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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Small town Germany to a Small Country

LUXEMBOURG | Saturday, 22 March 2008 | Views [1326]

Today was another fabulous day on my journey during the brunt of the European winter. I woke up at 6:30 and it was snowing out. Yesterday I was so excited to see the snow that I was playing in it. Anyways I took a shower and washed up. Ashley and her friends weren't up yet, so I walked up to the gas station and got a Red Bull. I sure will miss Bad Windsheim. It's a little town that's a perfect example of "small-town Germany." Ashley's group was headed to Frankfurt today and they are going home very early tomorrow. It makes me happy that Ashley got to do this trip because I'd like to encourage my family to travel more. In my family (parents and six children), only Ashley and I have passports. My father is 53 and he's never had one! For breakfast I ate cereal, yogurt, and a roll; the same stuff as yesterday. After breakfast, Ashley and her friends packed up everything and I thanked everyone for being accepting of me and making me laugh. I told Frau Doerr that I'd be back next year if Ashley goes again. We all went outside and they took pictures in front of the Pastorius Haus. One of the group members then took a photo of Ashley and I in front of the building. Then it was time for them to go. Ashley gave me a hug goodbye and she told me she'd see me this summer when she comes to California. It was then time for me to be on my way. I cleaned up my room and packed up everything and then returned my key. It was cold out but not snowing. I stopped at the internet cafe and checked my email. Susie told me about how when she was in Europe, she had everything of hers stolen (passport, money, etc.) so things haven't been as rough for me. If I had my passport stolen, I wouldn't know what to do. Then I went to the train station and checked out tickets to Luxembourg. The cheapest one was 65 euros; too expensive. But, I had to get there somehow. I got that ticket and then had 45 minutes to burn, so I went to the internet cafe again. At the little shop right near the train station, there was this trashy-looking girl who was very drunk and she got in my face. Some people get do drunk that they don't know what they're doing! It would be about an eight-hour journey to Luxembourg, so it would be another full day of riding trains. I had to follow the same routine as the other day of changing trains in Steinach to get to Wurzburg. Along that route is mostly just farmland and dairy pastures. There was snow all over the ground as the train as going along. I had to take two more trains to get to Frankfurt and they were both late. I should have had a 25-minute break in Frankfurt, but the trains were so late that I nearly missed the train to Koblenz. The scenery is very beautiful as we headed west past Wiesbaden. The Rhine River is just to my left and there are so many castles. It was like I was on a castle safari. The prettiest castle is Stolzenfels Castle: a yellow one that the conductor pointed out. This medieval castle was built in 1259. Another very spectacular castle is the Marksburg. Constructed in about 1117 and perched precariously on a clifftop, it is the only castle along the Middle Rhine that has never been destroyed. On a small island in the middle of the river is the Burg Pfalzgrafenstein (better known as “the Pfalz”), which literally looks like a castle-like ship. Interesting or what? How can anyone not enjoy this spectacular journey? Even if you’re not a train or castle connoisseur, you’ll love this journey! My friend Ashley (a different Ashley) and my friend John both studied in Germany and loved it; I can see why! It's so beautiful here. The ride between Wiesbaden and Koblenz has got to be one of the world's great train journeys because of all the castles you'll see. There are more than 40 castles along this route. The various churches along this stretch of the Rhine are very beautiful and I especially love the steeples. European churches look vastly different to Latin American churches. In Koblenz, I finally had some time to grab a bite to eat, and I got McDonald's for dinner. I was getting tired and it was getting dark. It’s very cold out; too cold to keep the windows open too long. I couldn't sleep on the train even if I wanted to because I have to keep an eye on my backpack and bicycle. The train showed up about 10 minutes early into Trier; one of the oldest towns in Germany and with a sizable student population. The town is said to have been founded by Emperor Augustus in first century A.D. The train to Luxembourg was already there so I went ahead and jumped on. For a long time today I was the only passenger with a bicycle, but suddenly like 10 people brought their bicycles on board. Being on trains and buses all day can get really tiring. When we stopped in a town called Wasserbillig, I knew that we were in Luxembourg. About 20 minutes later, I got off the train. Luxembourg is a tiny country, but it has a big place in Europe, if not the world. It is the world's only grand duchy, it's one of the founding members of the European Union, it is where the Schengen agreement was ratified, and it's one of the world's oldest countries. It is also one of the few countries in which its capital city is also the name of the country. I needed to give Tristan a call (the young man who said I could stay with him) because I didn’t get his address.. I stopped at a gas station and got a Red Bull and I asked the clerk if she had any Luxembourg euro coins, and she gave me one of almost every denomination. Each country has a different euro coin design. Afterward I stopped at a hotel and they let me use the phone to call Tristan. He gave me directions to his house and the girl at the hotel was very helpful. It was drizzling out but I cycled away until I stopped at a gas station and got a cranberry drink. I really wanted something hot to drink, but they didn't sell anything like that. At about 9:30 I got to Tristan's house. I locked my bicycle in his garage and went inside to warm up. There are several other CouchSurfers staying the night. Like Bogdan, Tristan has excellent hospitality. He made potatoes and carrots and celery to eat along with wine. I had a glass of red wine. Some people say that there are almost no heart attacks in France because everyone drinks red wine. As part of the group, there is Eric from France, Erika from Belgium, Lisa from Sweden, and a young man from Australia. They all seem to really enjoy it here. I spent my time sharing my travels and the many hundreds of geography facts that I've learned over the years. Luxembourg is also the smallest country that I've ever visited. Seven European countries are smaller than the state of Rhode Island. The official language of Luxembourg is Luxembourgish, and the country is "Letzebuerg" in Luxembourgish. French and German are also widely spoken due to its small size and proximity to the two borders. After eating, Tristan passed out these pastries, and they are quite good! Afterward I surfed the internet for awhile before calling it a night and crashing on the couch. Anyways, it's now almost 1:00 AM, and I've been up more than 19 hours today. Tomorrow I'm going to cycle Luxembourg!! Good Night!

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