11 May: Kalbensteinberg

Distance: 15.5 km
Net elev: +75 m

Nürnberg sits in the middle of a large shallow depression; I was in it for the week coming into town last year, and for the first week this year. At an average of 15 km/day, that makes about 100 mi across. So this is flat, farming country, sprinkled with small hamlets every few miles. I’m not sure what the German land-use regulations are, but the farm-forest split seems to be 50-50. People live in the towns, not scattered over the countryside.

Today is Saturday, and I have passed two farm tractors already. Winter was late here, and that must have impacted the spring planting. I have seen many asparagus fields, a few hops, as well as young unidentifiable grain and quite a bit of “just planted/ain’t come up yet”.

Stuccoed masonry is the predominate building style, with red tile roofs. But in every town there are a few older buildings – many of them barns or other large farm buildings – made from huge blocks of red sandstone. The owner of this home seems to have been a pilgrim.

The exceptions to the flat countryside are the hilltowns. Fair warning: any town with a name like xxx-berg sits on a hill. (Berg = mountain) so it was a 300ft climb (too steep for cars) up to Theilenberg, and another 400ft climb up (more gently) to Kalbensteinberg.

Dining. Gasthauses in Germany stay afloat year-round on their restaurant and bar business with the locals, and this one is no exception. I don’t know if it’s the fact of a Saturday night, but this is the busiest one I’ve seen yet (and this is a small town). Having passed so many asparagus fields today, when the white stuff (the Germans go to great pains to keep their asparagus white) showed up on the menu I ordered it (probably too much, for those of you who know of my sensitivity to asparagus). Tasty and well-prepared; I just wish it liked me better. There was a delicious asparagus soup, followed by fried pike served on top of a lightly creamed ragout of potatoes and asparagus. I’m slowly deciphering German culinary terms. Gebackene, related to the English cognate bake, can mean either baked or fried. Similarly, Gekochte can mean either cooked or boiled.

Lodging. Gasthof zur Post in Kalbensteinberg is another family-run operation. I really like these; there is a personal touch and I get to meet people. Since I’m the only walker, this is important. The room is nice, but not special, and I can hear the other guests in the hallway. Recommended.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


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