Wednesday, May 14, 1650
You find most of the day is spent moving down out of the hills into the Danube valley, through country which is extraordinarily civilized and quite beautiful, the bottom land spreading out before you like a great green sheet. You see hills, the same hills you are descending from, strung out towards the west and circling around to the north, far in the distance. The day is remarkably clear and sunny, and by mid-morning you have to shuck some of your gear in order to be comfortable walking in the rising heat.
Jan explains that he is anxious to see Ulm. He has not since early 1658, only months after the city was virtually destroyed by French armies. He supposes that the reconstruction he witnessed prior will have been largely accomplished, and Ulm will be a new city. He suggests entering the city and 'supplying ourselves' tomorrow. There is an Inn he knows of outside the city gates which will give him free lodging for a night, "In exchange for a deed I did for the owner years back." Jan does not allow himself to be pressed on the circumstances of the deed.
You meet many people along the road today. A carter, hauling peat, travels along with you for a mile before you leave him behind. Not long after that, you travel in the company of an old Jewish man and his daughter; Jan exchanges a ten pounds of food and a remove curse for an good tinderbox ... the Jewish man moves from a bent position to upright, grateful that his lower spine has been "released from the demon that has gripped it this last two years." The daughter, Zephora, looks very approvingly at Delfig. They take their leave ten miles from Ulm, turning to travel north.
You also meet, coming your way, a veteran of the war between France and Spain, who is walking alone back to his family in Munich. His name is Witan, and he and Delfig exchange information as you all rest at the same watering place, giving the donkey a chance to drink, but their families do not know one another. He tells tales that the war does not go well for either side, that thousands have died to no good purpose and that he no longer knows nor cares whether he is Catholic or Protestant.
That is where we reach the present.