Stuart is staying in an hotel in Bad Laer while he waits for
his parcel to arrive.He has been out and about sightseeing
and by the sounds of it having a really good time. There seems
to have been a bit more snow than here and the mountains and
forest are breathtakingly beautiful especially early in the
morning with a hard frost and bright sunshine to set them
off. On one of his scenic trips up into the mountains he was
chased and bitten by a large and less than friendly dog. The
appropriate treatment has been started and the damage appears
to be healing.(There must be something about that left leg!)
at the hotel Stuart has a very nice room with a balcony with
good views.He sounds like he has really settled in there and
it may be difficult to get him moving again! He says the food
is wonderful and had forgotten just how good German hospitality
is. (That sounds like big portions of delicious food to me).
has been brushing up on his German with the help of Johannes
und Ursula (the Landlord and Landlady) who have been very
helpful and have been looking at the website. Click here to
access the hotel's website Landhaus
Meyer zum Alten Borgloh Stuart highly recommends this
16. Still no sign of the parcel should arrive tomorrow (hopefully).
For those interested in the milage so far Stuart has cycled
650 miles this comprises of approximately 560 miles to Bad
Laer using cycle tracks (not always the most direct route)
and a further 90 miles of sightseeing in and around Bad Laer,
Bad Iburg and Osnabrueck.
has been further heavy snow overnight after a slight thaw.
Stuart has been using his spare time to study his routes and
maps carefully and is now very familiar with lots of the place
names, which should help him once he gets going again.The
bike is cleaned and greased and ready for action.
19. Good news! At last the parcel has arrived. Stuart has
spent a long and frustrating afternoon and evening sorting
out and fitting the replacement part. It was very fiddly and
not 'field friendly' as described by the manufacturers.Stuart
said it was just as well he was in a hotel room with good
lighting, warm hands and a decent tool kit. He was so cross
he wrote 2 pages of complaints about it in his journal!!However
the stove is now safe and working well.He was also pleased
with some of the other items in the parcel including a replacement
mug. The previous mug had a flip lid which Stuart found difficult
to manage after a long days cycle especially if his hands
had got cold. The new mug has better insulation properties
and a screw lid and has now been extensivley tested with cold
is now getting ready to move on again at the weekend and is
feeling well rested and will miss the superb hospitality of
Johannes and Ursula at the hotel ( he is intending on staying
there on the return journey ).Stuart has used his time to
peruse the maps closely and has worked out it is 2360 miles
to the Russian border, but he has already completed 560 miles
so far, that doesn't include sightseeing and reconnaissance
weather is steadily improving with a thaw. However the Germans
are far better prepared for a little snow than we are, having
all manner of mechanical devices to keep pavements and cycle
routes clear. Just a shame about their dogs. Joking aside
the bite is healing up well and I don't suppose it's the last
bite he'll have ( millions of mozzies are being specially
bred to feast upon Stuart as we speak ). With all the map
reading Stuart has been doing he's now very familiar with
lots of place names so should find navigating much simpler
and quicker. His German is coming on and he seems to be enjoying
conversing with the locals. They keep saying "Mein Gotte"
(apologies for spelling to all German speakers) when he tells
them what he's doing.
22. Stuart has at long last moved on from the hotel, unfortunatly
he didn't made very good progress over the weekend due to
a combination of factors. His plan was to cycle approximately
116 miles from Bad Laer onto Borgholzhausen, Speng, Herford,
Bad Salzuflen, Exter and Hameln using cycle routes. This route
has proved very challenging with very long steep hills. One
'hill' was over 3 miles or 5 kms. long and just seemed to
go on forever. Stuart was reduced to using his 'granny ring'
on the bike (the lowest possible gear, after that next stop
get off and walk and those who know Stuart know that he would
NEVER do that). Just to add to his 'fun' he had a cluster
of migraines and a very painful left leg. He did however find
a safe site to camp and recover.
23. After another arduous days cycling in the mountains complicated
by missing or misleading signs Stuart nearly found himself
some more 'fun'. After coming to stop on the route because,
yet again all the signs were missing Stuart pondered his options
for a while and chose what he thought was a good route. Good
fortune smiled down on him in the shape of a motorist who
stopped to see what Stuart was doing, after a brief conversation
Stuart discovered he was about to join the autobahn!!! Even
with a fair wind behind I don't think Stuart's up to autobahn
speeds (with or without panniers).
spent the night camped in a nature reserve near Bielefeld
and was studying the maps to try and avoid long steep hills
has moved on to a campsite at Vlotho. The campsite is between
the mountains and the river Weser.Stuart needs to do some
maintenance on the bike, the back brakes need some adjustment.
