First of all, where the hell is Diemitz? As cyclists tend to prefer the mountains as opposed to the sea, Diemitz isn’t necessarily on the radar screen of the cycling world. It isn’t located at the sea either, but in the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (aka Meck-Vorpom) and just in the middle of a huge region of lakes and swamps, connected by canals, know as the Mecklenburger Seenplate (Mecklenburg lake district). The Müritz lake is the biggest one in Germany after the Bodensee in the South, created by the river Rhein. But the lake district is more than the Müritz lake, there is water everywhere. In fact one can travel from Berlin in the South through the lake district to the Baltic Sea by boat through a system of interlocked canals and sluices.
Our friends, having made a fortune in Tokyo, Moscow, Munich and recently in Riyad, bought their summer estate about 9 years ago in the small village of Diemitz. Every August they invite their friends and relatives to stay with them for the weekend or perhaps longer. Our family was there the first time last year and last weekend we drove to Dimietz for the second time – by that it has become something of a regular event in the short history of our family in Germany.
Also, in case you haven’t found out that by yourself or didn’t thought too much about the importance of this, Diemitz is located with the former German Democratic Republic. Having spend most of the last 20 years since the German reunification in Asia, I still have difficulties to cope with the fact that there is only one Germany left. Not that I am against it, but still for me it has been a surprising development and when riding by car to Diemitz I tend to say „We are crossing the border now“ or „Better not to have a car breakdown after Helmstedt (the former border town on the federal highway).“ If you would ask me what came first, German unification or introduction of the Euro, I would know that the former is a precondition for the later, but I would tend to place them at more or less the same point of time. Completely wrong.
The region has the charm of the former regime. Some villages are rundown, many streets have cobblestone roads and the roads between the small villages are nice looking alleys. The most amazing fact about the lake district is, that nobody is living there. It is, so to say, the exact opposite of Shibuya. There are vast amounts of land dedicated to foresting or to large scale agricultural operations. This is only natural for mountainous areas, but the landscape her is rather flat with rolling hills.
What would be better to ride along in style with a bike that fits the area? So I took my blue Gazelle with me and set off one afternoon to explore the area around Diemitz. I had to wait some days as the weather was terrible. Rain all day long, some of the largest recorded rainfalls in history. Even some roads were closed the the fire fighters were busy pumping water back into the lakes.
With the sun coming out for the first time the roads dried fast and I zoomed through up and down the hills. There are alleys, fields, swamps, lakes and dense Forrest of pine trees. There is a lot of variety and a lot to see. To ride over the cobblestoned sections of the road, mainly within the limits of the villages is a rather painful but authentic experience. Perhaps a modern carbon frame would be more comfortable, but an old steel bike is so much more charming. A good training for the L’eroica next year?