Bicycling: Heidelberg then crossing to Switzerland

10 years ago

July 21. Helen's group bikes from Worms to Heidelberg, arriving there around noon time. Meals at the hostels seem to be getting tiresome--"Desserts are a thing of the past except when we buy our own pastries in a bakery." And I think those lost desserts might include fruit. Although, they did get a lot of hot chocolate at breakfast that morning. I guess not every sweet treat is gone.

Helen and one friend spent the afternoon walking around Heidelberg, along the river and up a "steep, steep hill" to the castle. An American on a bicycle rode up next to them saying "Heil Hitler! Where the hell is the American Express?" mistaking them for Germans before they had the chance to say they weren't. Helen's friend also received a letter from her aunt that day from England. "She said that things were bad & a great deal of tension."

They made it back to the hostel just in time for dinner, which included string beans, apparently a big event. "This is about the first place we have a vegetable in Germany other than potatoes & lettuce."

The next morning the group crossed the border into Switzerland. The scenery didn't change much, but the food situation seems to have improved. Lunch included the usual bread, cheese, and cold meat but also tomatoes, plums, peaches, and pastries. The afternoon ride to the hostel in Maulbronn was tiresome and mostly uphill. Once at the hostel, a swimming pond awaited them, but otherwise some "very crude" accomodations. Straw mattresses and no blankets. But good food, and wine tonight, in a small, quaint town.

July 23. Spent the morning in Maulbronn. They had breakfast at a tavern then decided to look at an old monastary in town. A group had just arrived for an organized tour and Helen and friends got mixed up with that group. The tour guide locked the door behind them so they decided to just follow along.

Then they hit the road for their next destination. An uphill ride, 90 km to Freudenstadt. At the hostel that night, they met up with some young German women. One of them was Hitler Youth and gave Helen's friend her name and address so they could send her some American stamps when they got home. She emphasized that Germany's army was for peace.

The next day's bike ride was mostly downhill, very refreshing after the day before. They met up with some Hitler Boys on bikes, who rode along with them for awhile, and eventually a "contingent of the German army from motor car to motor cycle brigade, tanks, & kitchen." I'm not sure what she means by kitchen. And there's no other mention of riding with these military people. Nothing on the thoughts or impressions of what's going on around them as they take this innocent bike trip. Very matter-of-fact. Anyway, eventually Helen's group stopped for lunch. They lost the "brigade" but later in the day the boys on bicycles met up with them again and they sang German songs.

They stopped at a hostel in Freiburg that night and had spaghetti for dinner.

After all the hills of the last few days, they decide to take a train to the next city, Augsburg.

See all posts of Helen's trip.

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