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A Spontaneous Adventure to Regensburg, Germany

Leaving Agia Roumeli by ferry.

What?!  I’m leaving Agia Roumeli by ferry.

I had no idea when I awoke that by day’s end I would leave my beloved Agia Roumeli for a new adventure.

Surprise, surprise.

A simple email, read over breakfast, changed the course of my life.

The German professor I met three weeks prior, wrote to tell me that he and his students would be walking a three-day Catholic pilgrimage in Regensburg, Germany, starting in three daysDid I want to join them?

Now, any normal person who is repelled by organized religion, frightened of nuns, has a long-standing grudge against Germany, has bad feet not suitable for distance walking, and is 1500 miles away from the suggested destination would say “no”. Right?

So I said “yes”.

Despite my love for Agia Roumeli, after 18 days in the same place, I was itching for a new challenge, a new adventure, and good company.  I like to try and do the impossible. And the ridiculous. And if I can hit both targets at once, even better.

The Journey to Chania

The rain is dirty in Chania, carrying dust from the deserts of Africa. This is a windshield after one rain.

The rain coming from the South falls “dirty” onto Crete because it carries dust from the deserts of Africa. Incredible eh?  This is a windshield after a storm.

Within a an hour I found an award ticket that determined my destiny. Yes, I could get there for very little money. But the journey would be long.

I threw all my belongings in my bag. No time for folding. I had to run.

I caught the next ferry leaving Agia Roumeli, perhaps the last one leaving for several days as a storm was setting in. After the ferry, a bus took me back to Chania where I had no reservation and lots of hope.

Hope serves me well these days.

I met up with Sofia, a hotel owner and life-long Chania resident. I’d stayed with her before. Maybe again tonight?

Sofia had no room at the inn and her friends were overbooked as well. But, she said I was free to stay on the roof for no charge. She saved me. My first pilgrimage miracle!

Unpacking my bag on the roof of a 12th-century building overlooking Chania’s Venetian port seemed to me as good as it could get.  A mild warm breeze stroked my face as I fell asleep to the sounds of the lively nightlife below.  Everything was perfect.

Until it started raining.

Then, not so perfect.

God is funny.

I moved the mattress to the stairs, still hidden like Anne Frank, from the paying customers. Unfortunately, a mattress on a 45-degree staircase is essentially a sled and my attempt to sleep was thwarted in seconds as my body slid onto the creaking steps.

Soon, I moved to the hallway where I had horrible dreams of being discovered by other guests and trying to explain why I, a transient, was sleeping outside their rooms.

Did I mention I had no bathroom?  This required ingenuity that shall remain unexplained.

The Universe Provides

In any case, a day that I save money on accommodations is a successful day and I feel proud of getting by with the help of strangers and new friends. The world is wildly generous if you believe it to be so. Nectar drips from everywhere. Hummingbirds know this. Now I do too.

Journey to Germany and a New Friend

In front of Regensburg Dom Cathedral

Ihsan and me, in front of Regensburg Dom Cathedral in Regensburg, Germany.

The next morning I am on a bus to the airport, and then a plane to Athens, then a shuttle, then another plane, then a bus and another bus and then a train from Munich to Regensburg. I am beat.

At the train station, I am met by Ihsan, my Couchsurfing host, who generously accepted my last-minute request for a place to stay in Regensburg. While my first Couchsurfing experience was a wild success, I assumed it was a fluke, and was nervous about my second attempt.  But no need.  Remember…nectar.

Ihsan and I hit it off almost immediately.  A Turkish citizen, Ihsan has been living in Regensburg for two years earning his Master’s Degree in Architecture and Archeology with a specific focus on Turkish and Greek Archeology. He is a great conversationalist, open, funny and has a cozy apartment right smack in the middle of the old center of Regensburg.  Amazing!

We go to a Medieval Restaurant where the waiter is dressed in period costume, delicious beer is served in gigantic cups, and sheepskins drape over ancient wooden benches beside a burning hearth.

After dinner, Ihsan gives me a tour of the area which includes Regensburg Dom, a fabulous cathedral completed in 1520, and considered to be the most important Gothic building in Bavaria. We walk partially across the famous stone bridge of Regensburg, a medieval masterpiece some 800 years old, spanning the Danube River.  This bridge was used by soldiers and King Louis VII of France during the Second Crusade!

Ihsan points down the Danube river, “You can take this river all the way to Budapest.”

“Let’s go!”, I said.  But he didn’t bite. What was I thinking?  I don’t even have a boat.

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn of Ihsan’s love of dancing (to hip-hop no less! My favorite!) until it was well past my bedtime.  We plan to meet again in the future.  And we’re definitely going dancing.

I am late to go to bed and cursing myself.  Only six hours of sleep before I am supposed to meet the German professor and his students for the next adventure.

2 Comments

  1. It is very interesting to see all the places you go and the people you meet!

    • It’s amazing, isn’t it!? Especially for an introvert like me!

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