We savoured a lie in, then the most delicious breakfast of the trip so far, featuring smoked salmon, scrambled egg with bacon, boiled eggs with caviar, a fine selection of cheeses and cold meats, sundry jams and different types of bread, etc. We stuffed ourselves in preparation for the day ahead, replenished our dwindling funds, and dragged ourselves away from the pleasant town of Oberstdorf at 10am.
Within minutes we were on a delightful woodland track (top picture) that doubles as a cycle route all the way to Sonthofen, 15km away.
What a contrast to the past few days! This morning we ambled slowly along the pleasant, flat track near the Trettach river. Cyclists and day walkers passed by, and we paused for a while in an area where red squirrels were feeding out of children's hands. The collared doves were almost as tame, and blackcaps and willow tits flitted around expectantly.
This was after we had passed the confluence of three rivers, the Stillach, Trettach and the Breitbach, which join to form the Iller, which flows north to join the Danube at Ulm. A sculpture of three converging nymphs marks the point of the confluence.
After just three hours we reached the Bavarian town of Sonthofen. Like Oberstdorf the lovely old part of the town is pedestrianised. We spent a couple of hours there, firstly in Tourist Information where I spent some time deleting unwanted messages from our webmail as the in box was full, then we enjoyed cokes and hot baguettes outside a café, before heading to a supermarket to buy our lunches for the next two days, as it looks as if hostelries are sparse.
The signposted E5 route to Gunzesreid appears to follow roads, whilst Gillian in her book suggests a 30 minute bus ride. We weren't in a hurry. We didn't want to arrive at our B&B too early. Our strip map, Kompass map 120, shows a more direct cross country route using minor roads and footpaths. So we followed that route, meeting nobody.
It was a delightful 6km, which took an hour and a half. We were baffled as to why anyone would prefer a road walk, or indeed a bus ride. As we gained height, views to the Iller valley and the Allgauer Alps beyond opened up (pictured, second image) behind us in increasingly sunny weather.
The path passed through farmland reminiscent of my visit to Zug (was that really two years ago?), with small guest houses bedecked with flowers, and ancient tractors carrying churns and small children. This is a cheese making area. We hadn't seen a weather forecast for a while, but hay cutting was in progress - better than a weather forecast in our book, and a good omen for the next few days. Hüttenberg came and went, as did the smell of muck spreading. Little used footpaths drew us through beech woods with nuthatches, until Gunzesried came into view (pictured, third image) - a pretty village in a natural bowl.
We have a spacious low ceilinged panelled room in Frau Beck's rambling old house, where we spent some time enjoying tea on the balcony before dealing with the usual chores (washing selves and clothes) then heading across the road to Gasthaus Goldenes Kreuz for a really excellent infusion of Bavarian specialities.
The bottom image was taken from the 'tea balcony' towards the village church, next to which is a tall pole decorated with painted wooden depictions of village life, at the very top of which is a small fir tree.
Tonight we have the fluffiest duvets we've ever seen, so perhaps it's a shame that it's rather warm.
Gayle - thanks for your help in sorting out the postings. As regards your deleted comment, we get bread, ham, cheese and jam for breakfast in the mountain huts. I put a bit of each in my butty, but Sue just uses the jam and cheese.
30 July 2012
22km in 6.5 hours with 250m ascent
Number of E5ers seen today: 0
Flower of the Day - Touch-me-not (found in alpine as well as UK woodland and uncultivated places)
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html
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