19 Days North Cycling Adventure | Day 3
On the train from Hamburg to Frankfurt.
Just now an old lady greeted me at platform. ‘I know you, you were kicked out of the train last night in Frankfurt' she said. I numbed for a moment before realised she was just the old lady, who stood behind the conductor and tried to persuade him for me. At the moment she’s still dressing shabby, a big color-faded hairpin stays loosely on her tousled white-grey hair, on her hand there’s a giant dirty sack seems for collecting empty bottles or something. I asked, was the train later really full load of bicycles? She answered 'yes', just as the conductor forecast, totally full load at Mainz station. She also mentioned that 2 train-security staff appeared shortly after. That 2 men… were really unfriendly. I understood then why the conductor refused you firmly. Even if you were on board, that two men will throw you out, no matter what corner villages is the stop. In fact I did not really hate the conductor. I understand it’s difficult to break the rule. I just hate the damned policy of DB, sell the ticket but still reject me out there just because no reservation. It’s so mean for a foreigner who’s new here.
I was a little surprised a vagabond-like old lady can speak such fluent and native English. She went on with her stories, despite I didn’t get everything clear due to noisy environment, it was roughly about how she was treated badly in all trips just because of the poor outlook. I was even more curious about her: an unbelievable meet again, fluent English, not really poor (as she described in story) but collecting trash, has clear understanding to herself… this must be a very interesting old lady. I tried to find her after we step into the train separately, pitifully I walked twice from one end to another but found no trace. I must believe I’ve met a fairy – if it were not that I found her at midnight curled in a seat, snoozing heavily while arms around a dirty feather duvet in this mid-summer night. ?
Noon time, I was kicked back home successfully, open the door of my own home after 48h trains, can’t help laughing at my own foolishness.
I took actions as planed in ALL SPEED.
I finally found the Identity blue card. Stupidly, it was forgotten at the camp site where I tested my tent days ago. The old lady by reception didn’t return it to me on the next day and I was not aware of that, and even bought an ice cream from her, tasting and chatting with her for a good while.
I re-picked the packaging bag of my bike, it was used for transportation from China to here half year ago, and was seriously broken, been thrown outside in balcony under rains and snows for months. I never thought there’s a day I need it so badly again. Re-booked Airbnb lodgings which I cancelled while waiting in Flensburg. Bought new return trip tickets. Went to the bike workshop for borrowing tools and ask for support to pack the bike.
Found some kind-heart strangers in WeChat group (Remark 1 - see bottom of page) for ‘lending’ me a not-needed-suitcase. I told her basically it could not be returned (Remark 2 - see bottom of post), she present me additionally some tradition snacks.
I call the customer service hotline for information, bought immediately the FLIGHT tomorrow to Norway.
What has lost cannot be revert, still I have 16 days to chase my original plan.
The paddles of my bike was seriously rusted and unable to uninstalled as flight requirements, I had no time to waste, rushed to the charity bike workshop as I did before. Martin was chatting with a customer, and on seeing me, he pulled his T-shirt over his head: ‘I’m not here!’ I laughed, right – who could like this Asian who is poor in German language and always bother with small business? I simply stated what happened, Martin looked suddenly serious and just leave one sentence: ‘I will help you’. None of us, as well as Andy the worker, expected the paddles could be so hard to uninstall. Even with professional tools. They can’t make it move for a single bit. Martin even put his hand on tables for support and JUMP with all his weight on the wrench, I can see clearly their sweats dropping from forehead and wet the ground.
When the paddles were finally uninstalled, we found the inner screw thread was completely destroyed by violence. Martin simply replaced the entire gear wheel, Andy helped re-adjusting the switch system. The wore-out switch system from the cheapest domestic bike was despised. Without effective language communication, he made a 10 cm finger sign: ‘cheapest here’ and made a sign of 0.1 cm :’this one…’ ?
Until off-work time two hours later, they were still teaching me skills of adjustment, amend my pack bag, taught me some simple Norway languages by the way, and presented me some mini tools. When I ask Martin the price at last, the answer is ‘5 EUR AND A POST CARD’.
As the time I spent in workshop is badly behind schedule, and the bike was already packed, I have to ran to the kind-heart stranger’s home for the suitcase. I was sweating like showering by running in mid-summer, I met a black hair cyclist at crossroad. Our eyes tell the same nation. He said, hop on, let me carry you. I’m not sure if it’s allowed in German regulations but I didn’t reject the offer, now I need EVERY HELP. Interesting that later we realised his only Chinese colleague is a good friend of mine here in the city.
I re-packed all my luggage, cross checked everything of my new plan and fell sound sleep after 1:00 in midnight. The alarm clock was set at 4:30 AM, to take the shuttle bus to Munich airport, start at 8:30 AM, transfer lines in Copenhagen, see you there in afternoon, Norway.
Remark 1: Wechat – a Chinese social communication app, like Whatsapp. People organised some groups there like ‘Life in Ingolstadt’
Remark 2: ‘basically it could not be returned’ – For certain I can’t carry a suitcase with me all the way in cycling. Since the trip is not round trip, neither can I save it somewhere. I have to throw it away after get to Norway.