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Stage Eight - Tuesday 5th June 2012


Sean Barker

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Bad Lobenstien (D) to Hohenberg (D)

The heavy rain that had started as I was erecting my tent last night had continued unabated throughout the night and well beyond the morning. Alas my tent had flooded during the night and I and everything in it was soaked.

I managed to air it out during a dry patch in the afternoon and it is now damp rather than wet.

Today was cold, bitterly cold! I struggled to use my hands and shivered uncontrollably in the cold of the early day.

Again I was getting bogged down on these forest cycle paths and decided to go in search of roads and easier passage.

Through the trees I could hear traffic and made my way over the hills through the densely forested terrain in as straight a line as possible until I came upon the road I could hear. It was a fairly busy road but was to my eyes a duel carriageway.

I pushed my bike onto the road and headed south east.

No more than five km down the road I was joined by a "Bundespolizei" car (Germany's federal police force) and instructed to pull in to the side of the road.

I was told that it is illegal to cycle on this road as it was the Autobahn.

Embarrassed and concerned that I was in trouble I explained how I had been on the cycle paths in the forest but couldn't cope with the mud and had joined the Autobahn a few kilometres northwest unaware of what it was.

The two officers (A male and a female) were most sympathetic and as we chatted about my weeks cycling and of how I planned to cycle to Istanbul and back. They pulled out an electronic tablet and showed me the best and safest way to proceed. They informed me that if I made my way to "Selb" I would find altogether safer and more appropriate cycle paths going in my intended direction.

I was then told that the best thing to do would be to cycle some 10km further on where there was an exit that would put me back on course and that they would follow behind me to keep me safe.

I cycled on with the police car some twenty meters back with lights a flashing and every car that either passed us or came from the other direction looked in my direction and no doubt thought I must have been someone of importance to warrant such support.

When we reached the exit the two officers gave me a printout of the route to get me to where I needed to go and shook my hand wishing me good luck and safe passage as I crossed the continent.Having already made my way through "Gefell", "Topen", "Hof", and "Rehau" I continued on through "Selb" and on to "Hohenberg"

I am now on the border and in sight of the Czech Republic

After spending most of the last week wet I feel my strength is waning. My feet are in a poor state, covered in dead colourless and peeling flesh they are bleeding from the soles and heels. I have lost two toenails and two more are clearly not going to last much longer

I shall let the air get to them tonight and bandage them up for tomorrow

An eventful day that will live with me forever

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