When I briefly entered Germany again near Oybin bad weather struck for the first time during that hike. Luckily I was in village when a torrential downpour came down and I sought shelter together with a German guy on a big motor bike. After one hour the rain stopped and we both continued. Further West in Germany this turned out to be the most destructive thunderstorm of the year but even here at the border of Germany, Czech Republic and Poland the rain continued later in the evening. This was when I discovered that my brand new tent that I had bought seamsealed was not entirely waterproof ...
But I knew that I would soon reach Liberec and my first resupply stop where I would hopefully be able to fix the problem. Liberec turned out to be a wonderful trail town. Although the city was almost completely booked I ended up in a brand new hotel in the outskirts of town with an excellent restaurant nearby. I seamsealed the tent in my hotel room and never had a problem again with it on this trip. Liberec did not only have a nice historical town centre, but also two interesting museums. The art gallery had once been a swim hall dedicated to the Austrian emporer Franz Joseph and showed some surprisingly good art work
Now came one small mountain range after another and I keep forgetting their names. Most were crossed in one day! First were the Jizera Mountains were cyclists rule. This meant that almost half of the otherwise scenic trail was on pavement or concrete slabs and you see more cyclists than hikers. I even ran into a mountain bike race for kids where one father was accompanying his son on foot ... I don't think they broke any speed records but everyone seemed to have fun.
The Giant Mountains were not really that giant and full of tourists. I was having a hard time finding a discreet camping spot! Early in the morning I ran into two older German gentleman who asked me to take their picture and told me a sad story in return. They were on a memorial hike for an old friend who had recently died of cancer. For decades the three of them had been hiking in the Giant Mountains and their friend had always brought a special cake for them. Now they came back every year with this cake and ate it in his memory. Even I was offered a piece! Sniezka (1600 metres), the highest mountain of the Sudetes, was teeming with tourists as was the source of the river Elbe, a river that I still want to paddle one day.