Saturday, August 05, 2006


Trip dist: 90 kms (plus 10 extra for "forgetting" notebook in the Youth Hostel). Trip time: 5 hrs 37 mins. Tot dist: 4,781 kms.

Ho boy. This was a rather sucky/lucky/unlucky ride. There was a bit of foreboding as I was approaching the Leipzig outskirts town of Wiederlitzsch. As you know in many of these little towns the street names have the name of the next town where the street leads to. So I am cruising through Wiederlitzsch and I start seeing, one after another, one block apart, street names of: "Buchenwald Strasse", or "Dachauer Strasse", etc. Thought it was a bit odd, because as I said before the streets with names like "Leipzigerstrasse" and so forth typically lead to the corresponding places, but these were small side streets that ended, where I was passing, onto a big avenue, and on the other side, onto a residential apartments section, which, unless the street then turned to make a 180 or 90 degree turn, would not be leading to where these places actually were, but the direction opposite.

So, why these kinds of macabre street names? Is it some kind of attempt to remember? Geez, think of the bad feng shui of having to live in a street with a name like this.

Anyway, when I stopped to make a note of this I found that I had forgotten my notebook in the Youth Hostel in the morning (terrible considering that I am about 20 days behind in blog updates, so recreating those from memory is impossible). I was already 5 kms away from Leipzig. So, go back to fetch it, right?

Didn't find it back at the Hostel. Color drained from my cheeks. Started the process of just about to kick myself. Double check the backpack.

There was the notebook. 1 hour and 10 kms wasted. Oh well, at least it appeared!

The day, too, was cold, cloudy, dark and rainy. By the time I arrived in Wittenberg all my books and the road atlas got soaked through the bags. My socks were wet (wet enough to have a significant dribble upon wringing). My T-shirt was wet. My underwear was wet. It kinda sucked (not least of which also because I got scolded first by a driver--who stopped the car without warning in the middle of the national road(!) 50 meters ahead of me, then waited for me to near the car, and when I ignored his beckonings--woman solo traveller safety concerns--then advanced the car 100 more meters to repeat the process and finally tell me that I should take the bike path to the side and this was not the right road to Wittenberg, and then by a police officer, when I was turning to take the bike path, asking me why I was on the wrong road ("It was a mistake, my map is not very good."), and actually shouting, yes, shouting at me--he was standing only 2 feet away--, that I should not be heading in the direction I had already stopped heading 10 minutes before.)

The lucky part, though, and cause for celebration and joy: I got my first puncture! Luckily, it happened just as I arrived to final destination for the day Wittenberg, only 700 meters from the Youth Hostel. This is fantastic, because given that I have absolutely no clue how to repair a flat tire, having to do this while on the rainy, muddy road would've been quite unpleasant, not to mention the logistics of popping out the soaked-through "Bike Repair Bible" which I carry at the bottom of all my luggage would've also required some serious packing rearranging (puncture culprit? A piece of glass that had cut through the treads of the back tire--remember I told you it needed replacing since way back when I was in Spain?). So I pumped up the tire, and pushwalked the bike to the Hostel (process had to be repeated once: the panniers and backpack are heavy enough--especially when wet--that the air drained out of the tire pretty quickly), where I settled in for the evening.

The tire puncture repair? Meh, there's always time for that tomorrow.

1 comment:

carlos said...

Don't let them get to you -- ignore them and keep doing your thing. You're awesome for all the kms you've done, and no one will ever take that away from you. How many great adventures! Keep it up till you're more than satisfied.