High contrast of cycling days yesterday and today. Yesterday was hot and humid, with a lot of headwind and (for me) flare ups of knee and back pain. We had planned to cycle to Wittenberge, which would have been around 100km from Bleckede, but bailed out at Dömitz where we found an Apotheke which supplied a knee support, a lovely bed and breakfast in a former brewery and an old fortress which is being restored and turned into a museum.

Today has been comfortably warm, mercifully less humid and still windy, but the knee support has done its job. This area around the Elbe is a nature reserve, and the scenery today was just stunning. We are spending the night in a castle in Rühstädt, which turns out to be the ‘stork village’ in Germany because there are so many nesting pairs. We saw some storks on top of a chimney in Dömitz yesterday, and several in a field as we approached the village today. Off into the village for dinner shortly and hope to spot more.

Although my saltire disappeared from my bike in Bremen*, we still wind up having conversations about Scotland everywhere we go. The owner of the cafe where we stopped for morning coffee has visited Scotland a couple of times, including going to Glasgow for a wedding and ‘glamping’ in the Ochils. We also traded information with a French cyclist, Véronique: she wanted to know about the best way to get to Scotland with her bicycle and then told us about good places to cycle in France. More ideas for future holidays. She recommends cycling up the Tourmalet. We may have to try it – but I think without luggage.

* Bruce’s bike still has its Australian flag. I am assuming this is positive discrimination and that someone coveted my saltire.