Our first week

Our first week in Germany has been full of surprises.  Germany has had an unusually cold and rainy summer so far.  Our first day, it started out raining, but by afternoon it cleared off a bit, and we were able to stop and enjoy a hillside of “baa-ing” sheep.  That night we stayed in a youth hostel located in an 11th-century castle.  And yes, it looked and felt like a castle, albeit with heated rooms.  Our second day, the rain persisted, so we stopped biking part way through the day in Gutenstein and checked into the first guesthouse that would take our credit card (as we discovered that in small German towns, many establishments only take European debit cards or cash, and the next ATM was two towns over).

On the third the day, the weather was still cold and wet, but bearable.  We biked to the nearest train station and took a short train ride to get us back on schedule.  We recommenced biking in Munderkingen, with Um as our destination.  Our path on this day took us on a slight detour away from the Danube and past the Blautopf, the source of the nearby Blau River.  On a sunny day, the spring has a deep blue color.  However, the overcast weather that characterized our trip up to this point gave the spring a greenish hue, though this was still more attractive than the muddy brown of the Danube that resulted from all the rain we’d had.

In Ulm we couchsurfed (www.couchsurfing.org), which is a nice way to learn about local culture by staying with a local resident.  The next morning in Ulm, we decided to attempt the 768-step climb to the top of the world’s tallest church steeple at Ulm’s Lutheran church (perhaps not the wisest activity before a long day of biking – but we decided it was worth it).  After getting new brakes put on our bikes at a local repair shop, we started on our way towards Gundelfingen, arriving there in the early evening.  The next day we biked to Donauwoerth, took a train to Neuburg, then finished that day’s stretch by biking to Ingolstadt.

Our couchsurfing host in Ingolstadt, Sebastian, met us on the Danube, and we biked directly to an open-air showing of a World Cup soccer game.  Due to some kind of German security law, we had to surrender our helmets at the entrance to this event.  Perhaps the security guards were afraid we would be more likely to riot when wearing bike helmets.  Here, our thoroughly Bavarian host introduced us to some thoroughly Bavarian cuisine.  At the end of the night, we discovered that the event security guards had already gone home, leaving us helmetless.  Sebastian was fairly certain that if we returned to the event the next afternoon, he would be able to get our helmets back.  He graciously offered to let us stay another night, so were able to take the next morning to see the beautiful city of Ingolstadt instead of continuing on our way.  Incidentally, Ingolstadt is the home of the German car company Audi.  (About 30,000 of the 120,000 residents of the city work for Audi).  That afternoon, Sebastian was indeed successful at retrieving our helmets. We enjoyed a sunny afternoon in a park, where Sebastian taught us how to juggle.  In the evening we went to his friend’s apartment to watch Germany play Ghana in the World Cup.  We watched the game on the rooftop of the apartment, which allowed us to hear all of the commotion in the city after Germany won this important game.  We stayed at Sebastian’s apartment a second night, which brings us to this morning.  Today we continue on our way to Regensburg.

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4 Responses to “Our first week”

  1. Daryl Says:

    Thanks a lot for writing. Sounds like a trip rich in culture. I’ll admit I was more interested in America’s World Cup score than Germany’s.

  2. Nancy Says:

    Thanks for the update. Sounds like your having a lot of fun. Good luck as you continue your journey.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Fun to hear how things are going. Hopefully the rain will turn to sun sometime soon to make for more pleasant biking. We watched Germany beat England today in soccer – I’m sure you heard all about it! Safe travels.

  4. Kevin N. Weaver Says:

    Hope you are enjoying the long downhill ride.

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