He then plans to have a shower and do some shopping.
the moment the weather is quite nice but has at times been
so cold that the water in the drinks bottles has frozen! He
plans to follow route 7 along the Weser valley to Hameln.
has had a better day, having decided to abandon the cycle
routes and stick to quieter roads which are more direct. He
has cycled about 40 miles and stocked up on food. This morning
was bitterly cold again with a thick frost everywhere including
the inside of the tent and Stuart found that the sleeping
bag had moulded itself to his shape and the zip was frozen,
a few panicky moments ensued as Stuart with a very full bladder
struggled with the zip. Only to be followed by a slip into
an icy culvert as the ground was slick with ice. After such
a start to the day things could only get better.
has passed through Braunschweig, Helmstedt and Haldensleben
before finding somewhere to camp near some running water,
so he shouldn't have to melt ice to make drinks tonight.The
only problem Stuart has found with travelling on the roads
is that he has to concentrate to a much higher level to contend
with the traffic and therefore has to make more frequent stops.
He hopes to find a hostel or hotel to stop at for a day or
so as he needs to dry out his damp sleeping bag and inner
tent. With the persistant snow and low temperatures, condensation
has built up in the tent making everything damp.
25. Stuart has has made steady progress today despite a very
high wind chill factor. He has cycled from Vlotho via Hameln
and is almost at Springe. The GPS puts him about 30km from
Hannover. The Weser valley is an area of spectacular natural
beauty and the route has been well marked and has allowed
Stuart to relax a bit and not worry about joining autobahns!
is however intensley cold, so much so that the inside of the
tent had a frost on it this morning and all the water for
drinks had frozen. Stuart hopes to maintain steady progress
and pass to the south of Hannover and make camp to the east
of Hannover tomorrow afternoon. Well that's Plan A.
28. Stuart has cycled 55 miles today in freezing conditions
with sleet and snow most of the day.He say he looks very weather
beaten and smells like a tramp! He is not far from Magdeburg
but hasn't been able to find anywhere to stay, the hotels
and hostels have either been shut or far too expensive. (Or
perhaps they don't want some smelly tramp staying).
Police stopped to have a chat with Stuart as they were curious
about a cycle tourist in winter, they thought he was mad when
he said he was cycling to Siberia (but not mad enough or perhaps
too smelly for a warm cell overnight).
has had another steady day making about 45 miles progress,
passing through Springe, Eldagsen, Gestdorf, Reden, Harkenbleck
and Grasdorf. The weather has remained well below freezing
all day and again despite good cycling specific maps route
finding has been complicated by missing signs and circuitous
routes. Stuart is considering cycling on the main roads to
try and avoid doing too many unnecessary miles.
27. Stuart has again cycled about 45 miles. It has snowed
steadily all day and remained very cold. He is almost at Peine,
to the east of Hannover. The area around Laatzen sounds like
some sort of spaghetti junction with autobahns everywhere.
Stuart cycled 10 miles around in a circle trying to avoid
autobahns, busy roads and misleading signs. At one time he
was cycling along what sounds to be a dual carriageway only
to find that bicycles were forbidden after a certain point
but there was no way to get off the road. Eventually he managed
to find his way and is now camped in a wooded area which is
very quiet and peaceful and he is enjoying yet another king
sized Mars bar.
in the evening, a couple stopped to ask him if he was OK.
Apparently they had seen him on and off throughout the day
as they were driving about and wondered what he was doing
and where he was headed. They were interested to hear about
Stuart's marathon cycle plans. They kindly offered to take
him to the next town and find an hotel for him but Stuart
declined their offer.
morning was very cold again with snow and mist, the road Stuart
had planned to take appeared very busy and dangerous so he
decided to take some much smaller and quieter roads and pass
to the north of Magdeburg, there are lots of signs now for
Berlin Which Stuart had hoped to visit but due to the very
busy roads will now leave for the return leg of the journey.He
has passed through lots of very small villages some with cobbled
streets but none with hotels or hostels that were open.
at about lunchtime after passing through Holdenslaben, Gutenwagen,
Ammensleben, Gross Ammensleben, Samswagen and Wolmirstedt
he came to Farsleiben and found a small hotel that he liked,
it appeared closed but gave a telephone number to ring so
he rang and an old lady agreed to open up for him. So now
Stuart his safely settled in a very nice small but basic hotel
for several nights while he dries out all his damp belongings
and has a bath.
planned route is Zielitz, Rogatz, Burg Ziesar, Solzow, Lehnin,
Ferch which is south of Potsdam and to stay south of Berlin
via New-seddin, Mittenwalde, Storkow, Furstenwalde and then
Frankfurt Ode and the Polish border.
31. Stuart is feeling refreshed and clean. The hotel apparently
comes to life at night with quite an international crowd of
visitors. They were so interested in Stuarts challenge that
they decided to support him by paying for all his evening
meals. So a big 'Thank you' to them.They have also given Stuart
the weather forecast for the next few days, temperatures are
going to rise from -15c to above freezing at the weekend.
Stuart has calculated that he has cycled 400 miles since Bad
Laer and it's about 230 miles to the Polish border.Later today
he is giving a radio interview to BBC Essex at about 2pm with
a longer one next week.
contact me directly via the website for information on making
a donation - OR - you can make a credit card donation on-line.
have calculated that we need to raise £100 sponsorship per
mile for Stuart to reach his £1,000,000 target.
has made a good start now lets show him what we can do.
had planned to set off today but Erich the hotel proprietor
had other ideas and asked Stuart to stay on longer 'Gratis'.
