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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

Loop Day - Day 5, June 12

Today, we have 2 choices for cycling, a long route (60 km/37 mi) or short route (48 km/30 mi). We started later this morning because neither of the loops will not take that long. The bike paths were nice and it is great to get away from the cars. I saw a castle off in the distance, but didn't realize we would be seeing it up close fairly soon.

The first town (8700 residentes) we entered was Plön. There was a pedestrian only town center that was filled with shops and eateries. We got off our bikes to walk them through the town. If you see a large pretzel sign hanging outside a store, you have found a bakery. We entered one to find a large variety of delicious-looking breads and pastries. While I took pictures, Mark was purchasing a large fruit and cheese danish. Since I couldn't eat any of it, he shared it with the other bikers. From the town center, we walked our bikes up to the castle that we had seen earlier from afar. The Schloss was built in 1633-36. it was located on the largest lake in the area, Great Plön Lake. From 1839 on, it was the summer residence of Danish kings. In 1868, it was the Prussian cadet academy. Presently, it is a non-profit optometry facility for education and training. Unfortunately, there was an event happening inside and we were only allowed to visit the grounds of the schloss.

As we were leaving Plön, we passed an Evangelical Lutheran church, Die Nikolaikirche. Outside the church, was a Maïbaum or May Pole erected. In Germany, they can be set up on either May 1 or on Pentecost, which just 3 days ago. They are decorated with the symbols of the various trades of the region and they have a large procession to set it up.

We left Plön an pedaled on to Eutin. We were told to stop at the Bridegroom's Oak (Bräutigamseiche) in the Dodauer Forest. Legend has that in the late 1800's, a girl and boy were in love, but her father disapproved of their relationship. They would write letters to each other and leave it in the hole in the tree. Eventually, her father gave in and they married under the tree. As the years went on, people began leaving love letters in the hole in the tree in the hope of finding a soul mate. The postman visits the tree once a day to deliver letters and the tree has its own postal code. Many marriages have come from this tree. We stopped to climb the ladder and read some of the letters. People send them from all over the world, so they are not all in German.

From there, we headed into the town of Eutin. Just twice the size of the last town, it too had a market square filled with shops, food markets, and beer. It was at this town, that we had to choose long or short rides back to Malante. One other rider was leaving for the short route, so I followed him. Mark wanted to do the long route, so he left on his own. Where we split, there was an arrow pointing left (Short) and another pointing right (Long). If you follow the chalk arrows, you shouldn't get lost. It was a very short ride back, only 8 km or 5 miles. That gave me time to wash my clothes and take a quick shower before Mark returned. When we had left town, the other bikers were still eating lunch. When they started to ride back, the arrows that pointed out short and long were erased and they could just make out one arrow pointing to the right. They had planned on the short route, but ended up doing the long loop, which was hilly.

Dinner was on our own. We went to a restaurant right on the lake and during the meal, it began to pour. We were sitting under an awning, but I could rain falling on me all during the meal, which wasn't that good. We ended the evening with delicious ice cream.


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