»Wo geht’s hier zur Oder-Neiße-Linie?« III

The Oder near Frankfurt

The Oder near Frankfurt

As the last trip from Zittau to Frankfurt (Oder) (german language posting) was interrupted by bad weather conditions, I went to Frankfurt again to complete the trip. The trains partly were well crowded. In Sangerhausen the next train was delayed by half an hour, and the train in Magdeburg didn’t wait for 5 minutes, so I (and others) lost an hour waiting for the next one. Fortunately I left Karlsruhe quite early, so the delay did not show any impact.

This is the grave (or at least a memorial) of Wilhelm Sauer sited in the »Kleist Park«. It was one of his instruments which I abused to learn playing the pipe organ:

Sauer Memorial in Frankfurt (O)

Sauer Memorial in Frankfurt (O)

The german-polish university named a building after Marion Gräfin Dönhoff, an influential journalist I often read.

Dönhoff Building Frankfurt (O)

Dönhoff Building Frankfurt (O)

From Frankfurt to Hohenwutzen

Leaving Frankfurt, the cycleway does not follow the Oder, but some quiet road. In Lebus it joins the Oder again:

The church of Lebus

The church of Lebus

From now on there was a little wind just from the right direction, but its direction changed soon. The planned destination for today was Küstrin (Kostrzyn nad Odra in polish language). Its medieval center was sited on an island of the Oder in former times, but was completely distroyed at the end of ww2:

The island of Küstrin

The island of Küstrin

When leaving the island in direction to Poland, one first passes the bridge over the Oder and after the bridge the ancient fortress. It is segregated from Kostrzyn by the Warthe river (Warta in polish language), which one needs to pass via a further bridge to get to Kostrzyn:

The Küstrin Fortress, as seen from the old town distroyed during ww2

The Küstrin Fortress, as seen from the old town distroyed during ww2

The entrance, called »Berlin Gate« (Berliner Tor):

Küstrin Fortress, »Berlin Gate«

Küstrin Fortress, »Berlin Gate«

Originally I planned to stay in Kostrzyn overnight. As I didn’t find it that interesting, I decided to append another 20km, which finally turned into 60 additional kilometers. Though there was some significant counter wind, it was just fun to follow the narrow track on top of the dike with its perfect surface – kilometer by kilometer. I stopped in Hohenwutzen after a total of 120 kilometers instead of the planned 60. AFAIR this was the longest distance I ever passed by bike during one single day.

I was surprised someone knew I came along with an Otterbox :) :

Otter warning sign

Otter warning sign

Beavers seem to exist in this region also:

Trees cut by beavers

Trees cut by beavers

What’s really outstanding while riding along the Oder is the landscape, the animals and especially the numerous kinds of birds.

Landscape of the Oder valley

Landscape of the Oder valley

Here’s the perfect supper after such an intense day. That’s Grey Partridge stuffed with roe deer, Red Cabbage (yes, germans like Kraut :) ), and Thüringer Aschklöße:

Grey Partridge stuffed with roe deer, red cabbage, and Thüringer Aschklöße

Grey Partridge stuffed with roe deer, red cabbage, and Thüringer Aschklöße

BTW: While I know my english skills are rather poor, I dislike it when official signs aren’t written in correct german language:

Genitive case ignored (should read as »Hochwasserschutzgebietes«)

Genitive case ignored (should read as »Hochwasserschutzgebietes«)

From Hohenwutzen to Penkun

A sunny day started with a light wind just from the right direction, so riding the bike was plain fun. Except for the chainglider, which was heavily rattling since yesterday. After some chain lubrification it did a perfect job again.

In Hohensaaten, two canals are joining separated by a small lock. The Oder-Havel-Kanal in direction to the Havel is heading west, while the Friedrichsthaler Wasserstraße is heading North, parallel to the Oder.

A second lock allows ships to reach the Oder. This was the first time I’ve seen a bigger ship, a polish freighter:

Near Lunow I took the alternative route which follows the Oder. Close to the “Eiswachhaus” Stützkow, the surface changes to less convenient concrete boards which I wanted to avoid. Unfortunately the nearby official route was barred, so leaving the alternative was not an option.

A couple of kilometers later, shortly before reaching Schwedt, there was another surprise. Without any announcement the alternative cycleway was barred as well, due to some bomb disposal. This led to some inconvenient deviation through the grass and sand of the nearby Oder. The rest of this section again led over evil concrete boards. I guess those are acceptable using a bike with full suspension. But guess what my LCR is lacking. This was the day I decided to purchase a suspension kit immediately after the trip:

Schwedt (Oder) is sited close to the Hohensaaten-Friedrichstaler Wasserstraße, but its name mentions the Oder instead anyway. It is saturday afternoon, shortly past 1PM. The inner city is rather dead. Only a few cafes are open, and only a couple of people are crossing the streets.

Marienkirche Schwedt (Oder)

Marienkirche Schwedt (Oder)

Courthouse in Schwedt (Oder)

Courthouse in Schwedt (Oder)

Though Schwedt was the planned destination for today, I dropped it in favour of Penkun due to yesterday’s efforts. Shortly after leaving, where the »Schwedter Querfahrt« connects the Hohensaaten-Friedrichstaler Wasserstraße and the Oder, one enters the (inter)national park of the lower valley of the Oder:

Soon the cycleway partly crosses some hilly woods:

In Friedrichstal, the Welse (Havel-Oder-Wasserstraße) enters the western Oder, which forms the border between Germany and Poland:

The Welse joining the Oder near Friedrichtsthal

The Welse joining the Oder near Friedrichtsthal

This means that the cycleway is not passing the nearby bifurcation which splits the Oder into the western and the eastern part. Again, the cycleway on top of the dike is just marvellous:

Approaching Gartz

Approaching Gartz

Obviously there was a bridge in former times.

