Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A (True) Strange and Creepy Travel Story

Welcome to my Blogapalooza Strange and Creepy Travel Story Post! There are over 30 Blogapalooza participants. You can read all of the strange, scary, and creepy travel tales by visiting travel writer Angela Nickersons's Just Go! blog and following the Blogapalooza link list. And don't forget to enter the drawing over at her site for one of three wonderful goody bags! If you like spooky tales, visit the stories, Solitude and Spirits, and Ghosts (only available until midnight, Halloween [Edit~ The time has passed and this story has now disappeared!]) over on my short story blog. Hope you encounter some hair raising tales!

My Strange and Creepy Travel Tale

One summer many years ago, my sister, a roommate of hers, and I rode our bicycles through Europe for five weeks. Our destination every night would be either a campground or a small town with an inn.

One evening while we were cycling through Germany we came into the town of Rot, which in German means red.

Actually it was Rot an der Rot, meaning the town of Rot on the River Rot. It was very small, we could have ridden into it and out again in just a few minutes. The sun was setting as we cycled into a little square where two inns sat opposite each other. We chose one, got off our bicycles, and went in to see if we could get a room for the night.

When we walked in, we could hear a lot of men having a good time in what we thought must be the common room where you could go for breakfast, or at other times for a bite to eat or something to drink. We went up to the desk. I was the only one who spoke German, so I said we were looking for a room for the night.

The woman behind the counter glanced toward the noise of the revelry, looked at us three young women in our twenties, and became stern. “No,” she said. “We have no rooms, you cannot stay here. Try across the way,” and she motioned toward the other inn across the square.

We marched across the square. The woman there didn’t seem pleased that we had been sent her way. She told us the same thing, she had no rooms and we couldn’t stay there. I asked if there was any other place to stay in the town, explaining that we were on bicycles, it was getting dark and the next town was too far to travel to that night. The woman became almost cross and told us to go to the monastery around the corner and they would put us up for the night.

We had never sought shelter in a monastery before. It seemed very medieval. We walked our bikes around the bend in the road and came to a sandy-yellow-walled monastery. We found our way into a courtyard and went up to a wooden door. There was a bell, the kind with a dangling chain to clang the clapper. We rang the bell. Nothing happened. We rang again. Nothing. We knocked. No answer.

We decided that maybe we could find a place to pitch our tent for the night. We went back to the first inn to ask where it might be okay to do this.

We entered the inn and heard again the room full of men. The woman behind the counter seemed annoyed that we had returned. I explained that the other inn had no rooms, that we had tried the monastery but no one answered the door, and that we were on bikes and couldn’t go any further that night. I asked if there was a place in town where we could pitch a tent.

No! We certainly could not pitch a tent in the town! Suddenly the woman had one room available and we must stay there. I asked her where we should put our bikes for the night. She said, “Follow me,” and grabbed a ring of keys.

We followed her out of the inn where we collected our bicycles, and around to the side door of an adjoining shop. She put a key in the door and turned it. The door opened into the back area of a butcher shop. The floor was tiled and had drains in it. There were tables for the cutting-up of meat. And there were sharp knives and hooks and cleavers hanging all over the place.

The woman told us to lean our bikes against the tables. They would be safe there for the night. Then she led us through another door and, voila! We were back in the inn.

She led us up a set of stairs. We could hear the room full of men below, the noise of their chatter taking on almost a chanting quality. The stairs ended on a spacious landing. The woman pointed to one door and indicated that it was the bathroom. Then she led us across the landing to another door.

She opened it and said sternly, “Here is your room. Stay in it and do not leave for any reason except to use the bathroom if you must.” We entered, the door closed. We were left standing there with the muffled voices of the men below drifting up to us. My sister locked the door.

The only people we had seen in this town had been the two women at the inns, both of whom seemed almost angry that we were there. Our bikes were now locked in a butcher’s shop, and we had just been told to stay in our room and not to leave it for any reason, except to use the bathroom.

My sister and her friend didn’t even leave the room to use the bathroom that night. I braved it, but didn’t linger. We heard the revelry of the men all through the night.

In the morning the woman unlocked the butcher shop and we retrieved our bicycles. We didn’t stay for breakfast or to buy any food for a picnic lunch later. We were happy to ride away, past the monastery, and leave the creepy town of Rot behind us. And we didn’t see another soul as we headed out of town.


19 comments:

Scintilla said...

Bikes in a butcher shop ? They weren't used to tourists were they. I wouldn't have used the bathroom either!

Robyn said...

Creepy!!! But what a cool experience to bike around Europe...I'm jealous.

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Exploring Europe on a bike-- what a dream! I'm glad you guys found a safe spot to sleep. Strange night!

JES said...

Cannot imagine a town better-named than "Rot" for a creepy story's setting. And then to find yourselves in the back room of a butcher shop, in a town which welcomed you only reluctantly (and sternly warned you not to leave the room at night!) -- icing on the cake!

Felicity said...

Yikes! I had the same feeling once in a hotel in Amsterdam, but it was certainly not as justified as your own. I hope the rest of the trip was as charming as I'm imagining it. Guten Tag!

sruble said...

That is so weird! I wonder what was going on with the men downstairs. Maybe they were the reason they didn't want you to stay? Or something? That is just strange. Glad you got out safely, as the 2 women at the Inns seemed concerned for you staying there.

Angela K. Nickerson said...

How bizarre! That is really creepy. Thanks for participating in Blogapalooza!

TattingChic said...

Nothing says lovin' like an angry faced woman and a butcher shop for of sharp knives! Glad you were able to ride safely away in the morning.

adrienne said...

Sounds like a scary little town. You were brave to use the bathroom!

Meredith Teagarden said...

Eeek. That sounded creepy. These travel posts are removing my desire for time in Europe :)!

Brenda said...

Sounds like something from the movies...thankfully for you and your friends, nothing serious happened and you were able to leave the next morning...

Karen K. Kennedy said...

Sounds almost Sweeney Todd-like to me. What a creepy town! You reckon the men downstairs were the monks, living it up for the night?

jackie said...

Freaky! I'm glad that it didn't end with carved up bikes in the morning!

3rdEyeMuse said...

sounds like you stumbled into a gathering of warewolves or something *silly grins* ... the butcher shop bike parking would likely have sent me over the edge, so three cheers that you three were able to ride away in the daylight. :)

thanks for sharing this great & spooky travel tale ... I'm definitely enjoying this blogapalooza.

annavhutchinson said...

Wow. I really want to know what the deal was with Rot an der Rot!

And I can't believe she actually had you lock your bikes up in a butcher's room. That sounds beyond creepy.

Happy blogapalooza!

Kim Kasch said...

When in Rome . . . or when in Germany . . .

At least you found a place to rest your weary bones ;D

Kelly said...

You are a brave one to bike through Europe like that! What a strange experience!

MaPa said...

Interesting and scary story. Traveling by bike through Germany - and Europe - is very popular in those countries. There are hostels to stay overnight for little $
If you have the time and $ to go to Europe and travel by bike - an adventure of a life time. Great places to see, eat wonderful food, meet interesting people.

ICQB said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read my scary travel tale! The blogapalooza event was a lot of fun, so many thanks to Angela Nickerson over at Just Go! for hosting.

And my last commenter, mapa, is right - bicycling through Europe, and Germany in particular, was a wonderful experience. I'd recommend it to anyone - it's a healthy and inexpensive way to see a beautiful part of the world.