Departure on August 6 around 8:30 am; the next segment should have been to Heiligenhafen, but not having been able to find an online-bookable hotel, as a fallback I decided to head to the hamlet of Gremersdorf, 5 km/3 miles to the south. The beginning of this segment winds out of the urbanized area of Lübeck, which is extensive in comparison to its small historic center. Today, yet again, I need to follow the directions of the Radweit map for the Lübeck-Puttgarden route. It crosses through the suburb of Bad Schwartau and here, inspired by the regional map, I decide to take a side-trip, heading towards the Baltic Sea, crossing through the beautiful village of Ratekau, going along a section of the waterfront and after arriving at Neustadt, I head north.
A not entirely fortuitous idea: approaching the sea I find myself in the middle of a fog and the dampness is annoying. Once I arrive at Scharbeutz, I find myself in a classic seaside resort rather crowded and busy with traffic; all the same, along the sea there is a walkway with a bike lane alongside, and then luckily, in the meantime, the fog has lifted and the sun is shining again.
At Sierksdorf, another seaside resort, turning to the left onto an inland road one reaches Neustadt, the main town center of this region (Ost Holstein = East Holstein). There is a lot of traffic in the town center, but I discover a side-street that passes in front of the ubiquitous Italian gelateria (who knows why in Germany gelato is almost always called “Venezia”).
Here, on the edge of a small bike/pedestrian road, I come across a beautiful lake; in the distance I can see a large number of white birds in the water. The usual seagulls? No, with the telephoto lens I recognize that they are swans; even in Italy swans have become pretty common, but not in such huge quantities. It is appropriate that in neighboring Denmark the swan is the national bird.
After Neustadt, I bike northward as far as the city of Oldenburg-in-Holstein, the last significant town before arriving at Gremersdorf.
And finally, along small local roads I arrive in Gremersdorf from the west (with a little wind from the east to slow me down), the hotel is apparent right away as it is located right on the federal road that bisects the village. It is still early and before taking my room, I take a tour of the village, which takes very little effort; there are few houses, mostly farmland, nobody around, no stores, just a kind of tobacco shop next to the hotel, where I finally take my room.
I had not given up though to make it to Heiligenhafen: after three hours rest, I set out again with a much lighter load, due to the absence of my bags, I decide not to take the federal road which is too busy with traffic, and to follow a local road that is very peaceful (and has a bike lane along the side!) up to an intersection with a short ascent to a ridge that hides the city but after a descent leads to this Baltic seaport; it has a classic appearance: boats and fishing boats in the water, outdoor restaurants with their traditional tables, small vendors of fried fish or fishcakes, and actually some people around. I find a place to have a sandwich with fishcakes (which I think are typical for the region) and some ice cream; I also find a supermarket where I stock up on energy bars for the next day, and then return to the hotel with the wind behind me. As it turns out, Heiligenhafen was part of my trip after all.