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On the 7th of April, the first real challenge was waiting for us: the Arlberg Pass, rising almost 1800 meters above sea level. The weather forecast was not promising but I didn’t care. I was ready and I was hoping Guido would be too. He wore the wrong clothes (naked feet in flip flops, shorts, t-shirt) but I know him, that does not mean anything. 

We climbed and crawled, drove on icy roads, rain became snow, saw skilifts and skiers and reached the top when the barely visible sun was already setting. His body was steaming. ‘Du bist ein ganz verrücktes Fahrradfahrer, ein ganz verrücktes Vogel.’ A woman came out of her car while Guido was putting on his Hawaiian party shirt. Meet Angelika. She had seen us climb and her inner self said: you have to wait for him. After Guido said that he had nothing arranged concerning our sleeping location, Angelika was resolute: ‘Follow me home. You need a warm shower, a good meal and a warm bed.’ 

We did as told and got to meet this wonderful woman. While she made pasta she told her story. Still skiing at a respectable age, doing hikes to her cabin high up in the mountains, traveling on her own across Europe, taking care of complete strangers, strong, independent, warm, kind. That is how Guido described her later to me.

Some interesting things we learned through Angelika:

  • ‘Glückwunsch, du hast einen treuen, unermüdlichen, selbstlosen Begleiter, deinem Atem.’ 
  • ‘Bob, der Streuner’ is worth reading. 
  • Use the party shirt often and keep writing in the journal.