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Bavarian Swabian Way of St. James  

Stage 15  Weitnau - Wiggensbach 20.8 km

Pilgrimage under one hat - on the way with Sandra

Monday, November 1st, 2021

Pilgrim intermezzo in November - a tough test

" Demand a lot from yourself and little from others. This will save you trouble."        ( Confucius)

Mood of optimism with autumn elements

This is possible after an interruption of almost 4 months  Pilgrimage starts again today.  My husband and I are childless for two days and take this opportunity to  on holy holiday to get up at 6 a.m. At 7 o'clock we sit in the car in the direction of the Allgäu, in pilgrim boots and spurred on, additionally equipped with fine circles under the eyes. The streets are still empty.

The atmosphere outside is special. Between low-moving clouds, a ray of rising November sun falls on the fields again and again and bathes the landscape all around in a mystically beautiful, golden autumn light. Meanwhile the wind is sweeping  the brightly colored leaves of the trees that line the highway, by the hundreds from the branches. In great eddies they dance through the air in front of us, to finally  to land on the street. I am instinctual  for a moment  even inclined to turn on the windshield wipers, because the flying leaves irritate me a little. But that wouldn't be very effective.  

At 9 o'clock we want to be in Weitnau in the Oberallgäu, park the car there and leave. This is the schedule so that we can walk the 20-kilometer daily stage to Wiggensbach in around seven hours - with a break - and arrive at our pilgrim accommodation before dark. Just the day before yesterday the clock was set back and accordingly it is already dark at 5 p.m. Tomorrow the follow-up stage to Altusried will follow. Based on my previous experience in the uneven Allgäu, I reckon with one  average pace of just under  4 km per hour plus an hour and a half break for breakfast and lunch.


A kingdom for a dry escort

The closer we get to our destination or starting point, the darker the cloud bank we are driving towards becomes. The weather forecast had predicted a 90% chance of rain, but it looked pretty good this morning. We had been hopeful that we would be able to walk at least a good distance in the dry state.  In the meantime, however, my expression has darkened, analogous to the celestial spectacle. Shortly before the parking lot, the windshield catches the first drops and now I have my real reason to still operate the windscreen wiper system.

When I turn off the engine at the final parking position and open the door, cool, humid rain air hits me. It's about 6 degrees. Approximately the announced maximum daily temperature. Outstanding. What kind of grenade ideas do I always have.

In the trunk I dig out my new rain jacket, the old neon yellow protective cover and my Goretex gloves from the backpack. I swap the rain jacket for my warm insulation jacket because I think four of me  Layers under the hardshell will be too warm when moving. So first of all I stuff the jacket into my backpack so that I have a good place in case I should change my mind on the way.  I had specially tested at home whether it would fit under the rain jacket. She would. And in a backpack covered with rain, she would be well protected from moisture.

Onion look it is!

The onion principle is defined as the optimal way to keep the body warm with different, thinner layers instead of a thick sweater, for example.  My onion look consists of outerwear  from a functional undershirt, over a long-sleeved thin functional shirt, a long-sleeved, breathable fleece jacket and on top  the rain jacket as a hardshell. I wear long ski pants under my tried and tested hiking pants. I also have thin Goretex gloves  on the hands so that they do not get ice cold when using the poles. And just in case I have  also a warm hat, which I don't need at the moment because of the hood. Which I am very happy about, because to me the mixture of thick skulls with fleece hat and rain hood doesn't really harmonize either.  So the hat disappears in the backpack for the first time.

On the so-called “performance” of my new rain jacket  under these conditions I'm really excited - we remember: in stage 12   I was still cursing with a blowing poncho and a thorn in the side of the cattle - but it would have been right for me to have to wait longer for the first mission. But - it is what it is. In the worst case, at least a good material test today.

I check again that we have packed all eight pilgrim stones ready to hand that I want to put down today and tomorrow. We put the rain covers on the backpacks and these on our back.


And do not lead me into temptation

For orientation I go to the nearby bus stop building. It's dry here. There is a map of the city, a posted scallop sign and a ride to Missen according to the sign. I have no idea where that is, but just keep your thumb out, nothing can happen.

Cars at this time in this place  in this dog weather are in short supply. The thought of hitchhiking part of the route now actually has something tempting. Although I, even if a black stretch limousine appear out of the fog as if by magic  would, of course, would not join. I would resist Confucius would pat me on the shoulder and I would go on resolutely on my way.  

Well, most likely I wouldn't get in.

Hm. But a small residual risk would remain ...

