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Friday, 14 June 2013

Down up pedals, down up down

The first time you cycle the wrong way down a one-way street in Germany is slightly nerve-wracking but you soon get the hang of it and are soon cycling on pavements and expecting cars to give way to you, like any other German cyclist.

Jena is a lively and bustling town, with a large university and the Carl Zeiss factory; Carl Zeiss started making high quality lenses in the mid-nineteenth century in Jena.  Jena had cyclists of every persuasion; cyclists with bags of shopping over their handlebars, cyclists towing trailers containing dozing young children, cyclists on battered heavy bikes and even cyclists in lycra.  The cycle routes leave the town to the north, south, east and west and we had intended to follow the river Saale route north or south.  However, Jena was one of the towns affected by the recent floods and although it was now hot and sunny, the river cycle paths were still reported to be muddy and so we decided to cycle to Weimar and back, a round trip of 48km of up and down.

Weimar proved to be an excellent choice; it was such a pleasant and pretty town and we learnt about it's place in German culture and history and why a small town in central Germany was chosen as the base for the Weimar Republic after the first world war.  The cycle route was well signed and took us through pretty small villages, entering the Unesco World Heritage Site of Weimar through the wonderful Ilm Park and the popular attraction of Goethe's Garden House.  We never like to over-do the culture and concentrated on finding a good Eis Cafe in Weimar, as it was just the weather to enjoy icecream.

In our last post we mentioned Mini Camping in Karlovy Vary as being small and perfectly formed and this was closely followed by another gem of a camp site in Jena; again small but clearly designed by a camper and a peaceful haven with everything we needed.

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