I’m really lucky to live close to a forest, and although I’ve loved going in now and again over the past few years, it’s been the last four months that I’ve had the most use out of it. It’s been perfect to escape the house for a little while, without going too far away to do it. I’ve always seen different trail markers on trees but never gave them a second thought until now.
This one pops up a lot, so I looked it up and it shows one of the trails of the Odenwald club – a walking organisation that has set out many routes through the forests of middle Germany. This particular route was 170km long and went from Frankfurt to Sternenfels, we obviously decided to do a small portion of that.
We set off with no clear idea of how long we would go for, but with a general idea of where the train stations were that could bring us back. It was quite exciting to set off with a backpack full of rations on an adventure through the forests, not quite sure where we’d end up.
Once out of our local woods, the trail took us through some neighbouring towns, something we were initially surprised. I’d naively thought that it’d just send us through forests, but I didn’t really think that the path would go through built-up areas too. I wasn’t too sure about this at first, but after walking for a few hours through woodland, we walked through the beautiful small towns of Sprendlingen and Dreieichenhain.
Coming across these lovely towns was a great surprise and somewhere we definitely wouldn’t have found if we hadn’t been walking. Germany is so beautiful.
Although we got a bit lost through Dreieichenhain, we found another square on the side of an old wall.
This is the only time we struggled to find the way-marker: I was pleasantly surprised how frequent and clear they were.
As we continued walking, the day got hotter, and our water bottle got lighter and lighter. This meant that our goal to get to the next town, Messel, felt like the longest part of the walk. We went through some beautiful lush forests, and we saw some giant birds of prey, but all I could focus on was having a lovely drink of water at the end.
After walking 27km over 6 hours, we eventually found the train station in Messel with tired and weary legs and a heavenly cold can of diet coke from the takeaway place opposite.
We both loved this walk so much, it was fantastic to discover some new places and see some beautiful greenery without having to travel away from home. The last hour did feel like a long slog, but I now know for next time (and there will be a next time) to bring another flask of water.
After eight years living here, it feels like we’re finally starting to explore the area close to us and I love it.