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The Gate and the Shortcut

26 June-Duderstadt to Bad Sooden-Allendorf

Written 27.6.10

The day was hot and I got tired early. I started with a climb to the West-Eastern Gate, which is made of two tall tree trunks surrounded by a grove of young trees. The gate is situated exactly on the border, so that one trunk lies in the eastern part, and the other in the western. They are joined physically and symbolically, by a sturdy-looking steel plate at its base.

From here, I headed downhill to Wehnde and Teistungen, where I was disappointed to find the Borderland Museum to be closed, despite what seemed to be contradictory hours on the pamphlet I was able to procure. Mystified, I was pleased to be able to explore the outdoor instillations, which included the fairly standard set of watchtower-bunkerhouse-Kolonnenweg-fence-control strip.

I then made my way, slowly, to Siemerode, where I stopped for a snack at a cafe. It was getting a bit late-2:30 and I had nearly 30k to my goal of Bad Sooden-Allendorf. And as luck would have it, I got rather badly lost, and wound up in the village of Uder, a few kilometers off the trail. Here, I got directions from a fellow cyclist to follow the Leine bike trail to get back on track in Arenshausen. For seven wonderful kilometers, this guy was like the pacer of virtual stationary biking fame, except he was wearing a red shirt. In Arenshausen, I split off, following a road to Gerbershausen, and quickly realized I’d missed the turn I was supposed to take. This ended up being a shortcut however, and I found my way through 10 kilometers of rolling, downhill roads and made it to my destination in under 45 minutes.

Then, I lucked out, finding a wonderful Bett und Bike Pension, Zur Krone, who’s patron happens to be a founder of the local Borderland Museum. Viktor gave me all sorts of information sheets on the border, in English, and showed me a VHS tape of the film “We Are One People,” a nice piece on reunification that focuses on Berlin. He also promised to take me up to the museum in the morning, sparing me a hike up to Sickenburg.

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