820 Kilometers, 3 rest days, 32 hiking days, 1 homestay, 7 gardencamps, 4 nights on a campsite and 1 on a climbers bivouac. The latter means: pay 3 euro for the tent and figure out yourself where to wash or how to do the dishes, oh and the toilet is that wooden hut in the forest. Blehh, spiders! As a result, all climbers gather in the restaurant for a beer and the restroom.
I had a short break in the middle to go back to The Netherlands for a wedding. My brother and sister brought me back to Germany and left me, after a super fun family weekend with lots of ABBA, beer, bread with brie, bivouacing and bikram hiking, 150 kilometers off route (no hard feelings, it was my own choice!). I washed my clothes about 2 or 3 times (exclusive the thoroughly cleaning session in NL) and found out that lace underwear is just as good as merino woolen undies.
The weather was extremely good, June was all about sun. Real real summer sun. Therefore I emptied 2 big bottles of sunscreen, but I still managed to get sunburned. Maybe the many skinny dips (didn’t count them, but the one in the Wutachschlucht was definitely the best) had something to do with that. When you’re clean, you don’t want to put that greasy stuff on your body, right? Or because my skin was so super white after a long not-exposed-to-any-sun winter. Or, I shouldn’t have bought the cheapest sunscreen…
Swimming in the middle of the day turned out the be perfect solution for showerless wild camping. It’s refreshing and practical. You don’t need a towel, you don’t have to gather all your courage to face the cold and your clothes are dry within an hour. Not that I swim with my clothes on, but I kind of grab every opportunity to “wash” them.
Near Völklingen I felt uncomfortable hiking or camping alone. There were just a little bit too many strange people hanging around. This was the only time that I couldn’t find a place to sleep before it got dark. And the only time I started to feel unsafe. Nothing happened, but I decided to take a train for about 10 kilometers to Saarbrücken where my GPS showed me a city campsite. That day I hiked over 40 kilometers and no, I did not count those 10 in the train. A crazy, hell of a long day!
Other than the train escape, I hiked every single step. From the border with Luxembourg to the Bodensee. I kind of forgot keeping stats, but here are a few more numbers that I could reconstruct from the chaos of notes, writings and my brilliant memory: I had 1 spider in my tent (ieeeelll), ate 2 ice creams, met 5 great people on the Westweg who were also hiking with backpack. I bought 3 a new items; a hiking pants – a short one – a charger and a pair of flip-flops. Oh, and a spoon. I think my old one disappareared in a river. So, that’s 4, 4 New items. I saw 3 snakes, 1 wild boar (is a boar a wild pig? If yes, is “wild boar” kind of double?), 1 fox and heaps of dears. And I slept 1 night under the clear sky.
The ultimate discovery in Germany: mashed potatoes, great stuff that doesn’t need to be heated! The ultimate deception in Germany: when you reach the Bodensee, you still have to hike a whole lot of kilometers before you’re in the Alps… And last but not least one of the many highlights in Germany: Haus Tibet, an little peaceful oase on the busy busy Schluchtensteig.