This has to be quick as it's late. Today was a great day - an interesting visit to begin with (see below), hot weather, flat country to cycle through - until I got to my destination, when I sprained my ankle again when parking my bike, then discovered a tick buried in my belly.
The ankle twist doesn't feel as bad as the one that kept me out of the marathon ten days ago, but I would have kicked myself for going over on it again if that wouldn't have been painful. I'll find out when I wake up tomorrow how bad it is. Before I left for the trip a colleague in Germany warned me to be on the lookout for ticks, which are on the increase here and sometimes carry Lyme's disease, which can be fatal. So I wasn't enchanted to find one in me as I was just about to get into the shower. I brushed it away instinctively (with a surprised squeal, I'll admit) and luckily the whole thing came out. (Sometimes the head breaks off and stays stubbornly embedded in the flesh, delivering pathogens.) There was some blood but I think I'm in the clear.
Tonight I'm in Ilsenburg, on the edge of the Harz mountain range. It'll be uphill from the off tomorrow, and up and down thereafter more or less all the way to Trieste. Until now I've essentially been on the flat, but am neverthelessl more than a day behind schedule. I'm almost certain I'll have to deploy plan B - use as a reserve the four days I'd set aside at the end of the trip for riding around the Berlin wall bike path. I can do that over a long weekend later, probably next year.
The photo shows one of the many memorials dotting the route of the ex-border. This one is tucked in the corner of a field far from any village or main road, and unsigned. Surely no one ever just stumbles on it, but it is right next to a train line. You can see the foothills of the Harz on the left. Earlier I met a man from near Dusseldorf who is walking the whole inner German border (all 1400km of it) over three summers, south to north. He's about half way through. We exchanged accommodation recommendations.