One of my correspondents has questioned my mileage. Now, I do wonder what autistic and anal individual would bother to do that, and I leave you to imagine. The only explanation that I can give to his scepticism (and yes, it is a he !) is that he has been putting a search in on Google maps for as the crow flies. My ride follows various river bends and up and down Dale (not that there are many Dales here, it is rather flat) of the Elberadweg route, and that, let me tell you, adds many miles to the route between start and finish points. If anything I probably underestimate the real mileage, because I spend quite a bit of time getting lost and having to backtrack etc. My map reading was never good. As they never ceased to tell me when I was at Cranwell. Did I bother then, and do I bother now ? So there ! This individual will be having piglets when I post about cycling the Main later on, because the mileage from Bayreuth to Frankfurt in a direct line will be half of what it will be following the various oxbow bends in the Main. As Father Deasy, my geography teacher, taught me all those years ago, when a river meanders in such a way it is a sign that it is an ancient river that has scoured out its path over thousands of years.
Havelburg to Magdeburg was, well, more Elbe and lots of flood defences and dykes, and lots of little villages. Now that I am definitely in deepest darkest old East Germany, it is noticeable how less developed and prosperous looking is this part of Germany, even after 30 years plus of reunification. Magdeburg was a bit scruffy. Another thing I’ve noticed is that people of a certain age and generation in this bit of Germany, probably 50 and above, do not have any English whereas anybody younger speaks very good English. I guess the 50 and above crowd were taught Russian at school. Also, the older generation are more brusque and rude, especially those in shops. You can imagine how brusque and rude they must be, coming from someone like me who does a good line in brusque and rude ! Or so I’m told ! I kept coming across another cyclist as I cycled along - we’d run in to each other at ferry places across the Elbe - and he told me that the present day Germans of the old east are not a happy bunch and feel very much second class citizens, looked down upon by their western brothers / sisters. I guess it will take a few generations to fully ‘level up’, to use the Boris phrase. I do wonder if that is why Yorkshire people are so direct, aka brusque and rude ? I think I prefer Germany further west and south. More settled, more comfortable, more prosperous, and a bit more at ease with themselves.