Gransee - Fürstenberg
The third day on our bikes - the third day is often the day when your muscles are beginning to feel the strain of riding daily but you haven't yet built up new strength. So we slowed down a little and decided to give our bodies a chance to recoup.
It was again grey in the morning and looked like rain, and again we were lucky and stayed dry. The bicycle route took us through charming landscape of lakes and woods. Typical for the day was rolling countryside with occasional villages, half-timbered churches and two brick Cistercian monasteries, now ruins.
In the middle of a lovely wood of birches and beeches we discovered a memorial plaque for the victims of Ravensbrück, a concentration camp for women in WWII. The remains of the camp's buildings, which are partially visible from the bike path, now house a National Memorial site with two permanent exhibitions: "Women of Ravensbrück", which displays the biographies of 27 former prisoners, and "Ravensbrück: Topography and History of the Women's Concentration Camp", which provides information about the origins of the camp, describes daily life in the camp, and explains the principle of Vernichtung durch Arbeit (extermination through work). How gruesome this countryside of lakes and forests must have appeared to the prisoners of Ravensbrück.
With the help of the tourist information office we found a room in Fürstenberg. It was very simple but we had a view to the Havel. We hadn't seen anyone swimming yet, by the way, this summer has been much too cool. There wasn't much to the town, a main street, a few stores, a few restaurants, a few restored facades.
On one that was better restored than the rest we discovered a plaque telling us that Heinrich Schliemann had lived here for four years. It was for me an intriquing thought that Schliemann had once lived in this humble, run down town which still has a way to go before it is back on its feet economically. Schliemann, born in 1822, was a German archaeologist and excavator of Troy. He is sometimes considered to be the modern discoverer of prehistoric Greece and has become a symbol of the romance and excitement of archaeology.
My bike was acting up again, sometimes the battery was connected, sometimes not.