Hot air b&b

Our first night in a hotel I was going to use AirB&B even though I had listened to a radio documentary explaining why the sharing economy was nothing more than stupid task rabbits dumping money and data into the pockets of Wall Street investors. I had picked out a lovely space next to the desk of a Vietnamese exchange student which was being offered for the reasonable sum of eleven dollars when I discovered that before you can book a request you have to provide all of your personal information.

This proved what the documentary had alleged: the biggest value is your personal data. It also confirmed that the real evil is that the cheaper prices mean that taxes aren’t being paid as they would be in licensed establishments.

So I deleted my account and booked online. My only criterion was price, and for three nights in a row I had, for about $50, gotten perfectly atrocious accommodations. And yes, that is a card table and yes, those are gang showers.

Now we were in East Germany and prices dropped further. We’d booked a room in the Wanderherberge, a mere five miles outside Eisenach. Unfortunately, five miles on an Internet description is about 15km of hilly riding in real life, but we’d been on the train all day and sort of didn’t mind being lied to.


The most awesome thing about putting your bike on the train is the entry/exit scrum where the non-bike passengers are pushing to get off and three 75-year-olds on electric tandems are trying to untangle their pedals from the asses of random passengers and you’re kicking people in the shins while smiling politely between English oaths like “cocksuckers” that everyone understands but pretends not to while the bells beep the doors close and you realize that you’re on the wrong train.

Fortunately I didn’t have too many problems because prior to entering the country I’d received an official douchebag certification, which I could simply flash and immediately clear a path.

In the town of Eisenach we gawked at the statue of Martin Luther but it didn’t look anything like the videos I’d seen of him giving his speech on the Washington Mall. Artistic license, I guess.


We found the tourism office and got free maps with terrible directions to our youth hostel. Woodrow was feeling pretty good about not having to ride 30 miles uphill and so was I.

For dinner we bought a big loaf of black bread, salami, cheese, half a gallon of milk, some bananas, and chocolate. “This is real food,” I said.

“And it’s not terrible!” Woodrow added brightly.


We ate and ate and ate.

“What’s the schedule tomorrow?”

“We have to leave by six.”


“We’re supposed to have heavy thunderstorms all day.”

Woodrow stared at his black bread. “And where are we riding to?”


“How far is that?”

“Fifty-three miles. We backtrack towards Eisenach then head east to Gotha, Erfurt, and Weimar.”

“How long will that take us?”

“Eight hours if it’s flat.”

“Is it flat?”


He looked at his bread some more. “Well ,” he said, “it will make a good story, right, Dad?”

I looked at my black bread and chewed it, breaking out a few more teeth. “Right.”


14 thoughts on “Hot air b&b”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I am enjoying reading about your travels (albeit grateful it’s not me pedaling uphill in the rain). Hang tough, Woodrow!

  2. I love eating in Germany (although they often put meat in EVERYTHING and for a vegetarian, that can be a problem. Who would have thunk that “broccoli and cheese” of course meant bacon was included!?!) Besides the meat issue, there are so many good, fresh food options.

    And I found it interesting how violent the little, old ladies can get when you’re trying to get on a train or bus. Watch out for the umbrellas!

    Enjoy your rainy day! And remember all that rain is what makes the beautiful, green scenery! And the lack of rain gives us all the brown in SoCal.

  3. Good stuff…I hope you guys are having as much fun living it as we are reading about it!

  4. Hello fsethd-san and Woodrow (Wilson?),

    I am living vicariously …. good stuff.

    Wish is I was there too …………



    +1 mph Faster

  5. This is a response from one of those elderly gentlemen at whom you’re poking fun. I have never–repeat–never stuck ANYTHING up someone’s ass. At least if I did I don’t remember. Cheers, your dad. Keep on keepin on, both of ya!

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