Saturday, 2 July 2016


Calendar of Labe/Elbe Walk.

In 2012 we walked from Spindleruv Mlyn, in the Czech Republic, to Dresden, Germany.
In 2013 from Dresden to Hamburg.
In 2014 from Hamburg to Cuxhaven, on the North Sea.

More recent walks

In 2015 we walked beside the Leeds to Liverpool Canal with a detour up to Horton in Ribblesdale.

We then walked around the Isle of Wight Coast Path.


In 2016 we plan to walk The Severn Way             Click on the blue links to see our blogs.




Monday, 11 August 2014

Cuxhaven (final). Friday 8 Aug.

After we had walked up to the Kugelbake, via the Information (i) Bureau, we returned to Cuxhaven by the more direct seaside route.We went to the Information office to try and get some idea if my spectacles would have been handed in by someone, possibly to the police. Her assessment was basically that our chances of seeing them ever again were zilch.

As we got back to our hotel at 10am it was still early so we decided to put out rucksacks in a locker at the railway station. We then hired a couple of bicycles and went searching back over our walk where I  had lost my specs. We were now really on the Elberadweg. It was so much easier than walking! However the steering was very light and being used to free wheeling I found the backpeddle brake irksome. It took us no time at all to get back to the area where I lost my spectacles but sadly we never found them. While its a lot easier going on a bicycle you see more by walking.

This last stretch from Hamburg to Cuxhaven was harder than we would have wished with 3 days over 30km. Whilst that would not be too bad in cold weather, we had it quite hot and sunny.  The walk out of Hamburg was much nicer than I expected and we liked Stade and Cuxhaven enough that we would visit both again.

If you are a cyclist and like visiting lots of different towns, cities and villages then the Elberadweg is a great route with excellent accommodation guides.

For walkers it can also be fun and presents a similar sort of challenge to JOGLE. We really only had difficulty finding suitably placed accommodation spots on this year's section of the walk. There is plenty of accommodation but not for overnighters, more holiday homes where people stay a week or more.

Over the last 3 years I have grown attached to the Elbe.We were there when it was born! I will miss its presence.

The last photograph below was taken on our way to the railway station.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Cuxhaven. Friday 8 Aug.

The first 6 photographs shown below were taken on Thursday. The first was taken in the harbour area, on our walk in. This is followed by a photograph of our hotel. The hotel was conveniently located near the harbour, from where the next four photographs were taken later on Thursday evening.

Earlier we had taken a taxi out to where we thought I had lost my spectacles but sadly we did not find them. Strangely I showed the taxi driver a map of exactly where I wanted to go but he couldn't read the map. He required a location name not a point on a map! Took quite a while to negotiate that one

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My Elberadweg map showed the walk ending in the harbour area but we couldn't find any structure worthy of marking the end of a 1250km walk/cycle route. I asked a couple of cyclist, carrying plenty of gear, as I assumed they had come a long way and would know the end point. It turned out they were Danish and had cycled in from Prague in about 2 weeks. They had a different map which showed the route ending about 3km North of Cuxhaven, more toward the North Sea, at a location called the Kugelbake. It is a location, a bit like Farewell Spit in NZ, but with a wooden navigation beacon (bake), instead of a lighthouse, with a ball (Kugel) on top.
 This looked more like a fitting end for the walk and we walked  out there this morning.
Craftily they have defined a reserve area to start at the Kugelbake, heading North along the beach and it has an entrance fee of 3 Euros per person! To get the final photos shown below we had to pay 6 Euros. However  we found no mention anywhere of the Elberdweg. Perhaps we missed it.  You'd think with all the tourist income it must bring in there would be an impressive end structure somewhere like John o'Groats or Land's End.


Friday, 8 August 2014

Otterndorf to Cuxhaven. Thursday 7 Aug.

For the first tim this year we set out in rain and our full wet weather gear. We took a small path from our hotel, "Land und Meer," which lead by a quiet riverside area, boardering an apple orchard, up through an area of new holiday homes to meet the southern shore of the Elbe. (The rain also brought out a relative of my JOGLE snail.)

We reached the Elbe near a campsite and lots of caravans.By this time the rain was easing and I was able to remove my overtrousers.

We were now again on the Deich and had to contend with cattle and many stock gates, but the views were worth it.
Today the route ran much nearer the Elbe, with excellent views of traffic up and down the river. I even managed to dip my boots in the water. 

A slight draw back today was the smell of sheep urine and an excess of dung on the road. At times the urine smell was almost overpowering. We had a similar experience walking Offa's Dyke, possibly the results of overstocking and lack of rain.
The last two photographs show a long range view of Cuxhaven and a view of a scrap metal works, in the docks area, where discovered I had lost my prescription spectacles. More of that in our final Elberadweg blog.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Hoerne to Otterndorf.. Wednesday 6 Aug.

Last night we stayed at the 'Zwei Linden' in Hoerne-Balje. It had a friendly, older style atmosphere with excellent staff in reception and in the restaurant.

Whilst we were enjoying our meal the four women, who we had seen earlier near Freiburg, turned up. We introduced ourselves and had an interesting and enjoyable chat. We thought they were heading for Cuxhaven, like us, but they were heading for Stade. We recommended the Thai restaurant, in the Fishmarkt, where we had had a 

good meal.

