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Pilgrimage under one hat - on the way with Sandra


Bavarian Swabian Way of St. James  

Stage 11:  From Bad Wörishofen  to Markt Rettenbach  - 22.6 km


Wednesday, July 1st, 2021

Journal entry:

After yesterday's thunderstorm, the temperature dropped by 15 degrees overnight.  It's cloudy this morning, the air is fresh and almost too cool.  So a very good WWA *. Nevertheless, I have great respect for the stage because it is very long and  the elevation profile looks like  an unpacked 100 grams of Toblerone chocolate.  I am curious to see if I will arrive. The stage is called "difficult" by Komoot. But that was it yesterday.  In this sense: take courage, Sandra! Hat on and off we go - we'll talk again tonight!

* Starting point for hiking weather


Onion with hat


The spa gardens of  Bad Wörishofen behind me and I reach the open field, I have to pull my hat low over my face and the  Cord underneath  Tighten your chin,  otherwise it would be off my head  fly, so it winds. Today I use the onion principle for the first time. Undershirt - long-sleeved  Shirt - fleece jacket - windbreaker. So far, the bottom three layers had only messed around in my backpack and so had my jacket, except for the hour we left yesterday morning. This has the great side effect that my backpack is half empty and I am half empty  hardly feel it.


The jerk man

But maybe I'm already grown up with him.  He's already giving me the water I need through a connecting railway.  Who knows what else we have in common that invisibly grows into me on the straps and backs? In addition, a couple of dark science fiction images of the merging of artificial backpack intelligence immediately come to mind  and humans to the new species Ruckmensch, but I don't want to digress that far again and break away from this strange idea. Like a good friend in the Miss Rottenmeier tone  would now comment: More contemplation please!

It smells like vacation

Today's hike brings back memories of vacation.  It smells like Ireland. I can only roughly describe this smell, but for me it is a very liberating and pleasant one.  It always smells of Ireland to me when the sky is overcast  is and the wind is blowing. When the air smells of wet grass and damp earth and a hint of smoky peat. Well, you have to think about the peat note in southern Germany. This morning in the Lower Allgäu it smells like Ireland without peat. Or instead there is a pinch of agricultural wort.  Now and then a breath blows  Cow dung over.

As in the days before, I am alone again today in the far hall.  Wander past lush meadows full of happy cows  while the buzzards circling above me, looking for prey in the rolling fields.  I stop and watch the spectacle for a while. Like the buzzards roaming the sky, searching and free, my thoughts today revolve around one of the questions that I had pushed aside on day one, overwhelmed. Today it is easier for me to get involved, although the individual threads of the answer still seem difficult to untangle from the tangle of my life.

Just in advance in my defense - it's John's fault!

As a reminder - addressed to me, the question is: Why am I really here now? Or to put it another way: what  is my very own task that I am supposed to fulfill in this world?

Basically, a lot of people face it  this question  yes since  Centuries as a result with sometimes philosophical, religious or psychological flights of thought. I find it pretty exhausting, though  and have been the reason for this so far  me  not to deal with it.   

But one day, without my having looked for it, the question found its way to me all by itself and unexpectedly  - through a book.  My husband gave it to me  Given about two years ago because he thought he would like to give me some food for thought and also because the blurb  addressed himself. From John Strelecky: "The Cafe on the Edge of the World". This man has several gifts. One of them is being brilliant with words. I really like his style.

It's about the main character finding a little cafe in the middle of nowhere that becomes the turning point in his life. There he is confronted with three questions, the first of which: "Why are you here?" The encounters in the cafe change his attitude to life and his relationships and ultimately the journey turns into a journey to oneself.

The umbrella of life

Of course, the next question is whether the book is the right one  Gives answers. I would say - yes and no. But it does offer a good help. The answer to the question in the book is that everyone has to find out for themselves what is their own  The purpose of existence is now. And if you know this, then you can answer the question of why.

Purpose of existence. Aha. What is that again now?

The purpose of existence is called  some  The overall whole is defined as an umbrella that spans your life and  includes your five heart's desires. These are the five things you would like to see or do in your life to say about  know that your life was happy and fulfilled.

  Slowly untangle thread by thread

In order to get closer to my purpose of existence, I begin to find out for myself these heartfelt desires. That seems like a good start to me.

What is becoming more and more clear to me is that one of my heart's desires is actually a pilgrimage and, first of all, the end of the Bavarian-Swabian Way in Lindau. And that's exactly where my turn is.  


Pilgrimage as a source of strength

I feel very good with it inside, I have new experiences, meet other people, I push my physical limits. I  experience a lot more  Nature and find out how beautiful it is outside only as a jerk person on the go  be. By walking continuously you have a lot of time to deal with yourself, differently  than in overcrowded everyday life, where you like to run away from decisions or unpleasant thoughts or do not think them through to the end. Thoughts are also on the move, for example: What is good for me? , and also, who is actually no longer good for me? It's also liberating to look at it from a different perspective,  like the bird from above. I just do without the nosedive, in a certain way I also make fat prey for myself in the form of power food.

