Saturday 4th July
Munderkingen to Ulm: 2 hours 25 minutes, 45km
“The Hungarians and Germans partied late into the night and they had unfortunately pitched their tents close to mine, which meant falling asleep was difficult. Nevertheless, I did eventually manage to fall asleep and woke up the next morning relatively early. There was no sign of a campsite manager when I arrived on the previous night and after waiting round in the morning for about an hour, I left, feeling slightly guilty for not paying.
I pulled into a nice café in Ehingen where I plugged in my phone and ordered cake and coffee. Half way across the world my beloved Sharks were playing in the Super Rugby final. Using the 3G connection on my phone, I was able to tune into a New Zealand radio station that was broadcasting live commentary of the game. We lost! And it sounded like we were well and truly beaten.
After the disappointing result, I paid the bill and cycled a bit more, arriving in Ulm around 3pm. I would be staying with a guy called Max, who at this point was busy mountain biking 50km away. Over the phone he suggested some things I should do in Ulm. The most popular tourist attraction is to climb Ulm Münster, the church with the highest steeple in the world. I made it up all 768 steps and was greeted by a panoramic view of Ulm and Neu-Ulm (separate city across the river and part of Bavaria). It was a tight fit on the final spiral staircase as people going down squeezed past the line of people heading up.
Back in the sunny square and slightly dizzy from the spirals, I decided to go to the ice cream parlour that Max had suggested and try their strawberry flavour. I then headed back to the Danube, delicious ice cream in hand, and spent the rest of the afternoon lying in the shade on the river bank.
I met Max at his house in the evening. Max is a very interesting guy, who, from what I understand is involved in some way, with the software behind the radar system in the Euro Fighter jet. He showed me round the old town and told me about the medieval traditions of the city, such as the wooden facades of the houses that were used for drying leather. We went to a creperie for dinner and he told me a bit about his travels, his previous job as a carpenter and the history of Ulm. I learnt a lot about the German culture this evening as well as a couple Swabian phrases, that I’ve now forgotten.”