A significant navigational error

No rush today, so yesterday evening I set the alarm at eight. It’s a bit surprising when it goes off at seven instead, but as breakfast is only scheduled at eight thirty we kill it and sleep another hour. We spent half of dinner last night talking about the new COVID-19 counter measures: less social contact, more work at home, bars and restaurants closed, .. but will try not to worry about that today. The sky outside the window looks grey again, but not the type of grey that promises rain and we’re determined to call this a win. Due to COVID-19 restrictions there is no breakfast buffet and our requests – marked on a sheet yesterday – are served at the table. The count of pain au chocolat is not quite correct, but aside from that it looks great and we enjoy the luxury of having breakfast brought to you.

We’re packed and checked out at ten thirty, already in our hiking clothes though the boots remained in the car and feel quite cold when we put them on. I notice that the soles on my boots are coming loose. They’ve served their time, but I hope they will hold out for another 15 km. When we walk away from the car to start the Bronnenroute – trail of springs – we realize it does not in fact pass right by the hotel as I thought, but starts from a village a few kilometers away. We can simply walk back to the car and drive to the starting point, but it looks like the walk there can be done following small country roads and pedestrian trails, so we decide to just hike it. I mean, how far can it be?

As we set off from the hotel after this deliberation, we join a sparse but steady stream of hikers and cyclists, it’s a Saturday and not raining and everybody seems determined to enjoy it. There’s usually plenty of room to pass even when keeping the required 1,5 m away, so it doesn’t feel crowded or uncomfortable. The route we want to follow starts in the next valley and the steep hill affords great views: pastures for cows and horses in the lower reaches, surrounded by hedges and woods on the hill tops. Info boards by the trail tell us there should be deer, boar and badgers here, but we don’t see anything but lots of tiny birds as usual, perhaps the earlier walkers have scared the wildlife away..

Much of the walk is over steep walking trails, cutting through the meadows in deep gullies or following the ridge of the hills. We’re never very high, but anyway continuously climbing or descending. We encounter a few couragous mountain bikers who hurl themselves down the slopes, hopping over the numerous tree roots and rocks. It’s entertaining to watch them – from the experienced guides in the front and back to the clumsier amateurs in the middle, so we don’t mind stepping out of the way to let them pass.

The weather remains overcast but there’s little wind and it’s not too cold, ideal for walking. We even have a few rays of sun in the early afternoon! Due to our little navigational error we end the walk after about 5 hours and 15 kilometers (see route here), much longer than originally planned but totally worth it.

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