The river Elbe, from Cuxhaven to Dresden. 17.08.05. to 30.08.05.

Why upstream the Elbe? Mostly, 80% to 90% there is west wind in Holland and North-Germany. Unfortunately the first few days it was the opposite. But of the 14 days only 2 were spoiled by rain, otherwise beautiful and in the beginning cloudless weather. At the same time there was a dreadful storm with flooding which caused enormous damage in the alpine area. 




     Central station Zürich

            Cuxhaven 11.00

            Hafen in Cuxhaven

17.08.08. From Cuxhaven to Krautsand. 70.53 Km

At 20.44 we board the train City-Night-Line in Zurich. I am alert when we arrive at Hamburg. My two passengers, Rika and Brigitte, had somewhat more trouble falling asleep last night. There we take the connecting train to Cuxhaven. A City-stroll leads us to the port. Here the Elbe is 15 km. wide. Beside giant tankers we see ferries, sailing, fishing and fast motorboats.

At 12.00 o'clock we start with our cycle tour to Dresden. The cycle paths are fantastic. Usually asphalt surface and on top of the dyke, so that we have the endless views before us on both sides. On the left the Elbe which looks like the first few kilometre of an ocean and on the right, pastures and cornfields.

The description of the itinerary is written in the travel guide "Bikeline". The sign-posting, blue "e" keeps us on the correct path which leads us so close to. the beach that we must at least, bathe our feet. At Wirschhafen the barrier over a river is opened only on the weekend. That causes a detour of 10 km. After 70 km we set up our tent in Krautsand. We try out the campground kitchen, of course potatoes and sea fish.

  A wide view on the dike 

     Nice seashells

  Sometimes a little harbour

Oste barrier at Neuhaus

Here the Elbe is 15 km. wide

First coffee brake

18.08.05. From Krautsand to Blankenese 47.23 km.

We have breakfast in the campsite restaurant, so our tents can dry in the morning sun.

After 20 km, partially on the dyke and along the Elbe, we are at the fish market of Stade. This decorative small town surprises one with a medieval atmosphere. Because of the pretty half-timbered houses and channels you think you are in Holland. In 1209 Stade got municipal rights and in the middle Ages already grew to one of the most important Hanseatic cities on the Elbe. It is time for a coffee break. How to make cake? The bakers from Stade understand a lot about it and the size are enormous, but after 20 km we already can cope with a strong coffee and a big piece of cake. At the neighbouring table we hear a couple speaking "Schwitzerduetsch", the language spoken in Switzerland. They are, like we, dressed for cycling and are also on the way to Dresden.

We drive through villages with half timbered houses mostly thatched roofs. A ferry in Grünendeich is ready to take us to the other side of the Elbe to Schulau. With such beautiful weather we decide to use the tent on the campsite in Blankenese. 


Old town, the center of Stade

  Wooden crane reconstruction of 1661

   Bronze sculpture in the fish market

Coffee break in Stade

Cosy atmosphere

Keep going

19.08.05. From Blankenese to Geesthacht. 70.5 km.

We cycle up the river on the right side of the Elbe to Altona. (a part of Hamburg) We have to do some shopping, most important some adhesive, because my mirror on the helmet broke yesterday. I'm accustomed to the mirror, a quick glance and I know what is going on behind me. It is easy to get through the town Hamburg with over a million inhabitants. There are cycle paths through the city and many road signs of the Elbe itinerary.

After lunch in Moorland-fleet we continue through countryside, often on dykes, and via Ochsenwerder and Fünfhausen we arrive in Geesthacht. Here is a youth hostel were we spend the night. After a shower we go into the city for supper.

 Half-timbered house with thatched roof

 Sailing-ship harbour

   Three-master in Hamburg

The best lawnmower

A ship from Basel

Protection behind the dike

20.08.05. From Geesthacht to Hitzacher. 93.32 km.

Natives tell us not to continue on this side of the Elbe, because of bad roads. We therefore go back to the bridge and cycle on the dyke via Tespe to Lauenburg. The cobbled surface and half-timbered houses gives the small town of Lauenburg a medieval flair. On a terrace with view of the Elbe we enjoy coffee with cakes.

