon ahead but only about 25k to go so just went for it, head down. My destination was the tourist village (brewery & kloisters) of Neuzelle. There was a campsite marked but when I got there it was deserted apart from one angry hippy type who I think was a guest, three billy goats, and some peacocks. The attached restaurant was also closed and deserted. Moreover it looked like a madhouse. I rudely used their loo and left. Once again tourist info to the rescue: they set me up with a funny little holiday flat. Given how wet I am, I'm not sad to be in the dry tonight and for only 24 euros. The greater cost however is in mossie bites: taking a wrong turn on the way to find it I suddenly looked down and both legs were covered with mossies getting stuck in. Horrible and I itch like crazy now. The flat has netted windows, I'm delighted to note, so I guess they may be a local speciality.

I'm feeling conflicted about where I go from here. On the one hand I am having such a great trip and don't want it to stop. On the other hand, cycle touring will always be there (now I know how great it is) and I am longing not to miss other 'events'. I can't square the circles of days available, miles to be covered, and where friends are and when. 

Clearly another beer needed!

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