Donaueschingen - From Prague to Paris - CycleBlaze

June 9, 1996


(Ed: this is the final entry in the journal)

Sunday - on the train from Heidelberg to Villingen. 

Rachael and I changed our original plan for the trip, and have introduced a train ride to the eastern slope of the Black Forest, trading out a ride down the Rhine for a traverse of the high Black Forest.  As well as hopefully improving the route, we have gotten a memorable, stressful train adventure.

We easily arrived at the main Heidelberg train station in time for our 10:20 departure.  Our tickets included a transfer midway to a smaller, local train.  The direct, express train required reservations for the bicycles, but none were available.  We were one of about eight bikers on the quay when the train arrived.  The others, if I understood correctly, were destined south of Frankfurt and planned to bike back to Heidelberg along the Neckar.

At the Heidelberg train station
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Boarding with all of our bikes was a madhouse.  They completely filled the landings of the last two cars, with mine spilling over into the aisle between the seats.  Most of the passengers at our end of the car were bikers.  

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After about an hour, the train unexpectedly came to a halt, and remained at rest for about a half hour in the middle of farmlands.  As we waited, numerous emergency vehicles and police cars converged around the front of the train for some unknown reason.  Although passengers craned out the windows on both sides of our car, no one knew what caused the incident.

Finally we resumed travel, and after 10 minutes we arrived at the next town - at which time the train was evacuated.  The station was a madhouse, with people trying to arrange new travel plans and connect up with the next train.  Our situation, mmade worse by our lack of much German (Ed: I have pretty limited German language skills from coursework in college, but not enough to be really useful), was quite frustrating because we had been held up for so long that we missed our connecting train.

After much activity and two exercises of moving our bikes to different tracks, we ended up on the express train that we couldn't get ticked for earlier.  This train had been delayed also by about an hour because of the same incident that held us up (apparently, we later learned, someone was struck by our train).  The result of all this was that we arrived in Villingen right on schedule.

At the train station we snacked at a standup café on knackwurst and roast chicken and then started biking toward Lake Titisee, which we planned to reach about 6.  After only a few kilometers though we changed our plans again, this time in response to a sudden rainstorm and threatening skies. Instead we biked to Donaueschingen, only a few kilometers away, and decided to stay there for the night rather than risk being caught in a real downpour in the mountains.

Donaueshingen is quite a pretty town.  Its most noteworthy features are a fine palace and a spring that is supposed to represent the source of the Danube.

(And here ends the original journal, unfortunately)

Today's ride: 15 km (9 miles)
Total: 1,215 km (755 miles)

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