Continuing 15 km. we are on the market place of Boizengburg. A wedding takes place in the town hall. Although it is Saturday it seems the city is deserted. On my map I see we are in former East Germany. An older man tells us how it was at that time. Along the Elbe was a 3 meter high fence, then a stretch of grass and after that a fence again. Escape attempt was equal with suicide.

In Darchau we cross the Elbe again to the left side and by phone I make a reservation for bed and breakfast in Hitzacher. We still have to go 15 km. but up and down. On the highest point a tower can be climbed which gives a beautiful view over the Elbe landscape.



    Landscape of the Elbe


       Not only in Holland

The way leads through a nature park

      The old town of Lauenburg


Boizenburg looks deserted



   On a dike at Soltow

          Happy chicken

  Restoration in Hizacher

21.08.05. From Hizacher to Wittenberge. 84.85 km.

Until Doemitz we remain on the left side of the Elbe, sometimes directly on the Elbe, sometimes far away, continuing on the partially asphalted dyke along the Elbe. The temperature is now so high (29°) that a bath in the Elbe would be refreshing. It doesn't take long to find the right place. On the other side of the river is Gorleben a temporary storage place for radioactive wastes. In the computer encyclopedia "Wikipedia" it is written that the storage hall is 4.500m2 and 5 meter high with a capacity of 15.000 m³.

To Wittenberge we remain on the right side of the Elbe. In our travel guide "Bikline" I find a bed and breakfast accommodation.

        Bridge at Dömitz

Dömitz looks deserted

 But a restaurant is open

Met again, the family from Switzerland

    Cooling by temperature of 29°

      Restaurant at a dike

22.08.05. From Wittenberge to Tangermünde. 80.46km.

In Ruehstaedt (15km.) there is a stork colony. We get there with hardly any traffic. Some houses even have three to four stork nests.

Between the river Elbe and Havel is a tarmac cycle path which later changes into an adventurous grass country lane. Nevertheless we reach Havel. The old part of town lies on an island, surrounded by the river Havel. After lunch we visit the cathedral at Havelberg and the Laurentius church of the 13 century.

In Tangermuende, our goal for today, we find a bed and breakfast accommodation. We meet the Swiss family. again in a restaurant at supper. Now there is time enough to get better acquainted

   The first storknest


     4 Storknest on one roof


Stone gate in Wittenberge (1300)


   Swallows meet to fly south 


   Break in Wittenberge

Meeting of the river Elbe and Havel

Slow down on this country lane

Recharge water after getting soaked with sweat

Cathedral of Havel

Tagermünde, two times

23.08.05. From Tangermünde to Magdeburg. 88.41 km.

The many cultivated fruit trees at the edge of the road are striking. Apples and plums of best quality lie on the road. Natives say, the trees were assigned to the inhabitants in former East -Germany Each family got a few trees.

In Kehnert where the Elbe makes a few curves and where, there are many side rivers, life for birds must be a paradise. We make a stop in a former estate which is partly renovated. There are many horses and stables, a pension and restaurant which is open. For people who like nature it is an ideal place to make holiday.

In early afternoon we arrive in Magdeburg. At the youth hostel, near central station we book for two nights. We want to stay for one sightseeing day in Magdeburg


   Estate Kehnert


Green citadel of Magdeburg

24.08.05. Day of rest in Magdeburg.

The bikes get a day of rest in the youth hostel shed and we explore the city by foot with the result that we are more tired in the evening than after a day cycling. The cathedral, and monastery are visited first. Close to the D.J.H. is "the green citadel" a Hundertwasser architectural project we will visit in the afternoon. 

 Magdeburger rider

 Frauenbrunnen in the Leiterstr.


25.08.05. From Magdeburg to Dessau 82.90 km.

Today is the first time that the sky is cloudy. Not heavy rain, but sometimes we need our pelerine. We drive through-small villages such as Ranies, Prezien, Walterienburg and Steckby with small churches marking the center of the village. We come through forests with excellent cycle tracks. Today we have to cross the Elbe only once in Aken because the youth hostel is on the other side of the river in Dessau.

 Tree different churches

 Ranies Pretzien and


Here the weather is OK

now raining

and here it is dray again.

26.08.05. From Dessau to Pretzsch 83.07 km.

After approximately 5 km at a forester house we overlook a signpost. Soon we are in the middle of nowhere. We find ourselves on pastureland among many sheep, so we have to go back to the forester house and try again. Now we see where we made the mistake.

