Salzburg or Burst

Two photographs you did not get of Donaueschingen, in my last ramblings, so stuck them in here.

The town of Donaueschingen did not have a lot to interest me, maybe if the weather had been better and I was cycling around more, the shops were all ladies top end and designer fashion (which is the code word for expensive).

The weather has not been kind to me at all since leaving the mountains, when it first started to snow, sleety drizzle, It did not stop. The route continues across the Baar plateau, so pretty flat land as far as Geisingen where you come to the limestone Donautal gorge through the hills of Schwabische Alb. This is an area of sinkholes and when dry (not today) the Danube will disappear underground. The smell of newly cut pine trees assaulted my senses all the way along this part of the trail.

On reaching Tuttlingen, I found it was market day although almost over, they have to clear the streets by two in the afternoon. Oh how I wish I could have cooked up a meal with all the vegetables on display, the smells of fruit, and vegetables and the heavy scent of flowers were everywhere. Unlike the small markets held monthly in St Andrew, these are well patronised even in this appalling weather they came in their droves. I did buy some fruit for my 5 since leaving home.

What I got wrong. I decided that my one pannier would suffice and anything extra would go in my backpack. This was a bad mistake okay when I left but the backpack became a burden the longer I used it. So as I passed a shop that sold only bags and rucksacks, and in their window was a pannier bag, I popped.

The shopkeeper was a bustling little woman that never stopped talking, mostly to herself, for I never understood a word she said. No matter that I had already chosen the one I liked she insisted on opening up everything she had in the shop. I paid and went out of the door leaving the box that it came in and the shop floor littered with boxes to be repacked. I asked her if there was a Velo repair shop in town, there was but it would be closed until after the market, 2 O’clock.

It was after two when I set out for my hotel. And by accident happened upon the bike shop, I went in and told the man my problem, a nut had worked loose and dropped off, an important nut for it held on the carrier and rear mudguard in place, I had patched it up with a cable tie, so it did not really need much explaining, he put a new nut on leaving the cable tie as belt and braces.

I produced the sheet of paper with my hotel for the night and asked for directions. This was my second time on this trip that booking online was a no-no. The last time it was – only one and a half kilometres that turned into16k. On that occasion, I did not bother to do the extra miles but booked into a hotel where I was at the time. This time it was only 5k and since I could not get much wetter than I already was I did the extra miles. It’s a lesson to be learned for the future, check on Goggle Map that the hotel you booked is where you expect to find it.

This one was Bahnhof 123 BahnofstraBe. I asked around but no one could tell me where number 123 was although I was clearly in BahnofstraBe, then I asked a young lass (that spoke perfect English, almost without a trace of an accent) who told me, “Here”. But this is the railway station I said and she answered simply “Yes”. And she was right of course part of the building was the station office, the other part a coffee, come restaurant, come cheap accommodation. Well, it’s only for one night and the trains may not run at night. I very much having that a backpacker feels to it, with a kitchen for making your own meals, and laundry, which I badly needed with so much dirty and wet clothing, after a day of sleet and rain. I had overcome the cold, by putting on almost every stitch of clothing I carried with me and looked a bit like a barrage balloon, still it took a lot of weight off the bike or is that Irish.

The place was packed with families, like some village meeting, turned out that on a Friday (is that the time already) they have an entertainer and the café for one night turned into a bar serving bottles of beer (no choice). Later after I was showered and had most of what I had been wearing in the washing machine I went down for a beer. The owner introduced me to two locals who had some English, so with my bad German and their better English, we spend the night together. When I went up to the bar for a second bottle I bought three, this started the ball rolling, soon the Schnapps were doing the rounds, oh well, I have some Parasitical in my bag. The singer went down well everyone was clapping along and having fun. Soon the little back room we were in spilt over with latecomers and conversation all but died, you simply could no hear over the din. However, it was clear that word had gone around the room about this mad old Scotsman cycling around Germany, which seemed to impress them, for another shot of Schnapps would come my way.

sorry about the photograph I had a few by then but these were the two lads I was introduced to by the barman
The party gets underway
And what do we see throw the round window children? The day after the night before
The sun tried its best to peep through the mirk but without success so I abandoned this leg halfway through (about 30K covered but it was just too miserable and nothing much to get excited over so hoped the train for Salzburg. Boy was it warm after a morning on the road, I could have dropped off easily but did not want to miss my stop.

What I have discovered during my trip is that the German people (real people not politicians) think that Germany getting involved in Ukraine is a very bad idea. 

What with one thing and another I did not get my blog off and today I am off to Salzburg, so I will send it off from the YH there.

Healthwise, I feel great a few war wounds, but nothing to write home to mummy over, and you will be pleased to know that my waters are much more straw coloured. Yes, I would have to say, despite the atrocious weather, and a good covering of snow this morning, this holiday has been good for me.

Here at last Salzburg, just booked into a brilliant hostel these modern YH really are the berries. I brought my laptop down to the bar and found that the machine gives out free hot water and with my own tea bags, Europeans make crap tea, I now have all I want in life. I am here over the weekend and leave Monday, so whatever the weather I will be out and about.

Coming over on the train from Ulm (u as in Oh silent L), a crowd of girls came on board with skies and snowboard, bad vibes I thought. The snow has turned to rain, by tomorrow it will be sunshine, now that I’m here, fingers crossed.       

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