Days 76-78 of my cycling journey – July 16-18, 2022
Cycling on a lovely day along the pretty rivers Weser and Werra and their surrounding hills, with a tailwind most of the time, and quaint little towns and villages to see made this the best cycling day of the journey so far. I cycled for 123 km from Bodenwerder to Blickershausen and every centimetre of it was pure bliss. Staying in Blickershausen for two additional days gave me rest and the opportunity to see old friends.
Already when leaving the campground in Bodenwerder I noticed that it will be a special day. The sun was shining, the wind came from a north-westerly direction and the temperatures were a balmy 25 degrees Celsius. The countryside was simply stunning. The river Weser was meandering through hills and sand-limestone cliffs with dramatic views. The forests covering the hills were emitting a whole palette of variations of green while the fields, close to harvest time now, radiated in the most intense yellow and ochre variants. The Weser cycle path was smooth and for long stretches covered by the arching branches of broad leaf trees which provided shade during the latter hours of the day when the temperatures were rising close to 30 C. Irrespective of my location during the day, there were many cyclists on the Weser cycle path because it was a beautiful Saturday, and many people took the opportunity to cycle a bit in this beautiful weather and the magnificent setting.
Like in a trance I took it all in: the views, the colours, the smell of ripe wheat and barley, and the smiles of all the people passing me on their bikes. The mood of the cyclists was remarkable, I saw faces which were smiling constantly, and cyclists were greeting each other in the most polite and friendly ways. I guess in a setting like that with a weather as pleasant it is difficult not to find a smiling face. The bliss also caused me to cycle very fast, so fast that I passed many people on their e-bikes with my truck of a bicycle. On several occasions I crossed the river, just for the fun of it, on very small ferries which were powered by the flow of the river. Castles on the hilltops and little rest areas invited to stop, take a bite and let the beauty of this landscape sink in.
The villages and little towns were beautiful. Bad Karlshafen with its almost Mediterranean flair and old city was a sight to behold. The most beautiful of them all came almost at the end of the day: Hann. Münden (Hannoversch Münden). Located at the confluence of the rivers Fulda and Werra, which then form the river Weser, the old city has the most beautiful and complete ensemble of half-timbered house architecture I have ever seen. Alexander von Humboldt is credited with saying that it is one of the seven most beautiful cities in the world, but I say it is one of the five most beautiful cities in Europe. Admittedly small, but of such gorgeousness that you just want to sit in one of the small cafes and admire the beauty of the houses and the complexity of the street views. A fun historical fact is that in 1776 Hann. Münden served as the staging ground for the transport of 20 000 soldiers which were “rented” to King George III in order to fight in the American Independence War on the British side.
I continued along the river Werra and soon came to a place where an old friend waited for me with his e-powered tricycle. Together we cycled to a nice restaurant to start our two days of talking and bringing each other up to date on our developments and life experiences. Two rest days gave me the possibility to meet old friends from around the area, where I have spent nearly eight years of my life. Nostalgia set in, but all in all I enjoyed visiting but was also happy of having left it when I did. Two days of talking and meeting old friends was a welcome diversion from my otherwise rather solitary daily life as a long-distance cyclist.