Meandering in Mecklenberg

16-17/7/16. Saturday dawned bright and sunny in contrast to the previous two days – enough so to tempt Stephen into the lake for a swim first thing. The water was beautifully clear and surprisingly warm. (I guess our perceptions of the temperature of Northern European lakes is coloured by those in the Alps which are, in essence, recently melted snow.)

The ride again took us through forested areas mostly along quiet country roads although there was one section where we cut a corner (following an alternative section of the official Berlin-Usedom route) which was on forest tracks which were OK to start off with but deteriorated into stretches of sand which are pretty much impossible to cycle through, at least with big loads like ours. The countryside also became more undulating – not really hilly but definitely more “up and down” than around Berlin – enough to encourage Christine to get her recommended amount of walking for the day!

The small numbers of touring cyclists that we saw in NZ, Australia and Japan had conditioned our perceptions so we have been astonished by how many we have seen here – we probably see twice as many in one day as we saw in 7 months in those 3 countries! They come in all shapes, sizes and ages – for example one of the tents nearby has a young couple with a baby of about 9 months while another has a couple well into their 70s. It is good to feel “normal” again.

While on a toilet/coffee stop we had a most enjoyable conversation with two couples a few years older than us – at least until they raised the subject of Brexit which is a topic everybody wants to discuss when they discover we are British. They generally seem to be sad and uncomprehending about the decision. Just like us two then!

Cycling alongside the two Uckersee lakes (Upper and Lower) we reached the little town of Prenzlau where the campsite for which we were aiming was located on the northern shore of the lower lake. After setting up the tent we wandered into town to find church service times for Christine for the next day. While looking inside the first church we came to a man came over and offered to explain some of the history. Particularly noteworthy was the “altar pulpit” – something we had never seen before in which the pulpit was located directly above and an integral part of the altar.

Another church was huge – more like a small cathedral. Neither of these two had a service on Sunday as they shared a “rota” with the third protestant church in town and the only service was at 3 pm. Catholic mass was at a more conventional 9.00 am so that was where Christine went.

The rest of the morning was spent lurking around the station and tourist information office on time-limited free wifi, downloading podcasts and other online activities for the first time since leaving Charlotte in Berlin. One of Germany’s few failings, compared with the previous countries we have visited, is a lack of wifi at campsites! (But what are British ones like?)

In the afternoon we went our separate ways for a while, Christine getting in her walking kilometres and Stephen (inevitably) going for a bike ride around the lake which took him over 9,000 km for our jaunt around the world.

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