2009-03-29 48 9
The hash is near the town of Donzdorf, on the slope to the Schwäbische Alb mountains. It's on a meadow with apple trees, which is locked up securely so that the trees can't escape.
Sunday, I was still without a computer after it had stopped working a few days before. Someone had offered me a disused machine collecting dust in his basement, I only had to pick it up, about 70 km from here in a few days. I was cleaning up, making plans, and generally trying to make the best out of it. Around 13:00, I went into town for some enquiries and the daily visit to the internetcafe.
Then everything was turned around when I got my hands on a daypass someone else had used in the morning and didn't need any more, and would still be valid for the rest of the day. I gave him a few euros, raced home and picked up my phone. Called the guy who had offered me the computer, and he agreed that I would come and pick it up in the evening. Still, it was only afternoon by now, I had a daypass and a few hours of spare time. So where are the nearest hashpoints?
- 48,8... a rural place in the Oberes Gäu hills. I've been there before, and can go there by bike. The bus connections aren't that good. Should be possible but boring.
- 47,8... a village in Switzerland. Probably a nice place, but far too late to go there today.
- 47,9... a location in reasonable distance from the train station Wangen im Allgäu. Beautiful area, where milk and cheese flow. Haven't even passed through there for a decade. Quick timetable check... sadly, too late to go there today.
- 48,9... a point at the Albtrauf slope outside Donzdorf. Probably a nice place. Never been there before. Quick timetable check... surprise, although sunday, there is one bus per hour from Süßen to Donzdorf. Ok, there will probably also be one bus per hour back. That's enough of information to declare it "worth a try".
I packed the most necessary supplies, raced to the station and jumped on a train to Plochingen. All reasonable ways to Süßen are via Plochingen, so, no matter how the connections are, it's right to go there.
On the train, I started to research the trip from the mobile. Usability is something that these old mobile applications don't, but before reaching Plochingen I had a vague idea how it would look like there (a meadow, no steep slope), how far it was from the town centre (something between 1.5 and 2 km as the bird flies), and how much time I could spend until I had to be back to the bus stop (100 minutes).
Changed train at Plochingen and got off at Süßen. The name of this town actually means to sweeten or, in some contexts, sweet. If I had stayed on the train, the next stops would have been Gingen (=went) and Kuchen (=cake). Essen (=to eat) is somewhere else, though, so the sweet cake of the Fils valley has to stay uneaten. Also, I didn't stay on the train, and Donzdorf sounds somehow funny, but apart from the part of "-dorf" (=village) has no apparent meaning.
The bus station of Süßen was a bit oversized for the amount of bus traffic - at least on a sunday. Found a platform where it said Donzdorf. Timetable... three buses on sundays, and the next one in more than one hour? Oh, the next one also says Donzdorf. Same timetable, though. Checking all platforms... and, once again like on my very first hash, it proved true, that, in whichever order you walk from platform to platform to find your bus, the right one will always be one of the last three. Don't try to swap the order. It will only move the platform.
Bus came, bus went. I got off at a stop in the town centre and found myself in something that seemed to be a large event. Some shops were open (this is only allowed on special occasions), many tried to sell something on the streets, lots of people everywhere. I failed to find out what was up there. I also failed to be really interested, though. Shopping sprees were never attractions to me, and I had a hash to visit and no idea how long it would take me to get there. Might go for some food on returning, though.
So I took the GPS and tried to find a way by following the arrow. Zigzaging through the town, I went past the church and discovered a castle and a park with many sculptures worth seeing. Might take a closer look on my way back. Crossed the cemetary, and reached the town margin.
Once again, the way split up. One was going slightly to the left, one slightly to the right compared to the GPS arrow's direction. I had no idea which one would be better, but the right one looked nicer, so took the right one. Which was wrong. I walked out of town, and after several hundred metres noticed that I was on the wrong side of a valley. And that there wasn't any path to the left. Going back? Hoping for the next intersection? Finally I asked for directions.
- Sorry, I need to go over there *point to the other side of the valley*. Will there be some way to the left any soon?
- Hm, not at that farm, not here...
- What about that dam behind the farm?
- Oh yes, there's a way over the dam. Before the farm turn right and then always take the left turn where possible
That sounds reasonable. Some detour, but probably not worse than going back. In a beautiful landscape, after all, and those reservoirs usually make nice lakes anyway. Thank you, and off I was again. And so far it went well, the distance numbers declined again as soon as I had taken my turn onto the dam, only that that reservoir was only to hold off floodings - so it was mostly empty and far from being a beautiful lake.
Now, having reached the correct side of the valley, it still wasn't that easy. The meadows were very wet, so cross-country mode wasn't really a good idea if you can help it. Even some of the tracks were more like running water, and, worst of all - they all went more or less from north to south. But I had to go east, somehow. So, I could only try to find that track that goes least into wrong direction.
When once again the arrow showed 90 degrees to the direction I was just walking, and only about 150 m to go, I stood before an open gate into a large fenced garden area. I was tempted to go in there. The only reason I didn't was that I was quite sure that that garden was less than 100 m wide and not sure there was an exit on the other side. So I had to go around it. And, once again, could watch the distance raise until, at the town margin again, a way turned right. Then, right again. Could there be a way that actually goes to the hash instead of passing it in arbitrary distance? It would surely make for a good laugh to draw a graph of the distance between me and the hash.
At least, I seemed to be on the correct way this time. The arrow pointed almost exactly along the way, until... well, until I really came near. Then it pointed into a meadow of apple trees, which was fenced. Damn. Circled the property and didn't find a way in. 12 metres was the nearest I got, and certainly above inaccuracy. Noone in sight who could have a key, I made some more photos, called it a fail and prepared to go back.
After all, there was still no hurr... was there? I only had little more than one and a half hours of time alltogether, hadn't I? And I had been walking for, let's say... almost one hour? So it must be... Damn you, Garmin! Of all the clocks I own, although set to AUTO mode, the GPS had not switched to daylight savings time this morning. Ok, there would still be only a little bit of hurry provided I find a shorter way back into town this time. Which should be easily possible unless you really loose all sense of orientation. And when I reached the bus stop (another one this time) there were still 15 minutes left until the bus would leave.
... is here.