G3VGR QUERWEG         Riedöschingen – Engen      

Yesterday evening's amateur weather forecasting was proved wrong as I woke up to the patter of raindrops on the nearby roofs. It was raining gently, but steadily as I left the Hegauer Hof to continue my hike into the Hegau region. I was a little sad to be leaving Riedöschingen, as it was a friendly little place. Safely protected from the rain by my Goretex cocoon, I walked uphill on a tarmac farm road until reaching a forest. There were nice views back to the village. At the end of the forest was open countryside and I saw a volcanic cone directly ahead. I realised that I had just exited the Schwarzwald and was now in the Hegau. The next 10Km was easy walking along wide level tracks alternating between open countryside and small forests and I maintained an easy rhythm. I had been looking forward to today's walk as it provides excellent views across the Hegau as far as the Bodensee and the Swiss Alps. Unfortunately, I was to be denied the views because the low cloud cover restricted my field of view to less than a mile. However, I could see small villages to either side of the trail but nothing further. It was quite lonely on this exposed ridge walk and the only life I saw was a few cows in a small field. After a few kilometres of solitary walking, a sign informed me I was on the Alter Postweg, which was an important postal route linking the Rhein and Danube in bygone times. It was here that I saw my first people since leaving Riedöschingen. Two joggers ran past me. I was perplexed by the sight and wondered where in the middle of nowhere that they were running to/from. Fifteen minutes later, they ran past me again in the opposite direction. I never saw them again.

Whilst pondering the mystery of the phantom joggers, I carried on along the trail until reaching Napoleonseck, a command post of French troops under Napoleon at the Battle of Engen in 1800. From here, the trail began an easy descent to Engen. No doubt I was now walking in the footsteps of Napoleon's Old Guard, which was an impressive thought. The clouds were slowly starting to lift and break up as I entered open countryside at Ballenberg and now I could see more of the Hegau. After exiting the last of the trees, I caught my first view of Engen (as well as two people with a dog) and hurried downhill to the town. The historic Old Town of Engen is considered one of the best preserved medieval cities in southern Germany. The height of the houses, whose external walls formed part of the fortifications is very impressive and the old town is well-preserved. After walking the streets of the Altstadt, I stopped for coffee and cake in a nice cafe in the Marktplatz. Finding my way out of Engen around 2PM, I continued on to Anselfingen then along the Burgenweg to the Hohenhewen. Due to the limited visibility, I did not go up to the summit, but instead followed the steep downhill path to Welschingen, where I ended this stage of the Querweg. Welschingen Bahnhof is a long way out from the village so I will not come back this way tomorrow. I caught a train from Welschingen-Neuhaus to the next stop, Mühlhausen-Ehingen where I had made a overnight reservation at Gasthaus Löwen

View back to Riedöschingen
First volcanic cone of the Hegau appears in the mist
Along the Alter Postweg
First signs of life on a lonely walk
Probably a nice view from here on a clear day
Open countryside at Ballenberg
Engen Marktplatz
Engen Altstadt
Nice view from Burgenweg
View towards Magdeburg from Anselfingen
Welschingen, where today's stage ends

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