Saturday, 23 August 2014

Day 3: through Jena to somewhere Bayern.

So first a long day (160km) then a short day (70km) and now a nearly exactly average day (95km) puts my average above 100km/day. Sweet!
(Anselm I know you do 100km before breakfast but, yknow, baby steps, right?)

But does a Thüringer bratwurst taste better in Thüringen? Damn right it does. I was determined to try this and asked at 5 consecutive towns until I found one with a bratwurst stand.  The old lady Manning* the stand had clearly been doing it for a while: every truck that drove by honked and she waved. I told her I had cycled all the way from Berlin to have a Thüringer bratwurst in its natural habitat. She was unsurprised. She handed me the bun with a wurst sticking the wrong way out the sides**. It was delicious.
Afterwards I craved more,  and returned to the order window. I asked what the other type of sausage was on the grill.  A Currywurst! She said. So I'll have a Berliner Currywurst to compare to the Thüringer bratwurst!  I ordered. 
ITS A THÜRINGER CURRYWURST! She corrected. And that was my lesson for the day: not all Currywurst comes from Berlin.
She also later filled my water bottle from a plastic bucket of water sitting on the floor of the booth . It tasted like garden hose and was full of bread crumbs, but I drank it. I assume it was the same water used to fill the coffee machine.

The end of my day brought on an epic uphill, with nearly a vertical kilometer uninterrupted. The conclusion? I love climbing, but need more gears. I'm riding fixed 48-18 with 15 kilos of stuff: not a heavy load but on 12% uphill its hard on the knees. A 3-speed fixed for touring? That would be sweet. An uphill gear, a downhill gear, and a gear for the flats. What else do you need? A gear for riding upside down? Yet for some reason I'm skeptical of Sturmey Archer's quality...

Thüringen is pretty sweet! I frequently found myself daydreaming of the Red River Gorge Kentucky, my home, because the landscape is so similar. No more flat, boring, Brandenburg. Hello rolling hills and vistas!
There was even an (obviously) haunted hause, offset from the side of the road, 3 stories and symmetrical but for a large chimney on one side. There it had some conservative ornamental woodwork, slowly decaying, and every window was broken. The entire building was clad in mute grey slate tiles, the same as the slate comprising some of the cliffs in the area. Im sure it was an orphanage in the 19th century, and after the war an Institute where Russian doctors conducted experiments in resuming the dead. Ever since not a soul has dared to enter. But alas, the spirits also drained my battery and thus no photo. That one will have to remain left to the imagination.

At the top of the hill was an entire slate clad town. The tile work was quite intricate, with visages of local fauna Ornamenting doorways. Very monotone. Very intricate. Some were in perfect,  new looking condition. Others were obandoned with large sections of slate missing to expose hand hewn, decaying wood. Clearly a tradition that spanned many generations. And then right smack in the middle,  a hair salon.

I camped in the central park in a town of 25 houses and no stores, the name of which I already forgot. An elderly dog walking couple*** just laughed when I asked if it would be bothersome for me to do so.
Tomorrow morning? Epic downhill. Oh yea.
*can and old lady man something? Wouldnt she be old ladying it?
**it took me years to figure out that Germans consider a bun merely a way of holding a sausage.  They are not intended to be eaten together.
***the couple was elderly. The dog I dunno.

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