September 03, 2013

Of Mighty Rivers and a View to Die for

Once again I got to celebrate a beautiful late summer day in the mid 20C (70-80F) out and about with Alonzo, my Vespa GTS300 SuperSport.

Kitsch-Alarm! Allegedly below is the worlds largest cuckoo clock. Yeah, watch ever... it might however be the most visited in the Black Forest. I got to snap a quick picture and moved on when a bus arrived and spilled out its load of blue haired tourists.
After two hours of twists and turns I treated myself to a bottle of water and a power bar. Life is good!

Merely by accident I stumbled across the spring of the river Donau (Danube), with 2,872km (1,785mi) Europe's second largest river. Of course, this must be spectacular, I thought and walked down the trail.
The path led into a small mosquito infested meadow. 
A plate indicated the birthplace of this mighty river. 

Time was up to venture home. While I meandered along a crest road with stunning vistas a small road sign pointed to a former place of execution. Come again? Seriously? I turned around and had Alonzo climb up a short steep gravel road. There it was: the gallows!
It's a hanging matter! Since the 14th century this location served as a place to enforce judgement. The fancy stone gallows was installed in the early 18th century (engraved in stone was the year 1721). In the same century death penalty was abolished by then emperor Josef II.
I am sure that place is haunted... the hanged were buried in shallow graves around the gallows. At least the delinquents had a view to die for...

On the last stretch I trusted TomTom to lead me home and discovered yet another lovely single track road leading through orchards.
With a total of four hours spent in the saddle, and the odometer now well beyond 2,000km I felt truly blessed, and thought to myself, what a wonderful world.

***

Kitschiges und Gruseliges
Das Wetter kriegt noch einmal die Kurve und somit muss ich gleichnamige auch jagen gehen. Ich mache mich auf den Weg nach Triberg und besuche die weltgrößte Kuckucksuhr, ein Touristenmagnet dieser Gegend, Prädikat besonders geschmacklos, aber die Leute lieben es, besonders ausländische Besucher. Ich drehe wieder am Gasgriff und merke erst nach zwei herrlichen Fahrstunden, dass meine Pause überfällig ist. Bei Müsliriegel und Wasser mache ich es mir auf einer Picknickbank gemütlich und studiere die Karte. So erfahre ich, dass ich ganz in der Nähe der Donauquelle gelandet bin. Na, die muss ich mir doch anschauen. Ich rollere hin und folge dem Weg zur Quelle. Wie? Ist das alles? Denke ich. Da tröpfelt das Wasser in eine Pfütze und die Mücken sirren. Was habe ich erwartet? Vielleicht eine Höhle oder einen glasklaren Tümpel. So, jedenfalls war ich mal da. Auf dem Rückweg sehe ich aus einem Augenwickel ein Hinweisschild zu einer ehemaligen Hinrichtungsstätte. Ich kann es nicht glauben und drehe um. Ein steiler Waldweg führt mich auf einen gerodeten Platz auf dem ein steinerner Galgen steht. Seit dem 14. Jahrhundert diente dieser Ort als Richtstätte und im 18. Jahrhundert wurde der Steingalgen errichtet, aber im gleichen Jahrhundert wurde die Todesstrafe von Kaiser Josef II abgeschafft. Doch in seiner Zeit hat dieser Platz viele Hinrichtungen gesehen. Auch Hexenverfolgungen wurden auf diese Weise "erledigt". Trotz des schönen Wetters ist es irgendwie unheimlich hier. Man hat die Gehenkten direkt am Rande der Stätte verscharrt, aber eines muss man sagen, die Verurteilten hatten eine grandiose Aussicht... Noch in Gedanken fahre ich durch Obstplantagen zurück. Die Äpfel sind fast erntereif und erstes Fallobst liegt auf der Straße, da heisst es Aufpassen!

20 comments:

  1. A view to die for, pun intended I assume? :)

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  2. The headwaters of that huge river is a tiny spring, that looks like a wonderful, cooling place to visit. Not too sure about the gallows site, not a nice place to visit but too important not to forget about.

    I probably would've stopped for the largest cuckoo clock if I was visiting the Black Forest. Isn't that a big thing with tourists?

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    1. I was baffled when I saw the sign about the gallows site. I have never seen such on display in Germany. It's a bit morbid and eery atmosphere despite the good weather.

      Everybody stops for the cuckoo clock, and that's fine because it is one highlight of the Black Forest. However, there are a handful around that claim to be "the largest one". We found another one close by that was named "first largest...".

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  3. Sonja:

    I also saw a gallows on a tour of the Montana Prison. Makes you wonder how many saw that view for their "last" time

    Your roads are so deserted. Everyone one else must be at work

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. The roads are not very busy at all since I use single track roads and byways. There is a constant flow of traffic on the federal highways and freeways, which I try to avoid.

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  4. Now you are riding the way I used to ride, off on my own exploring the countryside. No ride in the city can compete.

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    1. I try to keep eyes and mind open as well when I travel at scooter speed. So many little road gems.

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  5. Quite the elaborate gallows - looks like they were meant to last. I had no idea the Danube had such humble beginnings...and glad you also took a moment to stop, put your feet up and enjoy your part of this wonderful world.

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    1. The gallows will certainly last for many more centuries. I try and use my free time as long as I can. The workforce will pull me in soon enough.

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  6. It sounds morbid but I would be interested in the gallows more than the spring. There are stories at the gallows. Sad ones, ones of revenge and fear and horror. Hope perhaps?
    These places speak to the human condition.

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    1. Robert, I am afraid I also have a streak for the morbid. It triggers the dark side in us, as you put it these places speak to the human condition...

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  7. That's true: what a wonderfull world :)

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    1. And motorcycling certainly helps to get a different view on things.

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  8. Gorgeous views Sonja.

    How interesting to be riding along and see the gallows.

    And why is it the headwaters of great rivers can be so disappointing? We've been by the headwaters for the Metolius here in Oregon and it is very small and unremarkable.

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    1. Brandy, so I am not alone with my disappointment... I don't know what to expect, maybe a cave with a pool or something more eloquent than bog with a puddle ;-)

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  9. Looks like an interesting day out! I would have had to stop for the cuckoo clock too, even if it's not the biggest, it's certainly big. :)

    The headwaters of the Mississippi are here in Minnesota, somewhere up North. It's a boggy little creek you can step over.

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    1. Lucky, I stopped as well. It is a tourist trap alright but one you got to do ;-)

      I guess even the Mississippi has humble beginnings...

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