When I was staying in Almaty in the summer of 2010, I met a brace of German lawyers, Gabrielle Doering and her husband Wolfgang. Gaby keeps her own horse and promised to help me if I passed through her part of the world. At that time I did not know my exact intentions, but when I checked her address after Franz and I had roughly planned out a possible route, amazingly she lived almost exactly on it at Blaubeuren near Ulm!
Through Gaby we came in contact with her friend the redoubtable Andrea Renz, who has ridden through Germany and came on board to help with route planning. Even better it turned out that she would be able to join me for part of the ride through Germany. So she was waiting for us at Marienheim with her horse Leonardo, Leo for short. To the delight of Mike we were staying with the family Nutz who incidentally have great success driving a team of Welsh ponies. Andrea and I slept overnight in their tiny guest dormitory - upstairs in the small building shown below. Unfortunately not very peacefully as it was also right underneath the town bell tower. In Germany these are a regular feature, with bells ringing the hour and quarter hour - one dong for quarter past up to four dongs on the hour followed by the time in dongs on a different bell. At first I was most impressed that someone was getting up at all hours to ring the bells and was rather disappointed to discover it is all automated.
Andrea and Leo all dressed up to go early on the morning of May 7th, Leo with the fly mask he has to wear during the summer.
The Count expounds on his efforts.....