My long journey 2019/1
- My personal Way of St. James, 3'229.68 km

Total distance 333.28 km


week 1
From Bülach by train to Balsel -
Basel, Rust, Plittersdorf, Germersheim, Mannheim



First of all there was the planning, preparation, selection of materials. This also included purchasing the equipment. It all started after my first tour through Northern Germany in 2018. Sometimes my room looked very messy. But it was worth it at least for the beginning (more on that later).


I wanted to have my old touring bike repainted. So I expanded everything in my small bicycle workshop until only the bare bicycle frame was left. I took this to my bike dealer Bike Base, who sends the ramen to the factory. But the bicycle ramen miraculously disappeared.
I took it calmly, because I had already thought of getting a new bike. So I came across a bike at a bicycle dealer that I liked straight away, a mid-range bike. I was very taken with Northern Germany and Hamburg from the first tour. And he had a Stevens brand that came from Hamburg. There wasn't much more to think about. Together we turned the bike into a touring bike. Then I did little things in my small workshop. So my new touring bike was born.
The duration of the trip was planned to be 5 weeks. Then it turned out differently.

Sat June 15, 2019
Then the big day of departure, it was Saturday, June 15, 2019. The night before I slept badly with excitement. But that's normal for me.

Diary entry:
Today was the big day, the start of my bike tour. I drove with my packed bike and tour trailer to a friend's house and together we drove to the Bülach train station. Together we took the train to Zurich and said goodbye, etc. Then I looked for the supposed train to Basel, wanted to get on, wasn't really in it, then I heard the most hateful conductor: "You have to detach the trailer"
I returned a little annoyed, I can't just hang out. I actually wanted to say that there is no place on the train for me and my touring bike. I replied analogously that friendliness looked different. He snapped something back, but I turned my back on him and I went to information.

But even there, friendliness was not exactly the order of the day. I then decided to take another train, a loiter, because there is enough space there for me and my equipment. Just like that, I reached the train, got on and, as I would have planned to do with the other train, I then uncoupled the touring trailer. Then I sat down on the bench next to it. As the train set off, the conductor came, a native of Basel. You could tell from his dialect. He kindly praised me for having disconnected my touring trailer and stowing it neatly.


When we arrived in Basel, it started to drip ...
... Nevertheless, I only made my way to Rust, my first stop.


I made good progress during the day. Later in the afternoon my back started to hurt. Well, I wasn't so used to sitting in the saddle for so long. When I got to Rust, I could barely sit. With a bit of searching, I found the campsite adjacent to the Europapark. I had just finished setting up my tent, showering, and it started to rain. It rained heavily towards the end of the evening. But at some point I fell asleep.


Sun June 16, 2019

Got up at 7:30 a.m. today. The day started wonderfully. The sun shone with full force. Not a cloud in the sky. Perfect conditions to continue my bike tour. First I slowly got dressed, sorted my thoughts and realized that I had slept well. Then to the toilet, make breakfast and enjoy the morning.

Then I packed the tent together, but I was still lacking the routine. But I managed that too. Then it started again. My rear had recovered so far from yesterday.

I have a WhatsApp group Bike Traveling, where my friends kept finding out what's going on, where I am, etc. I also wrote yesterday that there was a heavy storm in the form of rain. The tent had proven itself.

My parents wrote today:

"You survived the night well? Do you remember camping in Ticino? Have a good journey". Others also took part in my group, which made me very happy.

I made good progress. Like yesterday, I had a tailwind today. Where exactly my path was going, I left it open, just somehow along the Rhine on the French side and enjoyed the area. Towards midday the sky closed, rain clouds announced. In Müllhausen there was another short downpour, my rainwear had proven itself.

After that the day was wonderful. I enjoyed every minute of the day and got on a little better with the navigation system. On the way I met a family with whom I immediately started talking. I also had brief contact with local residents. I was always welcomed in a friendly manner.

Well, then there was cooking with my gas stove. I had installed the gas cartridge from last year, but it was now empty. When I plugged in the gas bottle with anticipation, turned on the flame ... Well I had fire everywhere, just not where I wanted it. As a reflex I took off the gas bottle. It would have been better to check and replace the rubber O-rings. Because the gasoline came out everywhere. This is how you can destroy a stove, grin.

Then I arrived at the Plittersdorf campsite and registered. The rear didn't hurt as much today as it did the day before. There were 2 girls and somehow we were on the same wavelength. They were a couple and ran the campsite. We got along very well. Inwardly, I knew we would see each other again and again. At that point in time, I didn't even know how right I should be.

