Km on the clock: 450
I left the camp site quite annoyed the next day. It did not have to do anything with the camp site itself. Actually it is a very nice place and has a lot to offer for families with kids. However, of course I was lucky enough to camp right next to two couples who decided to start a fight in the middle of the night which made it impossible to get some sleep. Although several guests asked them to be quiet because of the kids they did not seem to care. Finally after a while they calmed down and I and everyone else got finally some sleep. Paying €20 for such a night seemed as such waste of money to me.
I headed further up north in direction Nuremburg. It was a bit hard to motivate myself that day for cycling after a night of rather shitty sleep. At least I got a free beer out of it when I checked out at the reception.
Nuremburg is a very cyclist friendly city. The bicycle lanes are broad and the signs lead you through the city easily. Arrived at the Hauptmarkt I sat down at the Schöner Brunnen for a picnic. The weather was good so I took my time to rest for a bit and also took some pictures. Full and rested I started to explore the historic city center. Only after a few minutes a guy in a suit and a briefcase appeared right next to me. Bernd was a local and was just curious about my story. He told me that he already saw me taking pictures at the Hauptmarkt. We started talking. I told him that I was cycling the length of entire Germany. He told me that he hiked the length of Germany just one year ago. This journey took him six weeks. I think that is pretty impressive achievement. Having something in common kept us talking. He offered me to show me a bit around and gratefully accepted this offer. We ended up at the Kaiserburg Nuremburg and afterwards he gave me the directions to Erlangen.
So I left Nuremburg again and headed further up north. I passed Erlangen and cycled alongside the Main-Donau-Canal in direction Forchheim. I heard that Erlangen is also a beautiful city. However, the view on the Erlangen skyline from the canal was not very impressive. Most of time I got 1970s housing blocks to see. It actually made a quite depressing impression to me.
It was already turning dark and I did not even find a place for the night yet. Due to my previous night experience I did not have any desire to stay on a camp site again. So I camped in the wilderness close to the canal path. I felt like an outlaw that night because Bernd from Nuremburg told me that wild camping is illegal in Bavaria. Anyways, I did not care. It was already too dark to keep pedaling and to find another place to stay that night and I was actually also too tired to keep moving. Besides that, it was just such a nice spot to camp.
That moment when I finished setting up my tent it started to rain. I thought: Perfect timing! I crawled into my tent, had sandwiches and gummy bears for dinner and read one of the books which I brought with me. In Moods of Future Joys tells Alaistair Huphreys his epic 4 ½ years cycling journey around the world. It was quite weird to read a story about a guy who got thrown stones at in Ethiopia while every person I met so far was very friendly to me.
The next day started great. My legs felt good for the first time on this trip. I was such a great feeling to cycle without any paint. Even the weather was very cycling friendly. I thought: Today I am gonna go far. I kept pedaling alongside the Main-Donau-Canal and successfully raced the ships cruising down the canal.
There was a Blues and Jazz Festival when I arrived in Bamberg. Unfortunately I did not bring enough time to enjoy the live music acts. Instead I did some sightseeing in the historic city center and which was packed with tourists from all over the world. Especially Asian people seemed to occupy every single sight.
I decided to get some food before I leave Bamberg again. I found this small Indian food/pizza place just a few steps from the Grüner Markt. Ravi, the owner of that place, made me a delicious prosciutto pizza and refilled my water bottles for the other half of the daily distance to cover.
After some time the drizzling rain turned into really heavy rain. It was pouring and I got wet all over. Not even my rain jacket and rain pants could not stand this massive amount of water. Even my boxers and the inside of my shoes got wet. My wet feet turned into wet and cold feet very soon and my hands turned wrinkly like I took a long and hot bath. Taking a hot bath was something I could only dream about in that moment.
I made it into the town Ebern in northern Bavaria and checked in into a Mexican guest house for the night. A great Mexican food smell came out of the kitchen and brought up some good memories of my backpacking trip in Central America five years earlier. I used all the space in my room to hang up all my wet clothes of the last two days and got some good sleep.
The next morning started quite strange because there was no one around. Not a single person was in the guest house. So I packed my yet dry clothes and equipment together, dropped the key in the mailbox and kept moving. The weather was good for the first couple of hours. The sky was only cloudy but I could tell that it would rain again. I cycled about 30-35 kilometers in direction Thuringia. So far I simply enjoyed the views and kept pedaling when I was on my bike. Long distance cycling on your own is somehow meditative. At some point you do not even think anymore because every single thought is thought through and you simply pedal. However, that day I felt the need for some entertainment so I started to sing. I was really glad that nobody was around me because I know that I am an awful singer. But I had a blast.
Before I even arrived in Thuringia it started to rain again but this time it was even worse than the day before. I thought: How is that even possible? I experienced the worst rain of my life already yesterday! I am not exaggerating if I say I felt like doomsday. The roads were also full of slugs and it was impossible to go around them all which means cycling through this armada of slugs turned into a massacre.
I crossed the border between Bavaria and Thuringia and came into the village Milz and watched out for a place to get out of the rain for a bit. The first place that I could find was a butcher store. I walked in there and asked if I could stay there for a bit until the rain stops or gets at least less and if they probably would even have something hot to drink. To my surprise that store was even used as some kind of grocery store and café. So I sat down at the only table, took off my wet jacket and drank a mug of hot coffee. While I was sitting there I looked out of the window I realized that I did not see a single other cyclist over the last two days. But at the same time I was not even surprised cause of the incredible awful weather.
The rain stopped after some time so I paid for the coffee and a smoked sausage and kept moving. I realized that even my feet were already a little bit wet from all that rain so I organized some plastic bags and wrapped them around my shoes. My feet stood dry and even warm for a while.
This area of Thuringia was very hilly and all the hills were surrounded by heavy rain clouds. The hills seemed to steam from all the rain and some of the roads that I had to go had a rise of 10+ percent. I literally pedaled through no man’s land. I came through lots of small towns and villages. All of them were characterized by old fashioned Fachwerk architecture. All of these places seemed like ghost towns to me. There was not a single person was on the streets and literally all stores, restaurants and guest houses were closed. It felt strange going through those places.
Finally, I made it to Meiningen. I was very cold and incredible wet. Of course, my self made plastic bag shoes did not stand the rain hence my feet were wet and cold again. It was that cold that day that I could not even feel my fingers anymore. They were just numb. It was almost impossible to open the packages for cereal bars or crackers. Due to the weather I checked in into a hotel for the night. As the night before I placed all my stuff all over the room to dry.
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