The realization in the end everyone  individual St. James' stage  So far, at least, confirms me and I am delighted when I can mentally pat myself on the shoulder:

You did it again, although in the morning you worried too much about the "obs", "if" and "if but" of this day!  Have more confidence in your abilities ”.

Play and fun area keyboard

Practically by fulfilling this first heart's desire, the second is exposing itself, which has actually existed since my youth, but was buried for years. It is the desire to write really well.  But like that  The caterpillar that pupates before it turns into a beautiful butterfly, I am still in the pupal stage of development and I am waiting for my metamorphosis, which will culminate in a first "writing height flight" at the optimal moment.

In the meantime, the doll has  real fun sitting in front of the laptop for hours, writing the texts for my stages, improving them, interspersing a handful of commas more randomly,  select the photos and design the layout of this homepage.  This is a lot more creative mode than I've been able to bring to my administrative job over the past two decades. It really amazes me how much  Satisfaction gives me something of my own  to create and implement what I really like, at a pace that I determine myself.

I want to entertain  

And the second aspect of writing that is important to me is that I want to share my experiences with other people. Without wanting to put my light under a bushel -  I am  nobody with a high inspirational writing potential, who can set off life-changing avalanches with his wise words and who can deliberately carry others away - but rather someone who writes entertainingly and informs on the side. It gives me a good feeling that people like to read my reports,  that they make you want more, that the reader can find himself again, that  grin or shake his head more often. Who knows, maybe I will even reach one or the other a little further and make you think about your heart's desires? Just make you want to do a short stretch of the Camino de Santiago  try it yourself? That would be more than a good start and worth so much.

The search for the beech

And suddenly I have a thread in my hand again. This time even a red one.  I see clearly in front of me what I have actually known for years but could never formulate: A book is on my way! Write a book  A book is inseparable from the second heart's desire, "writing for others".

I still have to be clear about the topic, whether it is of an autobiographical nature, a pilgrimage report (the title immediately comes to mind: "Pilgrim hat is good"), a few anecdotes from my time as a registrar or a fantasy novel  shall be.  I have actually already started with the latter. It's about two young, chosen moose who set out to go on confused adventures and to save the moose. There is Chapter 1, but unfortunately probably never a target audience. 

I have already been given to understand within the family that fantasy is not my thing and that I would not win over a flower pot, let alone readers, because I am too lacking in ideas.  But I'm not entirely convinced of it yet. I also have too strict critics.  

In any case, I think I need a few more stages of the Camino de Santiago before I'm sure of genre and the butterfly dares to fly.  For finding out what your heart desires and answering the other questions, of course, although one thing will certainly lead to another. And who knows which doors will open during the pilgrimage or in connection with it? I am excited.

So, there is too much thinking at once  also not healthy and, because the brain cells explode and only the porridge remains. That makes you ugly. I emerge again in reality from my personal spiritual heights.

No, it's been a long time since I stood where I watched the birds of prey. I am simple, in the middle of my thoughts, as if in a trance on the path with the yellow shell shields  followed. For the first time I understand the words "the journey is the goal" on a new level. The feet have been running automatically for the last half hour without me noticing. The first time.  

Yes, in the forest there are the robbers ...

I reach the first forest of the day. 

Right in the middle, by the wayside,  two vehicles stand behind one another. Somehow that sounds strange. But in broad daylight the absent drivers will probably not bury a corpse in the forest ...? Just in case, I take a preventive note of the license plates for  my short term memory.  Too much file number XY….

When I was on  Level of the second station wagon, the trunk suddenly jumps and the whole car wobbles dangerously in my direction.  A big, dark something barks menacingly at me from inside. Lord in Heaven! I'm scared to death! I expected zero with that. Who drives in the middle, please  Into an abandoned forest and then doesn't go for a walk with the dog, but leaves him in the car?

The next place on my route today is called Dirlewang and there is an attractive Edeka market right on the main road at the entrance to the town. The first supermarket at all, directly on the route, in four days. Nah, too early in the day for me, I don't need anything yet. My water supplies are full and so is my stomach. I have a roll with me for on the go. So, waste your chance on the extra portion of chocolate, tea or muesli bars. Inside I cry a little, but I just don't feel like strolling through the Edeka with my backpack. 

In the village itself I get into conversation with an older man who is interested in pilgrimages and who asks me about hiking guides and accommodation. And how to plan something like that. He always wanted to go himself - but he doesn't dare to go alone. I give him all the information I think is important and hope that he finds the inner thrust to set himself in motion and make his experiences.

