This post is about a 25km walk from Engelhartszell to Achleiten. I see German territory for the first time, but I decide to stay in Austria.
One time, as I was passing by the Caritas facility on the premises of the abbey, one of the patients looked at me with wide eyes and exclaimed: “My God, look at YOU! That hair, that beard!”
Not good? I asked him.
“No.” he said, and that was that.
I waved goodbye to my room, to the patients of the Caritas (including the man who didn’t like my beard and hair), to the ladies selling beer at the gate, and finally to the abbey. Then I got going.
It took me about a half hour until I noticed that I was actually able to see Germany for the first time on The Longest Way. It was right there, motherfucking Deutschland, staring at me from the other side of the river. Just like that.
Up until this point the trees on the other side had been just as Austrian as the ones over here, but now they were suddenly rooted in German soil. There was no sign and no flag, only a tower-like structure that I thought might have belonged to some sort of border before. And behind it, there was Germany.
Ja, I thought to myself with a strong German accent, ja, das ist wunderbar!
It felt weird.
trying as always
I walked along the river for the rest of the day, thinking about what it all meant. Trying as always to walk back from China to my home in Germany had become a fixed line that I would say in my Youtube videos. And now, after all these years, it was there.
Germany was only a few hundred meters away.
It felt weird.
city of three rivers
And then I reached Passau. Or rather, I walked until I almost reached it, and then I stopped. There was a gas station, and behind it was a sign with the European flag and the words BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND on it. I could see Passau, the city of three rivers, but I turned away and decided to pull the Caboose up a steep road into the hills instead.
I wasn’t ready for Germany just yet.
the walk from Engelhartszell to Achleiten: