Distance: 18.5 km
Elev: 180m up. 290m Down. -110m Net
An avian chorus accompanied me on the long climb up out of Heidenheim. The birds don’t sing when it’s raining, and so since the morning dawned clear and bright, everyone was singing forth. It was cool overnight (6C/ mid-40s) but will warm up this afternoon to 19C (mid-60s). It’s a gorgeous spring day.
I am especially enjoying the small towns with their gardens: lilacs at full bore, the last of the late tulips, flowering ground covers (candytuft, thrift, lobelia, sedums). In one town I saw one clump of dwarf flag iris, but no iris otherwise. I saw rhododendron at the start, but not for the past few days. Maybe the winters are too cold?
The lunch stop at Hüssingen was (literally) the high point of the day. Like every town this time of year, there is a Maypole up. One year I will have to be in Germany early enough to see them getting these lifted up! This town also marks the edge of the Franconian Nature Preserve – which means much more farm and much less forest from now on.
The warming afternoon made for a real grind on this longer day. I was a bit sorry I had pushed along so cheerfully in the morning; I was really dragging by the end of the day. Note to self: don’t go getting ambitious on the distance – this is not a race!
Oettingen is a real town: markets, shops, even a tourist office. This part of Germany suffered minimal war damage, so the old half-timbered buildings survive.
Dining. The hotel dining room was quite adequate, with an extensive bar menu and English-speaking waitstaff. I’m not sure of the name of dish I was served, but it involved Rosti potatoes, spaetzle with bacon and kraut, some pork cutlets with mushroom sauce, and mixed vegetables. Oh, and something like a hush puppy.
Lodging. I’m in the Hotel Krone (Krone = crown) – one of many as this is a common name for inns around here. This one is a huge old half-timbered building, sitting right next to the equally half-timbered Rathaus. It’s right on the Jakobsweg, on the main shopping street in the old part of town. Room is modern and spacious. Wifi is free.