Friday, 24 May 2013
Black Sea or Bust - Day 7 - Worth to Vilshofen (98 km)
A sunny start with a bit of shopping in the petrol station next to the hotel, there are almost no local shops in the villages that I pass through. I need water but also I like to have mixed nuts and raisins, trail mix or something. I have had difficulty finding this sort of stuff but now I have discovered that it comes under the heading of 'studenten futterer' which means student feed which is delightful. The first town on my route is Straubing, which has a charming cobbled marketplace, ancient timbered houses, a Rathaus of note and a matchless Baroque church but I couldn't see a Bratwurst stall anywhere so I kept going. Scenically a dull day, even Mother Danube (or should that be Father?) is being a bit of a Plain Jane today.
So, at last, I have time to tell you what I brought along to read on this trip. "No books surely! You have an I Pad don't you?" I hear you cry. Well yes but I have never really enjoyed reading off a screen so I have compromised. On paper Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies has just come out in paperback. Imagine! A Booker winner that is a storming read. I have a charity shop copy of an ancient paperback Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, which sounds like hard work but is quite lively, Across the Plains, by Robert Louis Stevenson, a battered leather-bound collection of travel pieces, the title piece being an account of crossing the USA by train in the early eighteen nineties. Finally I have copy of Twelfth Night a play that I have never seen, read nor worked on. It is an Arden edition with lots of notes explaining who is who, what it all means and which folio sheet Shakespeare wiped his bum on. On the I Pad I have Claudio Magris Danube and the Lonely Planet Guide to Austria for reference. I also have Patrick Leigh Fermor's Between the Woods and the Water, the second part of his account of a walk across Central Europe in the nineteen thirties, but more pertinently Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men on the Bummel, his sequel to Three Men in a Boat. It is a humorous account of the same three characters from the earlier novel, which is genuinely very funny, whereas Bummel, which is an account of a German cycling trip, is not, but it is relevant to what I am doing. En route I have bought some German railway magazines so that I have some pictures to look at in bed.
At the end of Day 7 there is a good news/bad news moment. The good news is that the Pension I am booked in is nearly 10 km closer than I thought but the bad news is that it is up in the hills above the river, a murderous climb in the rain at the end of the day. The Pension is deserted apart from me.