You know you are in a new country when...

Trip Start Jul 26, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Treuchtlinget, Germany...parked train at station : )

Flag of Germany  , Hesse,
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

...all the signs are in a different language.
...the signs that you think you can interpret lead you in circles.
...you are not the only one in that circle!

My German is more than a little rusty.  Even so, many little pieces started popping back into place as soon as I left the plane.  It was rather like popcorn forming in the middle of jello...happily displacing neighborly sections within quadrants within parsecs of English cognition patterns...leaving a sense of 'this feels all vaguely familiar' haze.

All I can think is, "This feels incredible"!  This confused 'high' had me joyfully trundling along - confident that I was understanding, well...enough to get along.  Lost in this new bliss; skipping to retrieve my bicycle in it's box, skipping to find the trains into Munich, skipping across the roadway, skipping up the escalator, skipping around the bend, skipping down the stairs, skipping down more stairs, skipping around more bends, skipping up the escalator, skipping around the bend, skipping down the stairs, skipping down more stairs, skipping around more bends..."Hey!" ...

It was precisely at that time that I realized that I was going to need to know more German (http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/).  One of those silly, quarter panics overcame me,"I'm not in Kansas anymore!"  Luckily for me, as the 'if I were in the movies this would be a real panic...?!' calmed down and I took notice of the physiognomies of those about, I was definitely not the only one realizing that Dorothy was nowhere about.  I was, joyfully, in a heard of 'foreigners'.

All things were eventually reconciled, as all things seem usually to become.  And, within a very short space of time, I was on a extremely quiet, gentle and distinctly utilitarian conveyance moving along tracks to Munich (http://www.bahn.de/p/view/index.shtml).  This working class commuter was miles beyond the ride quality of anything I've ridden to, from or around NYC.  Incredible!

I arrived at the central station and did the usual staring about in tourist amazement only to stumble into a little bit of home.  He must have spotted me from a mile off.  And, with liquor on his breath and a big smile in his eyes, at length went on to describe all praises I needed and all discomforts he endured in order to plead a sum from my wallet.  I am quite pleased to report that he became my second expense of this great adventure - the first was the train ticket.

Now, it became deliriously clear to me, upon stepping out of the station, that all Germans bicycle (http://bicyclegermany.com/bicycling_in_germany.htm).  They were everywhere and had they been hanging from trees or glued to the sides of gutters, I would not have bat a lash.  Even in this early hour, a cyclist, or several zipped by me every few seconds.  I hailed several and asked for directions to the nearest shop in order to reassemble my ride.  I received several contradictory answers...ah, like home again!

Many, wonderful things happened this first day.  But, I've written too much already...

Suffice it to say that my first meal was a watermelon, I found beautiful little shop with a warm, grandfatherly owner.  I noticed that Frankfurt was the most incredibly quiet city I had even been in - you couldn't even really hear the street cars as they passed!  I briefly wept for this - could a place exist where people think this humanely when building a city?  I became reunited with my favorite tea - Kusmi Tea, St. Petersburg from Paris (http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&rlz=1G1ACGW_ENUS390&q=deutsch%20radfahren&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl) ...a dear friend would always make this for me as part of lunch when I'd work all day in her garden back in Bloomington, Indiana.  Several locals proudly told me about their city.  One led me to a map store.  Friendly folks showed me that Germany is totally spanned with bicycle trails.  And...I set off towards Munich on such a trail along the River Main!

By the end of the day, I had covered many, wandering miles by bike, seen many beautiful towns along the river, had some cheap, German beer, been the beneficiary of much kindness and found myself peacefully resting inside a passenger train in Treuchtlingen waiting for it's morning run to Munich.

It was an unforgettable first day in Europe.  Thank you Deutschland!  
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Comments

spencer on

Amazing! f5f5f5f5f5f5 can't wait to hear more, i'm glad it's going well :)

Maite on

Nathan! I want to cry reading all this. I'm so happy for you, so so beautiful. I agree about the energy it takes to maintain all this, but maybe the positive energy it spreads to loved ones and the inspiration is all worth it. Maybe?
:)

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