It was a slow start today. We all got packed up, had showers, did some sit-ups with the Canadians and finally left the campsite at 10:30am. It was good to compare our route with somebody else, and so getting out of the town was easy. We got back onto the cycle path and said goodbye to our new friends for what would be the last time.
We were supposed to be reaching Berlin today as it was only 121 miles away. We made a decision in the morning though to split the journey up. Jess was still riding single-speed, so Matt and Andy decided to join her in the same gear for the last two days. After a couple of hours we reached the town of Gartow, and wanted to push on to the appropriately named Schnackenburg to stop for lunch... But then the rain started!
It had been sunny all morning, and we were slightly kicking ourselves for not leaving earlier. Being a Sunday too, nowhere was open. After a search around the town we noticed that one place was open. We left the bikes outside, covered the saddles and went to grab a seat under the shelter. We got a pizza each which was really tasty, and then we had some fancy ice-cream too. We ended up sitting in the cafe for 2 hours, drawing pictures of each other and dragging out our drinks.
By the time we left it was 3pm and we had only done 20 miles. Luckily we hadn't planned a destination for the day, we said we would just push on as far as we could. The rain stopped and we pedaled hard to try and recoup some mileage.
The road ran parallel with the river, which meant it was flat albeit windy. We had one ferry crossing we could see on the map, it was 34 miles away near a place called Behrendorf. Behrendorf was Behren to say the least, nobody was there! The only campsite on the map was over the water in Havelberg. We had been stopping and starting all afternoon, and at about 7pm the rain started again, we took shelter under a tree as it lashed it down around us. The clouds dissappeared after 12 minutes and we finished the last 6 miles to the ferry crossing.
When we got there however, there was nobody to be seen. The boat was there, but the sign read '06:00h - 20:00h' It was now 20:12. We had missed it by 12 minutes. We were devastated, we had no food, water or campsite.
We look around, and behind us was a huge stretch of woodland that we had just passed through. This was gong to be our best bet. Jess and Andy cycled back 5km to try and fill up the water bottles whilst Ed, Matt and Dyfan found a good spot for us to sleep and started to rummage through the bags for some food. We managed to pull together a tin of fruit, two sachets of porridge oats, one pasta, one Cous Cous and a small amount of bread. We had also collected 5/6 apples and a handlebar bag full of plums earlier in the day.
When the others returned with water, Andy and Matt fetched all the dry wood they could find and everyone set up the tents. We built a frame to hang the kettle on and had fruit salad with porridge to start. Then a small amount of pasta each. it was enough though and we all felt full.
We dried our shoes next to the fire and watch the huge trees swaying above us. This was by far the best camping night, in the woods, by ourselves. The fire died down and the mosquitoes picked up. The first ferry was at 6am. Tomorrow we would be arriving in Berlin!
Total miles: 52
Time in the saddle: 3h 51m
Total time: 9h 42m