Distance: 25 km
Time: 5h 30m
Soundtrack: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Day 8 started off beautifully with a walk through a nature area, following a shepherd.
After about 5 km of this I reached the German border and things took a turn for the worse. Not *because* I reached the border, mind, I’m sure that was coincidental… Right, Germany?
And it wasn’t bad per se, just kinda boring, walking almost the entire way on bike paths next to trafficated roads, seeing mostly fields and nothingness. And this was even though I was using my hiking app.
I decided to eschew Google maps in favour of a dedicated hiking/cycling app, as I trust that they actually know where you’re allowed to walk AND when you pay for it it allows you to store maps offline, which is of course very handy should I find myself without a clue where to go and without Internet coverage. The trouble is it adds 1-5 km to EVERY segment of my route… Including adding a whole extra 5 km to my longest one, making it 40,5. So I think I’ll probably hop on a train for one stop to make that leg somewhat manageable. We’ll see..
I do feel that it’s a bit tougher to walk today probably just because I did a full day yesterday too with my pack, but it was still doable.
Anyway, I made it to Meppen in one piece, and have had the opportunity to practice my very bad German on the receptionist who didn’t speak English or Dutch. I planned to practice more before I left, but there was so much else to do. I did have German in school but that was over 20 years ago now (I switched to French in high school, thus helpfully ensuring I only know a very little bit of two languages rather than slightly more of one… ). Fortunately I seem to be able to make myself understood. And I’m hoping the more time I spend here the more it comes back to me.
I’m also hoping it will go better than the last time I spent a month in Germany, which was when I was 14 or 15. I was fighting a lot with my mum so she banished me to Germany to live with a family who were, as we put it where I grew up – very Steinerised. They didn’t have a TV or a CD player and all they seemed to eat was chikory. I did not have a good time. But.. I did come home a lot more appreciative of what I had, so maybe that was her cunning plan all along. 😉
This time I have of course chosen to spend time here, and am doing things in very much my own way. And I’ve wanted to go to Berlin for a long time.
I also learned some cool stuff about Germany recently, like they are the country in the west with the highest percentage of vegetarians. And they don’t have a lot of Google Street View because of privacy legislation, which I actually think is a good thing, but it’s inconvenient when planning a hiking trip and trying to find out where you are allowed to walk and not (another reason I’m now using the hiking app).
Today’s crisis was of a different nature than yesterday’s missing charger, but also kind of a biggie. Checking my email I saw that one of my Airbnb hosts had cancelled on me. That’s a risk when using the platform I guess, and normally you’d just find something else, but when you’re on foot, in the countryside, staying for only one night and with a specific route you cannot deviate from much, it becomes a lot trickier. Fortunately, with the help of J, I managed to find a different place – and if I understand it correctly it’s an entire house (at least access to an entire house) with a bathtub and a fireplace. Oh joy! I only wish I were staying more than one night.. So I guess it’s actually a better deal, though 15 euro more expensive.
I wonder what tomorrow’s crisis will be.. Or maybe there won’t be one. That would be nice, for a change. A quiet evening, imagine that… 😉