2014-04-26 48 10
Gerstetten on the Schwäbische Alb
I wanted to go to Stuttgart in the afternoon and had a daypass for the region. Checked the hashes and was kind of disappointed - given that I would be on the way to Stuttgart anyway, the 48,9 hash was simply too easy to be any kind of interesting. But then I found that the 48,10 might be doable as well. And the way there and back could include two routes which I'd like to explore at some time, so why not today?
I started with an early train to Plochingen and let the connecting one to Geislingen go away to take the next one about half an hour later. The reason simply was that on this line there is free bike transport only in RB and RE trains but not the IRE, although it's otherwise basically the same and accepts the same tickets. Ok, I'll use the RB. When the train was due, it got announced to be ten minutes late. Which is sad for a train that just starts its day at that point, only coming from the siding. Well, more went wrong and we finally arrived about 25 minutes late, this being totally unnecessary - we could have changed to another faster train which overtook us, if they only had told us it would overtake!
Got off at Geislingen. This was as far as the daypass I had would take me.
The slope from Geislingen to Amstetten, up into the Schwäbische Alb elevated plains, is one of the oldest and best known railways in Southern Germany. I took that line countless times but never managed to see anything of the valley it takes except of what you can see from the train. This time I used the hiking and bike path down in the valley and discovered an actually very nice nature reserve and a mill with a shop with their own products.
Amstetten once was a railway junction even. Two minor branch lines connected to the main line here, one narrow gauge line to Laichingen (which has been broken down except of a small part occasionally served as a museum railway) and a standard gauge line to Gerstetten (which also has been closed for regular traffic long ago but is part of the sunday summer network now). I visited them both when they still had regular traffic, which was the only occasion when I had been to Gerstetten before.
From Amstetten I tried to find a rather convenient way to Gerstetten, but the Alb mountains never provide such a thing. There's always a lot of up and down involved. However, I got there, crossed the town, found that I was a bit behind schedule, and found the hash. It was on the side of an agricultural track, nothing special at all.
Back I went over some more hills, down to Weißenstein, from where there is a convenient bike route that mostly uses a former railway branch line to Süßen. Crossed Donzdorf at high speed this time (last time I was there for a hash...), and reached Süßen about 20 minutes before my train left for Stuttgart.
The day continues at 2014-04-26 48 9.