deluxe camping experience

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This post is about a 17km walk from Worms to Mettenheim. We sleep in our tent even though we have paid for a hotel room.

We did something stupid today. Or smart. But definitely stupid. We had paid for a hotel room in Worms, and the payment was non-refundable. And yet we decided to leave and camp somewhere on the way. Why, you ask? Let’s just say we thought camping would be more hygienic and comfortable.

stumbling stones

And so we walked out of Worms on an arterial road that went past some residential parts of the city. Worms, just like Speyer, had been one of the centers of Jewish life in Germany for much of its history. We saw a Stolperstein and then another one. These “stumbling stones” were little brass plates in the pavement, installed by an artist to commemorate the last known residences of the victims of the Holocaust.

the seventh cross

It was starting to get dark when we reached the Osthofen Concentration Camp memorial. The site was closed, so we lingered around and looked at if from the outside. Osthofen was one of the earliest camps in nazi history, and it had only been in operation for about a year. But it had become notorious in literature when Anna Seghers wrote about an escape from “Westhofen” in her 1942 novel The Seventh Cross.

I had been reading that very same novel in the summer of 2008 when I was still in China.


We played with the idea of camping next to the memorial, but then we opted against it. It was a residential area, and there were police patrols at certain intervals.

About two hours later, we had reached a wooden pavilion in the middle of some vineyards. There were a lot of bugs in the pavilion, and one fat spider whom we called Neymar. But the spot was very good for camping.

Is this better than that hotel room in Worms? I asked the weirdo as we lay muffled up in our sleeping bags, listening to the wind in the trees, our breath forming little clouds in the tent.

“Are you kidding?” the weirdo said with a dramatic eye roll: “of course this is better!”


walk from Worms to Mettenheim:

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