After a fantastic day of rest yesterday, I was pumped up about walking today. And the day did not disappoint.
After an amazing breakfast at the hotel in Suhl, I got out the door at 7:45. The skies were gray and the temperature in the high 40s, but there was no rain. The streets were very quiet with it being early Sunday morning and I didn’t see a truck on the road all day. I was on city streets for the first 3 miles, then I turned onto a paved trail.
At the beginning of the trail was a parking lot and I noticed up ahead of me by a few hundred yards there was a couple walking the same direction as me with trekking poles and the man had a small day pack. They were keeping a good pace but I was gradually gaining on them. After 15-20 minutes I caught up with them. I asked if they spoke English and they both said they spoke a little. (That’s what they all say). We started talking as we walked and that’s when I met Hartmut and Marina Diemar, a delightful couple who knew all about the trail and surrounding area. They were walking to the next town of Oberhof, which was on my route as well. So we walked the next 3-4 miles together and had a great Sunday morning conversation. Their English was much better than they give themselves credit for, having learned it in school many years ago. Both were retired and just a joy to converse with. The last mile of our walk together was a very steep climb but we were talking so much I hardly noticed. After reaching Oberhof, they pointed me in the right direction and they kept going toward their home.
Oberhof is a very nice little winter vacation destination. Since we had been climbing to get there, I noticed it was even colder than when I started walking back in Suhl. I found a nice little cafe and had some soup for lunch to warm me up, and I put on my jacket when I started walking again. After Oberhof, it was downhill all the way to my destination of Ohrdruf.
Ohrdruf, population 9786, is a very old town, founded around 725. In 1695, the orphaned Johann Sebastian Bach came here to live with his brother and attend school. During WWII, Ohrdruf was the site of a concentration camp and was the first such camp liberated by the U.S. Army, on 4 April, 1945. Also, Ohrdruf is the site of a Renaissance Castle, the Schloss Ehrenstein, built in 1550. The castle was renovated in 2013, but in November of that same year, an accidental fire destroyed part of the castle. Also of interest is the site of a church, originally built in the 8th century. Associated with the Bach family who were organists there, the church was destroyed twice by fires in 1753 and 1808, but was rebuilt each time. The church was again destroyed by Allied bombers in WWII and only the bell tower remains today.
Tomorrow it’s another 19 miles down the road to the small village of Eckardtsleben. It’s suppose to be a beautiful summer day here. My Sunday was great. I hope your was the same. Thanks for reading. JB.