2009-05-01 48 8

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Fri 1 May 2009 in Pforzheim:
48.3983246, 8.9694507

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The hash is at a creek within of the village of Bodelshausen, near Hechingen.

Expedition by Ekorren[edit]

In Germany, like in some other countries, May 1st is a public holiday. It is called either Labour day (by those who prefer a more social democratic point of view) or simply May holiday (for those who prefer to believe in pure capitalism and that an uncontrolled financial system will always grow brightly and bring us the best welfare for all). There are a number of traditions connected with that date:

  • As the night before is Walpurgis Night, where witches are supposed to fly around, children go around playing pranks
  • Labour unions demonstrate for a more social world which is praised and then ignored by the politics
  • A maypole is put up to remind us of the good old times when a dance below that was the actual start into mating season
  • Tourist attractions switch to summer operations, e.g. longer opening hours and additional events
  • If the weather is acceptable, people go out in large groups to block all major cycleways

The hashpoint for this day wasn't very interesting, but you should never forget point 4 of those above. And for me, being kind of a public transport geek, it's one particular summer mode that will probably affect my geohashing activities more often: On sundays and holidays during the summer half of the year, there is a network of additional trains and buses in an area with otherwise rather poor public transport but nice landscape. This year, they added one more line to that network, as kind of a test run on 8 days. For standard bus fare even, so totally affordable.

There would be four trains per direction on the scenic line from Eyach via Haigerloch to Hechingen, operated by the regional railway company Hohenzollerische Landesbahn (HzL). Regular passenger traffic between Eyach and Hechingen has been discontinued as early as around 1970, special trains and reroutings of regular trains from other lines have occured a few times over the years but were rare events. Still, as there is a major salt mine at Haigerloch which ships a significant part of its products by rail, freight traffic always continued and the line was preserved.

Also the vehicles that would run today's traffic are historic and very appropriate: Railcars built by MAN (a company more known for trucks and buses these days) around 1960 to replace steam locomotives on the very network the line belongs to. The last regular trains before closure most probably were just these. Only 39 of these railcars were ever built.

So instead of taking a fast bike ride to the hash from home, I went to catch a train to Eyach and waited for the historic train there. Eyach station is somehow worth a visit as well - in a morbid sense of "worth a visit". That station definitely left a bright future behind it. Once, it has been the place to change to the branch line I was about to take. Once, it was a place where freight trains from the branch line got united with those on the main line. Once, it was a place where the pipes from the natural carbon dioxide sources joined, and tank cars got loaded and shipped. Once, there was a restaurant in the station building, a ticket office, a freight shed. Never there was a town or a village nearby, though. The purpose of that station was to connect the distant places in the Eyach valley to the main line. The station was actually even named after the river.

Nowadays, there still are a only few buildings around, and half of them, including the station itself, are empty and out of use. Railway activity is limited to local trains on the main line which stop there on their trip between Tübingen and Horb to pick up the occasional passengers who get there by car or bus. The HzL part of the station mostly is still in the state it was left out of use decades ago - including the station sign which still advertises the destinations no more served from here.

Now, back on track. A few minutes before 1 pm, the historic train arrived and I entered. The train went up the idyllic Eyach valley and crossed Haigerloch which is probably the most important tourist attraction along the way. There will probably be another hash to write a bit about that town, so I skip it this time. I didn't get off there anyway. I got off at the small town of Rangendingen - a town very unknown and unimportant, but it looked like a good place to start on the bike trip.

I took some detour through the town, then went out into the landscape. Found an acceptable spot to make photos of the train when it came back, and after it had passed, went on to the roman farm of Hechingen-Stein. I had passed that one two months ago on my way to Weilheim but this time I actually could spend some time to look at the area, and found that since I had visited it many years ago, they had made huge progress in excavating and reconstruction. I shortly considered to get a ticket for the museum and a guided tour but then decided to shift that to another visit with more time to spend.

Now I was basically on the same track as two months before - only in opposite direction. And this time there was no snow!. Really no snow! Which actually meant, that, although this time I went uphill, I wasn't any slower than downhill last time. Crossed Bechtoldsweiler and Oberhausen again (no old farmer woman encounter this time) and went for Bodelshausen - hash village. Last time, coming from below, I couldn't find a way up to the church. So I was curious and tried the same thing from above this time, but as expected, all there was going down was either non-existant or bare tractor tracks. So, after circling the cemetary I ended up to go through the village centre to reach the hash.

It was easily reached, apart from the fact that, when I reached the creek, the GPS told me the point would be on the other side. After I had crossed it, it pointed me back again. After playing that game twice, being watched by a couple of living human sized lawn dwarfs or hobby gardeners, I decided to drop my marker and leave. There wasn't much to see or show anyway. Just a creek and a bridge about 25 metres from the hash. 25 metres that parted me from claiming a first class Deja Vu geohash - as you can see on the tracklog of that other trip, I had passed that very bridge two months ago. But coming from another direction.

Now, back home - a beaten path, the same as on several hashes before. Or... well, there is no reason to hurry now, and the thunderstorm the weather prophets had been foretelling still wasn't in sight. So I took chances to add a number of yet unmapped tracks to OSM, then took another detour through the Rammert forest instead of racing along the valley. Finally it had been a nice all-afternoon trip instead of the easy three-hour round trip which it could have been. Some points are simply too easy to just go there and back.

Lessons learned:

  • There is no originality in Walpurgis night pranks anymore. When I was a child, there was a full page of pictures in the local newspaper the next day, showing off a selection of the best pranks in town. The only halfway funny thing I could find was the equipped statue shown below. Everything else was just covering everything in toilet paper, razor foam and occasionally more icky stuff. In every town and village I crossed it was the same both disgusting and boring "jokes".