This post is about a 27km walk from Achleiten to Suben. I see a sad chapel, and I get food and a shower in an unexpected place.
The night before I had asked at a farm if I could pitch my tent on their premises, and a group of enthusiastic young people had said yes. “Go to the cross in the fields!” they had told me.
the way up
So I woke up next to the cross in the fields, and I went to the farm and got some hot water for my thermoses. They gave me some yoghurt and some chocolate milk, then I was on my way.
The road went up in serpentine bends. One time I passed a little chapel that a local couple had erected “for the children”. As it turned out they had first lost their daughter to a bicycle accident in the 1970s, and then, a few years later, two of their sons and a neighbor’s kid had died in a barn fire nearby.
There was a new picture showing the obituary of Johann, the father. He had died just a few months earlier this year, and his photo showed him old and smiling.
It seemed as though he had made the best out of a life stricken by tragedy.
is “brothel” the preferred term?
I was about halfway up the hills when I noticed a place called Bel Ami next to the road. It advertised itself as a nightclub, a sauna club, and a brothel. I rang the bell to ask if I could take a rest in the shade of the trees in their parking lot.
Sure, they said.
A short while later the owner came out, introduced himself as Attila from Budapest, handed me a bottle of water and a bottle of coke, and asked me if I would like some coffee. Then a lady appeared with a plate full of food. It was for me. “It’s what we’re eating right now,” she said.
I didn’t know what to say.
“Don’t mention it,” said Attila. He told me about that time when he had ridden his bicycle from Bulgaria to Passau, and he said he knew exactly what it felt like when people were kind.
Did I want to take a shower? he asked. He had some empty rooms that they were not using at the moment.
A half hour later I was on the road again, well-fed and clean and in a new shirt, and I felt humbled by the experience.
I arrived in Schärding in the early evening, when the sun was already setting. The baroque old town was quite beautiful, but there were too many cars there for my taste, especially on the main square.
Why not make them park outside of the city walls and turn the historical center into a pedestrian zone? I wondered as I walked on.
the walk from Achleiten to Suben: