2010-07-10 48 8
A field above Wildberg (Württemberg), in the Black Forest
Geohashing wasn't the reason why I had bought a daypass. Politics was the reason. If you don't want to read about this, skip the first few paragraphs or all of the report.
This saturday, another large demonstration against the pure madness - in a 100% negative sense - project which is called Stuttgart 21 was announced. Knowing enough about the project (it is about breaking down the central station and railway lines in the city and replacing them by something else which is much smaller and can't possibly work), about what it will do to the city, to traffic, to climate, and to all aspects of public life, knowing that this will destroy all hope for that anything might get better for the rest of our lifes, knowing a bit about how it was decided, how politicians work fully against the public, tell incredible lies, and spend several billions (realistic estimates range not below 10 billion Euro) of tax money for nothing but harm - not a single of the pro arguments stays intact after a close look into the facts - well, knowing quite a bit about all that, I firmly believe that taking part in the opposition isn't just an option, it is obligatory if you still value democracy and future only a little bit.
I could rant for the next few pages about things related to Stuttgart 21. You would have huge difficulties to believe anything of it, because it's just too unbelievable that something like that will ever get into a serious planning stage, that in a society which calls itself a democracy major decisions are made in such a way. And still it's true. And people get angry about it. Really angry. Which is a good sign in a society that did good efforts to make people not think about political matters any more.
So, going geohashing wasn't quite my destination that day. Destination was the demonstration, and I wouldn't let the weather spoil me. Weather actually was ugly: 35°C even outside of Stuttgart. Stuttgart itself has a very bad microclimate, which means that temperatures in the city are usually several degrees higher than out in the country, and pollution is so bad that there is no chance to ever keep it below the legal limits. Not that they would seriously try. Ok, the Stuttgart government actually tries to do something about it. They try to get the limits raised. Even that wouldn't help once they actually start building - because one fact about the construction is that it will seriously worsen city climate and pollution.
However, when the event ended, it was about 17:30, and I found that there might still be enough time to visit a hash. Due to some preparation work for You-Know-What, some trains wouldn't go, but there was supposed to be a train to Weil der Stadt at 17:48, with a connecting bus to Calw where it would reach a train to Wildberg. This way is very classic, because it was one of the first railway lines in the area - much older than today's main line. Still, it was closed at some time in the past, and although it would be reasonable to reopen it, there isn't any money left for any kind of public transport improvement, not even rather cheap ones - which, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that a multiple of that has been spent to pay incompetent managers and expensive advertising agencies who keep repeating the same idiotic pro-Stuttgart-21 slogans and obvious lies over and over again in the hope someone might still believe them. Among them is the "fact" that the building site won't create any significant inconveniences for railway travellers. Well, the point about that might be the word "significant". For someone who never uses rail because he has a state-paid car with driver everything might be insignificant. For people using the trains on a daily base, cancelled trains and missed connections are significant.
Ok. I was about to try to get to the hash. Well. When I came to the platform there was a train, only that it wasn't of the S6 line but an S5 train, going somewhere else, and there was no information why that S5 train was where it had been supposed to leave 15 minutes before that time. Someone spread the rumour that the S6 was cancelled until Zuffenhausen where S5 and S6 split up, so me and many other people squeezed themselves into the already overcrowded S5, which left about the time when the S6 should have left. We got off at Zuffenhausen, went to the other platform, and found the information that our train would be due in about 10 minutes.
12 minutes later, a S6 train appeared. It took me to Weil der Stadt, where I was lucky that the bus driver of the bus to Calw had decided to wait for the train instead of going in time. I reached Calw, caught my train to Wildberg, and arrived at Wildberg at 19:35. Found a supermarket which was still open, bought food and water, and started to walk out to the hash.
It wasn't far to the hash, horizontally. The exhausting part here was the vertical part, because the station was in the valley, and the hash wasn't. The old way featured about 20% of steepness, and a few views on the town. When I came rather close I feared it would be another cow potato hash, but that didn't get true. I got around the paddock, and found that the hash was located in a harvested and plowed field. Given that nothing grew there, and even if there were seeds they wouldn't try any serious growing on that totally dried out plains of dust and dirt, I couldn't see any reason not to walk out into the field and reach the exact hash.
Coordinates reached. Done, gone.
A few minutes before that the last soccer world cup game of the german team had started. People of course were very eager to watch that - not me, though. Now, after leaving the hash, I heard some vuvuzela-like sound... which certainly was not exactly a vuvuzela sound, and lacked the other components like shouting meaningless words, or even a house or facility where the sound could come from. Moments later I got closer and found that it were actual bee hives...
On shortly researching the location beforehand I had found some opinion that the Lützenschlucht canyon would be exceptionally beautiful. There should be a hiking path and it wouldn't be much of a detour, so I decided to rather try that than go through the town centre or back the shortest way. It started out nice, then there was an intersection and very misleading signage. I never got to see how the canyon would continue. Because I haven't been there. Instead I soon found myself in a maze of twisty little footpaths, all alike. A maze of paths that probably had been built centuries ago, and are hardly maintained any more today. A maze of paths which lead somewhere, nowhere, or somewhere else, getting dark in the beginning dusk. Luckily I had my strong flashlight with me, and given that this was a steep slope - if I would just try to never go uphill more than downhill, I would almost certainly reach the valley at some point which probably isn't too far from the station.
Actually, the point where I finally hit the valley bottom was just behind the station, and there was still plenty of time until the last train connection home would leave.
I had to change trains three times, and until I came too close to Stuttgart, everything went well. The last train had caught some significant lateness in the Stuttgart chaos. It wasn't cancelled at least.