3 April and I finally made it to Munich after my unexpected pitstop in Fulda. A lovely spring day awaited me as I made my way to thé Munich landmark, the Hofbräuhaus. As expected it was packed but I found a table which I shared with a young Spanish couple. I ordered a Breezen, a Brotzeit and a Mass Bier.
A Brotzeit is a platter with different cheeses, sliced meat and bread. A Breezen is like a oversized pretzel and a Mass is a standard size glass of beer in Bavaria – 1 litre. Now I was ready to begin my adventure!
Munich is a wonderful city. Just a few blocks from the Hofbräuhaus lies the Englischer Garten (English garden). The name refers to its English garden form of informal landscape, a style popular in Britain from the mid-18th century to the early 19th century, as opposed to the French architecture which sees everything in strict lines, squares and other forms well known from their palaces. As soon as you enter the Englischer Garten you immediately feel that you are out of the city. The street hustle and bustle is gone and all around just happy people taking a stroll, enjoying the sunshine or walking their dogs.
With an area of 3.7 km2, the Englischer Garten is one of the world’s largest urban public parks, larger than New York’s Central Park. Once I walked through it I had almost reached the edge of the city as well. I continued along the Isar river, still surrounded by the forest and being greeted by the occasional swans or ducks. The weather stayed dry and I could follow along the river for about 18km without seeing a high rise building or any signs of city life. Wonderful. That is, until I realised that I would need some civilisation soon. In my eagerness to start while the weather was good, I had not looked for a supermarket to buy some food or organise water. After 20kms of walking, I left the path to go into a nearby village. This turned out to be research industrial area and university – so no shops or B-n-B’s around. I had to walk another 3km to the next town. By this time it was shortly after 9pm. Apparently too late to ask for a room. At least the old lady in her gown was not happy that I rang the bell. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was dead tired and dehydrated I almost told her that I would take my money elsewhere. But she let me in and soon after I was fast asleep.
I left Dietersheim at about 10h30 and made it all the way to Zöllingen. 28.7km. In Freising I found a supermarket and could buy some supplies. Outside the shop I could not wait to tear open the packet and bite into a delicious apple. I savoured every drop of juice. It had started to drizzle and rain but it was not too cold at first but got colder as the day progressed. I took a long break just sitting in a church. Unobtrusively taking my socks off and rubbing my feet with cream. Yes, my friends the blisters had returned.
The path took me up and down some beautiful forest paths and through quaint little towns. By the time I reached Zöllingen I just wanted to find the next pub to get warm. By chance the first one I found was a sports club pub just before my favourite team, Bayern München, was about to kick off against Dortmund. With some food and beer against the cold I enjoyed the game with the locals. We won 1:0! After the game I got talking with some of them and they organised me an affordable room for the night. They even offered to take me and we had another couple of beers with the owner of the inn. After 3 litres of Bavarian beer I slept like a baby.
The morning was sunny and cool. As it was Easter Sunday I visited the local church for a special Easter service with choir and orchestra. By the time I came out and started my walking shift for the day the sun was gone and it became colder and colder. By 19:30 I had walked 28.8 km up and down muddy forest paths. This section was tough but still so beautiful. I was bushed and just wanted to lie down and sleep. Before the last light was gone I set up my hammock, slipped into my sleeping bag and started what was probably the coldest night I have ever had. I woke up numerous times from the chattering of my teeth, my ice block feet and shivering bones. It was close to 0 deg Celsius and the sleeping bag manufacturers lie when they say that this model is suited for -5 deg!
It took some walking to stop the shivering. The day was ice cold and cloudy and the forest paths steep, muddy, but oh so beautiful. The last 5km I had to walk through snow drizzle. After 24.3km I reached Neustadt. It was only midday but I just wanted a warm room for the night. After unpacking everything and hanging it all over my hotel room to dry, I enjoyed a looong hot shower and climbed into bed for an afternoon nap that lasted till 17:30. The evening was filled with my blog, sorting photos etc.
I am just happy to have reached my first 100km.