I got a response to my email to Pension Heuler re Welly the runaway mascot sheep. They have found her and rescued her before she got rained on. They have offered to send her home (in disgrace) or send her on ahead so she can continue the journey to Australia, which is really lovely of them. They also wished me “fine company and no holes in my wheels” which is exactly the sort of response one would expect from such an excellent guest house – Go there, people! It’s a great place for a getaway!
While I have the internet I’ve managed to arrange a couch to surf on in Lichtenfels with Karin – this gives me somewhere definite to aim for (otherwise I give up to easy and am only too happy to lounge around somewhere sunny with a beer). And while I’m on a roll, I complete daily draw 129 (the fried eggs in purple baskets one).
It was a beautiful, sunny morning, though rain is still forecast. When I finally climbed out of bed to have breakfast – I was joined by Norbert again, come to say hello and goodbye. He works in a factory across the other side of the river but is hoping for redundancy – and the accompanying payout. He is divorced with grown up children and a girlfriend who lives elsewhere and with whom he communicates mostly via instagram (probably why he was photographing the meadow yesterday). He told me another story from his travelling days, of another guy who didn’t wash or change for 4 entire weeks: eugh – I smelled bad enough after 3 DAYS let alone weeks. Quentin Crisp said that dust doesn’t get any thicker after 4 years – maybe it’s the same with body odour. I gave Norbert a wee painting with blog address on back and he gave me a packet of dextrose tablets in case of need for emergency energy boost - stuck in pencil case at moment – must transfer to first aid kit! We wished each other all the best, and said ‘auf weidersehen’ – what a kind fellow.
I got chatting to a few other folk on the site before I left – particularly interesting were the German couple who had brought their van to the site for a couple days and ended up staying for their full holiday. They had previously toured all of Europe and the stop offs were painted all over the house bit of their van – along with the country stickers. They had friends in Exeter (small world – unless you’re Spike Milligan who managed to travel around the world and NOT meet anyone who he’d met previously and thought it was BIG world).
Karin, my host tonight, isn’t available until 8.30pm so I didn’t feel the need to get going until gone midday (that morning inertia and any old excuse). Getting back on the right path proved slightly difficult as I ended up touring an industrial estate yet again: they must exert some kind of vortical force which sucks you in and won’t let you go. After much to-ing and fro-ing I decided to follow the road instead of the river to Zeil-a-Main – more direct as cuts off a loop, if a tad noisier.
After this, I was supposed to turn left and head for the hills in Ebelsbach/Gleisenau but, after trying to follow cycle signs, a man climbing out of his car and about to walk his two dogs assured me the woodland trail I was cycling along led in a circle and didn’t go anywhere. So I headed back into town and onto the next village of Stettfield and turned left through the woods there.
I ended up doing two sides of a triangle instead of one – and followed a similar woodland trail – through pine and deciduous trees and traffic free (if one ignores the two humungous tractors that drove past). I was in the hills again and, much though I loath climbing them, I adore the scenery. I don’t think I could live in Norfolk, for example – far too much sky. Zooming downhill is fun too, so long as there is tarmac and not loose gravel under the wheels.
From Rudendorf (every place seems to end with a ‘dorf’ today, and not ‘heim’ like the other day) it was fairly straightforward to follow the small white metal rectangles with their green borders and green arrows and a picture of bicycle on. I only missed them twice today – but when I do, it’s usually a bit of a twoozle to find the right route again.
I’ve been hearing cuckoos all week – but heard one really close and clearly this evening.
I arrived in Lichtenfels at 21.15hrs – which is not a totally unreasonable time (unlike poor Beate and Katja who had me come calling at 11pm). I’ve also got fairly close to the mileage the map says I should have done – only TEN miles out. Now I’m sat here in the Marktplaz having a beer while I wait for Karin to collect her daughter before coming to collect me.
I’m ravenous – after breakfast, I had a cheese and salad roll in a supermarket café and then later on, spotted a BIKE café (novel!) which had the most scrumdiddlyumptious apricot ‘kuchen’ and a spicy cold milky tea concoction called Tiger chai – really tasty. But cycling builds up an appetite!
I felt good today – perhaps because it wasn’t so hot. There was still the wind in the face but mostly flat cycling with just a few hills to liven it up, and interesting scenery. Only 100miles or so to Susanne’s in Schönheide – where it looks like I can have a few days off it looks like. She is ‘Hotsock’ on Ravelry, a Travel Agent by trade and someone who has kindly taken a keen interest in my travels since way back at the planning stage. I have three parcels awaiting me at her address already! I’ve been very grateful for her assistance to date – everything would have been much more problematic without such help and friendship.
Karin turns up with a smile and a hug: I haven’t quite finished my beer so I buy her one too. Thinks to self – this nightly beer is habit forming – must desist!
The weather is cooling so that will help, as it’s the cold, thirst quenching liquid I hanker after, following a dusty day’s travel.
Karin walks me back to her flat. Her 17yr old daughter, Nina, is old fashioned and disapproves strongly of her mother couchsurfing, Karin, however, and fortunately for me, loves travelling and feels this hosting should be reciprocal.
Karin is a nanny by trade, a rarity in Germany apparently, as only well off people can afford to employ them and the State offers cheaper alternatives. She cares for a 7yr old girl and a 15yr old boy. She is a dancer in her off duty time – there are pictures of her dressed in Middle Eastern attire with gauzy, whispy shawls floating in the air around her. She split from her husband 5yrs ago, but lives close so that their two children, Nina and Tim can spend time with both her and her ex. Partner. I didn’t meet her son Tim, but he is very sporty, as can be seen from action photographs from basket ball games, decorating the walls in Karin’s flat.
Karin adores being a mum and we (as happens sometimes, when one mentions being a retired midwife) discussed birth stories – Karin’s were relatively quick and straightforward. Karin made me a pasta dish with homemade pesto – which I devoured before taking a wonderful, glorious shower. Nothing quite like it when one is sticky from a day’s exertion. Even though it was a breeze, it’s surprising how grubby one can feel after cycling along in the wake of tractors raising up clouds of dust. I fall into bed with hair still wet (declining offer of hairdryer – makes for a far more interesting hair style in the morning).