Stuttgart was a place I had to revisit for a number of reasons. Not least the vast forests that stretch for 10s of kms. It is always tempting to walk too far just to see what the next section brings. So many paths that branch off. I failed, though, to find my route from last year where the colours were stunning! This year I arrived two weeks earlier in the season. The best time I think is early November. But with the fear of crashing out of the EU on Oct31 I booked for those last few days before. Weather was OK, mostly cloudy. One thing that struck me: the absence of any wild animals, not a single bird. A strange subdued atmosphere, calm, that can become quite eerie when the light fades.
Still quite a few people about, some with dogs. More cyclists than before, causing a tinge of envy – you can get a sense of unlimited trails but of little progression, and occasionally the monotony. So I decided to try the narrow cross trails. Even along those you can encounter a mountainbiker, but I ended up on the more extreme gradients – and really felt the burn in my calves! Found myself on a wooded hill with no trail visible except on my phone map, thinking how without that I’d be starting to panic.
Eventually I ended up near a station. So it may well have seemed logical to take a train back. But no, that would just have felt like a failure. I’d gotten into that mindset of seeing a way to navigate back. And back on the main path felt good, what makes using a GPS map enjoyable. Only: the hills, they take their toll!
Finally, in the hotel. That sense of relief and accomplishment. But my legs were near gone. And this wasn’t good news for my night-time plans,
Continue reading of my Euro adventures here from UK