On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

Blue waters and wild camping

By Stuart Lowe on

I awoke to a fantastic breakfast provided by Evelin to fuel me for the day ahead. I noted with a smile that Stevens had also had his breakfast in Tübingen; so I wasn't in a rush and enjoyed the company of my hosts until after 10am when I thought I really should get going.

Down the hill and out of Tübingen I rode. My aim was Blaubeuren but Stevens had little to say about the route except that it was "thirty-five kilometres of hilly country". It certainly was and had another 20% gradient section where I had to walk. My other knee was starting to give me trouble and my French pomade saw more use.

German field

As the afternoon wore on I rode through what I could only imagine was an old army testing ground. There were signs warning me not to leave the path. The pictures of explosions and skulls & crossbones underneath made me feel they really meant it. Despite the signs, at one point, I did see a shepherd with his flock. None of them exploded.

No people or bikes. You may explode.

German village church


I continued on through farm land and woods before descending a steep and rough track down into a valley bottom and Blaubeuren. Blaubeuren is the source of the Blau river and once you've seen the pool where it springs from the ground you understand why it has the name it does. It is as vivid as if it had been drawn by a child with crayons.

Source of the Blau

The blue Blau

Upon entering the town I tried to find the Youth Hostel. When I eventually found it I was 10 minutes too late and it had closed. Where was I to stay? The local hotels were far too expensive for me and the "camp ground" was a car park for camper vans yet again.

With daylight fading, I decided to head along the Blau a little more and set up my tent a little way out of town. I did ask a lady in a nearby house if it was OK and she said "I won't tell anyone". I had no shower, no toilet facilities and there were mosquitos and, during the night, slugs. How different it was to the last three nights.

In the morning I had breakfast and packed up. I left the environs of Blaubeuren with the Sunday morning church bells ringing out just as they had been 130 years ago. I was on the urgent hunt for a toilet.