Starting point sought

First we move to the church of St.  Pelagius.  My husband asks me if I want to go to church, but I'm not in the mood for my skin right now, I want to go. Somehow I had imagined it to be different.  and  finally we will return to our starting point in the morning afternoon. Then it is safe  there is still enough time for a tour.

A woman who is no longer very fresh is sitting next to the church. I am not entirely clear why she is sitting there, but that may be mutual, because she looks at us packed hikers with astonishment and asks us where we are going today. "To Wiggensbach" we call. She looks at us doubtfully. She probably doesn't think that's a good idea. Objectively speaking, she is right, because we are at a good 800 meters and the classic Way of St. James to Wiggensbach  would lead us up to 1100 meters over the Sonneneckgrat to Rechtis and on over Buchenberg.  In the wet and hopeless starting position, that would be  certainly not without danger, because there is nothing to be seen of mountains or higher elevations around us. All noteworthy elevations are naturally cloudy when it rains. 

She recommends something to us with a neat pinch of dialect and points with her arm in one direction. We trot off.

"What did she mean?", My husband looks at me questioningly.

“There is an alternative route that is a little flatter and does not lead over the height. This is also the way for the pilgrims on bicycles. He  follows an old railway line. The Isnybähnle used to run here and connected the villages. Let's see if we can find the way. "

"Did you understand that?"

"No, but I read that before."

I had already dealt with the route beforehand and, as on my other stages, checked the tracks for it and  downloaded.  But navigating in the rain stops  Not much fun with a mobile phone either, because either the display is wet in no time or you have to put it in one of these special waterproof bags, in which the device would supposedly survive a deep sea dive.  However, these protective covers fog up as soon as a drop of water gets into them, and that happens very quickly if you only put your cell phone in a bag after the rain has already started. Even if  the touch screen  still works - it's not really practical. So I put it back in my trouser pocket and hopefully let my voice guide me.

So we wander around a bit until my husband takes over the navigation with his cell phone and finds the starting point I have chosen. Today we probably won't see many signs with scallop shells,  because we want to follow the alternative route.


Out and about in the rain

It's not pouring like buckets, but it's raining steadily. When you move, it's not cold either. After the first few hundred meters I am glad that I took the gloves with me, because although they are exposed every time I use the poles and get water from above, they keep my hands warm and, at the moment, also dry. I make a mental note: take Goretex gloves with you for crossing the Pyrenees next year.

Today we have the bike path to ourselves and can walk next to each other in a relaxed manner. That also has its advantages. We'd probably hear the bell ringing through the hoods late anyway, so that we could jump to the side in time.

So we move together through the deserted area. Not correct. Indeed, a couple of people are  been forced to go outside the door. Without exception, they are dog owners. Or the dogs were forced to go outside. You do not know exactly. You can neither read from humans nor animals who drove you to leave the cozy warm house.  In any case, you can count the number of encounters on one hand.

First I have to get used to the cut of my hood, because it also requires fine-tuning of the concealed straps. It pretty much restricts my field of vision.  But that's not bad either, because the landscape to the left and right of us is virtually non-existent. Nonexistent. Lost in the fog. However, it is not so easy to talk when you bow your head slightly  holds, eyes straight ahead and the other is not in view. 

Many autumn deciduous trees line our old railway line, I can already see that. Despite the bad weather, we try to take a few more pictures on the way that contain more than just different shades of gray.  Otherwise we find a decent running rhythm and I am grateful for the good weather protection clothing that is available these days.

  ... and I say what about breakfast at Tiffany's? ....

After about an hour I hear a noise under the four layers of onion. My stomach is rumbling. Shortly afterwards we actually find a kind of log cabin where we can sit down and eat in the dry. I'm surprised. This is already the second shelter of this kind. I usually don't know such shelters from the other stages. I just guess they were set up especially for the cyclists.

In retrospect, however, this assumption turned out to be wrong. In fact, the entire route consists of a total of 11 shelters at the former train stops on the old route. How convenient. No matter who they are waiting for, I very much welcome this idea.


I take off my gloves. They are now pretty clammy, but still keep your hands warm. I don't need the thicker jacket either. I'm still a warm onion

Usually I love long breaks and need them for my back and to relieve the strain on my feet. I was looking forward to having a leisurely lunch break later today.  But after a 10-minute break for breakfast I noticed, despite the weather protection stop, that it was too cold to sit longer. The onion cools down quickly. No wonder. Everything is wet from the waist up.

We move on quickly. In my mind I can see the skins swimming away for an extended lunch break ...

