2010-10-23 49 8

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Sat 23 Oct 2010 in 49,8:
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Inside a lake in Untergrombach.



see Robyn's talk page


This is the part where the people who were on the expedition find out what Robyn thought of it.

Wade & Robyn

Wade and Robyn checked out of a hotel in Walldorf and took a taxi with their luggage to the Wiesloch-Walldorf train station where they found their way to the southbound platform and waited for Ekorren's train. The appointed train arrived, stopped, and then started moving again. Wade and Robyn discussed the dramatic reveal which trains offer in black and white movies. The train pulled away, dramatically revealing ... Nothing and no one. An empty platform. Ekorren must have jumped off quickly to come through the tunnel to our platform. Except that someone who wasn't him came through lugging a duffel bag. After just enough time for us to wonder how we should deal with the implications of the nothingness and no-oneness which had been revealed, Ekorren appeared at the stairs and said, "Robyn?" He had stopped in the tunnel to help a native German speaker use one of the fancy ticket machines that challenged Robyn on her first geohash. Ekorren is a transit expert.

After figuring out who each other were, made slightly more difficult by the fact that Wade and Robyn were not standing next to each other as Ekorren arrived, all three of the geohashers, and all of Wade and Robyn's luggage, were loaded onto a southbound train, disembarking at Bruchal. Bruchal is six kilometres from the geohash, but it was a required stop because it has luggage lockers. Wade and Robyn stowed their luggage in a large locker with an elaborate key, then went down an elevator and back up the stairs to the same platform, which turned out to double as both platforms 1 and 6. There was a bit of a break before the next train left, and Robyn had apples to share. "Is food allowed on the train?" asked Robyn, expecting that no it wouldn't be, because the trains seemed fairly clean, and "no food" is a pretty common rule on public transit. Ekorren pointed out a pictorial sign above the door of the train which he claimed forbade alcoholic beverages and stinky food. Robyn isn't sure she believes him, but ate her non-stinky apple anyway. At Untergrombach we got out of that train and Koepfel was waiting for us, making it four geohashers en route to the lake.

Walking to the geohash

We walked from the station to a park nearby, and then followed the path around the lake. Although the Untergrombach website advertised this lake as used for swimming and other recreational activities, the end where the geohash lay was in a nature protected area and it was forbidden to leave the path. We drew abeam the geohash point at about 11:30. We were separated from the lake by a thick bank of brambles and reeds. The rule about there always being brambles in the last few dozen metres to the geohash continues to hold. The hashpoint was about 20 meters into the water. Nobody wanted to swim, as it was rather cold, no boat in sight either. Ekorren had come prepared to try and achieve a proxy hash here, with a waterproof box and string, but we're geohashers, not professional box hurlers, and no one pretended to possess the ability to hurl the box a sufficient distance through the bushes into the lake. There was another access point to the lake a little further on, where the path came right up to the shore. We couldn't persuade Wade to perform his namesake duty and wade to the geohash and instead determined that the best chance of reaching the geohash involved trained ducks.

We were going to commence a duck training programme mmediately, but Ekorren had purchased an all-day transit ticket, and he, Wade and Robyn wanted to use it to visit historic sights, rather than go on a trip to get specialty duck food and training equipment. We left the geohash as coordinates not reached and simply admired the lake, continuing around in the same direction.


We emerged in a residential area of Untergrombach and then walked to the centre of the old town, where Robyn and Wade wanted to gawk at old things, like how about that museum, signed up there? No, it was explained, a Heimatmuseum is the lowest form of local museum, a "fishbone museum" that will accept and display valueless garbage because acquisition criteria depend on the current social position of the donor in local society and not on historical significance.

Robyn still wanted to see the notable "centre pole house," over 500 years old, mentioned on the town's website, so using Ekorren and Koepfel's local knowledge we located the old house by its classic half-timbered construction style. Half-timbered buildings are framed with short scraps of timber, then the spaces between the timbers are stuffed with straw or twigs and branches and finally packed with clay and then plastered or painted. This house turned out to also be the museum. We looked at the outside, and translated the historic plaque for the Canadians, then looked into the yard to see the side of the house. There were quite a few people there, not taking a tour, but rather building half-timbered toilet buildings for the museum. They were doing it the modern way, and filling in the space between the timbers with something similar to cinder blocks, which they were cutting to shape with a saw. The museum was closed for the day, and this was a group of history enthusiasts, doing volunteer work for the museum, and preparing for a local man's 60th birthday party to be held there that evening. They invited us in, gave us Glühwein, and showed us the property, including an outdoor amphitheater and, under it, a surprisingly large underground storage shed. It was more like an underground banquet hall, which was what they were using it for. They had found the shed filled with garbage, and cleared it out. The impromptu free tour from extremely kind people was a very geohashing moment. We returned to the train station and Koepfel left for the day while Wade, Robyn & Ekorren continued to Maulbronn.


Going to Maulbronn meant returning to Bruchal for Wade and Robyn's luggage, then getting on a bus that took us through a few small towns. It was a much more convenient way to travel than the way people got to Maulbronn for the bulk of its existence, because it is a walled monastary with the church, dormitories and almost all the other associated buildings beautifully preserved.


Another bus, another train, a stopover in Stuttgart where large groups of approximately teenaged police were patrolling in expectation of violent clashes between people on opposite sides of an impenetrably complicated (Robyn still doesn't understand it after hours of Ekorren's impassioned explanations) hot political debate. Mostly over transit construction schedules. Maybe it would have made more sense were the Canadians not so tired from all their adventures. Ekorren took them home to Tübingen, where he explained everything anyone could ever want to know about 1970s transit ticket technology, thereby earning himself the Abduction geohash achievement.