After a nice breakfast at our base for 3 nights the Schlosshotel in Pillnitz just outside of Dresden, a group of us took the small ferry ride across the river Elbe and hopped onto a tram going to Dresden city centre. As most of the city centre was destroyed in the infamous air raid in WW2 it was nice to see the progress that has been made in rebuilding some of the buildings.In fact there is an area that has been eye-marked for development that has been excavated to show the foundations of buildings that were destroyed in the air raid. It’s a pity that this site couldn’t be left as it is to remind people of what happened here all those years ago.
Another dry morning greeted the riders as we all made our way towards tonight’s destination of Dresden. I think most of us had planned to stop at Colditz to either take the castle tour or just take a break in the town square before heading off again. As I had done the castle tour on my last visit to the town I took the ice cream and coffee option and kept an eye on the bikes as my little posse of Arthur, Alan and Graham took a stroll up to get some photos of the famous castle.
Mortizburg Castle was the next place to make a stop and my GPS route took us through some lovely lanes to get there.
With two nights in Quedlinburg it was how to spend today that was occupying everyone’s thoughts. I had looked at doing a tour around the Harz mountains or going on the narrow gauge railway but both plans were doomed as the threatening rain arrived to damped everything. The railway was a non starter as it would of got us back too late for our evening meal in the hotel and there was no way I was riding 170 miles in the rain when I didn’t have to. So having discovered that I hadn’t brought a coat I borrowed a brolly from the hotel reception and set off with the camera to try and capture some nice photos.
A nice sunny day was a welcome sight in the morning and after a nice breakfast the bike was loaded up for the first proper ride of the tour.
I picked up 3 other riders who were happy to follow me so we set of firstly to see the Mohne Dam, one of the targets for the Dambuster raid. After another coffee and cake in the cafe on the dam, it was off again to follow my route to Quedlinburg. I’d planned a ‘Curvy Road’ option in the sat-nav software which worked well initially but then kept us on some fairly straight roads heading towards the old East Germany. A recommended place to stop and have a look around was Goslar which was only 40 miles short of our destination for the night, Goslar is a typical old town here with some seriously old buildings which attracts the tourists in to visit. Following the quick look around the town it was back onto the main road and a short hop to Quedlinburg for a 2 night stop in the Harz area.
A threatening sky greeted me this morning with a forecast of a wet ride to Sundern where I was meeting all the other tour members tonight. Micheal was hoping to ride all the way with me but with a dire forecast decided to just ride to a lake where we stopped for a coffee and a cake. Having said farewell to Micheal it was a wet and windy ride to Sundern where I met some old faces and some new ones on this trip. This is the biggest group of club members that I’ve been on tour with, I think there are 29 of us. 8 of the party were delayed getting off the Hull to Rotterdam ferry as the sea got rough and the boat couldn’t dock. They arrived at about 11 pm looking cold and tired after an epic journey.
Those of us who had arrived without any problems had a nice meal in the hotel, downed a few beers and then headed to the rooms for a nice sleep with the promise of some sunshine tomorrow.
The ferry was able to catch up some time during the crossing to Holland and we docked at 5:30pm local time. As I was following the route that Micheal had sent over I made the mistake of letting my sav-nav recalculate when I missed a turn and I ended up going into the centre of Rotterdam. This was a big mistake as there was an event being set up and some of the major roads were barricaded off so my sav-nav was having big problems getting me through the mayhem. This must of wasted me at least an hour and when I finally met Micheal there wasn’t time for any food so we cracked on to the bunker. Had a nice welcome from Andrea and Beau and another dog that they were dog-sitting. A quick bite of food and a beer and it was time for bed.
Having kept an eye on the situation at Calais I’m so glad I hadn’t booked a Eurotunnel crossing for this trip. It seems that every other day either there is migrant trouble or French ferry workers going on strike making it a lottery as to whether the trains will be running.
So having booked a ferry crossing from Harwich to the Hook of Holland I decided that with the early morning check in it was best to get over to Harwich the day before the sailing. I stayed in the Tower Hotel in Harwich which I booked via Booking.com. It was cheap and cheerful at £60 for a single room without breakfast. The breakfast started at 8 o’clock I decided to skip it as the ferry check-in closed at 8.15.
It seems that a lot of lorry drivers had the same idea about using Harwich and we were an hour late sailing as we had to load them all aboard. Hopefully the ferry will try and make up the time during the crossing as Micheal is meeting me on-route in Holland.