86km Altheim to Craintal
We rose early and hit the road while the sun was just starting to warm the earth up; a welcome event after a chilly night in the tent. The air overnight and first thing in the morning was the coolest it’s been in some time, although it’s sure to be colder this autumn and we’re a bit worried that our down sleeping bags don’t seem as thick and insulating as they used to be. Perhaps too many feathers have been shaken out by all this camping. Late yesterday we seemed to lose the bike path we’d been following so this morning we just decided to join the cars and drive east on the main road to see where we’d end up. We got lucky. The road was going in the right direction (at one point we did take a detour to avoid a 13% grade uphill!) and we soon happened upon another bike path that we followed with more success along the Tauber river and through plenty of old town centres, filled with half-timbered houses, flower-covered balconies and many bakeries and coffee shops to tempt us. We give in to that kind of temptation pretty easily so it wasn’t long before we were each sitting with a large cup of coffee and a “nuss hörnchen” – a sweet bread filled with nuts and almond flavour – and watching the locals stream in and out for their fresh rolls and pastries. German bakeries are wonderful. A guaranteed source of energy for the hungry cyclist and a good but cheap cup of black coffee. We strolled along the river for the rest of the day, stopping at lunch time to make a huge salad filled with all the in-season produce like green beans and a type of mushroom called Pfefferlinge. Not long after our midday meal we got chatting to another cyclist as we rode, a man from the area around Frankfurt who goes for a little jaunt around Germany every couple of years on his bike. He was covering over 100km a day and pushing ahead to reach the next campground, still some way down the road. When we learned we’d been wild camping he looked at us disapprovingly and said the police were likely to come make us take down our tent, wherever we put it up. We’ll take our chances. So far we have wild camped several times in Germany, and in fact during our whole trip, with never more than a passing glance from the occasional walker or jogger. It’s true if whoever owns the land complained to the police, we would have to go. That would certainly make for a bit of work at the end of a day!