Erich had planned some sightseeing of the local area by car
and had also arranged for a journalist to interview Stuart
for an article in the local newspaper.
has been very interested in Stuart's challenge and although
he doesn't speak very much English and Stuart has found his
German accent very strong and at times difficult to understand
one of the hotel guests has been acting as an interpreter
and so quite lenghty and lively conversations have been had.
weather is improving and is now a balmy 3 or 4 degrees above
freezing during the day and Stuart has started to shed some
layers (cast not a clout and all that comes to mind) some
of the local people have told Stuart that it's not usually
as cold as it has been over the last few weeks and that the
'warmer' weather should last for a few days.
has very kindly driven Stuart into Magdeburg and shown him
round. Magdeburg is a very bautiful town on the river Elbe,
at one time the east bank of the town was in Russia and most
of Magdeburg was destroyed in the war. A few of the churches
escaped the ravages of the war including the Russian Orthodox
church. Stuart was given a guided tour of this magnificent
church and allowed to take photos of the inside. Although
much rebuilding has gone on, it is only now that east side,
formerly the Russian part having been derelict for decades
is now being restored, with old family houses being snapped
up by entrepreneurs and renovated.
also took Stuart to a vast iron ore mine operating 24/7. The
ore from this mine is exported all over the world including
to the UK, one of the shafts is over 1 mile deep. During his
tour Stuart managed to get very close to a large buzzard.
think that Erich should be on the support team as he has done
a great job of promoting Stuart and his challenge. The journalist
he arranged to interview Stuart spoke excellent English and
a copy of the paper with the article and photo in it will
be on it's way to the UK in the next parcel.
Stuart has finally set off. Over the weekend Erich took Stuart
into Magdeburg for more sightseeing and some shopping, Stuart
said it's much easier shopping with someone who knows where
he's going, so he has stocked up on notebooks, films for the
camera and a few other items.
of the guests has given Stuart some books about the town and
its history which Stuart is sending back to the UK so that
they don't get damaged on the journey. Another guest has given
Stuart a big tub of arnica cream to apply as needed and another
tub of medicated cream for his cracked fingertips.
had a couple a gentle cycles of about 45 miles over the weekend
which he really enjoyed.The rest has helped to settle some
of the aches and pains that were building up, in particular
the bone graft donor site in his left hip has been very sore,
as well as his left knee and wrist.
started the day with a trip to the post office to send back
a big parcel with the newspaper, the first volumes of his
journal, some films and some items that are no longer needed
or aren't performing well. After that he cycled about 25 miles
before setting up camp. He plans to take the next few days
steadily partly not to aggravate his hip etc and also because
we are hoping that we will have the visa soon and Stuart can't
move into Poland without his passport.
is on the radio again on 25.02.03 BBC Essex at 13.45 this
interview will be a bit longer than the last one so tune in
38. Stuart has cycled about 50 miles and is near Potsdam.
The day started well enough with a dry tent for a change,
so it was easy to pack away. Stuart had found route E11, the
European standard route to Feurch. The track has been especially
made for mountain biking and took him through a vast forest.
For the first 5 miles it was clear of snow and Stuart made
good progress, after this the trackway deteriorated and was
covered with frozen snow. After about 20 miles of much slower
progress disaster struck, Stuart and bike slipped sideways,
Stuart became entangled with the bike and slithered into a
good news is that the bike is fine, the bad news is that Stuart
initially thought that he had broken his wrist (left of course),
after a lengthy telephone consultation the wrist has been
annointed with arinca cream ( did someone have prior knowledge
when they gave that to Stuart?) and bandaged up, a multitude
of bumps and scrapes have also been tended to and steristrips
applied to close a leg wound (yes the left). Stuart also managed
to smash his watch during the accident and ripped a small
hole in his waterproof coat this has been repaired with a
managed to get back on the bike and cycled on a little way
to make camp near a huge lake known as the Inland Sea. He
is very grateful that his panniers are well stocked with food
and that Erich and Barbara had also given him a large parcel
of food on Monday. He is going to try and take the next few
days easy and let the bumps and bruises sort themselves out
(believe that and you'll believe anything).
deciding to take things gently today and despite being black
and blue all over and very sore Stuart has cycled about 50
miles today, on an excellent road through some very rural
countryside and is now south east of Berlin near Konigs -
Wusterhausen. He is camped in a wooded area enjoying the the
countryside and trying to identify some of the wildlife. There
are quite a variety of deer and other wildlife in the woods.
It has been pleasantly warm in the sunshine today but it is
still very cold out of the sun and it rapidly gets cold at
is now quite close to the border and still no sight of the
visa at this end, he is getting anxious about how long he
is going to have to wait before moving on and crossing into
parcel that Stuart sent me at the beginning of the week has
finally arrived here and I'm working my way through it. He
has sent me a long list of bits and pieces that he needs including
tent pegs since lots of his haven't stood up well to the harsh
conditions and are now bent or have snapped off in the frozen
is still very sore and lots more bruising is coming out.