Blog #0069 August 4-6, 2022 – Three Daily Prayers for a Billionaire

Days 95-97 of my cycling journey around the world – August 4-6, 2022

What a day? What a wonderful day? Leaving from Adelschlag at about 05:15 h, a perfect sunrise brought me a memorable morning with views to die for. Cycling altogether for 82 km to Augsburg, I cycled to Neuburg an der Donau and from there on rode on the Danube (Donau) cycle path eastwards until I reached Marxheim where I had to leave the Danube and cycle along the Lech cycle path southwards. Meeting my oldest son in Augsburg I stayed for two additional days because of rain and my “office work”, which has been piling up.

The weather forecast had been dramatic. Extremely high temperatures were predicted and for this reason my friend and I decided that we would start early our respective rides. The plan was to start at 5 am and he would go on his motor bike to Poland, while I would cycle on my unmotorized bike towards the south and the big town of Augsburg, 82 km away. Breakfast lasted slightly longer but at 05:15 h we were ready to depart. The twilight of the morning let us deduce what day lay ahead. There was not a speck of cloud in the deep blue sky which just showed at its north-eastern horizon the first yellowish colours of the approaching sun. It would take another 30 minutes until the sun showed itself but these 30 minutes until then were simply exquisite. I cycled not many km when the little hamlet of Nassenfels and its little castle appeared in the early morning light and the motive for a picture was just too good to pass. Not long after the sun was showing itself, and almost at that precise moment my cycle computer showed that I had cycled 5000 km on this journey.

Not long after, I reached the Danube at the very pleasant city of Neuburg an der Donau. The Danube lay still like a mirror and there was not one little ripple disturbing the mirrored image of the castle of Neuburg in the waters of the river. Again, I was almost transfixed by the beauty of the picture presented to me by this magical morning. Having a tour through the beautiful old town centre presented a stunning city with no people present and the ochre houses in a golden glow. I continued on the Danube cycle path eastwards, cycling on the dyke of this large river through river meadows filled at this early hours with birds and all kind of water fowl. After some hours my time at the cycle path was up and I left Europe’s most popular long distance cycle way and went south along the river Lech, which I would be following for some days. Now it was getting hot, real hot with temperatures at about 35 C. At noon I stopped and made a long, three hours lunchbreak on the banks of the river. I used it to eat my prepared lunch and to go swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the river. Lying in the shade, reading a book and jumping now and then into the river was a completely new experience I haven’t had on this trip until then. I admit it, it is something I could get used to.

After three hours break I felt relaxed and fresh to cycle my remaining distance on the Lech cycle path to the city of Augsburg. Another jump into the river was too violent and I forgot that I still had my sunglasses on. These sunglasses would be in the river forever. Bummer! Reaching Augsburg, I settled on the extremely well-equipped campground Bella Augusta where I met a Dutch cyclist who just came from Greece. We had a couple of beers together, talked about the benefits of cycling up the Stelvio Pass or not and in general had a good time which ended in the Pizzeria of the campground.

The next day my son was arriving in the morning from Munich, and we had a tour around the city of Augsburg. Visiting the “Fuggerei” was certainly the highlight of that visit. The Fuggerei is the oldest public housing project in the world. Set up as a walled enclave in the city of Augsburg in 1516 by Jakob Fugger (the rich) it is still in use today. The Fuggers had taken over from the Medici’s as the richest family in Europe, something like the Elon Musk of the early 16th century. They felt compelled to create a public housing project for the poor people of Augsburg at the time. The people who were housed there had to pay the equivalent of 0,88 Euro per year, which is still valid today, and were obliged to say three prayers for the owners of the Fuggerei per day. Imagine Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk creating a public housing project for 300 people with the obligation that its occupants pray three times a day for them. Somehow that seems to be disturbing today, but in 1520 this was very advanced.

My son left at noon to go back to his work, and I went to my campground to get some writing done. Also, the next day, which was a day with lots of rain served me to write my blog and to organize some of my pictures. Travelling by bike is not just pure enjoyment of the landscape and the sights, it is also the little chores like washing your three briefs and three T-shirts and pairs of socks. The writing itself is not a chore, but a pleasure I have enjoyed more and more over the times I have been cycling.

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