Elbe paddle (day 16): Dömitz – Hitzacker – Bleckede

Today: 46km |Total: 601km

Hamburg we are on our way! The 600km mark has fallen and the last days of this great journey are upon us. Today was the longest day Laura and I have paddled together and made up for some lost ground yesterday. We visited the pretty town of Hitzacker (with indeed some hills) and put up camp in the boat club Bleckede. First warm showers since Magdeburg. Amazing. Tomorrow off to Geesthacht with its huge lock, a first taste of paddling with tides and a scheduled reunion with my childhood friend Thomas.

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Solution found for Hamburg: The general feedback i picked up on the way is that its dangerous to paddle through the busy Hamburg harbour. Waves, open canoe, limited experience… All voted for avoiding this part of the journey. So we will take the boat out before the harbour and resume the journey after. Better safe than sorry.

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Elbe paddle (day 14 & 15): Wahrenberg – Schnackenburg – Dömitz

Today: 46km |Total: 555km

We have reached the old East/West German border zone and, depending on which side of the river we travel, are now in either Lower Saxony, Brandenburg or Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. We made some good progress on day 14, past Nuclear waste dump Gorleben, and were gifted with a colourful sunset. However, we struggled on day 15 owing to strong headwinds and waves (and a bit of tired- & laziness 😏).

Bordermuseum: In Schnackenburg we visited the excellent border museum (German language a must though) that reminded of the past in this specific area with models of the defense infrastructure, uniforms and some statistics / newspaper articles. Lunch nearby though I find it shocking how often cards are not accepted in ‘modern’ Germany. Sad. Cost us already a nice dinner in the pretty village of Unbesandten the night before.

Wildlife: Birds continue to be our travel companions (as well as cows and sheep). Lots of noise, but amazing flight formations. Often we see eagles circling for prey. And sometimes bambies chasing each other on the shore. Quite breathtaking at times and all the time to enjoy it.

Dömitz: Home to a well-preserved fortress (which we skipped) and inviting restaurants. Most importantly, a bank and a supermarket that opens on Sundays (Germany 🤔). ALDI!

So it suddenly looks a little tight for Cuxhaven. But heh, who knows and it’s about the journey anyway.