15 Sep 2014

Cycle Me Mine by laurenabe

4/13

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Berlin-->Somewhere in the woods near Potsdam-->Wittenberg-->Torgau-->Risea

Our first day out of Berlin was quite a bit shorter than we expected, but eventful none the less. Navigating through the city was rough and I was extremely glad to be out. About 3 or 4 miles outside the city we came to a large reserve area where the air was clear and roads were straight and wet. My senses came back to life as the biking was more of a workout. Slow, low grade climbs and long descents that made you feel like you were flying. I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude during this day because I felt physically better than I had the whole trip. Just a week before coming to Europe I had an awful cold that laid me out for three days and was having a hard time feeling fully recovered. So thankful to be healthy.

Our first night of stealthy camping went off without a hitch. Just lots of slugs and low water levels.

Skipping ahead a day or two...
We met up with the Elbe River and have been following the bike route which takes us through miles and miles of bike path through farmland. It connects several tiny towns, laden with quaint gardens and old brick houses.

The reality of traveling for three months means money is tight. We try to free camp whenever we can. Coming into Torgau, our plan was to find a spot just outside the city and camp. We settled on a place under a bridge (not ideal). Weather was also not on our side this day, it was growing wetter and wetter and morale was declining by the minute. We decided to head into the city center for dinner before settling in under the bridge.

Upon arriving, we stumbled upon a festival in the middle if town. Turns out it was "American weekend" to our amusement. After a day of soggy biking, let alone the fact that we were the only foreigners in thus small town, we must have looked quite pathetic. One woman, was particularly kind in giving us advice about the town. Audrey ended up talking to the woman for a long time, and when she realized we had no place to stay on the rainy night she took it upon herself to change that. Soon reinforcements were brought in, and now several people were crowded around Audrey, even a reporter taking pictures! Turns out the woman is a big wig in town in charge of power and water for the city from what we could tell. She ended up paying for us to sleep in a hostel. Such an amazing gift and crazy turn of events! In the past, traveling with my friend Lizzy, we have called these times "oh shit" moments. As in "oh shit where are we going to sleep? Eat?" Etc. We've learned that those moments are often followed by some of the most amazing gifts. I've learned to welcome the "oh shit" moments.