Podcast | 002 How were your first two months without an apartment?
I excitedly climbed the steps of the OpenTours Sightseeing Bus, with my son Sascha, and I was delighted that we found a place in the front row on the convertible deck. We sat down and connected our headphones to the jacks on the wall. Of course I chose French for the audio guide.
Here we could hear interesting stories and information about the sights that we would drive past. My heart was racing and was full of joy and excitement. We was finally in Paris! The city of love.
For a brief moment I thought longingly of my husband, with whom I would have actually taken this trip with. It would have been our honeymoon. Then I pushed that thought away. I was here! With my son, my sparrow. The bus driver started the engine and we drove off. The sun burned down on us mercilessly. It was August and 30 degrees. Fortunately, the head wind cooled us down, I let the speaker’s voice affect me. We started from the Hôtel Des Invalides and soon crossed the Seine. How beautiful this city was! The Place de la Concorde. The opera. The Champs-Elysée. The Arc de Triomphe. This gigantic gate reminded me a bit of Munich. To the victory gate. Munich! My beloved hometown! In the past three months I had got to know Munich and its surroundings from a completely different perspective. I had lived in and around Munich for two months. But not in an apartment. But in my little Skoda Fabia. I thought back to my first night in the car and remembered the nervousness, the uncertainty, of what that night would hold.
I turned off my cell phone’s alarm clock. Blinking, I looked around and realized where I was. I was in my car. In my Škoda Fabia. I was standing in a parking lot at Riemer See in Munich. I raised my head and looked out the window. Some vehicles were less than 20 meters away. A man jogged past my car. An older lady got out of an SUV. A tiny terrier jumped after her, barking happily. I crawled out of my sleeping bag. The whole bed construction wobbled and I had to hold on to the driver’s seat. The bed in this little car was a real makeshift. Even more provisionally, you couldn’t have built a bed in this vehicle. I had folded the back seat forward, I had turned the backrest of the front passenger seat all the way back. Two sturdy plastic boxes were stacked on top of each other in the front passenger seat and in the trunk, and I had compensated for the height difference on the front stack with pillows. The self-made slatted frame lay on the two stacks of boxes. I had just got four 2 m long sheets of solid pine wood from a carpenter and screwed them together with flat metal connections. I put a camping mattress on it to inflate. There was just enough space between the mattress and the roof of the car that I could sit up on the mattress in the four-legged stand. I climbed into the driver’s seat, put on my shoes and drove off. I had to pee badly. The nearest toilet was at a gas station 10 minutes away.
The real challenge started the next day. I had a night shift, as usual, and had to sleep during the day. I arrived at the parking lot by the forest, hoping the weather forecast was right and it would rain all day. I had bought a roll of Reflectix in a shop for camping supplies, a thermal film with insulation that was supposed to protect my car and me from heat, cold and glances from passing people. The material was incredibly stubborn, and cutting with a carpet knife worked rather semi-optimally. The more poorly tailored covers for all 6 windows more or less served their purpose. The individual parts were attached to the windows with suction cups. I left the edges unframed, as this was only an interim solution until the beginning of August, before I could pick up my roof tent. The material gushed freely between the two thermal foils. With a sigh I fastened the last cover, lay down on my shaky bed and set the alarm to 9 hours later. Two hours later, I had just fallen asleep, I woke up sweating. The sun burned mercilessly into the car. The rain had stopped. I climbed into the driver’s seat, drowsy, turned on the ignition and opened the windows a hand’s breadth. Heavy and exhausted, I heaved myself back onto the bed, took off my T-shirt and pants, and soon fell asleep again. I kept waking up briefly for several hours because a cyclist with squealing brakes stopped at my car and was obviously looking at my car. From 5 p.m. it became particularly blatant. Many walkers, joggers, and dog walkers came past my car barking, laughing, scolding, arguing and shouting. Every second felt like asking his companion if someone would sleep in this car. I set my alarm clock two hours later. When the alarm clock rang at 8:00 p.m., I set it to 9:00 p.m. It had finally calmed down. I finally got up at 9pm. I climbed into the driver’s seat and drove to a gas station for 5 minutes, because I had to go.
Sascha and I switched to the Batobus at the Louvre. The sun had already set, and the city glowed and reflected in the Seine. Before I landed, I had seen the Eiffel Tower out of the window and was so excited every time that my tears came. On the second day of our wonderful week in Paris, we had been able to see the Eiffel Tower from the Tour Montparnasse. Every time you walked through the city, you could see the Eiffel Tower between the buildings. This racing heart every time. Then we arrived at the Batobus terminus. There he stood before us. Wonderfully illuminated. He glittered like crazy every full hour for a few minutes. We went through security and the line at the checkout was not that long. From 11 p.m. you could only drive up to the middle balcony. Then we were upstairs. The view was amazing. Paris was at our feet. At midnight we were surrounded by the glitter of the 20,000 lights of the gigantic tower. I was overjoyed. Life was so wonderful. Love surrounded us. I was happy on the platform with my son and enjoyed the special feeling of being right here and now.
I knew I needed a better solution. I bought the country pleasure vignette, with which I could park at one of the farms for 24 hours and go to the toilet there. On the first day after getting the vignette, I drove to the indoor pool in the morning after the night shift, then to one of the farms, to which I had informed the night before about my desire to stay. The host received me at the front door and showed me the way to the camping meadow and the toilets. I crawled into my sleeping bag in relief. The few campers around me were still sleeping. I set the alarm clock and quickly fell asleep. After about two hours I had to open all of my car doors a little because the sun was burning in. The campers were all awake now. Children were squeaking around, chickens cackled excitedly around my Fabia, a donkey shouted at me to get up. From noon I gave up sleeping, explained to the questioning looks that I had a night shift, and drove off. I drove into a forest path and parked right in front of the sign that prohibited me from continuing. The rest of the 6 hours I slept without stopping, without sweating, without comments, crows, barking, squeaking and without being sizzled by the sun. The noise of the passing cars was not that bad. After getting up I peed in the middle of the forest. I had slept in. I went for a walk and enjoyed the scent of the forest. Now I knew where I would spend the next few months until my roof tent was picked up. I hugged the tree gratefully in front of my nose and whispered tenderly in his ear: “Thank you for being there.”
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