Germany - France
June 2o24

Lutherstadt Wittenberg - Bernberg (Saale) 13 June 2024
80 km  / 50 ml

A short ride today.  For a reason.  I am to camp tonight, and I wanted to make sure that I got to the camping ground in Bernberg by mid-afternoon in order to get myself settled in, and if the weather proved to be inclement, then I still would have time to ditch the camping and find a hotel.  The weather is fine, improving throughout the day, and so I am camping.  The camping ground is ganz Deutsch, all organised and with all the facilities you could want - efficient check in girl, hot showers, super clean toilets, all the camper vans pointing in the same direction, a very nice eating place with good food and beer.  And some sun.  What more could a man want for 14 euro for the bit of ground on which my tent is pitched ?

Back to last night and Wittenberg . I’ve discovered that Marta was not Luther’s wife, that was Katerina, an ex nun.  You remember what Father Jack said in Craggy Island when he entered a room where there were nuns present ?  “Nuns, nuns !  Retreat, retreat… !”  Anyhow, Luther married Katerina, the ex-nun, and was apparently happy.  In fact, serendipitously, I noted that there is a special weekend coming up in Wittenberg when, amongst other things, they are remembering Luther’s marriage.  Not sure why.  Wittenberg is a bit like the Lutheran Rome, and there was evidence of people, pilgrims even, who were there because of their Lutheran connections.  I’m sure I detected some earnest looking and sounding Nordern Eylanders, which isn’t a surprise because they tend to take religioun seriously in NI.  Perhaps a bit too seriously.  On all sides.  They were getting in to a German Bundeswehr / Army bus, which is an odd connection.  I’m not sure what was going on.  Oh, Marta, I’ve learned, rather than being Luther’s wife was a ‘close associate.’  Whatever that means.  I was taught at school by the Catholic priests that Luther, who had been a Catholic monk, suffered from chronic constipation, and spending too many hours in the privy straining led to him to thinking too much and coming up with his theses of objection to the Catholic Church.  I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but I do like the constipation story.  Maybe Katerina soothed things for him and he was bit  more fluid thereafter. 

Still on the toilet theme, I’d forgotten that German toilets often have inspection ledges.  Yes !  It’s a bit of a shock to be confronted with your business first thing in the morning.  Apparently, it was pretty near universal in German toilets until recently, because Germans eat a lot of pork, and in past times pigs carried many parasites etc, so it was quite common for humans to carry those things, worms etc.  Hence the inspection panel.  So, I’ve been told.  I think things have improved, with modern hygiene, and proper cooking of meat.  I guess toilet culture varies all over the world.  I think those all singing, all dancing, Japanese toilets which squirt warm water and warm air up your jacksie are a bit odd.  Proximate occasion of sin, if you ask me.

My ride today was pleasant, 95 % along dedicated bicycle paths, some of it following the Elbe / Labe cycle route, including a lovely little ferry across the Elbe, which I remember from some years ago. On that occasion a very nice German called Axel bought my ferry ticket as a welcome to Germany.  All along that part of the Elbe are follies and faux Grecian temples built by some prince who had a thing during the Romantic times, 18th century sometime.  Little oases of peace.  The weather improved through the ride and the chilly breeze that has dominated the last couple of days dissipated, and this evening is quite sunny and balmy.  Good for camping !  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Berlin-Lutherstadt  :   Lutherstadt - Bernberg. :   Bernberg - Blankenberg  :  Blankenberg - Einbeck  :  Einbeck - Kassel  : 

Kassel - Kirchheim  :  Kirchheim - Marburg  :  Kirchheim - Limberg/Diez  :  Limberg/Diez - Mainz  :  Mainz - Koblenz  :

Koblenz - Krov  :  Krov - Remich  :  Remich - Verdun  Verdun : Verdun - Reims  :  Reims - Amiens  :  Amiens - Arras

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