Short stories

April 26th

Town: Oberauoff, time: 6 p.m. I’m running out of water and it’s not long before I need to find a place for the night. I almost walked by the little bar before I turned my head and saw that it’s open. I enter and ask if I could have some water. A little conversation starts as people notice my large back-pack. After 20 minutes of kindness I leave the place with water, lots of motivation and a tupperware-box full of a home-cooked meal incl. desert, three pieces of my favourite cake Donauwelle. I had trouble eating my superb dinner as I was smiling too much.

April 30th.

I come through the little town of Maxsain, it’s around 4 p.m. when I met four construction workers. They just finished work and sat on the sidewalk with a case of beer (24 bottles). They started a small-talk and I walked over. Soon I sat with them on the sidewalk, had a beer in my hand and we talked about soccer. Around 90 minutes and four beers later I decided it’s better to get up and keep hiking before I never ever leave Maxsain. I “hiked” another 10 km.

May 1st.

I woke up with a little hang-over. I need a coffee. But it’s a national holiday and everything is closed, so it’s no coffee for me today. I’m slow and wish to have never left Maxsain. Half-way thorough the day I’m passing by Großer Wolfsstein, a rock landmark. There I see a group of maybe 15 people from old to young. They seem to enjoy their time and their pick-nick. It seemed that everyone brought a little something. And boy, they had everything: coffee, cake, soda, sausages, salads. I slowly walked by when I heard someone shouting “Hey, you want a coffee?” Heck yeah I wanted one but I decided to answer with “Yes, that would be nice!”. I poured myself a cup and we introduced ourselves, I mwas talking to the Marienberger Carnevalsverein, a club dedicated to carneval culture. They hike to this landmark every year on May 1st, they explained, because of a play they do. I spent about one hour with them, had more coffee and cake. But more importantly I had a veey nice conversation with amazing people. They made my day and who knows, maybe one given May 1st we meet again.

May 13th

It’s about 11 a.m. and I’m already 4.5 hrs into the day. It’s a nice uphill climb when a large group of kids come walking downhill. The accompanying adult sees my backpack and starts a conversation. Soon I had all kids, ages 7 – 10 around me being curious and asking me all kinds of questions regarding this adventure. It’s the little things in life what make a big difference. To inspire the future is a great gift and I’m happy I was a part of it.

7 hrs. later I’m standing in front of Biggi’s Treff, a bar in a small town called Bad Nenndorf. As I’m liw on water I walk inside to ask for some. The guests immediately started asking me questions, buying me beers and asking me more questions. It is amazing how much energy and motivation I receive from meeting so nice and warm-hearted people. But still remembering April 30th. I decide to leave after two beers and a basket full of promises to all send them a postcard from North-Cape.

Odenwald

200 km of Odenwald was the next stage finishing in Frankfurt. And wow, what a great time I had. Perfect weather, lovely scenery and great people.

Temperature was between 20 – 26 degr. C. with little winds. Just perfect for hiking!

The hills were all so soft swung like little waves in the ocean and the scenery changed between forest and open fields which offered all colours nature has to offer with flowers in bloom. The evaporating smell of nature attracted all kinds of animals and insects and I enjoyed the tickling in my nose. Spring comes alive and can be experienced everywhere. Just perfect for hiking!

I met people so interested and kind. Only one example: it was easter-sunday. One lady passed me by on her bike. We chatted for a bit and she excused herself from not being able to offer me some chocolate as she gave all to others already and she’s on her way home. We parted our ways and about 30 minutes later she was standing on the side of the trail waiting for me with chocolate, ice-cold carbonated water and other treats. How perfect that was!

Yes, indeed I enjoyed my time in this stage and finished it in Frankfurt meeting friends and taking a day off.

Black Forest

After leaving the town of Constanza with its likewise named lake, I headed towards the world-famous Black Forest. It took me ten days to reach the Westweg-Portal in Pforzheim, which marks the exit of this beautiful of Germany. Those ten days had it all: rain, snow, ice-cold nights, sunny temperatures, beautiful hiking-trails, soft hills and the highest point of the E1 in Germany. I saw tourist-towns and typical villages, I met nice and interested people and german middle-class snobism, I’ve slept in my tent, in huts, on camp-grounds and farm-houses. The Black Forest had it all!

***Official Anouncement***

Due to bad weather in northern Italy and Switzerland I decided to flip-flop. That means I hike Germany now and return to Italy in June to finish the missing part. Afterwards I wrap this adventure up in Scandinavia.

Jared decided to go on a different adventure. I wish him all the best. If you want to know more about his upcoming plans, you can follow him on www.instagram.com/jaredturtlechip.

