As I walked in this town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the staring started. The Japanese tourists stared at me, using only one big, weird eye. I, surprised to see so many of them here, stared back with two great eyes full of curiosity. I stared some more when I saw the teddy bear museum, the Christmas bus and the Japanese menus in the restaurants. My eyes almost fell out of their sockets when seeing this all after two days in the fields and woods. The city had a beautiful church, dedicated to St. Jacob and and the pilgers. I was told a lot about them by the tour guide. He kept thinking I was walking the Camino so made me the focus point of his tour. I saw the holy blood altar and the beautiful wood sculptures of Riemenschneider.
I was in the city for one goal only really, and that was to have my phone fixed. I went to a shop, waited half an hour at least, while two Russians were buying a phone and didn’t understand anything. When they were done, the guy in the shop told me it would take two weeks and 200 euro to get the thing fixed, I knew all hope was lost. I went for a vegetarian dürüm and a coke, and decided to take a hotel for the night to sleep and drink away my self pity, cumulated during the last couple of days. Then I looked at my boots, backpack and pole, and knew I had to go on.
This self pity had also to do with the question I posted here earlier. Despite all my doubts about my goal, and no way to check any responses on the question, I knew walking would be the only way to get some peace of mind. The next day my mood was not much better, as also in the telephone shop in Feuchtwangen I was told that it would take two weeks and at least 200 euro to get it fixed. With my head in my hands I walked on.
As I walked through some fields, I saw someone running down to me, backpack on his back, pole in the hand. It was Klemens from Berlin. “I walk through Germany without money and live better than at home!” was the first thing he told me. We needed to walk roughly the same way and decided to stick together for some time. We walked together for only half an hour before a cyclist stopped and gave us five euro, out of the blue. Klemens had arranged a place to spend the night already and called his host to ask if it was okay if he brought me. So we ended up in a big house drinking and tasting German beer and eating cheese and sausages. Our clothes were washed and we took a good long shower. The next day he would show me how he walked trough Germany for two weeks already without spending any money (even getting some).
We walked into a bakery and had us four ham and cheese croissants and a big loaf of bread. In the butchery we got two sausages and from a garden we got tomatoes and a cucumber. The night we spend in the garden of a monastery and the next day we repeated ask this and ate in a restaurant ‘umsonst’ (free). We ate apples, pears, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and plums from nature and swam a bit amongst the fish with the sun colouring the horizon pink and orange.
We lived depending on other people’s generosity. We really lived like kings and were never ever turned down. It showed me to have no fear of asking other people, to trust in the goodness of others. This all came at the moment I doubted about this being possible. Am I good enough? Will people welcome and support me? Life itself couldn’t give me a clearer answer.
When I left home, I was given a button; ‘believe in angels’ it says. I have it in my wallet all the time and after almost 40 days on the road, I do start to believe these beings exist. The coming days I will try to keep up this spirit and accept the challenge before me. Yesterday I met the Danube, my guide for the coming months.