19 Days North Cycling Adventure | Day 1
Believe everything ready, I took the first step by jumped on the train.
At the first interchange station, Treuchtlingen, I met some old travelers. They were with bikes and loaded with all luggage as well and our next stations were same. I closed my eyes for a short rest, until someone pat on my shoulder softly. There was a friendly face before me: come on, here comes the train!
We confirmed the train number, station and route were all correct and got on the carriage. There was still 10 minutes before the train should departure, but it suddenly gave a shake and set off. We were a bit at astonished, felt lucky to get in on time and have pity for those who might have missed the train, until the loudspeaker verified one thing: this train drove to opposite direction.
The old men were totally pissed off and shouting angrily, I began to realize it’s something serious – I could have missed all the following 7 trains by chain reaction. Still there’s nothing we could do but to get off in the next station as per the instruction of the train conductor.
It was a big trouble to get in wrong train in Germany, especially at a small town by weekend, there was hardly any space to adjust the plan. There was nobody on duty in the station office, the old men made calls to their families and friends to inquire a new route, I began check on cellphone for next possibility to reach Hirtshals in time.
I felt lucky that the original plan leaves 11 hours at Hirtshals before vessel departure, there was still some space for mistakes. All I must do in next, is to reach the port in time, AT ALL COST.
The situation was not optimistic. The old men studied their own route for almost 1 hour and made the conclusions that they have to return to the start point today and restart on next day. They felt sorry for me and proposed more than once to sum some money for me for new tickets. Repeatedly I thanked their kindness and said I’m able to pay by myself. We waved goodbye and finally I managed to plan a new route, which will arrive Hirtshals 7 hours later than original plan, in another words, I had 3 hours buffer left.
I got on the train and was told by the conductor that a full payment for new route is a must as current station it’s a complete new route from the original one. 95 EUR, whatever, money is used to serve the goal. I tried to comfort myself that the plan is now rescued.
Sometimes neither a right train can assure the plan. The train to Stuttgart was delayed for 10 minutes and left me around 3 minutes for the next one. I rushed like hell to the next platform. The conductor was just about to close the door, she stopped and gave a long speech to me impatiently, ignored that I ask for English explanation. Finally I understood she wanted me to unload every luggage from the bike and take with me to other carriages. “Let me get in first” I answered and raised my bike with full luggage behind and took my steps. However, since the 30 KG weight focused at backside, and the door of the old trains are high and narrow, I lost balance and fell down backwards! My right leg stepped backward for support as instinct, but fell down to the gap between the train and the platform. Since the luggage and bike was stuck on the station, I didn’t really fell deep down. The conductor stand aside me still, and took a glance at the watch impatiently. I climbed up and tried hard to raise the bike again, and made it under the gaze of people around. The door shut, the train started. I wiped the blood in the leg. Only 3 hours for ‘mistakes’, NOTHING SHALL GO WRONG AGAIN.
I arrived Frankfurt. The train to Hamburg will start after 1 hour.
A old German man walked to me slowly, with curiosity flashes in his eyes. He showed big interest towards my bike and the conversation began. He praised China without preservation, said that all Chinese he met here are excellent, and China will definitely be the strongest country in the world after 20 years. He complained harshly that Germany had accepted too many foreigners and clarified he is not having attitudes to all foreigners, but those who don’t work and live on the governments’ charity. “All the fortunes we old generation have saved for Germany have been spent on these bloodsucker! Look, look, they are everywhere!” He complained angrily. I felt uneasy at his praise, and replied modestly that 20 years for China is far not enough. He became serious: “Definitely in 20 years! Just wait and see.” We chat another while and wave goodbye. Interesting, we meet again after 10 minutes in a bakery shop, where we continued the chat. He gave the best compliment to Bruce Lee, and said the Chinese in foreign countries may focus at earnings while the local Chinese must have a lot mastery at Kongfu. I explained him that most local Chinese don’t know much Kongfu, the society is also like ‘Vanity Fair’, and at last, there are no less ‘bloodsucker’ in China. He looked really shocked. Just 20 minutes before the train departure, we must separate this time.