Klietz to Genthin


The cooper of unification. Shades of Angela Merkel’s “Wir schaffen das “.

Today was a quite different day. A change from concentrating on not falling off on sandy paths was required, so a visit to Bismarck’s birthplace in Schönhausen seemed like a good idea, if only because it was all on tarmac. The museum is small (a plus in my book) and contains objects like his dogs’ collars (Tyras and Tyras II) and his white uniform, which gives you an idea of his size (height and width).

I know that Bismarck, for all his proto-social security, is hardly a politician for the all-inclusive 21st century, and his 1862 blood and iron speech will always be chilling . . . but after a week of cluelessness and hand-wringing from British politicians (not to mention what went on before), he does seem a giant statesman (height and width).

The Altmarkrundkurs was abandoned slightly in the attempt to stay upright, which meant that I discovered the shiny new cycle path beside the B17 all the way from Jerichow to Genthin. Brilliant! And so depressing that this kind of thing never appears in Britain these days.

It also meant that I took in some more German history. I passed the memorial to the women and girls who were forcibly employed at a munitions factory in Genthin during the Second World War and housed in a camp in the Genthin woods. If it were not for the memorial, you would never know it had been there.


Genthin itself is a likeable, workaday town with a big history in soap powder production:


I’m sure I have seen “Genthin” on some toiletries on the bathroom shelf at home: I shall have to look when I get back.

Tonight’s hotel is beside the old Elbe-Havel canal: lovely.

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