When I first arrived in Germany I set a goal of traveling to one new country every month. I planned to live in Europe for 15 months, which meant 15 new countries total. My original plan was to leave Europe in April of this year, and I successfully visited 15 new countries by the time April rolled around.
Then Covid hit, the world shut down, and I was forced to stop moving.
The Corona quarantine months were some of the best months of my life. I had already been feeling burned out by all the travel, but I am living in a culture where this is what we do. We work, we travel, and we repeat. Not much time to rest. Heaven forbid I actually stay in Germany instead.
It has been nearly six months since I have been on a plane, or taken a train or a bus to a different country (I have biked to Austria a few times, and one time took a train, but Austria is literally a pebbles throw away.) Instead I have been throwing myself feet first into Germany – by bike.
I never considered myself a biker, but now I can’t imagine my life without this sport. When I was a runner (many moons ago) I never felt the way I feel when I bike. Exercise is meant to be therapeutic, to celebrate what your body can do, and I feel this whole heartedly when I bike. My bike has been my saving grace, and I have grown quite attached to it.
I regret to say it took me FAR too long to figure out how/get the courage to take my bike on the train. The whole process reminds me of when I first bought my Cannondale (which I cannot wait to ride again next month) and rode it onto the ferry sitting among the other bike commuters of Seattle.
The ticket process is simple enough, there is an all day bike ticket for Bavaria and with this I am able to bring my bike onto the train any time, all day long – for only 6 euros. Knowing where to take the bike is another story. Sometimes cabins are full, and I have to pretend I know what the train workers are telling me when they are trying to guide me through narrow rows to another cabin.
With my newfound knowledge of transporting my bike, I decided to visit my dear friend MaryBeth in her new city of Ulm for a Sunday of biking. I have biked all over Bavaria (and still have so many untouched bike paths), so I wanted to explore another state. Ulm is in the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the landscape is like night and day to the state of Bavaria.
Not only is Ulm a larger city than where I live, there are few mountains around and the bike paths take a bit longer to get to. MaryBeth and I decided to bike to a wetland park that is about 15 miles from where she lives in Ulm. This made for a beautiful and different than what I was used to 30+ mile bike ride.
What I loved most about this midwest looking terrain was all the corn fields and sunflowers. There were no big hills, just open fields of farmland.
Our chosen destination was called Leiphmier Moos, and I wanted to go here because MaryBeth told me this wetland preserve is home to some Highland Cows. Perhaps it’s what they signify, or where they come from, but my love for the Heilan Coo is strong.
Moos is the German word for moss, and I have found the areas that end in “Moos” are typically wetland areas. Moss aside, this preserve not only had Highland cows, but it also had bull frogs, ostriches, and water buffalo. I was only lucky to see the first three.
After my temporary pretended teleport to Scotland, we headed back towards the city. We made a pit stop along the way at an abandoned lake where we had a snack and escaped the sun for a moment. My adventures with MaryBeth are always a good time, no matter what we do I always enjoy spending time with her.
The last six months have been incredibly eye opening for me. I don’t want to say I regret how I spent my first year living in Germany, the travel was wonderful, but I do wish I had prioritized this beautiful country more. I’m thankful I was forced to slow down and thankful I was able to bike my heart out in southern Germany.
I see myself living in Germany again someday, which is wild to say because my heart has always been set on Ireland or Scotland. I have a soul tie to the UK, but I now have a soul tie to Germany after my time here. All this to say, you never know where you will end up. All I know is that I am open to just about anything these days!
Q: Is there somewhere in the world you have an unexplainable draw towards?