Day 91: Fri 29th July 2022

The whole morning’s job was escaping the Frankfurt city forest. This was made more difficult now that doesnt work properly any more. So i tried to navigate by feel, which was the reason i ended uo near a lake miles from where i should have been.

As i was nearing the end, a fellow hiker came the other way. He asked where i was going in german and so i told him. “Aber es ist sehr langsam (but it’s very slow)”, I added. “Am angsam,” he said. What? That wasnt any german i knew. “Langsam,” i repeated. “Yeah, I’m angsam.” Hang on a minute. “Are you english?” He was Chris, originally from Manchester but left in ’85, move lives in Strasbourg and has a french passport, lucky sod. He had walked from Wurzberg (my next major town). His dad had lived in Great Harwood (where i lived between 1985 and 1992, nr Blackburn, dear reader). He was so taken with my walk he said he wanted to buy me a beer. He looked in his wallet. “No, two beers!” He was 72. When i asked if i could photograph him he refused at first, muttering something about putin finding him, but he relented. Lets hope he’s not currently in a Kremlin dungeon being tortured.

The walk continued through the forest. I passed a group of kids supervised by a handful of parent. “Weeeeee!” screamed one 7 year old as he lofted his green toy plane skywards. “Waaaaaaah!” he wailed as it got stuck in a tall tree.

The woods ended near the Waldcafe Hainbachtal. Feeling flush, I fancied a coffee. I asked a group of people the way in. They were friendly but clearly special needs. Then it turned out that the whole site, including a school, was a special needs place. Most of those working in the cafe were too, although they were being carefully supervised.

I ordered a zwetscken cake and a coffee. The piece was humongous and lovely. I sat outside and another bloke sat at the next table, also special needs. (The bloke, not the table.)

“Herrliche Ort,” he said, though i didn’t catch what he said. He repeated it. Now “herrliche” wasnt a word i knew and so i said i didnt understand. He just repeated it more loudly still. Working on the principle that if someone asks you something three times they are probably looking for a “yes”, so thats what he got. Later i looked up the word. In some contexts its positive but not others. He’d been gesturing about the site. He may have meant “magnificent place”, in which case I’m glad i agreed. But it can also mean “a sorry place”, in which case maybe not.

The walk continued. The promised thunderstorms held off until I’d been shopping, realised there was nowhere in town to get Chris’s beer and set the tent up in some woods. Deers spent a lot of the evening screaming at me. Perhaps i was in their favourite spot.

Distance today (km) 25, total 1562

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