On the Rhine-Danube watershed
We're running on that  Pass the village of Hellengerst and shortly after it cross under the B 12. North of the main road, the Allgäu cycle path leads into a forest after a few hundred meters and we come to a rest area with an old railway sign and two other, more modern information boards.

Aha. We are on the European watershed Rhine - Danube  at 937.90 meters above sea level.  On the first board I am thankful to learn what a watershed is  is at all. Very briefly and simply summarized: The rainwater flows on the west side of this hill on above and below ground tributaries into the Rhine, on the east side into the Danube.

I think the board is perfect for putting down the first pilgrim stone.


On the second board we learn more about the Isnybähnle, which operated from 1906 to 1984 on the 37.5 km long route between Kempten and Isny. The place where we stand is the highest point of the piece that was driven on at the time  and at the time also the highest point in the German standard gauge network. The average slope  is 25 per thousand or 0.025 percent. In fact, the slope is so low that I have hardly noticed it since Weitnau, which is at 800 m. The section to the Allgäu cycle path has been dismantled since 1990.

Although interesting, we don't stay here any longer than necessary. Shortly afterwards we come across another information board that informs us that we are in the nature reserve  Breitenmoos are on the way and it is a typical high moor with rare flora and fauna. Look at that! I wouldn't have suspected that in the least.

After about three hours, my gloves are completely worn out. The pants had surrendered earlier, but thanks to the pants my thighs are still not cold. Everything feels dry under the rain jacket, except for the sleeve ends, where the gloves end. It's wet there too. When I got out of the car this morning it was already clear to me that willpower and perseverance would be required for today. How much of it you actually need only becomes apparent on the way.
I can feel that my shoes are slowly soaking through. Unfortunately I had missed to properly impregnate it for today. It only occurred to me yesterday that after my last "SoakingWetExperience" it would be a fantastic idea to re-impregnate the shoes. However, the existing impregnation spray was almost empty and only has  enough for about half a left shoe. I would have preferred to use that for the right shoe, because that was the foot that developed this charming blister the last time. A little annoyed I realize that  the moisture again causes friction under the foot, in about the same place. What a bummer I think. I'm running a bladder again. And that despite the double-layered sock!  Why couldn't I prevent that? At the moment it means clenching your teeth, because treating me in the open now seems pointless to me.
There they swam .... my skins ..... with the lunch break ...

Around half past one, it's time for the big lunch break. We still have enough to eat. To drink too. Only the picnic feeling doesn't really want to set in. We find a dry place at a bus stop opposite the shooting club  Schwarzerd eV  Is that coming from black earth? Does this have to do with the raised bog and the peat that used to be cut in a peat mill here? I don't really care right now.  It feels like it's gotten even colder. or  maybe we're just wetter. I leave the warm jacket in anyway. The effort of packing and unpacking for the few minutes is simply not worth it. We quickly eat our snack and not fifteen minutes later we continue because it is just too uncomfortable to rest.

Hope in mixed barley

We come to Buchenberg. What else did I read about that in my yellow booklet? Buchenberg is also known as the Allgäu's sun terrace.  I howl inside. Today the sentence should have been more like: You can Buchenberg  also enjoy as the rain terrace of the Allgäu.  Well. Go on.

In Buchenberg, the mountain and rail route variants meet and there is only one pilgrimage route that now leads us towards Ermengerst.

I would really like to have some hot tea in a warm inn. At the entrance to Ermengerst we see an inviting Italian on the left, who is open today, on Monday, on All Saints' Day, at lunchtime - of course -.

Shortly afterwards we meet an adventurous man with an umbrella who comes towards us without a dog. The first dogless today and I ask him whether there is no café or inn in Ermengerst that is open.

The "old saw" would exist. That would be the only thing. 500 meters from here, we walk past it.

When we get there, there is actually light in the saw. I'm really looking forward to it. A little fur swims towards me.  We go to the glass front door behind which we also recognize two men who are obviously busy with the bookkeeping. It's strange.

My eyes now fall on the sign on the door: Company holidays until November 11th.

And bang…. the fur swam past me….

So no hot tea here.  

Probably better that way, who knows when we would have gotten up here again.

The Ermengerster Church is almost at the end of the village. The Munich Way of St. James and the Bavarian Swabian Camino in the direction of Lindau actually connect here.
I want to see if there is a pilgrim's stamp here. And indeed. I am lucky. There are pilgrims 'temples as well as pilgrims' books and  I write in it and leave another pilgrim stone to celebrate the day.  When I come out about 15 minutes later it is  my better half almost frozen solid. The rain has gotten even stronger. If you stand still for a moment, it almost sounds like applause on my shoulders. We do not take a photo of the church because of the wetness.


