Riesa – Pretzsch: infinite fens

Look at the map and you will find there is not much between Dresden and Berlin. Villages are tiny, few and far between. We had some trouble finding accommodation, given constraints of route and distance, indeed spent so long browsing German web sites that Google decided I was German. But eventually settled on Pretzsch as our destination.

The landscape is infinite fenland and to be frank: boring. But the bird life was rich. We had great views of black kites, saw black redstart, some kind of osprey, green woodpecker (or may have been grey-headed), and a stork standing on its nest pole.

Early in the day we chanced upon the Frisch Markt, a travelling grocery van, which was lucky, because I don’t think we saw another shop all day. Frisch Markt yielded cheese rolls and apricots, which we ate at a picnic table in a church yard in Wessnig (the Jon Smith school of cycle touring).

The promised thunder storm held off and we rolled into Pretzsch tired but hopeful. The Park Hotel is not a branch of the well known chain, but a local establishment with plenty to learn in the hospitality stakes. Looking pitiful and trying “English?” just got a stern “Nicht” and I was handed a key to the room and lengthy instructions to find the bike garage. The garage was nowhere to be found even after going back for a second round of instructions and searching for best part of an hour, so poor Bob and Paul are outside in a terrible rainstorm chained to a fence. Neither could we find the promised door to the wing containing our room, which is so far from the lobby that the WiFi signal fades in and out according to wind direction.

Not impressed with the Park Hotel, we searched Pretzsch for anywhere else to eat but found nothing but stares from local, not altogether surprising as we trudged around town in heavy rain wearing Indian cotton yoga pants and sandals (light to carry you see). Hence threw ourselves back on the mercy of the Park Hotel for dinner looking like drowned rats. We are now the renowned cycling lunatics of Lower Saxony.

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