Mar 30, 2013

Distance today = 46.66 km; Total distance = 18,715.95 km; Location = Dachau – 48 15.828′ N, 11 28.436′ E; Start time = 0843, Finish time = 1628


Carmel looked out the window this morning and informed me it was snowing heavily – a great start to the day. And I had just gotten a new pair of running shoes ready. No-one likes to wear a brand new pair of shoes out in the mud and slush.

Anyhow, I took a deep breath and headed out into it, nicely attired in the new shoes. The old ones had done 2,115 km, since Burgos in Spain. It wasn’t so bad. The snow was light by then, and soon abated. The rest of the day was dry, except for some light drizzle right near the end.

It was a relatively flat day, and mainly on cycle paths again. Germany has more cycle paths than any other country I’ve been to – by far. Where there wasn’t a cycle path, it was usually a very quiet road.

During the morning I used Skype on my phone to make some calls. Firstly, I called Dave in the Coonabarabran Bowling Club, where he was watching the Dragons-Sharks match on the big screen. Next, I called the Ellsmore residence, which is always a tense place during a Dragons-Sharks game – the household is split between supporters of both teams. They even watch the game in different rooms. Debbie answered the phone, which was a good luck omen for her and her Dragons, as they promptly scored to put the game out of reach of the Sharks. Sorry Barry, you should have answered the phone.

Around lunch time, I ran past a camping ground we stayed at in 1986, on the outskirts of Munich. It was quite tranquil back then, nestled against a small lake. It still exists, but now has a sand mining operation right next door, and some sort of oil or gas refinery just a few hundred metres away. Sometimes it’s best to just stick with the memories.

It was a short day, due to a visit to the Dachau concentration camp at the end of the day. For those who don’t know, Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp, originally set up to inter political prisoners. It ended up as one of the main camps that housed Jewish Holocaust victims. It is now a memorial and museum, and I would strongly recommend a visit to anyone who is in the Munich area. I won’t go into it too much here, but it’s worth mentioning a particularly poignant item I recall seeing here back in ’86. Above the ovens, where thousands of gassed Jews were incinerated in the early 1940s, was a photo of a Nazi book burning ceremony that had taken place a few years earlier. Alongside was perhaps one of the most prophetic quotes of all time, from German poet, Heinrich Heine, who lived a hundred years before any of this took place. He had said “When they start burning books, they’ll soon be burning people”.