I set up the tent again, which went better and then the usual, taking a shower, cooking something and enjoying the evening.

Mon June 17, 2019

The day started well. After getting up, having breakfast and packing up, I said goodbye to Lisa and Mona. It's a little hard for me to walk away from them. But that's just part of the journey. I don't like goodbyes. At the beginning of the day I made good progress.

Then at 3:20 p.m. the Karlsruhe coal-fired power station came into view and I had to cross the Rhine. The bike path was also good and I had to cross the bridge at the power station, which should also be suitable for bicycles. But the good engineers have forgotten that there are also cyclists with luggage and that some crazy ones also had a touring trailer. No, it doesn't have a lift, just a U-rail where the wheels can be pushed up.
So pack everything, unhook the tour trailer and only then carry up the luggage, carry the tour trailer up and then push the bike up. The whole thing down on the other side in reverse order. What annoyed I was.
But the nice thing is, it was beautiful, cloudless weather, almost 35 °, what could be nicer with such an action ...

After that it was nice to drive along the Rhine.

But slowly errors crept into the travel route, I became more melancholy, was often lost in thought. I thought about my life, being my trans woman, etc. For some unknown reason, I was driving around the area. So I lost time, just not going where I wanted to go. And I never wanted to go to GPS if I didn't have to. At some point I realized that I had lost time and would not be able to reach Mannheim.
Around 5 p.m. I checked my mobile phone on Google for a suitable campsite and found one in Germersheim.

Shortly before Germersheim I had to cross the Rhine again to get to the place. I was too tired and exhausted to cycle up to the bridge. So I got off and wanted to go up on my bike.
You won't believe how much energy you have left when a swarm of mosquitoes suddenly attacks you. I've never been so fast on the bike and rode up the bridge.

WhatsApp message to my friends at 9:16 p.m .:
"Arrived in Germersheim. To my horror, the space is only for campers. But the campers are very nice and so I pitched my tent behind the campers. Difficult to see. I'm done."

After I pitched my tent and had something to eat, the couple came from the mobile home where I was hiding behind and offered me a beer spritzer. I do not drink alcohol. But after such a hard, hot day there was nothing better than a cool drink. Then I said goodbye and thanked them because I would leave early the next day. I let the day end in peace and thought about the day. Then I fell asleep.


Tue June 18, 2019

Got up at 6am this morning. It was still quiet in the square. I ate something at the existing table and then quietly packed up. I had laid out the outer tent on the table to dry.

When I had packed everything together, I was on my way. As always, a wonderful and hot day. I made good progress too. The bike path was beautiful next to the Rhine. Nevertheless, you hardly saw anything of the Rhine, which wasn't bad. What was worse was that there was hardly any shade and I always had to drive in the blazing sun.

The restaurant came towards me shortly before Speyer. What could be nicer than letting a cool Cola Zero (in my case) flow down your throat while sitting in the shade. But was alone because the restaurant had just opened.

Still struggled with the sat nav. I thought about buying maps tomorrow. Also look for a new stove, because after the fire experience with the stove I didn't have one anymore.

Then it went on in the blazing sun. When I arrived in Speyer, I had another drink, Cola Zero of course. I drank a lot that day. In the direction of Mannheim there were more and more trees and shortly before Mannheim I drove through a small wood. At the end of the forest I passed a fork. Think about it straight ahead or turn right. So right. An inner voice told me to go straight out. What does this inner voice know?

So just turn right and go. Then the bicycle street made a wide curve to the left and where did I get out, a few meters on the straight stretch, where my inner voice insisted. That was once a Rhine Falls.

It wasn't far to Mannheim. First drive in and then over a bridge and then in the direction of Camping Strandbad Mannheim, a few kilometers back on the other side of the Rhine. On the outskirts it was very nice to drive through the forest and the campsite was already there. I was greeted warmly by Harry and Chris and we hit it off right away. I was assigned the space, a small meadow for tents. After I had pitched the tent, I got keys and tokens to take a shower and was invited to a cup of coffee. After showering, we chatted for a while and then let the day end in front of the tent. I enjoyed the Rhine and the type of ship that chugged past. Something reassuring.


Wed June 19, 2019

I got up comfortably today. After using the toilet and having breakfast, I decided to stay here for a day because I liked the camping operators Harry and Chris very much. They came at nine o'clock and every now and then we had a chat.

So I enjoyed the day on the Rhine. I also treated myself to an ice cream in the bistro next door. I also felt that I had too much luggage with me. I also thought about that for the first time.

