Distance: 12 km
Instead of making the long haul of 26km from Oettingen to Nördlingen all in one day, I divided that over two days, in exchange for no rest day in Nördlingen. With the temperature in the mid-70’s and the humidity near triple digits, I was awfully glad for the shorter day. Since I wasn’t pressed for time, I visited the St Jakob’s church. It dates from the 1300’s and has some remarkable Baroque decoration.
Shortly after leaving town, I encountered a pensioner, out for a bike ride with his husky, who was having a hard time in the heat. So we all stopped on a bench for a while. The farmers had cut hay in some fields yesterday, and were frantically trying to get it collected before rain comes again tomorrow. Turns out, the word for hay is heu (“hoy”). Also those small sprouts I was seeing were sugar beets (there’s a processing plant nearby) or corn (maiz). Later on, I was astonished to see ten storks along the edge of a field. Never had I seen them on the ground like that, only in those traditional rooftop nests.
This is flat, flat country, which made it very easy for the Romans to build their straight-as-an-arrow road, stretching for over100 km between the Danube and Heidenheim. I walked a section of it after lunch (flat + straight + hot = boring!). Boring, that is, until I came to an intersection with history. There was a monument, made from materials found on the site, to the military airfield that operated here from 1937 to the end of the war, and to the refugee camp it became. This was a big base, with a 1-km runway and 10 aircraft hangers, as well as the necessary maintenance shops, defenses, and lodgings. So it was well equipped to handle 30,000 refugees through 1960 when it was closed. Most of these were the Sudetenland Germans who were displaced by the ethnic cleansing of Czechislovakia. Others were refugees from eastern Germany. The jump in time from the Romans to modern day made my head spin.
Dining. This is a small operation, but Frau and Herr were most helpful and solicitous. Dinner was a roast pork (can never get enough of the stuff) with mushroom sauce, and spaetzle that was light as air. For dessert, I had some cheese cake (Kasekuchen). Frau makes her own cakes every week – that is one enormous kitchen she has. Herr’s job is to slice up the veggies for the kraut, pickles, salads, etc.
Lodging: Gasthaus zur Klosterschenke which has only a few rooms, but they are well equipped and nicely laid out. Recommended!
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