Travellers' tales: Radweg rookies

Joseph en route to Niederkrossen, central Germany
Three days on German cycleways sold David Futter on touring

Despite being a lifelong cyclist, my touring was limited to day trips. My son, Joseph, decided this should change. Last August he planned us a quick jaunt from our home in Rudolstadt in central Germany to Magdeburg. We were able to follow well-maintained and signposted ‘radwege’ throughout – first along the River Saale to the Elbe, then downstream to Magdeburg. 

The first section was familiar. We rode it in the clear light of a fine summer morning. Soon we were into new territory, passing castles, vineyards and villages nestling in the steep-sided valley. As the day wore on, the valley became flatter, the shade harder to find, and the temperature hotter, reaching the mid-thirties by late afternoon. We reached our first destination – Weißenfels – fried from the sun.

Overnight the weather broke, but the torrential rain was over by the time we set out. The day stayed dry and overcast – a relief after roasting the previous afternoon. The terrain was quite different now: a wide valley with the Saale meandering through it. Halle was our lunch stop, with the statue of Handel watching us. From there we went through farmland and villages to our next destination, Calbe.

The final day was a short trip to the end of the Saale, and onwards to Magdeburg. I came back on the train, whilst Joseph extended his trip to Wittenberg.