I then drove to the nearby grocery store and bought groceries for the next day. Chris was a hairdresser and has the offer to do simple haircuts. I was very happy to accept the offer. She did well and it was cozy the room where she cut her hair.

Otherwise it had been a quiet and comfortable day.


Thursday June 20, 2019

Yesterday evening from around 10.30 p.m. there were 2 young people from next door in the tent, they started to grill on the sidewalk next to the tent. Actually, they weren't allowed to. It was wonderful that the scent wafted through my tent, even though I wanted to sleep. Not enough with that, they had also chatted loudly, drunk and listened to music. Another man, also with a tent, took part.

The more they drank, the louder it got. At around 24.30, campers were already complaining. But they said they should, tomorrow we'll be gone anyway. I was getting more and more annoyed. Then they started tossing empty beer cans around, including my tent. At about 2.30 a.m. it was quiet, thanks to the weather. It really started to storm, to rain heavily and one lightning bolt came after the other (unfortunately I lost the recordings).

I was so annoyed that I could hardly sleep and so I dismantled the tent at 5 o'clock. It was already brightening up. Then I put the keys to the campsite owner's reception house and drove north.

In Ludwigshafen am Rhein I drove 2-3 times. I was upset inside that I couldn't concentrate on the path and that the simplest things were difficult for me. During the journey I felt that things should not be as I had hoped. I also felt that I just fell with me. It was difficult for me to pedal, the day was heavy.

When I got to Worms, I decided to stop here. I went to Worms train station and bought a ticket to Rastatt. I wanted to go to the campsite in Plittersdorf and rethink the whole trip there.

I had to change one more time, which is not so easy with a touring trailer and bike. The people traveling with bicycles helped me as far as they could. A lift failed and so it was a crush in the underpass and on the platform. Still, I missed one train and went to the next. When I arrived in Rastatt, I drove to the Plittersdorf campsite with my equipment. The reunion was surprising, but nice.

I took my place, put up my tent and then I went to Nadin's reception and asked for a cardboard box. Back in my seat, I started rethinking my gear. I took my time doing it. I also had to get a gas stove. And I thought about what I would like to experience on this trip. Because 5 weeks were planned ...

It was clear to me that the journey would continue, but in a different form than planned. From this point on, my personal Camino de Santiago emerged, not yet consciously.


Fri June 21, 2019

I got up well rested today. I had strange dreams. Then I got dressed and went to the camping shop to get fresh bread. I wished the two girls Nadine and Mona a good morning. Your friendly manner was good for me.

When I got back, I thought out loud, OK, there's no coffee today because I don't have a stove any more. This probably got the neighbors, an older couple with a caravan. They offered me a coffee. Oh, how nice. Thankfully I accepted. So I sat down at the existing table and bench and ate comfortably, lost in thought.

I had a lot to do until Sunday, that's how long I wanted to stay here. I needed a new stove, plus a thin mat for under my inflatable mat, because it was a bit thin. Also buy some groceries and above all ... Check my luggage completely.

After breakfast, first brush your teeth, go to the toilet and then ...
I started to check my material:
9 T-shirts, too much, 3 is enough
2 pairs of normal pants, 1 must go
10 pairs of underwear, 5 can go
2 pairs of shorts, one away
1 pair of sneakers, in addition to the touring boots, can also go away
10 pairs of socks, 6 of which can be removed
GoPro rain cover, front pockets, old burnt stove, unnecessary operating instructions, tour plates, too many charging cables, half is enough, everything is gone. And a few more little things. Everything comes in the cardboard box. Go back to Switzerland.

At lunchtime I wanted to cook because one of the two girls told me that there are also cooking facilities. After Mona had unlocked the kitchen and switched on the power, I immediately started to prepare the meal. I made the Survivals Menus Trek'n EAT I brought with me. Then there was Stojanov with rice. All I had to do was boil water. I made the menu in a different pan, both in my tour pans. Then put it on the stove and switch it on, wait until it boils.
So I waited and I waited, nothing happened. The plates did not get hot. But the button to turn it on was glowing.

So I went to Nadine and said something was wrong with the hotplates. So look together and then she just laughs like that.
"These are induction hotplates, you can't do that with conventional pans"
Good to know what now? In the twinkling of an eye, mom gave me one of the two girls a large new induction saucepan, still in its original packaging. I was speechless, "for a few seconds". I did not expect so much friendliness and warmth.

These are ready-made trekking menus in a pick-up bag that is doused with hot water. Doesn't taste bad, but not like the original. I also made the menu in a saucepan. But it was too much, probably intended for 2 people. So I'll have something to eat tomorrow too.


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