Tuesday, July 04, 2006

view from the kitchen

After 125km and various adventures, I'm here in Passau. I'm staying in an enormous 7 room space, which takes up 1 entire floor of this 400 year old building. My hosts are 5 girls who all study in Passau, and there is no way without name tags I'm going to remember their name. Hair colour won't work, because four of them are blond, so we've decided to differenciate between them by where they are from in Germany. Not only will this help me remember who is who, it'll give me a much needed geography lesson.

But it's not the destination that always makes travel interesting, it's the journey.

So just quickly, here's what happened:

I left Landshut was too late. I wanted to leave at 10 or 11, but an extended breakfast and mp3 swapping drew this out to 1:30. Leaving town was difficult, as I took the wrong road out and found myself South of the city, head back towards Munich. I followed my compass back to where I was supposed to be going, cutting through back roads and beautiful forest to get there. I must remember when going through the trees that it's totally ok to have all these European trees growing there, because here they aren't introduced species.

It started to become clear that if I was going to make it to Passau by the time I had told Nora, I would have to get a lift from someone. So I decided to make a sign. I called into a little shop to get someone to help me to make a sign in German to attract the attention of passing drivers. But through a mis-communication with the shop keep, he thought I wanted directions, went to his car, got his street directory and gave it me saying "Gratis. Gratis". So I now have a fairly extensive road map of Germany, with other bits of Europe thrown in. I ended up following the map to the next town and asking a bike shop owner (who looked uncannily like Adam Spencer), to help with the sign. He did so, and after finishing it said that I should have just written it in English as to appear more international. I agreed and then took the German flag I had connected to the trailer off and drew a rather crude version of Australia, in the hope that someone would get the idea and help.

This failed to work, and the shadows started to get longer. So I rode quicker, covering the last 50km in around an hour and a half in actual riding time. But it took longer than this to get there.

As I was riding, I almost ran over a baby mole who had wandered on the road and looked as if he was about to get squished. I turned my bike around and dropped it so I could rescue the little guy. Very cute. I put him in the grass off of the road and picked up my bike to continue riding. The problem was that when I dropped my bike, the right side handlebar had landed on a big juicy slug, squirting it's innards all over the hand grip. So much for saving animals. I wiped it off and went to ride away, only to find that my chain had become jammed in the peddles. I freed it with my pliers and continued riding with sluggy, greasy hands.

I stopped to for something to eat at Vilshofen, and ate my food on the banks of the Danube. It isn't blue, but it is big and has a mean looking current, the type you see after heavy rains. I tried to find a phone to call ahead and let Nora know where I was and how long I would be, but I couldn't see one anywhere. I put my lights on and I rode on into the night. Riding alongside the Danube was great. There was plenty to see. And the fireflies were amazing. Like seeing little galaxies floating by the side of the road, lighting up in a Mexican wave once I had passed them. But fireflies are still bugs, and bugs while you're riding your bike get up your nose, down your throat and into your eyes. The problem with fireflies getting into your eyes is that when they freak out, their natural response is to light up. Now from a few metres away, the light is tiny and cute. But when one of them turns it on in your eye, it's like catching a glimpse of the sun, temporally blinding you. This happened to me around 4kms from Passau and I soon found myself in a ditch beside the road. I wasn't hurt and Frankenbike is fairly sturdy, but i did rip a hole in the cover of the trailer. It was only when I got into Passau that i discovered the centre bit of my compass had popped out into the mud somewhere 4km back. This made me sad, becasue maybe now I won't be able to find my way back to the person who gave it to me.

But when I finally got to the place I'm staying, the girls were hanging out of their second storey window, waving flags and shouting greetings at me as I approached. Such a welcoming bunch. And tonight we go to the bar next door and watch the Germany vs Italy match. Exciting stuff.


Anonymous said...

Follow your heart babe. You'll find the way.

ElmoreGirl said...

this is your tour d'europe