The clouds and I

Often when I wake up in the middle of the night I don’t always know where I am. While the name of the place isn’t that much of a big deal, as most places don’t even have a name, it’s by far more interesting that I don’t remember how it looks like outside my tent. So it happened a few nights ago. I chose a spot with mountains to my left and to my right, ahead of my was a beautiful view into a valley and behind me was flat meadow. The view into the valley was a long way down and it was a nice downward curve. That already gave me the option to either feel like the little prince on a tiny planet or like a giant on earth. As it was very windy and cold I didn’t bother to spend too much time enjoying this scenery while there was still light and crawled into my sleeping bag inside my tent. Being exhausted from the day I soon fell asleep. A few hours later, it was already dark and I assumed middle of the night, I woke up to contribute to waters’ eternal cycle. It was still very windy outside when I opened my tent and stepped outside. I had completely forgotten where I was and was fully surprised to see majestic mountains to both sides of me, the long, open meadow around me leading into the valley in front of me. The night-sky revealed cloud-formation on two levels. The upper lever was occupied by slow-moving huge clouds while the lower lever where smaller scattered clouds flying by with high speed. A few open spots offered a view to the almost full moon and the stars and their ambient light added just perfectly to the overwhelming feeling. There I was, standing puzzled and speechless looking at the mind-blowing scenery incapable of grasping the input my body was receiving. From one moment to the next I zoomed out, watched myself from above as I was flying with the clouds. This feeling of freedom is beyond all meanings of words. But after an unmeasured time-span I had to return. I walked back to my tent, cold, looking forward to my sleeping bag; I never felt so small.

Time flies

Since we left Scapoli 12 days ago quite a lot has happened. First we got disappointed by not finding any trailmarks and still being on trails which are not always fun to hike on, due to thorns, bushes or no trail at all. But finally, starting around Massa D’Albe our trail is finally signed and the trail mostly hikeable with fun. We have had spring-like weather, no rain and, of course, beautiful scenery. The hospitality is incredible. We keep meeting nice people every day and often it seems they become even nicer every day, where we really don’t know how this can be…

Besides the usual story it happened that J. and I got separated last week and walked by ourselves for a few days. (I hope J. writes an article about that;-)). Today we reunited again in the town of Posta where I have taken a zero-day. I’ve really enjoyed my time alone and met nice and beautiful people but I’m also happy to have J. around again. We made the plan for the next 10 days and decided to go to Rome for a day or two before we finally meet our principessa Alice (find her story here) again.

As the next days are going to be exciting, we may have stories to tell. So stay tuned, check out our pics and vids here and here or just feel free to look at our stats and follow our trail here.

Campania (Part III)

It’s February 27th and we left Campania for good today and will arrive in Scapoli tomorrow; we both are very excited about that. It feels like we achieved another milestone after being in Campania for over 400 km. We hope to find continous trailmarks from there on snd when we look on the map , now that we finished Campania, it looks like not so close to Sicily any more. Yes, we know, hard facts say that we have already hiked over 1.400 km but often it doesn’t look like much on the map…

  • So yes, we both are very excited about
    • leaving Campania and
    • reaching Scapoli tomorrow, which by the way is ca. 50 % of Italy

    If you want to see pics and vids you find them here and here.

    All statistics to our hike are to be found here.

    Campania (Part 2)

    This is for the people we’ve met so far. This is to the great kindness and hospitality we experience every single day. This is to the motivation boost we get, when people approach us with curiosity and openness. In every town, in every bar and restaurant there are those incredible nice people we want to take a minute to say “Thank you!” to. We have met complete strangers stopping their cars to talk to us, people walking across fields to know about us, school-classes on their way to somewhere stopping and asking us questions, people stepping out of their homes and opening them up inviting us in for short brakes or long stays. Some people have called their friends organizing a feast at the evening and countless people helped finding places to stay.

    We must admit, we don’t remember all names and haven’t taken all the pictures as we should have but here are some wonderful people where we do have pictures of.

    Carmine (Serino)

    Maria (Avellino)

    Gino and his hiking-group in Valle dell’ Angelo

    Enzo and his friends at NataStoria (Bucciano)

    Geraldo (Serre)

    Campania (Part 1)

    The last few days, since entering Campania, J. was in charge of the task of path-finding. It took me some inner conversation and persuading to agree on his idea of the path. I want to make clear that this has nothing to do with J. but with my own experiences in life to trust (only) my own way. My history taught me that following other peoples’ paths usually make me loose my way (rhetorically speaking). But, as life itself is a thruhike, it’s also part of letting go and trust other ideas and finding out that many ways lead to Rome. I guess, that’s how livin’ is done, too! Here I have a chance for personal growth and I hope to learn…

    Anyways J. has chosen a beautiful path so far through Campania and I do not regret it that I followed. Do I come out of it stronger, bigger, older, more mature or even wiser? Time wil tell.

    So much to my personal emotional side. What else is there to say about the last few days? We hiked through the National Park Cilento et Vallo di Diano. Beautiful landscape? – Yes! Awesome people? – Definitely! And the weather is getting warmer with no rain lately. How nice is that?

    We made an awesome video of the coolest place on trail so far, Grave di Vasallo. Find it on our fb Album “E1 – That’s how livin’ is done!” or on www.instagram.com/jaredturtlechip.

    If you want to see, how fast and how far we have hiked each day, click here.

    Basilicata

    Tomorrow we leave the Region of Basilicata, only 15 km left. It was beautiful 4 days. On the first day we hiked up to 1.660 m; snow was very deep up there. Withouseeing any trail-marks we bushwhacked our way up, steep and strenuous but fun with a hint of adventure. Still afterwards we decided to stay below snow-level for a while. Hiking on side-roads isn’t so bad after all. We enjoy the mountain scenery aruus as we can relax mentally a bit while hiking.

    As we enter Campania tomorrow, we have to find our way as we go. The SI would constantly take us above snow-level and I’m not ready to go up there again.

    Well, we’ll see. Stay tuned and find our pictures on our fb Album “E1 – That’s how livin’ is done!” or on www.instagram.com/jaredturtlechip.

    Hiking stats are found on my garmin page, click here.