Tuesday, 4th of October. This wasn't my day. I felt nervous from the moment I woke up, I have had crazy, unpleasant dreams, I felt somehow confused. I only wanted to go on my bike as soon as possible, but somehow this didn't work. I couldn't find my map about this day's stage, so Ben
printed some maps from the internet but we had a misunderstanding, so these maps were mostly useless for me. When starting to pack my bike I discovered my carrier now totally cark it – not only more than one assembly seam were free, also the main frame was broken at the position where the pannier used to hang up. We tried to make an improvisational repairing. But nevertheless now it was no longer static. Next I discovered I had lost some air in my back wheel. So what to do? Just use the air pump and see how long this would work or stay and search if there's a hole in the tube? I decided to push one's luck and it lasted for four kilometres until my wheel suddenly was flat. During reparation I found an old patch loosened. I decided to do it the easy way and just change the tube.
Going on with cycling I followed an asphalt track which leaded into a non asphaltic track through a forest. Hard ground but all of it bumps and potholes. Anything from comfortable cycling. I was really annoyed. Then the road became crazy – no straight forward, but lots of turns and windings in every direction. I had asked some people I met where this road would lead to and they named the village I was looking for, but they really should have told me that it wouldn't be a straight way. To me it felt like cycling in circles. Once I followed a branch path, because I could see the end of the forest, but at its end there was only a field, locked with a wire fence, non passable. So next thing I tried was following a dirt track parallel to the field with my bike – dirt track means sparsely grown forests one can tell tractors had driven along in earlier times. Of course I wasn't able to cycle. I stumped to the ground, overgrown with bramble springs, and tried not to get caught in these mantraps. Nevertheless my legs had lots of stitches and scratches after that. After getting over the second blown down tree and still no chance to leave the forest I gave up and went back, went on following the winding road wherever it would lead me to. When it came to an end after some more kilometres and I could also see the village from where I would knew my route, it became cold, windy and cloudy. I wouldn't had been surprised if some rain had come next, it would had fit to the day. Surprisingly the rain hold off.
- A) start
- B) flat tyre
- C) met people who said, the road would lead to Ville-en-Woëvre
- D) followed branch path, then tried to follow a dirt track parallel to the field for maybe 500 metres, then returned
- E) reached Ville-en-Woëvre to follow D 908 road – no more experiments!
It was 12 o'clock when I thought I would go on my bike, 1 o'clock when I finally had done the check up, decided to go on and had done the package (funny thing was that thereby I found my missing map), 2 o'clock when I had repaired my wheel, 3 o'clock when I was back on my route (and so far I had cycled maybe 15 kilometres). I had planed to arrive at today's hosts' home at 6 o'clock, and today's stage was also planed as a short and easy one with only 80 kilometres. I worried about this failing time schedule, I was looking forward to meet Pierre and Jordane
since yesterday, they were looking forward to meet me, and now I would arrive probably very late so we wouldn't have much time together – stupid thing.
Also the problems with my bike became more serious. When I was back on the normal road I noticed a regularly bumming caused by my back wheel, with every rotation it gave me hitches – definitely no comfortable way to cycle and also much more cumbersome than it would have been with a ideal bike, but I would go on like this – with the decision on my mind, that this would be my last stage. After this I only would do the distance to the next train station in Germany. 4,000 kilometres in total would be definitely enough.
Still it wasn't easy to make a phone call. Close to 6 P.M. I found an ability in a bakery where I bought a piece of cheese cake (my first cheese cake since I left Germany!), as Pierre and Jordane
expected me by this time – they had also pronounced some meal… But I could only reach the mailbox. It became night cycling and around 9 P.M. I finally arrived. It had been 95 kilometres.
was glad to see me, he had worried about me – my call hadn't arrived, later we assumed I must have had dialled a wrong number – he actually have had a look on my website, had found my phone number there and had called Klaus, who becalmed him, that I surely just would have some problems with the bike, but would soon or later arrive. I felt really moved about so much care. From the very first moment – already in they way they had answered my request – these people seemed to be so open and warm.
Most important thing to me this evening: For the second time in period I met people, who had decided not to define themselves about work. Pierre
had quitted one and a half year ago when feeling constantly uncomfortable with the social relationships in his company. Nevertheless he's doing lots of things. He's an inspiring photographer
– nothing one can live from, but a good thing to spend time with. It doesn't seem to be so impossible – even if society declared it to be unthinkable to have other plans and concepts for life then just go to work until getting retired. And it was good to hear that others also knew respectively had felt the social pressure, that one have to
work – when visiting some relatives, Pierres
mother took him by the side and whispered: “Don't tell you're not working – they wouldn't understand
!” All these people, Pierre and Jordane
as less as Ben
, don't want to life on others and they all have to care about how to get some money for living, but there seams to be much more freedom to live different, as one would think.
It gave me such a good feeling to talk with Pierre and Jordane
, I felt so good and welcome, so I suggested to stay for one more night, and both were glad about it. So in the end there was no loss caused by arriving so late.