Much sooner than expected, my last week in Germany has arrived. I find the Mosel river again which I had met briefly in Coblenz, and slowly, via Luxembourg, move to the language, which I will have around me constantly – solely? – from week 10 on. Oh la la …
Day 57 – to Allenbach
I have my breakfast in the non-smoking area of the “Zum Alten Schloss” in Sien. The host has prepared a rustic meal: wheat bread, sausage, cheese, jam. After a few minutes, he also brings, without saying a word, a fried egg from the kitchen. However, what I really want at this moment is a yogurt and fresh fruit.
But life is not always as we imagine it to be. So I eat what’s on the table.
When I’m just about to halve the second roll, Mrs Schwickert comes to my table. She smiles. “Did you sleep well?”
“Do you want to have a bit of fruit and yogurt?”
Ten minutes later, she seta a large bowl of yogurt and lovingly sliced fruit salad with apples, pears, kiwi, strawberries and blueberries in front of me. “My husband always thinks it is too much work. He doesn’t understand.”
I refine the fruit yogurt with honey and eat all of it.
When I’m paying the bill the landlady hands me a banana for the road.
As the days before the hike is rather lonely.
In Kirschweiler I reach the “German Gem Road”. Outside the city I walk through the “Stone Guest Book” : Plaques with the names of local and national celebrities (or their wives) have been attached to boulders. The so honored have in return given the stones such memorable names as “Secret”. I think of Hu. He would have a blast here.
In Allenbach I ask around for shelter. “Oh, I don’t know where you can turn to,” replies a woman in her sixties to my request for help.
Finally, I end up at the “Hotel Steuer”. A room here is 40 € a night. But there are no alternatives.
Not even for dinner. I’m really, really hungry. So I decide to invest another 10 €.
The waitresses in the hotel restaurant vary between sympathetic and wanted cheerful. I estimate them all to be in their early twenties and guess that someone like me shows up here rather rarely.
As so often with expensive food on my trip the schnitzel and fries are not even good. I ask for ketchup and salt. Both seem to be rationed at the restaurant.
“I found it overall somewhat bland,” I tell the waitress who is clearing my plate.
“Yes, yes only the sauce gives the schnitzel taste.¨
Schnitzel with sauce would have cost 4 € more.
I object that normally a Viennese Schnitzel should at least be spiced with salt and pepper.
She doesn’t understand, but promises to pass my feedback on to the chef.
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Day 58 – to Osburg
The advantage of a – for my budget – rather expensive hotel is the extensive breakfast buffet. Which I also enjoy this morning. So I leave Allenbach well nourished and with rolls, boiled eggs and yogurt for lunch in my backpack.
The destination is Osburg. Tomorrow morning I will meet my friend Maya there. We want to walk the final twenty miles to Trier together.
After about half an hour of walking up a steep hill the rest of the day is almost entirely downhill. Enough to give me an extra boost. But not so much that the descent would strain the knees. In addition, I manage to always stay a little in front of a furious rainstorm in the east. So I get neither burned by the sun nor wet from the rain.
Behind Beuren I enter into a nature reserve. On a well-paved path I follow for miles a small creek through the “Singing valley”.
Osburg turns out to be a development area. New, pretty, sometimes even stylish houses are strung together. These are not ideal conditions for a free bed. I can’t even find the center of the old village. So I follow the signs to the “Schornstein”, the hotel and restaurant in the village.
At the door a sign: “Today is our rest day. For overnight stays please call …”
I call the number. The lady at the other end of the line shows little interest. “We’re closed today. So I can’t help you.”
I decide to ask in the only three open shops for help.
The friendly saleswomen in Edeka first want to send me to the “Schornstein”, but remember that not only Monday but also Tuesday are their days off. Otherwise, they believe that no one currently rents accommodation in town. Finally, they send me down two blocks “to Ells, who has room”.
He doesn’t. Or at least not for me tonight.
In the pharmacy, the two young ladies are as clueless as their customer. “We are not from here. But I can’t remember that there are still rooms for rent here.”
Now only the flowers, gifts and mail shop remains. The boss and her employee gladly take on the challenge. “Sit down. We will find you a place.”
