I open my eyes. Like every morning, it takes me a few moments to realize where I am. Which room is this? How many I’ve slept in along this journey? And barely one night in each. Maybe one hundred rooms and that many different beds, night stands, ceilings, doors, bathrooms, views… All of them foreign, unfamiliar places. I don’t know how but I’m sure it weighs on one’s spirit, on one’s mind and also on one’s heart.
This time is a hotel in Munster, High-Rhine region, Alsace. Was it yesterday when I fell from the bike? Not even one day has elapsed, yet it seems a week. I grope my right hand: it doesn’t hurt much; only when pressing the base of the thumb. Excelent! I can continue my journey. Continue reading “Hundred rooms and a dinner”
After spending a week with a friend recharging my batteries in Bamberg, I feel lazy to take the road again, I confess. But this is the beginning of the end: the last stage of this Journey to Nowhere.
It’s a fine autumnal morning, partially cloudy; and as I move forward there are, up the hills, some fog patches and cooler air. A short stop in Uffenheim for a tea in a quiet patisserie while planning the route to follow. Later, the afternoon gets grey and temperature drops to twelve Celsius, which is biting cold when on a motorcycle. The landscape, though, becomes nicer, more rural, spotted with old buildings that house inns or gasthoff; fall is at its best here, and the country is derssed with garish contrasts of ochres and greens – and that, oh! so evocative smell of burnt wood…
At half past four – perfect time to call it a day’s journey – I stop in Wüstenrot, where I find a pleasant and affordable guesthouse, run by a nice lady helped by a young pretty brunette with one of those mischievous smiles… Pity I’m not in the mood for flirting, lately! The village is a rather dull one, but the surroundings are very pleasing; so, once settled in, I go for a long stroll on the fields and a nearby grove of pine trees and redwoods (who would expect to find those here?), where eventually the path fades and vanishes into a large patch of moist soil that render my sneackers totally muddy. Continue reading “Paths on the air”
One hundred and seventy years after Nietzsche was born, Rosaura and me arrive to Naumburg (in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt), hometown to the student who would later become the most important philosopher of 19th century. In those times, Naumburg was a small town of 13.000 inhabitants. Today it’s a cute city of 33.000 people that -thanks to luck- welcomes me with a nice hotel and a cozy restaurant in a small square, whose waitress, pretty and kind, despite not speaking any English does her best to make my dinner quite plesant. Continue reading “Happenstances to change lives”
Two days after autumn equinox; twelve hours between sunrise and sunset; fourteen hours of daylight, and dwindling. Temperatures around fifteen Celsius. The season has arrived with on time showers — though it’s sunny today. Location: Kostrzyn, a town on the east shore of the Oder river, border with Germany. Behind me, Gorzów Wielkopolski with its antisocial dwellers; ahead, the monotonous German perfection. But I must confess that, for the first time, what with the Lithuanian devil on wheeels and the Polish heart of darkness, I feel relieved and happy coming out of the Eastern Block into more civilized Europe. Continue reading “The traveller’s autumn”
It is said that, when the Polish came to Landsberg for repopulating the town, they found the empty dwellings as had been left by the germans when hastily evacuated them: furniture, belongings, pantries and even –in some homes– the meal in the plates at the table; as if a ghost town whose dwellers had suddenly vanished. Thousands of Germans had had to flee in a hurry at the approaching Soviet troops.
Indeed, at the end of WWII the jointed governments of USA, URSS and UK, self-righteously redrawing the European borders in the Potsdam Conference, decided to generously gift Poland with a strip of German territory from which its inhabitants had been kicked out. In this strip of land was, among others, the town of Landsberg. The Polish renamed it as Gorzów Wielkopolski. Continue reading “Gorzów Wielkopolski: Heart of darkness”