Monday, May 28, 2012

Germany - When it Rains it Pours

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Beautiful German churches.
20 miles, Wednesday, August 24

Two horrendous storms walloped us before we were able to tear down the tent - the kind that start flash floods. Rolling thunder and whirling dark clouds moved over the hillside. We used the first deluge as an opportunity to write in the journal and scribble postcards. When the second wave came we had enough warning to rush inside our yellow bubble. It rained so hard that the tent floor was like a waterbed – though fortunately the pool remained beneath the ground sheet. Laying on my stomach the thunder cracked and bellowed, shaking my insides. Andy said it reminded him of storms at Starr Farm Beach (his family’s lake front cottage) and how great it would be to watch this one from the comfort of camp.

By noon the precipitation stopped. Knowing that we couldn’t travel too many miles before dusk we inquired at the Inmeldung (office) and located another campsite a few miles further east.

It was a nice leisurely afternoon. The sky eventually cleared. In Georgenthal we walked into town and bought groceries along with a Czech/Slovakia map. Later we cut each other’s hair at a picnic table. It was a delightful end to a drenching day.

45 miles, Thursday, August 25

It was funny that the Europeans, since the start of our journey two months before, kept reminding us that it’d been a dry summer. The farmers deserved badly needed moisture. As cycle tourists we’d have to endure what nature threw at us. Again we set off in a cloudy morning, which quickly turned to rain. Then a cloudburst buckled the sky. The streets turned to red rivers, collecting soil from road shoulder construction, all part of the constant highway reparation. We sloshed through crimson pools, searching for refuge to wait out the storm.

Abysmal concrete bus shelter, very much like the one in Germany.
Photo credit:
We holed up in a dingy four-sided, cement bus shelter. For an hour we stood in the doorway, hopefully looking at the sky. If we’d remained in the campground for an additional 30 minutes we could have stayed in relative comfort, but we’d been anxious to move. And to top off the unfortunate situation, we had to relieve ourselves. Lacking privacy, Andy fished our apricot preserve jar from the trash can and urinated in it. I turned my head – I was doubled over in laughter. But I had to go too and sucked up my pride. I also used the receptacle. I have to admit that it was a resourceful idea. Then three young men came to the bus stop before we had time to empty the evidence. We left it in the corner. Andy and I kept glancing at it from time to time, but the men stayed outdoors under the eaves. The torrent eventually let up to a drizzle. By then we’d been in the cement dungeon for two hours. We couldn’t wait to get moving. Andy bravely walked outside, scattered the jar’s contents, and threw the container in the garbage. The men smiled and said something in German. We smiled back and got out of there pronto.

A common sight in Germany: red geraniums in window boxes.
Photo credit: SuperStock
As we roll through the former East German villages, people stop what they’re doing and gawk. Some say “hi”, but mainly they just stare as if we’re space creatures. Sometimes, I feel like one. It rained for 9 hours. Wet and chilly, we eventually pulled into a campground and dined beneath a picnic shelter. Then the rainfall miraculously stopped. Just when we think we’re the only crazy couple on two wheels, two other touring cyclists roll past.


  1. I know geraniums are about as unfashionable as you can get, but, somehow I find them comforting. They remind me of little, old ladies, fat, tabby cats and horendous, hand-crocheted afghans. There's something very homely about them.

    Good thinking with the jam tin :-)

  2. This series is so much fun to read! Feeds my daydreams about dropping everything and touring. :)


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