It's about time for another tour before summer draws to a close. We started the season with a flurry of tours in Bavaria: First a two-day tour near home, followed by nine days in Lower Bavaria. We took two separate trips to complete the Romantic Road, first from Füssen to Donauwörth and then Donauwörth to Würzburg.
Then the summer was filled with other projects, hot weather, other trips. Janos traveled to Warsaw to visit an old school friend whom he hadn't seen for 60 years. I was busy enough with photography, family and friends, oh yes, and my bicycle challenges which helped me keep active on my bike.
But now it's time for another trip, but where to? We originally planned to drive to Alsace and make day trips from different spots, doing a kind of in depth exploration of the area. But we never managed to work up a whole lot of enthusiasm for the trip. Then came the idea of doing something we thought we couldn't do. We even had the Bikeline cycling guide for the route.
Wait a minute, no, we didn't have it any more. We just gave it to Miriam, our 23-year-old granddaughter, along with other useful things for her first solo bike tour. She had chosen the Alpe-Adria bicycle route. I knew she was a strong cyclist, but she had no experience with touring. We could help her there. She would be riding my old mountain bike (which she has been riding for the past several years), wearing my cast off bicycle shorts (which somehow got too small for me), sleeping in our little Mutha Hubba tent, cooking on the Trangia. You can imagine how excited and proud I was!
So a couple of weeks after Miriam left - she is long since on the Adria and beyond - we plan our departure for Sunday August 26. We will cycle from our front door and pick up the Alpe-Adria bicycle route where it starts in Salzburg.
Now this isn't directly related to our tour, but it does have to do with cycling and granddaughters. For our birthdays, Janos and I got an invitation from the youngest granddaughter, Nisrin, to eat ice cream together. Yesterday we all had time and it was ice cream weather, so we cycled over to the place selling the best ice cream and ate our ice cream cones sitting on a nearby bench. I had one scoop of lemon meringue and one of blueberry cheescake. Too good!
It was ride #84 for the 100 Bicycle Days challenge.
And while I'm at it - and the subject is grandchildren and cycling - I'll tell you about the 13-year-old twins, Nelli and Valentin, both very athletic. They did a one-week cycling-tenting tour with their dad from their home to Lake Constance this summer.
So proud of them all!
I was all set for our ride 15 km to the west of Munich, to our second-to-last hochbunker. Before leaving, I cast one more look at the website description of the structure to make sure I would find it - then I noticed the small print. The hochbunker had been demolished in 2013. Glad I saw that. A quick change of plans - now it was to be the ride to the last hochbunker.
This ride took us through the city to the east of Munich, a ride I would have normally saved for a Sunday when there is less traffic. Nevertheless, it was a good ride. After we found the hochbunker, we continued on to Messestadt Riem, a large trade fair and congress center, located on the grounds that from 1939 to 1992 were the location of the Munich international airport.
We took a different route home, it was quite pleasant, and on the way stopped in a beer garden for lunch.
Well, to start with it wasn't really a big tour, it was only 24 km. The big part was the number of hochbunkers I was able to round up on this loop through Munich. For several months now, I have been tracking the hochbunkers down that remain from WWII. They were built in the early 1940's to offer protection during air raids.
In one fell swoop Janos and I cycled to and photographed ten of these structures, two in downtown Munich and the rest a little further east from the center of the city. It was a sunny Sunday morning - again! - and we took advantage of the quiet streets for the ride in the center of Munich which is usually a traffic chaos.
We couldn't find the first hochbunker on my list because I had marked it incorrectly on my map. Funny how these dominating structures can remain hidden like that. Eventually we did find it, then stopped for coffee, and the second one wasn't far off.
For the next two bunkers, we wove our way through downtown streets we never otherwise ride. So nice to discover our town's different little neighborhoods.
Our next destination was an ensemble of four towers, originally built as a shelter for a factory producing explosives and munition. After the war the bunkers housed the Zündapp factory which produced a popular motorcycle. In 1984, Zündapp went bankrupt and the buildings were taken over by other companies. Some are still under renovation. The whole complex was rather confusing. It was hard to discern what was an old hochbunker, what was hidden behind a new facade layer and what was new. I took several pictures but wasn't always sure what I was taking pictures of.
At home I was able to figure it out.
And now on to a more resedential section of Munich, Berg am Laim, where we found our second-to-last hochbunker for the day, located on Sonnwendjochstrasse. From there we headed home, and hit one more bunker that I had seen before without realizing what it was because the facade had been covered over. That was in the beginning of my project when my eye had not yet been sharpened to recognize these structures.
And that was it for today. I have two more bunkers on my list and that will be the end of the project.
Today I cycled over to the little chapel and overgrown garden tucked away in a corner of the Olympia Park. It was hard to find, although I've been there several times. Today there was a festival next to the gates to this little garden, I could hardly imagine that there would still be access. But there it was, the little buildings and unruly garden of Father Timofei. Here is the legend of Father Timofei and his church as I have pieced together from the Internet:
Father Timofei was born in 1894 in Bagayevskaya on the Don. In the Second World War, he transported coal in the German-occupied Russian city of Schachty. During the retreat of the German Wehrmacht, fleeing from the advancing Red Army, he was forced to help the enemy escape and transport them with his horse-drawn cart. Only at Rostov, in southern Russia, 46 kilometers from the mouth of the Don in the Black Sea, was he freed. Father Timofei later reported that he had his first vision of the Virgin Mary here, telling him to build a church dedicated to peace between East and West.
After many years as a vagabond, he reached Vienna and met his future wife Natascha. The construction of a church in Vienna failed because of the local authorities. The two moved on to Munich, where they arrived in 1952. They settled down on Oberwiesenfeld, on the edge of the former airfield which later became the Olympic Park. Here the Mother of God again appeared and advised him to build a Russian church on these grounds, then a field of rubble from bombed Munich. Timofei did as he was told and built church and house. Although his buidlings were unauthorized, there was ample rubble as building material on the Oberwiesenfeld. Rubble as far as the eye could reach, and he built. He built the towers of his church from old oil barrels. Inside, he lined the ceiling with the silver foil collected from the wrappings of chocolate bars. And he created a garden of Eden, about a hundred by a hundred meters, planted with bushes, vegetables and flowers.
No one took offense at the buildings and their inhabitants. But at the end of the 1960s, there were plans to build for for the upcoming Olympic Games on these grounds where Timofei's church and house stood. Protests hailed from Munich's residents. Lord Mayor Hans-Jochen Vogel and Willi Daume, President of the National Olympic Committee for Germany, then found that Father Timofei could not be driven away and the plans were changed. The Olympic games made room for Father Timofei.
At the almost Biblical age of 107 years, Father Timofei had to move to a nursing home where he died at the age of 110.