Sunday, September 14, 2014

Day 15. Sept 13.

Donaueschingen to Hausen im Tal

                              Uploading is late as no wi-fi in the Gasthaus.

Distance: 76 km
Time: 4hrs31min
Speed: 16.8km/hr
Distance so far:1800km
AHR: 101. beats/min
Feet climbed today :1173 ft
Punctures so far:1

Weather: A lovely pleasant Autumn day, sunny at times. Light rain forecast ( for noon. Didn’t arrive. Calm.

After yesterday's rain, the bike needed to be washed down and oiled up before leaving Hotel Kirschen just after 8.
Today was a planned short one but the early departure was to beat that rain forecast and to get onto the system of signposts etc. The signs are wonderful and placed exactly at each turn. In villages especially one has to be on the lookout as the route twists and turns between houses, industrial areas and between back gardens.
I spent a while around Donaueschingen viewing significant sites connected with the river.
In the Furstenberg Palace gardens is located the spring declared by Emperor Tiberius as the official source of the Danube (Donau) to settle a dispute between ’neighbouring parishes’ further upstream the Brig and the Brigach. The spring is now being renovated and doesn’t impress. Will be reopened at the end of 2014.
The Danube is 2888 km long from here to the Black Sea. But the Danube is unique in that Zero Point (km) is at the mouth and 2888 km point (the end) is here at the source.
Next stop was a short bit downstream where the Brig and Brigach meet up to be called Donau henceforth. Both are small at this stage.
During the early part of the day the cycle path doesn’t stay beside the river. It meanders through crops, through villages, through open land cross-crossing the river regularly. At one point it passed under my beloved B31.
I met a number of cyclists, some touring like myself, some just out for a local spin but there were so few. I almost had the path to myself all day. Also the villages are deserted. Where is everybody on a beautiful Autumn Saturday morning ?
A few times my route crossed over on covered bridges used by all from walkers to cars. The path is wide enough for all and is used to service the fields.
Speed wasn’t of interest today (or on any of the days ahead). I frequently stopped to look back; often granting a totally different aspect.
A German couple on a tandem and myself passed and overtook a number of times. We’d stop but language was a problem. However with my few words of German sprinkled with Irish we communicated. Asking me how long since I’d started the trip, I answered ’zwei wochen o shin’ and for “eins woche eile’.
In Mohringen, a scenic spot, I paused to read up the guide about the next few kms ahead. Then, just as I left the town the way was blocked. No cycling, no walking etc. And no indication how one might get around to Tuttlingen. Luckily my map was detailed enough to find an alternative route by retracing a few km. Eventually, I entered Tuttlingen alongside the main road.
Tuttlingen (35,000) was the largest town I passed through today but the route was again well marked. I picked up the marked route in the river park and pushed on.
About 10 km further on I came on Stadfest Frindigen, the Oldtimeraustellung. Town centre was closed to traffic, not to walking cyclists, and first I came on a street of children selling their per owned toys etc. At a corner were the lads in a tent having a few pints and further up all the old motorbikes and old tractors were lined up with the queen herself perched on a trailer. The Lanz Bulldog with just 1 cylinder was from 1939.
From here the Danube threads its way beneath limestone cliffs that by necessity it had to wear away. My route passed along by farmyards and through farmyards and through woods while sheer cliffs hung above.
At times the way was unpaved but easy to cycle on with relatively wide tyres. Here I shared the way with walkers setting out on their Saturday afternoon walk possibly to caves higher up the slopes. Other cyclists had availed of the hospitality of the Jaeger Inn but I passed and pushed on.
This part of the Danube (Donaueschingen to Sigmaringen) features many medieval castles topping prominent rock outcrops, the most famous being Wildenstein Castle.
Since my route did not cling exactly to the river there was some climbing involved, but it was all short snappy rises none exceeding a few hundred metres in length. A relief from the last few days.
In early afternoon, I could spot Hausen im Tal across the river, not a very populous place. Approaching the expected location, I only hoped that my accommodation wasn't the one up on top. No, mine is right beside the railway station.
A nice early finish and nothing much to distract around here except the view of the cliffs across the river from my window.
Really enjoyed the first day following Donau through the Swabian Alps. I’ll be out of those tomorrow.

Thank God for the health and for the energy.


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