Every evening we are confronted with the same question: Where are we going to sleep? Sometimes we are very lucky, and, after a brief conversation with a local inhabitant explaining our project, we are offered a shed, a covered porch area or even a spare room in which to roll out our mats. Given the choice, I’d take the spare room every time. Unfortunately, this is a rare option, and mostly, we have to find our own space. On one occasion, we had no choice but to set up camp in the porch area of the football clubhouse in Altenstadt. The space was a bit exposed, but the weather seemed harmless – the only thing to be concerned about being the occasional mosquito. That was until about half an hour in when we were ripped out of our sleep by a sudden blast of wind accompanied by heavy rain coming at us from all sides. It didn’t take us long to realise that we were in the middle of a thunderstorm. Lightning flashed all around, but between the flashes, it was pitch black. All we could do was grab as many of our things as we could and scramble through the rain to another area of the clubhouse that was more protected from the storm. When the storm eventually passed, we did manage to get a couple of hours sleep and gather up our scattered belongings in the morning. Tired, but quite pleased to be alive we continued on our way.
Another virtually sleepless night was had when we camped in the grounds of the church in Ehestetten. Every fifteen minutes, the church bell rang – one loud dong at a quarter past, two at half past, three at a quarter to, and four at the full hour plus a series of differently pitched dongs to tell you what hour it was. I kept challenging myself to fall asleep before the next series of dongs, but the more I tried, the less likely that became. Then the icing on the cake – at six o’clock in the morning, after the usual full-hour routine, the bells went absolutely berserk for what must have been a good five minutes. It is obviously forbidden to have a lie in, or a decent night’s sleep for that matter, in Ehestetten.
You can understand why we look forward to the weekly stay in a guesthouse.