My last kürbiskernebrötchen...
Trip Start Jul 23, 2008
24Trip End Feb 04, 2009
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It had the perfect farewell present from Bamberg, the internet stuff took much longer then I thought, so I had a late lunch at my favourite spot by the tree overlooking the river and rathaus. Then I hear drumming... Of course I go and investigate, turns out that a brass drum band is performing. Great salsa/mamba rhythms, amazing sound!! Thank you Bamberg.
Time to move on though. After only a short distance I have to shelter for rain, so all in all I do not get very far anymore that day. No campsite in sight, so I ask at this house if I can put my tent in their garden. This is luckily not a problem at all. The family is great, even provides me with water, use of bathroom, email check and breakfast in the morning! This is first-star wild camping really! The homemade jam is delicious.
That day I take one of the most beautiful routes of this trip, taking me through the Fränkische Schweiz. I am following the river to Pottenstein. Higher hills, great views, just amazing! I might also have found my mode or transport for the next travel adventure: The Kayak. Seen people passing by, remembered my own peddling experiences in New Zealand and Finland. Great way of travelling as well. Taking the tent, seeing country from a different perspective....hummm not bad at all ;-))
This region is well-known for Rock climbing. At the campsite I stayed that night, lots of people were doing it. One of the things I would love to do as well. Can still remember my high school klettercamp in Germany. Loved every minute of it. Joao, maybe I come to Portugal to learn it from you! ;-) Pottenstein is famous for its rodeln track. Of course I had to try it once as well. Fun, but not fast enough for me.
The next day was my first and only 'I don't like this cycling' day...Every hill seemed like the Mount Everest and I felt all grumpy and annoyed. So when I cycled through a forest and saw this lovely lake I decided to stop and camp, even though it was only 14.00 o'clock. That day no more cycling, but taking an afternoon nap, reading and cooking a lovely meal. Wild camping again, with no-one around the whole time....until the next morning at 07.00 !!! when I am squatted down with my pants on my heels...this guy drives past, to go fishing I guess, nice timing!
Morning all better, ready to cycle again. That morning I stop in this tiny village to take a photo of one of the many Maria statues in this country, when an old woman calls me over. Would I like coffee and homemade pie? Not the most healthy breakfast, but what the heck, sure I will come in. If it was up to her she would have been my mother-in-law....she found out I am single and decided I was the perfect match for her 40-year-old son Karl Hein, who is still living with her. As a joke I ask for a photo, within seconds she took me to the living room to show me a whole wall with photos... well what can I say, tempting, but decided to continue trip and move on hahaha Mum, sorry, I am not going to marry yet ;-)
I also found out that in this area USA has the biggest military practice area of Europe. Grafenwohr is No-go-zone for anybody. From here trained soldiers are sent to Iraq, Afghanistan etc. Training and god knows what more they do there...Should we Europe be glad about this?
The old woman adviced me to go to Flossenbürg, where there is a high-tec museum about the old Concentration work camps during the second world war, build on the original site. Been there and learned lots more. Until now never realized that so many different nationalities other then German Jews where taken prisoner. All preventive actions to rule out any opposition, gays, politicians, laymen, priests, anybody really. As in other camps the people were treated terrible here. It really should be remembered. Sad to know that at present day lots of people are still maltreated in many countries...
With lots to think about I continue to follow the special Bockleradweg, which is an old railway line, now cycling track. Good because it is relatively flat all the way, a nice break in between the hill climbing. And I have the great train views, but still doing all the work myself of course ;-)
The track takes me all the way to Eslarn, the 'last frontier' before crossing into Czech Republic. Even though I have travelled to a lot of countries by now, it does make me nervous each time again. New country, new language, new everything really! Leaving the familiarity behind, plunging into a new one. Always best to do in the morning, when I am fresh energy to take it all in. So I decide to stay in Eslarn, camping for the last time on German ground. I end up at this lake with the locals hanging out for their daily beer. Not long before I am offered one as well... That night I feel a bit uneasy, as groups of teenagers decided to hang out at the lake as well, with lots of alcohol to drink. The old Mongolian demon shows itself, playing with my thoughts. But nothing to worry about as they leave me and my things alone. I don't know how they did it, but did not even hear them go home in the night.
That morning I am eating my last Kürbiskernebrötchen! It is now official, I am addicted to pumpkinseed bread. It is delicious. Germans can do many things, making lovely bread is one of them!
The cycling trip really did show me Germany in a different way, definately more interesting then to use it only as a speeding platform to get to other countries, like most of us Dutchies do. Get off the highway and discover the many lovely towns, its great people and scenic nature like I did! No, I do not get any promotional money from a German tourist agency....
Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland!
Dobry Den Ceska Republica...