This post is about a 24km walk from Öpfingen to Untermarchtal. I have breakfast with Vivien and Luisa, then I lose the Danube.
I had slept well under the apple tree. There weren’t that many apples, which was good because many apples usually meant many wasps.
And Germany was full of fucking wasps.
Vivien and Luisa
When I got up and stretched my back in the morning sun, I heard some very tiny voices from a nearby window. “Want some coffee?”
I had met Vivien, 7, and Luisa, 5, the evening before when I was setting up my tent. The horse ranch was Vivien’s home, and Luisa was her friend. They watched over my evening routine with great curiosity and excitement, and they kept referring to me as the man.
“Look, the man is going to sleep under the tree,” they would say to each other as I was fumbling with my tent pegs. “The man has a thermos and a pink cup!”
Now they were back. “Let’s stay here until the man leaves!” they said after they had ceremoniously handed me a mug of coffee and some sweet bread from Vivien’s parents. Then they helped me pack up the tent.
“Aren’t you afraid to sleep outside?” they wanted to know.
What should I be afraid of?
“Um…” they seemed to think about it for a second: “foxes?”
I lost the Danube cycle path shortly after this. There was a shopping center with a supermarket that I wanted to go to and stock up on some supplies. I bought two water bottles, a loaf of bread, a bunch of bananas, an avocado, a bag of trail mix, and a new bottle of sun screen. Then I grabbed a snickers ice cream bar and sat outside of the mall with it.
It was a world of concrete, and it seemed to have been made for cars. Everything was big, and everything was far apart if you weren’t in some kind of moving vehicle.
I felt small and vulnerable with the Caboose.
finding a place to sleep
About two hours later I stopped at a farm and asked to refill my water bottles. Simon, the owner, was busy stacking hay, but he took the time to get me some ice cold carbonated water for my plastic bottles and some hot water for my thermos.
I reached a church on a hilltop just as the sun was going down. Everything was golden. The church yard seemed like a nice place to camp, and there was even a restroom that was freely accessible. There was a bell, and I rang it, but nobody was home, so I walked on. The map showed a monastery a bit down the road. Maybe I would get lucky there.
the walk from Öpfingen to Untermarchtal: