It has been raining since I got to Hardenberg 6 days ago, following me into Germany. It rains continuously, insanely. It rains at night, during the day, when I set up my tent, when I pack it up in the morning, when I stop for lunch, when I dream. My thoughts have the rapping of rain droplets as background music.
I’ve tried to stay out of the rain – I took shelter in an AirBnb, took a day off from cycling, but when the weather report for the entire week for the entire country shows rain, there’s not much recourse. This show’s got to get on the road. So I sludge through day after day. It feels like a demented exercise in self determination. At some point, I tell myself, the clouds will have to run out of rain.
Unromantically speaking, all my stuff which is not enclosed in a dry sack is wet. My critical belongings are sealed off in ziploc bags, and I travel covered in all kinds of plastics. Every day I fashion new ways of keeping water from getting at me. Only when I arrive at a place where there are other people do I become aware of how strange I look. This isn’t a problem usually because I just arrive to campgrounds, but every now and then I stop at a cafe for ice cream or something sophisticated like that, and compared to everyone there I am undoubtedly a bag lady. In fact I’ve noticed legit bag ladies check me out (as if, competition) and now I’m pretty much embracing it. Today I wrapped my socked feet in plastic bags before sticking them in my shoes. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
So far the stretch between Bremen and Hamburg has been my least favorite. The rain sucks, sure, but the landscape isn’t there either. I pass large industrial operations, ghost towns with annoying cobblestone cycling paths, and nowhere do I see any cyclists. Many miles pass before I see even another human being outside of a car. It feels dreary, lonely.
Dear Northern Germany, you are tying to both drown me and make me depressed, but at least you have good food to offer, so I forgive you.