From my tent with icy toes a new story about my bicycle adventures. In recent days, a heavy journey took place through the snowy German mountains.
Each day, I wake up in another place, in another state and not knowing what is going to happen. Freedom. I experience it now. It does me good, although I must say that braving the cold is a challenge every day.
After my departure from Rotterdam I did quite some distance. Yesterday I drove well over 500 kilometers, because my motto is still: immediately to the east because there things are more cheap. For the experienced rider it is no world performance, but I’m proud of what I’ve managed to ride the first week. I am on schedule and that gives me a good feeling.
A big surprise the last days was a visit from my sister and her friend in the German city Drünen. They came both on a motorcycle to wish me extra luck for this cycle-tour. Thank you heroes!
It was soon done with the flat easy to cycle landscapes after I departed from Drünen. Faster than expected I cycled through white snowy peaks. Was that not cold? Yes, temperatures were at high peaks between -5 and -10 degrees. I was lucky that my tire had a puncture and because of that I had to inflate the tire every 25 kilometers again. That made sure that I stayed warm. Sometimes my toes were so cold that I had to walk to get them back on temperature.
After much complicated situations with my flat tire, I decided one morning that the tire needed to be fixed. In the snow, with cold fingertips I started to work on that. And what happened than was my first experience with generosity on the road, something completely unexpected happened!
After fifteen minutes rummaging with the tire a man stopped in an old jeep with a huge bale of hay on the back. He spoke not a word of English, and I speak exactly two words in German and the rest is Dutch with a German accent. I could not explain to this man that I could fix this tire. The man, Joseph was his name, however, was convinced that I needed a new tire. Well, I finally let go of the situation. Joseph went to the nearest town to get me a new tube. Joseph away and then an elderly lady stopped by. A little chat about the situation and I made clear that a man was helping me already. After half an hour and a fixed tire later Joseph returned. He looked at me, wondering why the tire was fixed.
Anyway, a spare tube is always welcome. Joseph wrote his address on a piece of paper and told me to send a postcard from Singapore. But then, after Joseph left the woman came back with a hot cup of coffee and two sandwiches she specially bought for me. That was pure enjoyment, in which the punctured tire came very handy!
I’m always trying to be as optimistic as possible but in recent days my not trained body had a very hard time. Especially the bits of the Ardennes. The cold mountains are not always fun. And when I finally lie nice and warm hidden in my sleeping bag in a forest, there appears to be an airport next to the forest. And every ten minutes the sound of an airplane goes by, that’ll keep you awake. It is not always very comfortable but I feel that this really is a dream coming true. What I enjoy? The not knowing what the day will bring, the changing nature, culture and the immense hospitality everywhere!
On the advice of a fellow adventurer, I chose to cycle the Brenner Pass. A minor change in the route. This appears to be the best part of Austria to cross in winter with bicycle. So than I will cycle a part of northern Italy and then through Slovenia to Croatia. Hopefully, the temperatures are milder there!
Until about a week!