I know I have just written a post but I just felt I had to immediately share what happened next.
On day 22 I reached Leipzig, one of the bigger cities in the east of Germany. I must admit that at first I was a bit anxious about hiking through a major city with my little cart. What a lovely surprise it was that my route planner managed to guide me from the south, straight through and out the north of the city without hardly ever not having trees, parks, gardens or forest around me. Even the major streets with the trams going back and forth had trees planted on the side. I took my lunch break in a park, densely overgrown with trees with a little pond where the ducks swam and the frogs made just as much noise as the little kids playing on the adjacent playground. Even horse riders came past and lots of people with all kinds of dogs.
After lunch I managed another +/- 20km until I reached a picnic spot next to a lake. Here I made myself at home for what turned out to be a colder night than I expected.
Day 23 started with me trying to find a spot in the sun to warm up a bit. As I started walking I slowly warmed up but the day stayed overcast and cool. My back and feet did not appreciate the cold and continued to be a bit painful. Inbetween the pain I managed to crack the 600km mark! To celebrate I planned to take a proper lunchbreak in Bad Düren but the taverns where uninviting, expensive or closed so I ended up having a cup of muesli and taking a snooze on a bench. Half rested I continued my walk through the quaintest village and lush green forest. It started to rain and so with my rain coat I continued, not knowing where and when I would find a spot to sleep. According to the map there were only small villages coming up with little chance of a guesthouse. I was not looking forward to another night in the forest with the rain and all but was already looking out for a good spot when I reached the Luther-rock. This is just a plain big rock where students used to wait in 15something for the big church reformer Martin Luther to come past so they could speak with him. At this spot I saw a bus with tourists departing as I arrived. The only person left behind was a man in a robe who started cleaning up a coffee table. I first thought it must have been a group who held a religious get together at this historic sight but it turned out that this man was a hotelier who took on the role as Martin Luther to tell stories and historic facts to his guests as part of an entertainment outing. He offered me some left over coffee and cake, which was delicious after the cold wind and rain. We got talking about all sorts of things. I told him about my trip and also mentioned that I was probably going to sleep in the woods as there were no guestrooms around. He then offered to take me to his hotel but I had to decline as it was too far away and I would need to return to the Luther-rock so I could continue where I left off. We chatted some more about my Lutheran background, how he was not even a religious man himself, about bicycle accidents and all sort of things and then he said, no, I must come with him, he will offer me a room in his 3 star hotel for free, and he would personally take me back the next morning so I could continue my walk. I was next to speechless, not only did I not have to sleep in the rain but I could sleep in a warm bed at no charge. I was even his guest to a three course supper in the hotel restaurant and for breakfast. What a jackpot!
And how was that for timing. Had I arrived 10 minutes earlier or later I would not have had a chance to get to talk to him and I would have spent another cold night in my hammock. My guardian angel sure finds creative ways to help me sometimes. I think he is having fun with me at the moment and is enjoying the adventure as well. I have been so blessed on this tour and with people I have met, like Rolf and remember Jens who helped me with my flat tyre and me getting stuck in Fulda where I knew Wolfgang. (See previous posts) Those were also examples of perfect timing for our paths to cross. I hope my guardian angel and I still have a lot of great experiences together 🙂