8 September 2016

Day one. Mönchengladbach to Bad Elster (by train)



On Monday 5th September Alan parked his car with friends and then we took the train to Bad Elster. Sadly the German railways are not what they  used to be and so by the time we got to Hannover we were 10 minutes late and we missed our connection. In the end this put us two hours behind our original time plan.
In this derelict railway station we had to wait for an hour and a bit for the next train, so by the time we got to Bad Elster it was in the middle of the night and dark. 
Bad Elster station consists of a platform in the middle of a wood, poorly lit and no busses or taxis to take us on. Only a dark cobbled road led away from the station, so we followed that to a road which led to another poorly lit woodland road which led us to where we wanted to go.
At least our landlady was still up when we got there and so we were able to get into our room. The town, however, had shut for the night and so there was no welcome beer or warm meal to round off sitting for 12 hours in trains or railway stations. Alan had sustained himself with a couple of cups of coffee, one large orange juice and two railway station sandwiches! Not a good start for walking the next day!
When Alan cared for his father he found it a struggle to get his poor old dad to drink at least two litres a day. He said then, " this will not happen to me!" Famous last words. In the night after the forced march and little to eat or drink all day, Alan had a couple of attacks of cramp in his feet and calves. He drank a little and took some magnesium. However as we shall see this was not enough!!!