After a few days of enjoying Luxembourg and the luxurious campgrounds, we felt we were over our initial jet lag. We are ready to begin our European journey. The destination of our first international Rainbow gathering awaited us. We deflated and rolled up the sleeping mats and bags, dismantled the tent, and carefully repacked our large gear with all our belongings. It’s incredible how much stuff you can get into a backpack. I should say it was indeed too much stuff.
After making plans on which route would lead us to the most direct highway east, we set off walking. The borders between countries had just opened. We had decided that we wanted to collect all the country stamps we could get in our passports while it was still possible. Donna had previously only hitchhiked a short distance. I had to teach her when her car blew up on our first date before the Grateful Dead shows. There were a lot of good opportunities then, and we quickly caught a ride since the town was full of GD fans. Our heavy packs did not make it any easier.
We had not yet walked any distance with the backpacks and were beginning to realize precisely how weighty they were. Extending our thumbs to flag a ride, we waited a long time as occasionally a car would pass us. This highway was obviously “the road less traveled.” Standing on the side of the road, l joked with Donna that perhaps she should “show a little leg.” Eventually, a car would pull over and stop as we lunged our way to the car with our heavy packs. Thanking the driver, we got in and introduced ourselves. “Where are you going?” the driver asked.
The driver laughed and said, “Sorry, I’m not going that far!”
“We’ll be happy to get as far as you take us!” Which turned out to be just a little town before the German border.
Another Night Camping
We were already exhausted, and it was getting late, so we looked for a hostel to land for the night, but there was not one in that small town. There was a campground, though, and we made our way there. It was much more fundamental than the Kockelscheuer in Luxembourg, but it was still a welcome sight after a long day of hitchhiking. We unpacked enough to build the tent and get the sleeping mats and bags situated. We ate a little something and, before long, knocked right out.
Early the following day, we packed everything up and returned to the highway to continue our journey. We struggled with our heavy packs putting one foot in front of the other. As we stepped off a curb to cross the street, Donna stumbled. She fell forward with the total weight of her pack and smashed face first into the street, breaking her glasses. The glass cut into her face a millimeter from the small scar from the 18-wheeler accident almost one year to the day!
Someone called an ambulance, and soon she was whisked to the local ER, where she was checked out and patched up. Fortunately, the glass didn’t hit her eye, but the fall broke one lens of her glasses. We had started this journey with only $600 and no return ticket back to the US. Now we were barely started and were down to $400. I better make this busking work! The accident was a rough beginning, but Donna is a real trooper! There’s not much that slows her down. We made our way to the border between Luxembourg and Germany, where we had to search for a border guard to enter a stamp into our passports. “You don’t need that anymore!” he said.
“Maybe not, but this is our last chance to collect these stamps during our travels, and we would like one, please!” To which the border guard smiled and stamped our passports into Germany.
Next: Stuttgart, Rembrandt, and Russians