The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday 19 July 2018

Wednesday 18 July - The Danube, by Fridingen

The last walk upon which I reported was a 'Donauwellen' route. In trying to find some information about that route before we embarked on it, I downloaded the 'Donauwellen' leaflet that set out a series of routes around the Danube and I said that we would likely sample another one or two as we journeyed along.

You may recall that my verdict on our first such route was that it was perfectly pleasant, but spent a lot of time wiggling through woodland, over the course of 13km, whilst only passing two notable points of interest.

When I downloaded a gpx file for today's route from, the comment that had been left by the originator of that file said (via Google Translate):
"First section to ruin Kallenberg is really nice with great viewpoints
The second part is unfortunately almost only in the woods on the way.
Only the castle Bronnen and the rocks at the hunting lodge are worth seeing on this section."

I thus had the expectation that it would be very much like last week's walk, only longer.

We were most pleasantly surprised! To the east of Fridingen the Danube runs along a valley flanked by limestone cliffs and outcrops, and it is really spectacular. Our route started on the north side of the valley and passed through forest and meadows, with some stunning viewpoints, before dropping down to cross the river.

A ruined castle/keep was visible across the valley from this viewpoint and we were to pass it on our route.

We knew we had to ascend again once we had crossed the river, but first we followed close beside the water for a while. The ascent, once it came, didn't feel as bad as I had expected. My hill fitness from May in Scotland must still be lingering.

Being amongst forest there was no vantage point from where I could get a snap of the whole of the castle ruins, so this is just a relatively uninteresting shot of the tower. The view from the surrounding wall was excellent - but unshaded, so we didn't stop here for elevenses.

A bench had been passed at 11.02, but as we were still on the north side of the river at that point, with most of the walk still ahead of us, it felt a little early for elevenses. Benches have been everywhere on our German walks to date, so we thought we'd stop at the first nice one we came to on the south side of the river. Admittedly, we did accidentally miss out one viewpoint (took the indirect forest loop path, but annoyingly missed the short out-and-back to the viewpoint itself) and that one may have been festooned with benches, but the next one we found was at gone 12.30. Elevenses became lunch.

Lunchtime view

Zoom of lunchtime view.

The first thing we did after lunch was to drop a chunk of height, on a path that zig-zagged own a remarkably steep slope, before contouring for a while. It wasn't a wide path, and you wouldn't have wanted to trip over one of the many tree roots, or slip on a piece of polished limestone:

I doubt this conveys the steepness. Photos never do, do they?

Our descent and reascent was accompanied by the sound of a male voice choir. They were part of a large group of ramblers who, by good timing, we encountered just as the path crossed a track at the bottom of this side valley. Had we been a couple of minutes ahead of ourselves, it would have been 'interesting' to squeeze past them on the equally narrow path that ascended the other side of the dip.

The route continued to weave (horizontally as well as vertically) through the trees, but they were nice paths through pleasant woodland, so it was enjoyable even in between the viewpoints.
Finally, as we reached the castle that we had looked at during our lunchbreak, we started our final descent, to recross the Danube, for our return to Bertie. I'd forgotten about the photos on the route leaflet (which included this next feature), so it was a surprise when we passed a large cave in the base of the rock upon which the castle was perched.

Again, because of the trees and the inaccessibility of the steep slope, I couldn't get a snap that included the mouth of the cave. It was large!

The castle sits upon the rock to the right of this shot.

Crossing back over the river on a rickety bridge (we could have used stepping stones, but there were lots of people in the restaurant just behind us, which would have almost guaranteed that one of us would fall off them) we just had one final ascent, on an easy forest track, to get back to Bertie, and our final viewpoint that sat just behind him:

See that huge building a little way along the valley? It's a Benedictine Monastery and we're currently sitting in the motorhome parking area next to it, ready for another walk tomorrow.

The stats came in at almost exactly 15km with 650m of ascent.


  1. That path looks serious enough for me. I'm just emerging from a session booking the first three nights of my trip starting next Wednesday. I've had to divert from my plotted route quite a lot. Would that I had the flexibility of the tent, but I just don't want to carry the extra weight and my lack of agility makes it too much of a toil.

    1. We were only talking about you on yesterday's trip, wondering when exactly it is that you're off.

      I shall, of course, be following along daily.

  2. Yes Conrad. Mind those tree roots. And the barbed wire. And the slippery slopes. Good luck next week.

    And we look forward to more M&G walks.