I sit and drink coffee while the two get to work.
Just outside the village there is a guest house. But do they also have rooms?
Mrs Schneider used to have an apartment she rented out. But for one person and one night?
Albert! He has walked the Camino de Santiago. He should be open to the idea of hosting me.
All efforts are unsuccessful. Mainly because no one answers their phone. Most of the people who live in Osburg work in Trier or Luxembourg. It’s only shortly after five, and no one is at home, yet.
“Then I will take you home with me. You just have to wait an hour until we close the shop,” Diana’s finally offers.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
The portly shopkeeper lives with her husband and their giant Labrador in one of the stylish new homes at the edge of the village. Quickly she conjures up a delicious pork goulash. We eat and talk. I get some information and tips for Trier. At half past ten I get comfy for the night in my sleeping bag on the big couch in the otherwise sparsely furnished living room.
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Day 59 – to Trier
I meet Maya at just after half past nine. She walks towards me from the bus stop. It feels very good to see a familiar face after all these weeks. I give her my deer fat creme for the feet, we wave at Diana in her flower shop when we cross through Osburg and after a few hundred meters, we are well on our way to Trier.
Maya is significantly slower than I am. At the beginning she constantly needs breaks: for drinking, for a snack, for peeing… I’m trying not to let that irritate me. It is not far to Trier. And even if, Maya has already secured us an overnight stay via couchsurfing.org . But I realize how much I have set myself up in my little life. I decide based on how I feel how fast I walk, when I take breaks, when I eat, where I search for shelter. Even though it’s sometimes nice to have company, constant companionship would mean compromises and thus stress, which I probably would not like for more than a few days.
Along the amphitheater, the Imperial Baths and the Roman bridge we arrive in the afternoon in Trier-West on the other side of the Moselle. Maya wants to cook for us and I urgently need a few things. So we go shopping. In Rossmann I replace the shampoo, which I have forgotten at the Blum-Gabelmanns‘, I get new contact lens solution, fruit bars and socks. Outside Edeka Robert, our host for the next three nights, surprises us. He drives us the remaining two kilometers to his apartment.
Maya cooks a delicious dinner, even thought of getting Bounty bars for dessert. Robert opens a bottle of Riesling late harvest. When we are finished, it is still early and so Robert offers to show us his city.
We leave the car near the Imperial Baths and walk around to the sound of Robert’s voice. Imperial Baths, Steipe, Basilica, Church of Our Lady, Cathedral, Porta Nigra, grain market, cattle market spas, Karl-Marx-Haus, Barbara Baths, the bunker at the Town Hall, … In 30 years of living here our host has become an expert on the city’s history.
After sunset we drive up to the statue of Saint Mary, who looks down from the west side of the Moselle to Trier.
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Day 60 – in Trier
I get up at about nine and sit down with the tablet and a cup of coffee in the kitchen. Finally, I have the time and most importantly opportunity to upload my Give it 100 movies for the last two weeks and to read and reply to some messages.
Around noon, Maya and I go into the city. What we could only see from the outside yesterday, we’ll now explore from the inside. The program includes in particular the churches.
Near the cathedral I buy an ice cream. The two balls with elderberry and mocha flavors are among the best ice cream I have ever enjoyed (Sorry, eGeLoSia in Koblenz!).
In between all the sightseeing I’m looking for a solution to prevent my shoulders from getting sunburned as they have been during the last, very summerly days. My hat is not only too small for my head, it also has only a very small brim. Maya actively supports me and comes up with ever new creative ideas. But I cannot bring myself to realize any of them and will eventually leave Trier without a new hat.
At the Paulinskirche which is supposed to have beautiful ceiling frescoes that, due to construction work, we unfortunately can’t marvel at, Robert is waiting for us. He and Maya remain in the city to attend a meet-up meeting. Maya and I had met at a meet-up in Berlin one and a half years ago.
I have decided to work on my blog, and go back to the apartment. On the way I treat myself to a frozen vegetable lasagna for 1.45 € for dinner.
Day 61 – in Trier
My roommates were out until late last night. So I have the morning for me which allows me to make good progress in catching upon my diary.
