My first stop is a street crossing approx. 500m away from the confluence point N51.00.000 E007.00.000 in the north of Cologne on the border with Leverkusen. From here my journey starts along 51 degrees North latitude to the east, well equipped with a small supply of drinks and a little bit of local flavor as an addition.
What is a Pittermännchen? It is a 10 liter Koelsch beer keg. In the Cologne area, a Pittermännchen can often be ordered in the pubs, it is then on the table or on a box and the guests can tap their Koelsch themselves. Because of their handy size, Pittermännchen are also popular for private parties, and some are also available with self-cooling.
After 94 virtually cycled kilometers on my world tour along 51 degrees North latitude, I reached N51.00.000 E008.00.000 on January 10th, 2021. The confluence point is in a forest near Kreuztal-Littfeld and about 1 km away I found a ground monument as an interesting place to do the sketch, the Altenberg mining desert. The settlement dates back to the 13th century. Remains of medieval and early modern mining can be seen in the area, basement foundation walls, the foundation walls of a tower, several shafts that were used for ore mining. An observation tower was built on the foundation walls.
According to a legend, the town's inhabitants had become immeasurably rich from mining, but because of the greed and arrogance of the inhabitants, the town was destroyed by fire.
My next destination N51.00.000 E009.00.000 in a forest near Haina is 96 virtually cycled km away and on the route there are already a few meters to overcome. A cyclist-friendly beer garden in the old train station in Gemünden, 4 km from my destination, comes in handy. The building and the beer garden are worth seeing and are presented on the website of the station with a 360 degree tour of all rooms and wagons. If I were really on the road, I would take the offer to stay overnight in the Mitropa sleeping car that is on the premises.
The station was built in 1911, renovated after the railway tracks were closed and dismantled in 1982 and is now a cultural monument.
My next stage destination N51.00.000 E010.00.000 is unspectacular in a field. The only remarkable object on site is a sign indicating the geographical center of Germany - one of several possible, depending on which calculation model is used. Wikipedia shows 9 possible locations in Hesse, Thuringia and Lower Saxony.
Tannenberg Castle, which is about 5 km from the destination on my 101 km long virtual route, is more interesting for sketching. The castle was built in several phases between 1300 and 1400, consists of several buildings and has been expanded several times. After 1700, buildings that were no longer in use decayed. At the beginning of the 20th century, the first restoration work was carried out, in an attempt to convert the castle into a hotel, unfortunately, much of the medieval interior was destroyed. Extensive restoration work has been carried out since 1995. Today the castle is owned by a support association and describes itself as "a walk-in picture book of the Middle Ages" with gastronomy, castle festival, guided tours, castle experiences and rental for events in a mediaeval atmosphere.
My next destination N51.00.000 E011.00.000 brings me to the outskirts of Erfurt after 87 km. The confluence point is in a field next to a beltway and in the immediate vicinity I can only find industrial areas and a desolate shopping center. On the way to the old town I come to Venice, a park-like island in the Gera, and a street of the same name that leads over a bridge and is lined with brick palazzi. In places along the Gera the city actually has something of Venice, but the origins of the name of the island and the street are more likely based on the Old High German word Fenn for swamp or derive from Erfurt's centuries-old trade relations with Venice. Anyway, I like this corner and the lost place palazzo is my sketch for 51.11.
Real life threw a few obstacles in my way in the last few days, so that I had to interrupt my virtual bike journey for a few days. I used the break as a short stay at my last stage destination, Erfurt, and found a few attractive motifs to draw there. Although I hadn't planned it, I now show and draw tourist highlights on my tour, the Krämerbrücke and the Dämmchen are apparently so popular that you can find loads of photos of them on google.