To Coswig it is a marvellous way through nature, you can even make a detour around the villages. Cycling through the "Walltor" from Sieglitz, shows that history is written here. From Coswig to the Luther city Wittenberg the cycle-track is along the main street.

After lunch we visit the church where Martin Luther (1483-1546) is buried. On the door of this church he put the 95 rules in 1517 which lead to the schism between Protestant and Catholic religion.

In the afternoon we cycle close to the river via Elster to Pretzsch. In a bakery we find a bed and breakfast accommodation. The woman of the house washed the accumulated laundry and in the morning we had a first class breakfast and neatly cleaned clothes.

     In the middle of nowhere

  Walltor in Sieglitzer Berg

 Not alone on the ferry to Coswig

Gate with the 95 principles

Beautiful clouds in the evening

Church where Luther is buried

27.08.05. From Pretzsch to Strehla. 85.07 km.

After 34 km. cycle tracks we arrive at Torgau. A road separates the residence (mentioned for the first time in 973) from the Elbe. The origin of the building goes back to the year 1470. On the other side is a deep ditch, in which it a few bears bore themselves. I do not wish to be locked up for a lifetime, the same goes for animals, I think.

At the Elbe is a Monument with an inscription "meeting at the Elbe". Here in 1945 on the destroyed bridge American and Russian soldiers met. It was the unofficial end of the war.

We continue with cycle tracks off the road. In Belgern we again take break. A steep path leads into the city. A very beautiful market place, with a renaissance city hall, which is beautifully restored.

In Strehla we look for an accommodation. Today is Saturday and Monday is the beginning of term, which is a large celebration. All private and hotel accommodations are booked out, but luckily we have our tents. The campsite has a swimming pool and the weather is wonderful (tomorrow will be 29°).


  <  Palace Hartenfels…Market place in Torgau^


Market place in Belgern ^

Church for cyclist  >       


We find this hedgehog on the road

A desolate kolkhos With barbed wire it doesn't look friendly

The ferry is anchored far ahead so the ferry can traverse the river without engine

28.08.05. From Strehla to Dresden. 66.95 km.

For the first time we cross the river on a ferry with an engine. Today is one of the most beautiful days, because the cycle track hardly leaves the dyke at the Elbe, and the weather couldn't be better.

After a sightseeing trip through Meissen with its famous porcelain factories and tin foundry we continue our trip. The landscape changes now. In Seusslitz we see the first grapevines on a slope. The closer to Dresden the more cyclists there are. On this beautiful Sunday most people are leaving the city to enjoy an afternoon on the countryside.

In the youth hostel in the centre of Dresden we get 2 room accommodation with 5 beds for 2 days. It is late afternoon, time enough to explore the city with our bikes. I didn't expect so few cars in this city which makes cycling very pleasant.

  Ferry with engine

  Retrospective view of Strähla

 Many houses are left.

 No doubt, we are in the East

    Grapevines at Seusslitz

  The landscape change

Meissen with Albrechtsburg, finished in 1525

Cultivated fruit trees on the roadside

Youth hostel in Dresden 450 bed

Semperoper at Dresden

Old town with Elbe

29.08.05. From Dresden to Bad Schandau 67.99 km. And with the train back to Dresden.

There are less cyclists underway than yesterday, I think most are going to work. We cycle up the river under the bridge "blue miracle" to Pirna. I'm surprised by this small town. We stroll through the car free centre with many restaurant and terraces and with all kind of shops. A beautiful market place. The church tower of 60 meters exceeds everything.

In Wehlen on the other side of the Elbe we have to climb 190 meter to get to the Bastei. It is not too steep, at most 5 to 6%. The effort is worthwhile, a fantastic panorama. Down at the Elbe, we come to the worst 6 km. of the whole itinerary. Half of the stretch we have to walk. In Bad-Schandau, the last village before the Czech Republic border, we take the train back to Dresden.



    Supper in Wehlen


190 m uphill to the Bastei


               Elbsandsteingebirge. View at the Bastei on the.Elbe

30.08.05. Sightseeing of Dresden and in the evening with the "City-Night-Line" back to Zürich.

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