Last week I’ve not only broke the 500km, I guess I’ve also walked my 50th ‘kreuzweg’ somewhere this week, as they are all along the road. My fuel stove broke, as did my mattress, so I couldn’t cook my own food for a couple of days and had some bad nights.
Some good stuff happened as well. In Koblenz I was looking for an outdoor shop when a girl started talking to me. She brought me to the shop and I thought I was saved. It turned out I lost something in the woods as I tried to fix the thing. They didn’t have the part, so still no home cooked food for me. As I walked to the ‘Deutsche eck’, where Rhine and Mozel meet, I stumbled upon the same girl again. Meeting a single person twice on a day makes one question the purpose, since I do not encounter much people twice when walking.
Leaving Koblenz I decided to walk along the Rhine instead of going uphill to where the trail actually was. It meant walking over the bicycle path, but also being close to my old friend. Not much later the bicycle path turned into a big road so I decided to say goodbye to the river and headed for the quiet of the woods above it. Well, quiet, that’s relatively spoken since the cargo trains that pass by every ten minutes can still be heard far above the Rhine. But at least I was not walking on tarmac anymore.
Descending to Boppard the following morning, I hurt my knee. I was going too steep, too fast and this knee has always been a weakness. Once down I realized I was tired of walking, packing my stuff every day and wanted to have a shower. So I spend the night in a hotel, my first paid night on the road. But it meant internet and electricity. I Skyped with some friends and took a long hot shower. I started to cheer up.
The following morning rain was pouring down and almost made me stay another day. But I did walk, and it was one of my happiest days so far. I decided to stay down once again, to save my knee a bit. But when I saw Rheinfells castle, I just had to go up! It looked great and brought me back in childhood when I pretended I was a knight. Around that same time I got a message from the girl I met in Koblenz two days ago. She wanted to walk with me. So we set time and place met the next day in Oberwesel.
We headed for Bingen that day and climbed up the hills. On top we saw two guys. It turned out they were Belgians on their way to India. So it’s not me whose really crazy, I guess. They were eating mushrooms and drinking beer, at 11am. When Annika and I arrived in Bingen we had a beer and tried to figure out what train to take (she) and where to sleep (me). We both ended up in some room an old lady was renting and walked again next day.
These last two days were great. It’s really another world if walked with two. When the time of saying goodbye had come I did not know what to think. Someone just showed up, walked with me and was gone like that again. Today, walking alone again, for the first time I felt like I was walking the wrong way. It made no sense turning back, but the feeling remains. It also made me realize this thing I’m doing is real. I do impact people, like they impact me. But still, in the end, I will go this way alone, as we all are, I think.