Bridge in Gartz distroyed during ww2

Bridge in Gartz distroyed during ww2

My left knee is causing me some trouble, which I won’t get rid of before returning home.

In Mescherin it’s time to say good bye, as the route finally leaves the Oder:

Church in Mescherin

Church in Mescherin

Last image of the Oder

Last image of the Oder

It is now getting a bit hilly, leading over some evil concrete boards, some cobblestone roads. This section shows no or only a few signs indicating the right way:

Later minor roads or separated lanes along primary roads can be found as a reward:

Mirabelle plums inviting for a short rest:

Near Penkun there’s an ancient wind mill in Storkow, but it was too late to drop by. In Penkun there’s a nice lake which can be used for swimming, and an “open air” museum showing some replicas of shelters which have been used by early slavic peoples. Unfortunately I left the next morning before it opened. The inner village hosts an old castle:

Penkun Castle

Penkun Castle

From Penkun to Löcknitz

My left knee is complaining a lot, and the forecast predicts some strong rain this afternoon. I decide for a very short trip to Löcknitz only.

At the end of the village of Lebehn this house is sited:

Some minor roads lead the way to Löcknitz. A couple of meters before reaching it, the route uses a path along a lake where one can find an elder oak:

Oak near Löcknitz

Oak near Löcknitz

Löcknitz was build around an old castle, which partially still exists:

Castle in Löcknitz

Castle in Löcknitz

The rain which was expected during afternoon arrives in the evening hours. Though I’m not a big fan of soccer, the weather allowed me to watch TV.
Congratulations to the japanese women who win the soccer world cup this evening. Congratulations to the US team for doing a good job as well.

What I notice once again is the fact that the award ceremony is a relatively brief mass processing.

From Löcknitz to Ueckermünde

In the morning hours the sky still looked a bit rainy, but later the amount of blue (not black) holes was raising. Soon it became a sunny though cool day. Partly the route follows an abandoned and dismantled railway through some coniferous woods, but despite the lazy cycling my knee started complaining again.

A little later one approaches the Stettiner Haff:

Finally I reach Ueckermünde, today’s destination:

Though it is a nice town, I dislike the cheap populist ads of the NPD, a far right German nationalist party. During the election in 2009 they gained 3 out of 25 seats of the local parliament:

From Ueckermünde to Wolgast

The official Oder-Neisse cycleroute ends in Ueckermünde. But as the Baltic sea is that close, there was no excuse not to visit it.

A boat brings people and bikes from Ueckermünde to Kamminke at 8:10 AM. The duration of the trip is about 80 minutes, the price is about 19:50€ and the speed of the boat is about 17 kilometers per hour. That’s not exactly cheap and I guess the company is making good money, but the trip was fun anyway:

Leaving Ueckermünde by boat

Leaving Ueckermünde by boat

After leaving the boat, I followed the cycleway to ?winouj?cie (Swinemünde in german):

?winouj?cie harbour

?winouj?cie harbour

I didn’t spend much time there but went to Ahlbeck immediately. From Ahlbeck it is easy to follow the coastline of the Usedom island to Heringsdorf and Bansin. The cycleway first follows the promenade for a couple of kilometers. Frankly, that’s not the kind of holiday I’d like to spend:

Then it follows some paths through the rather hilly woods:

Finally I left the coastline in Zinnowitz and headed to Wolgast, which is sited at the Peene:

A couple of nice buildings can be found in the city:

Additionally the harbour is worth a visit. It was not late yet and I originally intended to end the trip in Greifswald, but my knee didn’t support this plan. Additionally the forecast announced several rainy days ahead, so the tour ends after less than 400 kilometers with some fresh baltic sea food :) .

Software used

The “one and only” electronic device I used was the Nokia N900 smartphone.

I used MoNav for tracklogging, searching for addresses and let it do the routing whenever I did not follow the official Oder-Neisse-Cycleway. It also was very useful to calculate the length of distamces to some destinations.

Mappero was useful to display the downloaded route on top of a map – a feature MoNav still is missing. Additionally it was very useful to serch POIs in inner cities – a second feature where MoNav can learn a lot.

To get a clue about next day’s weather, I used omweather, which retreives its information from weather.com.

Evopedia was useful to search for useful information independently from the availability of an internet connection.

All the rest like cell phone, note taking, rss reading, waypoint catching and the like.

To be honest, I have no clue how I survived the last 4 decades without a smartphone. Though Maemo is a dead platform, the N900 is almost the perfect companion while riding the bike.

Openstreetmap

This trip had been less fun without OSM data for MoNav and Mappero. Plus, I fund some missing or incompletely mapped details I have now fixed. But admittedly, my role transmogrified of an addicted mapper back in 2006 to a software developer who now works more on the data consumer side.

Hotel recommendations

Locating good hotels beforehand is quite difficult. Here are some locations I can recommend:

  • Hohenwutzen: Hotel »Fährbuhne«, about 50€
  • Löcknitz: Hotel »Haus am See«, about 55€, including free entry to the adjacent swimming lake
  • Ueckermünde: »Hotel am Markt«, small room about 59€

That’s not exactly cheap, but “you get what you pay for” :) .

The trip