Not long after we closed the tent down for the night on Thursday evening the rain started. It continued throughout Friday so we remained holed up for the day reading and snoozing. This was fine – but it is a small tent and there was no “common room” as there had been at previous campsites where we had dodged the rain. Stephen, in particular, was finding it rather cramped by the time the rain eased up around 5 o’clock. The prospect of two consecutive such days does not hold much appeal!
Speaking of reading, we have both been very enjoying having the time to read more than in recent years. Stephen finished his 8th book in less than 4 weeks while Christine has been taking herself back to her student days by reading books in French and German (but without the requirement to write essays afterwards!) This has only been made practical on a cycling expedition by our Kindles which reduce bulk and weight enormously.
Friday dawned very misty but this soon cleared as the sun rose and it turned into a beautiful morning. The Danube starts (or rather ends as it is the only river on Europe where km 0 is at the sea “end”) where two other rivers, the Brigach and the Brega, join. It is unclear to us why one of them is not the Danube but hey ho! At least it means we do not have to go higher into the Black Forest to start at the source.
Leaving the tent to dry and the panniers in the tent, we made our way upstream into the town of Donaueschingen and the confluence of the two rivers so that we can say we actually started at the beginning with photos to prove it.
The niceties being sorted, we set off downstream, picking up the tent and the panniers on the way of course. It was a lovely ride! The route followed made up paths pretty much all the way with only the occasional diversion onto quiet oads, generally in the towns and villages. These were, almost without exception, picture postcard pretty although the route did often seem to make a point of going past the local sewage works as well!
As we entered one village we heard a brass band strike up and saw a group of people smartly dressed walking along the road behind the band. As we caught up with them, we saw a bride and (presumably) her father walking at their head on the way to church.
In our destination for the night, Tuttlingen, we followed the signs to the campsite but initially sailed past it as there was only a patch of grass surrounded by a hedge next to the public toilets in the middle of a large public park/sports ground. It transpired that this was it though and so, somewhat apprehensively, we set up camp. At least it is free according to a small notice that we had missed initially! We didn’t feel confident that our belongings would be safe left there so we took it in turns to explore the town (not hugely exciting it has to be said) while one of us kept guard. Although this is a designated campsite we are counting it as “wild camping”.