Today I am 19 days into hiking the about 790 km long German section of the Eisenach-Budapest long distance trail and at the moment I am somewhere in the Erzgebirge-mountains in Saxony. Yesterday morning, when I came across a sign pointing west towards Eisenach and east towards Budapest, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I remember that I very vividly told my boyfriend that Germany lacks of serious long distance trails and that a 100km-trail is already considered as quite a long distance for Central European means. Oh dear (sorry honey, I really should have known better!), I was so wrong! First of all yes, there are many 100-something-km trails that can be done in a week or ten days. But, way lesser known and also way lesser hiked are a bunch of trails that actually form a huge network of long distance trails in Europe. You could, for example, easily hike from the Atlantic coast in Spain to the coast of the Black Sea in Bulgaria. Well, easily … these lesser known long trails have their own unique challenges: from time to time marching along endless concrete roads in the hot July-sun, non-existing trail markers in some areas. And, not necessarily a downside, a whole lot of solitude! Haven’t met a single hiker since left the famous Rennsteig (it shares the trail with the EB). By the way, after having had a splendid two weeks on the first part of the trail with a very good friend, I am back to hiking alone since last Sunday.
So, what else? Watching and experiencing eastern Germany on slow pace, getting to know the locals and their different dialects, witnessing the change of architecture in the different areas I am coming through. Seeing run-down villages, but also blossoming ones, got to know awesome people (who invited us for a “Bratwurst”), but also unfriendly and grumpy innkeepers. Also, an unexpected catch up with a good friend, I spotted a wild boar mama and her piglets, a lot of run over mice/frogs/snakes on those concrete roads, zigzagging on a trail along the German-Czech border. That’s the summer of 2020. Definitely not what I had in mind for this year, but so far it’s not too bad.