cycling Germany

Self-taught adventure – cycling central Germany

A moment lived in Germany by Birdwinks, a traveller from Germany

Instead of this fancy beach holiday, for this term’s vacation I literally simply stepped out of my door – and my adventure began just there. One week solo cycling and wild camping with my 7 gear city bike, almost 500 km through central Germany.

First of all: I had no previous experience in free camping or long term cycling or how to ensure food and water supplies on the way while being on a budget. I mean, I consider myself quite fit and I follow many different travel blogs with related stories and I backpacked alone before… but actually doing this shit all by myself just out of a sudden idea was something completely different. And I’d do it again in a split second.

I was well prepared, which was the clue to it all (well, in any case you gotta be extremely flexible and modest on the way, but that’s obvious). I knew the route and had sufficient navigation material, I knew my equipment and how to pack it well and set it up, I had repair stuff and knew how to use it (not so obvious, apparently), and – most importantly – I brought a huge amount of optimism. When my bike broke the first day, that was what kept my mind positive.

I got up in the mornings between 5 and 7 (depending on weather, daily distance, campsite and its potential agricultural use), I cycled between 50 and 85 km a day, I was freezing and sweating, starving and heavenly full of awesome food, I met great people and great loneliness. I reached personal limits and crossed them, I overcame fears and flinched from others. I was creative in repairing things and where I couldn’t, I was tremendously grateful for receiving help. I camped on wide meadows and in forests, in a barn between hay bales and in a castle ruin from XIIth century. I experienced ups and downs, great joy and deep sorrow, and most of all I got to listen to my thoughts like it’s never the case in everyday life – although I just covered a couple of kilometers of physical distance to that, it felt like another universe mentally. The official route is 400 km, but due to the extra way to get to the start from my home, as well as all the detours and looking for a freaking repair shop extra ways I can easily add another 100.

However, my bike started making problems the very first day, with an annoying squeaking pedal. I was able to fix it for roughly 60 km by applying some oil, but on Sunday, the second day, it became so bad I was unable to keep going – and all the repair shops closed, of course. I was quite desperate, sitting on the side of the road… when a couple came by, took me with them to their home, and helped me cleaning and oiling with more professional equipment, which enabled me to keep cycling for another 100 km or so. The next morning, I arrived in the next bigger city and was able to get it repaired straight away (they said it would take the whole day, but were done after 1,5 hours!).

Towards the end of the week, I really dealt quite intensely with some of my issues and, as it’s not always rainbows and unicorns, also had some deep, rather melancholic, thoughtful times full of doubt, not knowing whether my current life path is right for me, or which decisions are the best. I know this way is where I’m supposed to be, and believe in its importance, however, this is not easy when you’re alone in the middle of nowhere and don’t have anybody to share your thoughts with, to get a perspective on the matters.

After all, I figured some things out for myself. I realize I’m able to take care of my problems and do a trip like this by myself if I need to, that I’m fully capable of it. I know I mostly prefer company and dear friends around be, but I also value the alone time to actually listen to my own thoughts and go through things. I learned once again how positivity, mindfulness, and trust can lead the way, successfully. And, last but not least, you don’t have to go far to experience adventure – it awaits just outside your doorstep!

This traveller has a blog : Birdwinks

credit photo : Birdwinks

Memories

A moment lived in Germany by A-Lotta-Travelling, a traveller from Finland

Memories are a peculiar thing. Sometimes the smallest things such as a familiar smell bring back the strongest memories and emotions.

I lived in Kreuzberg, Berlin between the age of 3 to 5, back in 1993-95. My dad worked for a company that was relocated to Germany, and at scarce times after the recession in the early nineties my parents decided to move to Germany for a few years. With a newborn baby, myself and my older sister. Because, why not.

I don’t remember much from my time in Berlin, and when my parents organised for us to go back there in 2000 on a trip I was very excited but also a bit hesitant as I wasn’t sure how much I would get out of it.

When we arrived in Berlin we did some sightseeing around the usual places, and we spent a whole day revisiting our “old life”. My life back then consisted of walking between home, kindergarten and the local playgrounds, which I thought would be moderately interesting for a 10-year old me.

However, upon seeing these places something hit me. I recognised the places mostly from photos, but there was something so familiar with them at the same time. I got a wave of memories that I didn’t know I had and oddly enough I remembered the places as a home from a long time ago. It wasn’t the typical big things such as buildings and parks, but the smaller things such as the smell of a doughnut shop in a corner and an uphill road that felt so steep for me as a child. The things a three-year-old paid attention to.

Granted, a lot had changed in the neighbourhood that back in the nineties was a poorer part of town. You could still feel the strong annotations to a very recently fallen wall back then, but now it is the trendy and hipster part of Berlin. However, it was still amazing to come back to a part of my life that I thought I had forgotten about, and finding memories I didn’t know I had. It truly was a special moment in time, and I hope to be able to go back to Berlin one day and experience it again, and perhaps find some more memories in the cracks of the pavement and the swings of the playgrounds.

This traveler has a travel blog : Lotta

credit photo : A-Lotta-Travelling

[juiz_sps buttons="facebook, twitter, google, tumblr, mail"]