We set off late for Otterndorf this morning, ~9:20, and who did we pass first but the 4 women we chatted to yesterday. I just managed to catch them on my cell phone camera as they shot by.

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We were told at the hotel that the Sperrwerk bridge opened at 10:00 and we headed in that direction, initially retracing the end of yesterdays walk. Of the 3 shots below the first was a general view from the Deich. If you look carefully you can see a tanker on the Elbe. The second shot is a view of one of the many wind farms we passed on our trip. The Germans seem to have embraced wind farms much more readily than Britain or NZ. The final sot of the 3 is a view of Shiel on the Sperrwerk bridge. It opened shortly after 10:00 
am.
 The route then took a circuitous path south around a water feature near Neuhaus, which was a very scenic area, before we turned north again to the Deich and its sheep. The sheep are essential for keeping the grass at a reasonable length. This trip  the sheep have not been very vocal, but a group this morning replied vigorously to my tentative "Baa Barr?". They sounded a bit like a welcoming fan club.
When we returned to the Deich, again heading west we decided to walk along the top of the Deich. The grass was short, thanks to the sheep/cows, but about every 100 metres there was a stock gate we had to get through. Some were unlocked but many were not and had electric fences either side to add to our problems. We eventually dropped down from the Deich just before joining a very beautiful canal stretch which we  follwed into Ottrrndorf. A very new town by the look of it.

We tried a side track into Belum, to get something to eat but nothing was open so we really enjoyed our coffee and cake at a bakery in Otterdorf when we finally reached there around 3:30pm. Only 20km today and even less to Cuxhaven tomorrow.

Wischafen to Hoerne. Tuesday 5 Aug.

The Ferryhouse does a very good breakfast but l am trying to lose weight. Yesterday we got scrambled egg, among lots and lots of other things. We had to leave it. This morning I looked up the german for scrambled egg on my cell phone and practised saying "we don't want any scramble egg this morning" into it.
The Google, english voice translation came back "we don't want a whore today thank you".No wonder I've been getting some funny looks!

It was cool and overcast this morning, great for walking, when we set out again on the "Pilger Way" towards the Gluckstadt ferry. There were lots of cows in the way, on top of the deich, like this one we saw yesterday.

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We eventually reached untrodden territority and headed off beside the deich to Freiburg. The photovshows Shiel dealing with one of the interesting gates along the way.
The next two photographs give you some idea what it's like walking/cycling either side of the deich. One of the advantages you have as a walker is that you can sometimes walk along thr top of the deich where the view is better.
The next photo gives you some idea of the beautiful houses in the area, it is followed by a shot taken outside a bakery/cafe in Freiberg. A very pleasant place to stop for a break.
Whilst in the cafe four female cyclist passed by on the road and we heard them mention the town for which we we heading. We saw them again when they passed us going north, below. More about them later.
The next shot shows a typicsl view of what you can see from the top of the deich.Just to the left, at the base of the tower is whatvlooks like a power station at the far side of the Elbe.

By this time it was heating up as we finally turned from heading almost due north to due west. The nature of the deich roadway changed from tarseal to a concrete main paved way surrounded by thousands and thousands of concrete blocks. This path goes for miles and miles and is better for walking on. A lot cooler. There was also quite a breeze on this part of the walk and wind turbines visible in every directionvmaking electricity. 

We eventually turned south, away from the Elbe, heading to our hotel near Balje,
 passing massive corn fields on both side of the road, some being harvested as we passed. It was a long day, ~30km and we were both very pleased to reach the hotel.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Rest day Wischafen. Monday 4 Aug.

We stayed in the Ferryhouse at Wischafen, yesterday, from where we we able to see the Sperrwerk bridge we had been unable to cross, very frustrating. We had our evening meal in the restaurant and I've posted a picture, taken in the restaurant, for my sister. She will see a black bird on it which looks very much like the ones that live opposite her house. Are we being followed? Is it an NSA drone ? :)

For 'our day off' we decided to walk, via the northerni side of the Sper
Trwerk bridge, to the Wischsfen-Gluckstadt ferry. There is a 'pilger way' which passes very nearby and goes exactly in the idirection we wanted. Anyone walking from the direction of Gluckstadt to stay at the Ferryhouse hotel should look it out. It saves quite a bit of road walking and has some interesting, if dangerous looking, self closing  gates.
The path leads eventually to the northern side of the Sperrwerk bridge and I have posted a picture of Shiel on the northern side.
After the Sperrwerk we crossed the road to the cafe at the Wischafen side of the ferry. My JOGLE friends might find the name interesting, for a cafe in Germany.
We then boarded the ferry, only 2 Euro each and headed to Gluckstadt. The ferries are very, very frequent and you will probably see another 2 or 3 at various times in your crossing. 
On arriving at the Gluckstadt side, if on foot, you have about a 40 minute walk to the centre of The town. On the way we passed some of the most 'unphased' sheep we have ever seen. Cars doing 40km/hr pased literally within inches of them and they didn't flinch. 
 Gluckstadt is a small town but it has a fantastic bakery on the square. Well worth a visit!  It also has an interesting looking church, but sadly this was not open when we were there.
One the way back to Wischafen we passed another ferry heading to Gluckstadt and on approaching Wischafen we could still see the Sperrwerk bridge was open and the same sign was still in evidence. For the next weekend perhaps?