On March 15, 2013, we began our journey along the Danube at its spring: Donaueschingen. Over the next six months, our way along the continent´s second longest river would lead us through 9 countries. Our goal is to promote sustainable development in the Danube region by bringing together socially and ecologically active people from the regions and cities where we hold our “forums”. The forums, being the cornerstones of our journey, are visited by local people, initiatives and other interested people. While a core group decided to do the complete journey from Donaueschingen to the Black Sea (with some small excursions left and right of the Danube), other interested people are encouraged to accompany the group for as long as they want to.
Having set off from Donaueschingen, our route took us through the beautiful Danube Valley with its famous chalk rocks, past the monastery of Beuron to our accommodation for the night, the impressive Castle Wildenstein. After leaving the towns of Sigmaringen and Blochingen behind us, we arrived in Blaubeuren and visited the “Blautopf”. The spring feeds the river Blau, wich flows into the Danube in the city of Ulm. The Blautopfs stunning blue colour and the amount of legends and myths referring to it are always worth a visit!
Our next big stop was at Ulm, known for its famous minster and for being Albert Einstein´s birthplace. We were accommodated in the Waldorfschool in Ulm where we had the chance to feel learn about Rudof Steiner´s philosophy. At the visit to the Donauschwaben museum in Ulm we got to know about the history of the Donauschwaben region before we continued our journey eastward.
In the small town of Bächingen, we visited the “Gundelfinger Moos”, one of the biggest nature reserves In Bavaria. Visiting the “Mooseum”, we learned about local wildlife and the biodiversity of plants (see http://www.mooseum.net/ for further information). A local distiller offered us some of his tasty apple and sour cherry schnapps.
Travelling further via Nördlingen and Meinheim, we reached the destination of our next forum, Augsburg. The city´s main sights are the town hall, the Perlachturm and the “Fuggerei”, the world´s oldest social housing complex still in use. In Augsburg, we had the chance to visit the Sozialkaufhaus, the City Farm, a fair trade fashion show and take part in a panel discussion concerning poverty in the region.
For our next forum we headed back to the Danube, to its northernmost point, the city of Regensburg. The capital of the Upper Palatinate region was founded in 179 by the Romans, its large medieval city centre is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Landmarks are the St. Peter cathedral and the “Steinerne Brücke”. Our journey-related activities in Regensburg were various workshops held by local initiatives, such as Transition Town and attac, as well as a beautiful come-together with singing and meditation in the St. Oswald church.
After taking a boat trip to the Walhalla, a hall of fame for great personalities in German history, our journey continued the Höllbachhof (http://www.hoellbachhof.net/index.html), a community near a small creek (Höllbach) in the Bavarian Forest north of Regensburg. After staying at the Hofstetten monastery, we moved on to the Krafthof, a geomantic experimental farm, where people try to stay in contact with the natural forces. We learned about their approach and had a pleasant stay.
In Passau, we had a chance to meet the people of “besserwisser” (www.die-besserwisser.org), who are engaged in building and expanding a network for a sustainable lifestyle.
Visiting the “Haus am Strom” (www.hausamstrom.de), a documentation centre focussing on local flora and fauna, we had already reached our last destination in Germany. The next step of our journey lay only one day ahead of us: Austria!
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