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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

What is a Centipede Tree? Day 4, June 11

We woke up early, 6 am, to get packed up and ready for breakfast at 6:30 am. The luggage had to be in the lobby by 7:20. The van was packed up with luggage and all of our bikes. We were not going to be biking the first part of the day. Today we were going on a variety of types of transportation, our leader Phillip called it the Russian Nesting Doll way, to get off of the islands and over to Germany. First we had to walk through town to a local bus station to catch a bus to the train. Our leader Anaïs gave us 20 minutes to walk to the bus station forgetting that we are bikers and we can walk fast. The bus arrived and we took it to the train station, about a 30 minute ride. At the train station, we caught a train to the ferry. You can either purchase your exact seat for the train or just take whatever seat is available. Oops, we ended up sitting in other people's seats and we had to move to a different train car. Next thing we knew, the train rode right onto a large ferry to cross the Baltic Sea into Germany. Everyone had to leave the train and climb upstairs onto the ferry deck. There were food options and bathrooms available as well as chairs on the upper deck to watch the crossing. It was a gloomy day on the water and we couldn't see very much. After about 45 minutes, we were told to return to the train to continue on our journey into Germany. The train stopped at the town of Oldenburg in Holstein. We got out to find the van and our bikes ready to go.

It was a great ride today even though it was only 38 km (23 mi). It started off very flat with some gentle rolling hills. As we were turning left onto a small road in Wangels, we saw the guide had written on the ground in chalk, "Free Strawberries". There was a stand off the right that was shaped like a strawberry and had Erdbeeren on the front, which is German for strawberries. It is strawberry season in Germany and these little stands are everywhere. We stopped for a while to enjoy the local fruit and the guide told us to watch out for Centipede Tree. We had no idea what he was talking about. Just up the road, we found a tree of shoes, the Centipede Tree. It looked like a normal tree until you got up very close and saw the hundreds of pairs of shoes hanging from the limbs. The pictures just don't do it justice. We pedaled on through small farming villages and some very dark forests. These were mostly dedicated bike paths but some main roads as well. The drivers are more respectful of the bikers than we find at home. Passing through one small village, we encountered a bride and groom completely made of hay bales. There were rather tall and I sent a picture to Robert and Susan. They said, "No, Mark does not to build one for the wedding".

It was early afternoon when we made it to hotel in the town of Malante. We checked in and unpacked a little. We were going to be at this hotel for two nights. We learned that there was an indoor pool, jacuzzi and saunas, so we changed into our suits and headed down. We don't really go swimming much, so we wanted to take advantage of the hotel pool. Later, we walked around the Dieksee Lake. We found a heart sculpture that was covered in locks, just like the bridges of Paris. After a short tour leaders' meeting about the upcoming day, we all headed out to dinner together.

Pictures: on the ferry, chalk strawberry sign, strawberry stand and hay sign, Centipede Tree, bride and groom hay bales (she doesn't look too happy), Lake Dieksee, snail on a leaf, heart sculpture with locks, and Mark's watch map.

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