Tuesday, May 01, 2007

4 years ago today

Mayday 2003.
Lichtenfels, Germany - Cheb, Czech Republic.

We were awaken early by "the mad baker." Imagine a 300 pound jolly white man with a giant afro driving through a campground honking his horn. He drove around for a minute while honking, stopped, and sold everybody their brutchen (morning bread stuff) out of the back of his van... We sat on a tarp in the grass eating our bread surrounded by Germans in their RV's. A woman approached us and tried out her English, offering us coffee. Awesome.
She talked about her daughter marrying an American GI and how she has been trying to learn English. She was what an American would call fairly fluent, but a European would call "unable to speak the language."

We continued riding East through Bavaria. The countryside turned pretty hilly as the natural border with the Czech Republic became visible.

Mayday: every village we rode through had a Maypole set up with streamers coming down it. The center of each village had their beer tents set up. Drinking was in full swing by noon. There is a German law that says you are allowed to have 1 beer with lunch everyday. They love beer. The first thing people would ask as they talked to us was if we enjoyed the German beer. All that I could say was "I like Radlers."
Radlers are beer and lemon soda mixed together, so you dont get drunk as you ride your bike from beer garden to beer garden. It translates literally to "bike rider."

The steins of beer people drank from were probably close to a quart. Under each tent there were hundreds of people drinking from these giant mugs. There was also delicious cake.
People would stare at us as we pulled into their town and watched them celebrate. We were obviously Americans and we were on bicycles. Most people were in traditional German outfits that we only see Amish people wearing today. There was lots of dancing and singing. I saw a girl no older than 13 drink more beer out of a single stein than I have drank my entire life.

We pedaled through these towns for 80 miles before hitting the Czech border. Cheb is a border town. EU residents drive here for cheap goods and services, bootleg markets and god knows what else. The border guard sneered at us and didnt believe we had cycled there from Amsterdam. Whatever. We got a room in a Hostel and ate in a restaurant for less money than a just plot at a campground in Germany would have cost.

The life of a cyclotourist is pretty awesome.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of "thug life" tattoos, do you think Chadwick has one?

Matt! said...

Perpetually 22! I am in. Let's do it. If Cycling is our religion, than Danny Chew is our god! Great quotes in that article.