This morning was spent cycling over the Dübener Heide – which is more than a forest than a heath. It was slow-going because of the sandy paths, but it was also beautiful in the filtered sunshine with the sound of birdsong everywhere. Coming from England, I’m always surprised by how long you can cycle in a German wood or forest before coming to the edge. My record is two days on the Rennsteig. With their easy paths and frequent signage, German woods are very user-friendly – although, having once lost two hours in the Frankfurter Stadtwald, I don’t take signage for granted. Even then, however, I felt none of the Grimm-like fear of the forest. Perhaps you need to come from somewhere where bears and wolves still roam to find woods truly frightening places rather than just a handy metaphor or a place to spend a Sunday afternoon. The last films I recall playing with the wood as a place of unmentionable horror were Katalin Varga and The Witch.
Then through flat farmland to Leipzig. After three days of bucolic slowness, I feel like a country mouse in the big, busy city. More of Leipzig tomorrow.