In the afternoon Robert wants to show us the famous Mosel loop in Orscholz. He himself hasn’t been there, yet, but the pictures we find online are quite impressing.
After a not so good ice cream in Saarburg, a short hike to the totally overcrowded view point for said Mosel loop, a trip to France, a disappointing visit to the Europe monument in Schengen and after stopping at possibly the biggest gas station that I have ever seen (petrol is a lot cheaper in Luxembourg than in Germany and France), we return to Trier shortly after five for a quiet evening at home: Maya cooks some amazing Indian food, I complete my blog post for week 8, and Robert does our laundry.
Day 62 – to Remerschen, Luxembourg
Things are getting serious! I leave Trier to continue my adventure in France at the beginning of next week.
Maya walks with me up the Mosel to Konz. From there I start following the cycling path towards Remich where tomorrow I want to change to the other side of the river, to Luxembourg. I have time. I have mentally divided the 90 km to Metz into four stages, walking each day 20 to 25 kilometers.
But then, once more, things are turning out differently …
In Mannebach I meet by a small chapel three ladies in their sixties. They inquire curiously if I might be walking the Way of St. James.
I say no. ¨I’m on my own path. Although, I meet the Camino from time to time.¨
On their question about where I was now headed, I point to the small sign for the cycle path to Remich.
¨But this will take you on a long detour! It would be better, if you went from here up the Kirn and then towards Bilzingen, turn right at the chapel, and then move towards Helfant and Palzem. That’s much shorter! ¨
¨’Up the Kirn’. That sounds like climbing a mountain,” I object, knowing that the detour would not cause me any trouble today.
¨Yes, it’s a mountain. But going that way is much shorter,¨ confirms the woman.
After a short pause she adds: ¨Get in the car! I will take you to Bilzingen.¨
I do as I’m told and on the way patiently answer the questions the visibly impressed ladies bombard me with. How I can walk such a long distance. And all this time alone. Where I want to stay for the night. And all this time alone …
When I get out of the car, I have goosebumps all over. For these women it was so important that I was on the right path and would not get lost. I simply can’t get enough of such experiences. The whole trip is worthwhile just for these experiences. As a farewell, one of the women promises to immediately light a candle for me when she gets home. So that I shall arrive save and sound at my destination.
Thanks to the lift I’m now only 17 km from Remerschen, which was actually my goal for tomorrow. It is 3:30 in the afternoon. Should I therefore dare and try to reach the hostel in Remerschen already today? I guess, that would mean walking until about eight. In order not end up in front of closed doors – as I did a few weeks ago in Tambach-Dietharz – I decide to call the hostel. In Luxembourg, they all speak German anyway. That should not be a problem. I think.
As it turns out, the woman on the other end of the line speaks only French. I can understand most of what she says, but I just can’t find the words to ask for a bed in a dorm room for the nigh. The woman eventually gives up and suggests that I call again after six.
At a quarter to five I’m in Nettig, at the bridge, which could get me to the other bank of the Moselle, to Luxembourg. Driven by hunger I order a kebab at the “Grenzkebab” imbiss. To my displeasure my 4.50 € buy me only a bread with meat, onions, coleslaw and sauce. No tomatoes, no cucumbers. “I’ve been trying that for two years. Nine out of ten customers don’t want that,” the imbiss owner apologizes.
I call the hostel promptly at six. The German of my conversation partner is rather bumpy, but we agree that a bed would be available to me.
I arrive before eight und to my delight discover when I check in that I can buy the coveted youth hostel card outside of Germany simply by staying six nights in a HI hostel, each time paying 3 € in addition to the price for a bed. And even better, the card is then also valid for 12 full months instead of only the remainder of the calendar year. Eat that, DJHV!
On top of that there is even free WiFi. I may stay here for two nights.
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Day 63 – in Remerschen, Luxembourg
Sleep. Breakfast. Shower. Write. Upload Photos to Flickr. Short trip to Perl to buy dinner. Write. Food. Sleep. The perfect day off before it really gets serious tomorrow. France. So far, the trip has only been a walk in the park.