The sound of ducks flying over our tents was this morning wake up call and we soon realised we had camped in what looked like some sort of hunting trap as we were surrounded by these large raised wooden shelters on kind of stilts which I'm guessing aren't used for bird watching.
The mornings are certainly getting colder and as a result getting up is becoming harder and harder. It's becoming quite the norm now to have to pack away the tent etc. slightly damp which never really makes for a good next nights sleep.
Germany has been a beautiful country to cycle through so far with friendly people and great food to boot. However we have had a couple of problems; the first is with cycle paths, they are literally everywhere however following them is another matter. We've found ourselves on a number of occasions riding quite happily along a designated cycle path only to see it go from smooth ash-plat to stones to grass and the next thing we are pushing our bike through a field.
The picture says it all
The second problem we've had is with some motorists in Germany. It's funny but I remember speaking to a couple of Germans earlier on the trip and they commented on the difficulties of cycling in Germany. There do seem to exist some problems between drivers and cyclists. We believe we've done everything correctly and haven't ventured onto any roads we shouldn't be on but we've met with some instances of driver aggression and plenty of horn beeping. Like I said it's not everyone but one or two. It's certainly made me very wary of riding on the roads at all and despite the rather out of the way nature of cycle paths I prefer to stick to these at all times.
We reached Donauworth at lunchtime and were eager to get online and more importantly to eat a decent lunch at one of the numerous restaurants in this pretty little German town.
We've reached the big decision of once again changing our route. We've cycled a small section of the Euro velo 6 now and as nice as it is we think it might be better on hindsight to take a more direct route. Our original plan may have left us doing a lot of cycling and not a lot of resting over a period of 16 days. I'm totally happy with this decision and it takes the pressure off a bit and means we can fit in some well earned days of relaxation.
To be honest my mind is now very much set on getting home. I've loved this trip but I'm beginning to tire of cold mornings, damp clothes and not having a bed to sleep in all the time. There comes a time when one needs some of those lovely creature comforts and my trip has certainly taught me to not take any of these things for granted. This isn't to say that it's put me off doing future trips; on the contrary I can see myself doing something similar in years to come.
Our new route will see us head north to Stuttgart and then West into France. We pushed on from Donauwurth today to the city of Nordlingen. The weather forecast had told us of a significant drop in temperature and it wasn't wrong. It was one of those afternoons where just getting through it was the important thing. The wind battered us and by the time we stopped just outside of Nordlingen we were cold to the bone.
I sensed Tom wasn't really looking forward to the prospect of wild camping once again and neither was I. We were fortunate to happen upon a farm on a hillside and instead of pitching our tents stealth style I decided to knock on the door and ask if it would be okay to pitch them on a rather nice flat piece of grass next to one of their barns.
Thankfully the woman Petra spoke some English and she agreed that this would be okay. It was a massive relief and immediately both of our spirits were lifted knowing that we didn't have to hunt for a place to sleep. As we set up camp Petra came outside with a Thermos full of steaming hot tea and what had previously looked a rather bleak situation as the sun went down was all looking rather good now.
We're off to Stuttgart next and I've assured Tom that no matter what we will be sleeping under a roof tomorrow night. I've made my promise, now it's time to deliver!