2009-05-31 47 8

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Sun 31 May 2009 in Zürich, Switzerland:
47.9138364, 8.5325219

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On a agricultural track near the small village of Sumpfohren (="swamp ears"), municipality of Hüfingen.

Expedition by Ekorren[edit]

I was somehow determined to do a hash trip that day, and it should be something special. The coordinates weren't bad and allowed for several different double hashes in graticules I hadn't successfully hashed before - well, they would even allow for a triple hash, but in that case, without much exploring, and exploring is more important than the point, anyway.

My bike was in slightly ambivalent condition the days before, so I decided to do another test run in the evening, and found it had rather gotten worse. In the end, that meant that there was no choice than either try to repair it, or cancel the trip and maybe find another one which doesn't require a bike. The problem turned out to be more difficult than expected, and it took me well into the later evening until I had the bike back to working condition, still ignoring that the back tyre should also be replaced soon. I wasn't sure about how well the repairs had turned out, so also I packed a selection of tools, researched more about the locations, timetables and options I had, and got almost no sleep before I needed to get up again to catch a train at the ridiculous time of 6:41.

Went to Horb, changed to Rottweil and caught a local train to Hüfingen, which would be the nearest station to the hash. From there I continued by bike, on mostly good tracks to the hash. I found that the trail I had chosen actually was part of a long distance touristical cycle trail leading from Heidelberg to the Black Forest. Anyway, at that time on a sunday morning, noone seemed to take that route. I found the hash on a small agricultural track and continued.

Not back to the station but further into the landscape, which is a remote part of the Black Forest, but not as mountainous as the more famous part. First through the village next to the hash (if only to make a photo of a sign because of the funny name), then on to the village of Fürstenberg (which actually means princes or nobles mountain). Fürstenberg is a historic family seat of the princes of Fürstenberg, although there isn't much left of their old castle since they moved to Donaueschingen centuries ago. Nowadays, stripped of most of their power, the Fürstenberg dynasty is most known for their large brewery, trying to close down known touristical sights for the public, and creating stories for the glamour and gossip kind of press.

My schedule was a bit crammed, so actually climbing the mountain to explore the ruins was out of the question, and I rather tried to get to my next destination as fast as possible, which was Blumberg.

One of the most famous, if not the most famous museum railway lines starts here. This is where busloads over busloads of tourists are brought to experience steam train travel. I got there just in time to meet the train before its departure, and I wanted to be at the end of the line right when it got there. So I could totally have taken that train, but I didn't. Anyway - going by bike would be actually faster. A lot faster, that is. Only 12 km by bike, most of them downhill, compared with 25 km on a rather slow steam train. Why that difference? Well, simple: This railway line was built as a strategic line to provide a possibility to circumvent both the steep Black Forest crossings and transit through Switzerland with heavy military equipment. So it wasn't about providing a short or fast connection between the towns on both sides, but about low slopes, and thus was built with lots of bridges and tunnels on large detours just to keep the slope at 1%. The road actually had no reason to do that and now is much shorter. As a result, I was able to overtake the train several times and wait at the next good place to take a picture. In the end, I reached the destination of Weizen well before the steam train, and waited for the connecting modern train which runs from there on to Waldshut along an otherwise disused line on some sundays in summer - reason enough for me to take this route.

Weizen station was totally crammed with people, buses which waited for their passengers to leave the steam train, buses which just had dropped of a group to enter the steam train, cars... as if the only way to go riding a steam train is to go there by individual road traffic? It actually isn't but people just tend to ignore the fact that cars are not necessary to get to some places. The regular bus that came along dropped off about five people. The connecting train from Waldshut maybe ten, and back it went with two passengers, including me. The steam train carried several hundred.

Reached the upper Rhine valley after a slow but nice trip, and changed to regular fast train at Waldshut to get into the Basel graticule and go for part 2 of the multihash.