12th September 2016. Eland, Germany.

This morning we cycled into Goslar which was a much better idea.  We were able to get further, faster.  Goslar has street after street of beautiful ornate houses.  There are lots of tiny cobbled lanes (not so good on the backside) and it has two large squares.  One has the Rathaus in it which was being renovated.  It seems to be the year for renovations, most of the towns and cities we’ve visited have scaffolding over their most interesting buildings.

We were given a map at Tourist Information and the lady circled three places to go and visit so we went in search of them.  The town is making the most of its beautiful asset, there were tour groups all over the town but they were all in German.  H owever towards the end of our cycle around Goslar we came to a group of people who were halfway down a hill and cycled very slowly towards them, we were very surprised to hear the tour leader call out to her group, “There are bicycles coming” in English and Darren looked at her, said “Oh English”, then cycled on.  As I cycled up to her the tour leader said we were welcome to join them and I thanked her but Darren was by now a little speck in the distance so I assumed he wasn’t interested.  When I mentioned her kind invitation later he was very disappointed because he hadn’t heard her and it would have been lovely to have joined their group.  In fact it would have been lovely to meet some English speaking people, there was definitely one Englishman in the group because I heard him chatting as we cycled past.

A little further on we saw a church which had two huge stone heads lying outside it so I just had to take some photographs like everyone else.  I went round the opposite side to everyone else and stood in the shade beside the trees.  As I started to walk back to Darren a man with a fancy camera came up and started talking to me in German, I told him I couldn’t speak German and he repeated it in English.  He was telling me the best place to take a photograph because it was so sunny, it was really kind of him to take the time to tell me that.

We found a lovely restaurant beside the mill stream, there was a man putting out some cushions on the chairs so we walked over to ask whether the restaurant was open but the minute he walked over my brain froze and all I could think to say was “Öffnen?”  I’m not even sure how you pronounce that word so heaven only knows what I actually said to him!  Anyway it turns out they weren’t opening for another half hour so we went and found another place with the idea of getting a takeaway.  That plan quickly changed when we realised they had a table inside and they’d opened the sliding doors so it was cool and shady inside. Outside it was scorching so it was nice to escape from the heat for a while.

We cycled back to the van via another landmark. That proved to be good exercise, we had to carry the bikes up a load of steps to get to the next road.  We cycled up to the huge tower but it was closed so we carried on through the park to the main road where we found a monument to soldiers from all wars throughout the ages.

We cut back through the town rather than cycle down the main road and stopped near the station to take photos of the bronze statues of a large man and woman.  When we’d passed them before we’d noticed that the lady’s left breast was looking rather ‘worn’ where people had touched it.  Of course Darren had to do the same and subsequently burnt his hand on the hot metal!

Our next stop was a D.I.Y store (Whoopee!  My favourite day out!) but en route we were going in to the petrol station with the weird exit that we’d been in on the way to the stëllplatz to fill up with LPG.  Again it was impossible to get into the place so we had to find somewhere to do a ‘U’ turn, Darren’s become an expert at doing those, but as we drove up to it there were two men working on a pump and their vans were cutting off access to the LPG pump so we had to drive on, that was unfortunate because we needed to go back the other way, even more ‘U’ turns ensued.

We found the D.I.Y store, I was hoping it would be like some of our stores and maybe I’d be able to buy a smaller duvet.  When we left home we shoved everything into the van and unfortunately the thought didn’t cross our minds that we wouldn’t need a HUGE winter duvet on our TINY bed.  It’s far too warm to sleep under the duvet when we first get into bed but we can’t do without it because the van gets cool during the night so we’re sharing our bed with a duvet that has more of the bed than we do!

We didn’t find a duvet but we did get rear view mirrors for our bikes.  At least with mirrors we can keep glancing back to see whether we’ve raced on ahead instead of only noticing we’re alone a mile down the road (when I say we, it’s actually Darren who needs to do more of that).  We also got some bits and bobs so Darren can repair and improve a couple of things in the van.  We drove over to a huge discount store (according to the picture on the sign it sold cheap elephants!) to see whether they had any duvets.  They did and I was very excited for a moment until I’d looked through the whole pile and discovered they were ALL single duvets.  What a wind up.

We’d had more than enough of shopping by the time we got back to the van and drove the 40 minute journey to our next stop, once again encountering the awful road we’d travelled on during the journey to Schulenberg im Oberharz and again we were stuck on that same road that wouldn’t let us leave.

There were two stellplätze in the area.  We had another “Oh! Oh!” moment when Darren misread the SAT NAV and turned into a tiny road just after the turning to the Waldbad Schenke stellplätze so he had to reverse back to the main road.

The stellplätze was at the end of a lane near the station for the steam trains.  We drove into the field noticed there weren’t any electric hook up available and drove back up the road just in time to see a steam train, perfect timing.

The next stellplätze was only four minutes away but up a very steep hill.  When we got there we both decided we didn’t like it and that we could do without electricity for one day so we turned round and went back to the other one.  It was a great find.

We walked down to the restaurant to pay, the owner asked us where we were from and scolded us about Brexit!

He asked us to sit while he got his paperwork and he came back and popped a 2” high model on the table and said Wellington!  I wonder if the Germans get a model of Hitler!  He was a very jovial man, it was nice to see someone who actually smiled, they have been few and far between since we’ve arrived in Germany.  He said we could use the swimming pool as we were staying there but that it closed in an hour and a half.  We decided to sit for a while and have a cold beer first as it was still so hot, however I wasn’t expecting a tankard to arrive.  Needless to say we didn’t go in for a swim after all, it took me far too long to drink my beer but the owner did, saying as he passed us “This is a GREAT job” with a huge smile on his face.

It was such a nice night we sat outside the van in the twilight making plans for (Nigel? Thanks XTC!) tomorrow, although there’s always the possibility they’ll change in the morning.


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