Day 18 Friday 10th June 2016 – Schleusingen to Bamberg 60 miles (1047 miles so far)
The camping area of Schleusingen campsite was on a steep slope, on the bank of the lake. During the night I woke up several times, finding myself squashed at the bottom, having slowly slid downwards. It was made worse by the mat I recently praised, as it has a smooth surface.
I normally set an alarm to wake up, but am usually fully awake before the Cockerell starts calling. After yesterday’s late start, today I left as soon as possible, I had a map, I had a route and I had a destination! BAMBERG.
I’ve never heard of Bamberg before, it looked like a fairly big city. I could also see a hostel and backpackers.
Every day feels like a small step in the right direction. Salzburg, my short term destination, feels almost in touching distance now. Touching distance on the map at least, in reality its still about five days away. Salzburg is a place I’m very looking forward to. The area is supposed to be very nice and I’m planning to take a rest day, before heading into the mountains.
It was a varied day weather wise today. It started off a little misty but soon warmed up. Whenever I started to climb I would need to take my long sleeved top off but the decents had a cool breeze, needing it back on. Luckily, I can now reach behind and put a top on without needing to stop, but am still a little cautious, especially after yesterday’s incident.
After around 10 miles of cycling, I came across a cycle path, signing the whole route to Bamberg. It was mostly all on paths and clear off traffic so was fast going. Though sometimes when keenly following signs, if you miss one, then you can have no idea where you are! There were a couple of times when the signs mysteriously disappeared. I saw another sign and started following it, until I realised it was a completely different route, leaving me going round in a big circle for half an hour.
While I was taking a short break, I heard some classical music being played. I couldn’t see anyone but it grew louder and louder. Then, peddling towards me came a man, sitting very comfortably on a recumbent bike (or trike). They have three wheels and you are able to almost lie down in them. I followed him jealously, maybe next cycle tour I should do on a recumbent trike!
At 3.30pm I arrived through the backstreets of Bamberg and headed straight to the backpackers hostel. The streets seemed very busy, then I remembered it was Friday evening. The backpackers receptionist shook his head as soon as I entered and the other youth hostel was also full (although I was a little relieved about the second, as I saw it cost €30 a night. A bit pricey to stay in a room with six other people!).
When I stated this trip, I always saw a hostel as a luxury and camping as a cheap and less comfortable option. However now, I know exactly how to pitch my tent and have everything I need like stove and gas. Now I actually look forward to sleeping under the stars.
This campsite was one of the smartest I’ve been to yet. The camping area are on the slopes to a river with a perfect angle and toilets and showers blocks are free and all recently refurbished. It even has an on site restaurant!
As a special one off and as I saved money camping compared to the hostels, I treated myself to a pizza at the restaurant. My first evening meal I’ve eaten something which hadn’t been cooked on a small gas stove since Stanstead Airport! Although I chose the cheapest option of a margarita pizza, it was very large, and was well complemented with some recommended smoked German beer.