 Give Peter! Enough!!!

We still have a little more than three kilometers to go to Wiggensbach. It's just after 2 p.m. We're much faster than we thought. No wonder, the breaks are also missing. The weather drives us.
  We now have clouds of breath in front of our mouths when we speak.

The last climb  up to Wiggensbach is mentally and physically the hardest part of the day for me. It goes right along the main street. At the end of the stage we are faced again with a portion of extra rain and wind. I'm exhausted. I would like that  Engage turbo gear, but it is stuck.  In the last lesson, apart from the head and upper body, if not already done before, we were both completely soaked to the skin.

I really lack any joy when I struggle up the slope to Wiggensbach and notice how a cold trickle of water reaches my tailbone for the first time  and then running down my poritze in slow motion. Unpleasant. Extremely uncomfortable.

goal achieved

Shortly after 3 p.m., much earlier than planned, we arrive in Wiggensbach, in Amselweg. Two caravels after a lost sea battle that return to the next port. At least my caravel needs an overhaul.  We had already registered with our hostel couple by phone shortly beforehand and are already expected there. They help us out of our wet clothes and take off our shoes and raincoats to dry.

The heating is turned up immediately and Marianne, the lady of the house runs off and first makes us a pot of tea.  I can no longer feel my thighs. My hands are soaked like I've been in the swimming pool all day. I'll take a look at my right foot later.

Shortly afterwards she returns with the hot tea and a piece of cheesecake. We immediately feel at home in our new kingdom and are so grateful for this good soul.

While I'm eating the cheesecake  I can’t believe we did it. Walking through the rain for six hours without stopping.  The rain jacket definitely passed the test.  The undershirt and shirt underneath are still dry, the fleece jacket only got it on the cuffs, but also only because of the glove closure.

 Unfortunately, this does not apply to my backpack cover.  It received the rating “failed”, not least because of its mesh bottom. The backpack is soaked in the bottom compartment, but also in other places. Its contents, i.e. everything that was not packed in waterproof pack sacks, and luckily that was just my insulation jacket, which I carelessly stowed away in the morning, and a pair of spare shoes in the bottom compartment (nothing ever got wet in there ...) are also wet. This is a new experience for me, because so far the backpack actually stayed dry under the poncho. Such extreme weather conditions teach you a lot about yourself and your material. In anticipation of a long pilgrimage without interruption, it is certainly good to know what is useful and what is better to do without.


We hang everything that is wet in front of the radiator. to dry.

We are so cold that we first lie under the covers to warm up. With the warmth, the spirits gradually return and we get up again. Now I have the energy to treat my foot again. The place is almost identical to the last time, a little more in the middle under the sole of the foot. A competent plaster provides relief. I really have to think about how I can avoid that in the future.

  A look out of the window tells us that it has stopped raining ...

A well-deserved dinner  

I had already ordered a table at Landgasthof Kapitel for 6 p.m. from home. The advance reservation was compulsory  been. I use the hair dryer to work on my jacket and spare shoes shortly beforehand until they are dry and comfortably warm to slip on. We borrow two umbrellas as a prophylactic measure from the Seelos family and this time go back to the center of the village with dry feet. However, I still find it cold and uncomfortable. It should be just over 0 degrees.

Even in the dark you can guess that the center of Wiggensbach is very pretty. I decide, however, that I want to see the inside of the church, the church of St. Pankratius, tomorrow morning in daylight. And I would also like to see the Ratsch-Kathl Marktbrunnen (bottom right) in the light again.


The food is very good, plentiful and tastes great, but the country inn is almost empty. The tourist season is definitely over and the corona season is slowly ringing in again. Attempt at an explanation.
When we step outside the door afterwards, it stayed dry.  We go back and let the day slowly end. Ms. Seelos will prepare breakfast for us at eight o'clock. 

While I am already falling asleep, I briefly think of Confucius. 
I had put the focus on myself and thus on the first half of the sentence of his quote, not on the expectations of others. Yes, I asked a lot of myself today. I went to my limit. Hand on heart, have I been angry?
Too much of. About the weather.
But now that I've done it, it feels good. 

Information on stage 15


My pilgrim-friendly overnight stay:

Seelos family

Amselweg 17

87487 Wiggensbach

You can find the gpx tracks for the Bavarian / Swabian, but via the Höhenweg, which we did not walk  here:

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