It is September by now. Weather is still good to us. It is quite cool in the morning and evening hours but in the mid of the day it is just sunny and warm. Already two weeks ago two friends of mine made an appointment for this sunday to cycle to Gifhorn. The International Museum of wind- and water mill is our today’s destination. The ride is about 76 km and thus quite long but easy to cycle technical wise. Next to the museum Gifhorn has a nice city centre. It’s worth a visit. I was suprised however about the increased appearance of fellow citizens of Russian origin. I wonder if this due to the Russian-Orthodox Church on the museum compound?
Going in single file to Vordorf
Via Ölpersee, Thune and Wenden we arrive at Eickhorst. Crossig a wooded area we reach Vordorf. Passing by a sport field, where strong flanks passes footballs to each other in a sunday game, we come about the Eickenhofer Spargelreich. We encounter a whole bunch of gooses waiting for their destiny. The assembly reminds me on a morning pint as the feeding ground looks like a beer table – using some imagination at least. When the gooses see us it starts to run at first around each other excitedly and than irritatedly towards us. It looks like an army. When it suddenly realizes that there is no danger coming from us it go back to normal. The gooses still do not guess their coming fate on Christmas. Because the Eickhofer Weidegans, I learn from the internet, can be ordered easily online.
French Flair at Gifhorn’s south
From Vordorf we return to the forest. We pass by the Maaßeler Lindenwald, a nature reserve of 193 hectare. At the Ostenhoop, a small rest area, we have a look at the regional map. From there we continue to Rötgesbüttel. Driving past the village we spot some really nice houses. In front of one of them, quite a manor, there is a sculpture of a horse family. Must be a horse lover’s house.
Leaving the place we reach the woods again. Quite close to Gifhorn we stop at an historical building: the Napoleon bridge of Gifhorn. Rumour has it that the French commander once set his feet on this ground. Well whether it’s true or not, nobody really knows. However, this bridge has been build around that time. The building used to be the direct connection between Braunschweig and Gifhorn.
Cruel baker baptism
At Gifhorn we cross the city towards the mill museum. We pass by the city’s castle and make a quick stop. The former royal residence is located at a nice lake surrounded by a park. It also has an inviting restaurant and a museum, exhibiting Bauhaus architecture by now. Today’s entrance would have been free because we are celebrating “day of open monuments”. Unfortunately we are lacking the time for a visit.
Just some metres down the road we reach the mill museum. The establishment is quite busy this sunday, even though the entrance is not really cheap with about 12 Euros per person. The museum is in private hands and seems to be popular. The compound is dominated by a mighty Russian Orthodox wooden church and the trashy socialist architecture of the Glocken-Palast. Unfortunately time is short today therefore we only have a hasty glimp at the exhibits.
We are heading towards the “feeding ground”, the so called Trachtenhaus. The on-site backery offers next to sugared and streusel slices also hearty food. Freshly backed bread completes the offer. However at high costs. This is definitely no cheap family excursion.
Sitting at a table I turn my head left and spot a wooden cage, hanging above a well. This might be a medieval-aged instrument of torture I think to myself. And right so. It’s the so called baker baptism, which is a medieval-aged instrument used for punishing bakers. The person was plunged into the water for several times sitting in the cage and had to manage the mockery of the fellow citizens. It is just good that the left those dark times behind us.
Congestion at the Russian Orthodox church
After the break we have a look at the Russian Orthodox church which is nicely located on a hill. For a visit of the inside you have to pay extra, therefore we decide to abstin from it. The appearance of many people of Russian origin is striking at this place. Maybe this building reminds them of home. According to the museum flyer this church arranges services and baptism.
The long way back
We take a look at Google Maps and learn that we should take the same way back. At a crossing which is rather a construction site than a traffic regulation, we discover a signpost to Braunschweig. We follow the cycle way and in direction of Wolfsburg and on a second attempt in direction of Hannover. Something seems to be wrong here. After two failures we decide to go back to our primary route.
We make less breaks this time, the path just drags on, our legs start to get tired and our buddocks starts to hurt slightly. 76 kilometres is not chicken feed at our age!
6,5 hours with beer and wine
We are back at the Ölpersee. We make a last break on a bench. A goodlooking guy approaches us on his way to the waste bin next to our bench. In his arms are empty beer and wine bottles. I address the guy and point to the empty bottles. Is there fresh supply I ask him. Unfortunately no, he tells me. We learn that the group has been gathering since 11 o’clock in the morning (it is 5:30 pm by now). I show off with our 76 kilometres. The guy looks at us astonishingly and wonders if I am joking. We deny of course. I can see respect in his eyes.
At the same time he seems to consider how to hold up with us. Well, he tells us, he jogged for 27 kilometres this morning. We are impressed as well and appreciate his achievement. After this little exchange of blows we cycle back to our hood – satisfied and tired.