Today involved a lot of rain, un-sympathetic people, a rear wheel puncture and not being able to find a place to stay with wifi!
I found a lot of my clothes were still damp despite my efforts to dry them with the room’s air-con system. Without any sign in the sky of rain I set off slightly moist.
I first visited the rally arena where Hitler address many of his supporters in Nürnberg. The vast size of the place was incredible although now it appeared abandoned with graffiti all over (my favourite displaying: “Fuck Nazis”).
Where the soldiers and supporters would have gathered, there are now fields with football posts. The whole thing looked out of place in the modern town but served as a reminder of where Hitler gave his speeches. Next door was a “Documentation Centre” which holds a lot of documents from the Nazi regime. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to explore, although with the crap day that I’ve had I wish I did now!
Heading off out of town the clouds started to close in on me. It wasn’t long before they caught me and drenched me through again. This time with a side wind to make sure my right cheek would feel the full force as I slowly crossed more fields and forest tracks.
After about two hours in the soaked saddle I needed a break and so pulled in to the side of the road. I rested my bike on the wall and hid from the rain underneath the balconies from the floors above. An older lady from the garden adjacent came running up to me yelling “Nitzch! Nitzch!” (or words and gestures to that effect). I was confused standing there holding an apple sheltering from the rain from the rain. She ran up to my bike and pointed at my pannier bags. I said in a proud English voice “I am English and have cycled here from London!” expecting her to be impressed. She looked me in the eye with anger and yelled “NITZCH!”. She then tried to rip my bike off from the wall (apparently it was the bike leaning against her wall that was offending her) but the weight of the bags held the bike down so she couldn’t actually move it. To be fair the bike was soaking and the frame and I were quite muddy too, but this was an outside wall where it was raining! Was she scared of a bit of mud from my bike? I pulled the bike off the wall and discovered not even a wet patch. I showed her this with a smile but she was not impressed.
Still smiling I tried to ask if she spoke any English. “NITZCH!” she said in disgust and walked away. I couldn’t believe that I had been this offensive and was saddened that I have been met with unfriendly encounters like this here in the Bavaria part of Germany. Thoughts went through my mind whilst riding on through the hills and rain. What should I have done or said to make the whole event less painful? I still don’t know.
I finally pulled up to the next town where I planned to stop for some warmth and nutrition. I saw a bright yellow sign and pulled in to the “Teppan King” asian restaurant. The restaurant had a huge hallway and I rested my bike in between the door frame as I took a moment to shelter from the rain and try to dry off.
An older asian man came running up to me yelling. What have I done now? I know I’m wet but I’ve not even come inside! I hadn’t realised my front wheel was just over the front door and a small amount of water had formed a puddle just inside his hallway. He screamed at me to take my bike out. Having reflected from the incident before I calmly tried to neutralise this situation by again introducing myself in English. However he snapped back at me: “I don’t care if you are English, look at my floor!”
I remarked that it was just a bit of water and would easily be mopped up – in fact I could do it once I dry off! He stormed off angry. Just moments later he came back with a mop and aggressively passed over the puddle I had caused. One sweep and it had disappeared. I smiled with excitement that my unintentional mess was indeed temporary. But the man kept mopping, the whole hallway in fact, even places I hadn’t been, and then behind the sofa! As if I might have snuck some dirt around there and ruined the atmosphere for his empty restaurant. He angrily looked at me when I finished and he walked back inside.
Reflecting from thoughts of why and how the Holocaust happened I have been trying to work out if better education and experience could have prevented the events. After these two rude encounters today it was reinforced to me that you can’t change the world in a day.
I realised that I could reach the concentration camp of Flossenburg but would be uncomfortably wet to walk around; therefore I decided to delay until tomorrow morning bright and early (after a conference call from the McDonalds’s wifi!).
Coming into the final town I got my first puncture of the trip. Composing myself still in the pouring rain I took the wheel off and replaced the inner tube without too much hassle. The wheel was fine for the 5km further to the bunk house.