Friday, September 1, 2017

Mad dogs and Englishmen . . . and Michael

It is said that mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
Well, Michael is the mad Aussie who took off for a walk in the country side even though rain was predicted (and it had been raining).  Sure enough, soon it is quite heavy. Stephi and I are sitting around taking it easy today, chatting, reading, starting the blog. We wondered whether he would last to his predicted 3 pm!  Nope - back at 1:30 pm!!

The morning had started with an overcast ceiling, the heavens opening shortly after breakfast. However, undaunted I loaded my backpack - 

  • Bottled water
  • Croissants
  • Scroggin
  • Fruit

- with the expectation my walk would last for hours! The rain ceased as soon as it had I set forth on this glorious morning.

The city of Schwäbisch Gmünd is located within a valley, and from the ridges at Straßdorf the view is spectacular. However, this morning with a beetling wind and pendulous clouds the view was even more spectacular. The cathedral which overlooks Straßdorf was shrouded in mist.

Hang about....the purpose for this adventurous promenade was to find the 'Römische Kastell' or Roman Fortress and settlement. Google Maps indicated the historic site being about 2.4 km distance from where Steph and Felix live. The trek, enhanced by the inclement weather, dictated otherwise.

Leaving the ridge and Schwäbisch Gmünd behind me, I followed the well trodden path towards the forest. The rain started to pelt down in earnest. and neither of the pine trees at the forests' edge provided shelter. All the same, it was glorious. The wet forest floor litter releasing its earthy bouquet and the red visible slipstreams from darting squirrels added to the elegance of Mother Nature. Mind you, these bushy-tailed rodents scampered with such speed I didn't capture one digitally!

As I continued down the winding 7% gradient which bisects the forest, that head Honcho of the Roman pantheon, Jupiter, opened heavens' sluice gates. The downpour was so intense the road resembled an horizontal waterfall! I must emphasise that I wasn't the only lunatic out and about today. Yes, there were others with robust umbrellas and cyclists in raincoats challenging the weather.

I reached the waypoint of the descent, a stele, a religious monument depicting a Roman god. These steles populated the major Roman roads as protection to travelers.  Icons (Centurion helmet) pointing out the direction to follow - another descent - towards the Römische Kastell.

Arriving at my destination I am in awe at where to start. Now dear readers, many of you may have experienced visiting Roman sites. In most instances all that remain are either foundations or mounds where Mother Nature has exerted her authority. However, there are those exceptions where full or partial restorations have occurred vide EU dollars. All that remains of our Römische Kastell are mounds and foundations.

However, this Römische Kastell is only a small representation to the extent of the Roman frontier around 2 AD.

I first concentrate on viewing the 'Kastellbad Shirenhof' or 'Castle Bath Shirenhof' and then move onto finding the location of the Römische Kastell. The rain has started to ease.

The Römische Kastell has yet to be excavated. However, geophysics and imagery had been successful in locating the site of the fort. This has enabled archaeologists to erect a Marquette enabling visitors a 'minds-eye-view' of the fort.

I leave the Kastell behind me as I make my way towards the high ground with the intention to visit another Roman site. This site is located at the SE side of Schwäbisch Gmünd. 

The rain is intensifying and the wind is beetling once more. I decide to shorten my enterprise and head for 'home', not before taking refuge in a chapel and wait for the rain to ease.

I vacate my sanctuary as the rain eases but not the wind and eventually arrive home....almost soaked to the skin. Maria is preparing lunch when arrive, so its a hot shower to remove the chill.

Catch you on the rebound.



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