After Strasbourg I went in search of the source of the Danube in the Black Forest, next to a small chappel called Martinskapelle. I was a bit nervous because it was going to be my first encounter with hills and I didn’t know how me and Foxtrot would manage.
I was a bit lighter though, as the second parcel had been sent home from Strasbourg with more things that I thought I would need. It felt liberating to let go of things that anchored to my ‘normal’ life.
For the first time that day I felt a bit apprehensive. I was leaving the security of the guide book and the well trodden path and finding my own way across the Black Forest.
Before I got to the big hills, I stopped at a tiny campsite that couldn’t be more different from the one in Strasbourg. Instead of the customer-care-trained-receptionists in their ‘casual’ uniform, I was greeted by an older woman with painted nails and full make up, dressed in a fleece with prints of howling wolfs. I instantly knew which campsite I preferred.
The first climb WAS hard but both the bike and I survived it and I was elated when I got to the top. It was there, where I met Helfried, another cyclist on a day out and we quickly got into quite profound conversation. I am slowly getting used to the deep conversations that happen in those brief encounters on the road.
The downhill was exhilarating but not as much as the cake I gave myself as a reward for the climb.
I spent that night in a youth hostel all on my own. A huge rambling building full of noises. I was seriously creeped out and was grateful for the nature documentaries in my tablet that took my mind of Hitchcock type murders.
The Danube is very beautiful, forest of deciduous trees, tall cathedral spires, nature reserves, big rocky outcrops, campsites in working farms… Life continues to be good.