On Saturday evening we look for a place under a carport or in a shed. We know that there will be a lot of rain coming tonight and tomorrow and then it is nice if we can leave dry. We have never rang the doorbell to ask for a place to sleep, but with this bad weather there is no one to be seen on the street. In a small village we see two people at the cemetery. We ask if they know a place where we can put our tent under a roof. The two men discuss for a moment and point to two farms that must have a place. The smaller man is on his bike and then says, "Follow me, I know a place."
We cycle in the opposite direction from the farms and after half a kilometer turn into a driveway.
"I have to tell my wife that we have two guests this evening," Kurt says.
This has caused some awkwardness during our journey, but Christel doesn't look surprised. We're even allowed to sleep inside and eat with them. At the kitchen table, Kurt says, "Fortunately, there are also living people to be found at the cemetery."
He thinks it's Wahnsinn what we all do, positive madness.
In the morning we leave Kurt and Christel's house fully waterproof. Last Friday, Olivier's shoes were all wet after a day in the rain. He used neoprene overshoes, but by the end of the day everything was as wet as in a surf suit. This morning we packed our shoes with plastic bags in hopes of keeping them dry. Normally we use ponchos to bike in the rain, but the wind is so strong that the chute is blowing us off the road. Staying warm and dry is one of our main rules when traveling, but we don't know these conditions with so much rain either. Thus, the journey is again the training and we learn along the way.
It is raining incessantly with alternating downpours and hailstorms. Just when we think we are the only fools outside, we see a group of men walking down the street. They are wearing yellow vests, some have a stick with a flag and they are shouting all kinds of things. From afar it looks like a demonstration, but as we get closer we see that they are taking turns throwing a large ball across the street. They appear to be playing road bowling. Four teams each have a one-pound ball and are trying to run a course as fast as possible. They try to roll the ball as far as they can on the asphalt, but when the ball goes off the asphalt, it's the next team's turn. We learn that they also play the sport in the Netherlands, especially in the eastern part of the country. There they call it Klootschieten, while the Germans call it Bosseln. We are amazed that they just play this on public roads and that they are also so brave to be outside in this weather.
At the end of the day our feet are still dry, but Olivier's old rain jacket is not 100% waterproof anymore. It rained so much that the water finds every pinhole. The last hail storm cooled us down completely and we are shivering from the cold. All the meadows and forests are under water, it is impossible to find a camping spot. For the first time in our journey we knock on the open door of a farm and ask if we can put up our tent in the barn. The woman invites us to sleep warmly inside and dry our things. She lives alone in the large farmhouse with her adopted son. The boy has the Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder because his real mother was a heavy alcohol addict. Edith tells how her heart broke when she saw him lying in the incubator, but otherwise speaks full of positivity about the turn of her life.
She tells a whole series of wonderful stories and shows all kinds of pictures. Edith stands up to show us how one day she told little Jens how to cross the street safely. She bends through her knees to get to the same height as Jens, looks once to the left, once to the right and then one last time to the left. "If there are no cars coming, you can cross safely." Since then, Jens has stood bent by his knees at the edge of the street before crossing. We enjoy Ediths' positivity. Having a child with a disability is incredibly hard on parents, but this woman made a conscious decision to adopt, and also made a very conscious decision to get all the joy out of it. "We were made for each other," she says sincerely.
A year and a half ago we took almost the same route to Scandinavia. A number of times we cycle along the exact same road where we skate with our rollerskis and carts. Now we find that Wahnsinn too. With all the rain, flooded roads and mud, we are happy to be on our bikes now. Most people who see us think otherwise. In Bremervörde we stay with Delphina and Thomas. They have built their own wooden house in Swedish style. Delphina takes a dip in the pond every morning and they do almost everything by bike. Still, Thomas thinks it's serious Sadomasochism what we do to ourselves. Of course all the rain is less nice than sunny winter days, but we can't change the weather, only our own attitude. Which is still super positive. Cheerfully, we continue to say each good day with the local greeting Moin. The origin of the word is not entirely clear. Some say it is an abbreviation of "tomorrow," others say it comes from Moi'n Dag. A great day, that's what we make of it every day!
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