T he farmer and the church tower of Köngetried

The next place I set foot in is called  Köngetried. Shortly after the place-name sign, it goes neatly up the mountain. So while I am winding myself up the street like a snail, a farmer sees me and comes running from his property onto the street.  Although walking would have been enough not to miss me, I won't be past his property that quickly.

He is happy to see me and is very talkative, albeit in a decent Köngetrieder dialect that sounds very idiosyncratic. He gave me a neat history lesson about the place, which unfortunately I didn't  can follow to the last detail. In any case, I understand that the church tower is called the leaning tower of the Unterallgäu because it has an incline of 2.5 degrees, which means that it protrudes about one meter to the north and half a meter to the east. In the past this was a weir system and he also explains to me how the slope came about, but I simply did not understand it.  

He is also familiar with the Camino de Santiago and shows me  Without my asking, the further way across all the villages, hamlets, farmsteads and cowsheds that are still ahead of me as far as Markt Rettendorf.  The farmer lives alone on his farm and from his behavior it is clear to me that  he's lonely and needs a family. He may be in his early 40s. But then don't let me suggest that he take part in "Bauer sucht Frau".


I ask him about the nearest bank in town.  "Bank?" "So to sit on it". He thinks about it for a moment. "At the bus stop. There is also the best view of the church tower for a photo." I thank you and push back up the mountain.


In fact, I still think so  another bank.

In front of a house that has a scallop shell on the wall and a phone number on the window.


Unfortunately the house looks abandoned today and since I don't need any accommodation here, I don't call. But I'm taking a break for the legs.  

Then go on to  Mussenhausen, where I do  meet an elderly gentleman in the garden with whom I chat. Man, what kind of company is it today? The first day without the sun and people suddenly look out of all holes.

Pit stop in Mussenhausen

The is located directly on the main street in Mussenhausen  Pilgrimage Church of St. Mary of Mount Carmel.  Church tower looks straight. Would be nice if I was inside  would discover a stamp even though I hadn't read about it anywhere. I am just pushing open the heavy church portal when a woman walks towards me there. She looks like she is local and knowledgeable. 

I ask her if there is a pilgrim's stamp in the church, but she replies that she doesn't know her way around and is only a visitor. Directly behind her, an older man in work clothes with a ladder under his arm pushes past her.  


She asks helpfully in my place  the craftsman according to the stamp who gave us  then shackled in Bavarian, we should ask in the old people's home across the street and marched past us without a greeting. 

To be on the safe side, I check it again inside, but of course I can't find anything.

I look doubtfully at the large, long building of the retirement home, which is probably run by nuns, because two are walking away from me through the garden. I can't see an entrance. The distance is too far to call  I'm torn to walk around the building and ask myself questions, but then my tiredness wins out.

If he was right, why can't a simple note put up in the church? And if not, the extra effort won't be rewarded in the end.  That may sound banal, but I would rather save myself this strength for the kilometers that lie ahead of me.

The helpful woman engages me in a long conversation in front of the church. She and her husband Waldemar have become day pilgrims due to the corona.  You live in Reutlingen and every weekend you go on a day trip to a different section of the Bavarian Swabian Way of St. James. So they gradually work their way forward. Sometimes they only walk part of the way because they always have to return to their starting point. Then there is the travel time. It is definitely two hours from Reutlingen to here in the Unterallgäu.

She is very interested in how I plan and plan my stages and where I will spend the night. These two also don't know the yellow outdoor guide that I'm showing for the second time to photograph today. She also asks me if I'm not afraid - traveling all alone as a woman. She gives me the impression that she would actually like to try it, but also doesn't dare, like the man from Dirlewang.

I realize that so far I was most afraid of the thunderstorm I ran before yesterday.  In the forest and on the road in general, I'm not afraid alone.  But I can understand that a single woman is on a pilgrimage  Fear that they might be attacked poses a great challenge. Because if the fear goes with you, it shifts the focus completely. And vinegar is  it -  with serenity, relaxation  and find balance.

Of course, I also have Sandra worries every morning. However, they are of a different nature and are more geared towards my physical constitution, the weather and the nature of the path. If I should get injured, I have my cell phone with me and a charged power bank. And the Lower Allgäu is not Alaska. 

The beautiful Unterallgäu

It goes on for me. Since I started in Oettingen, the day's stage has been the best for me today. Allgäu pure with rolling hills, beautiful views, a lot of dairy farming, cowbells, rural idyll, small villages with onion-like church towers. Sometimes I feel like in the Almigurt advertisement. I like it very much. I am totally relaxed. The sky is tearing open and the wind is playing puff games with the clouds.  


On the way, I keep finding hints at houses that are intended for pilgrims and this great idea:


Stage destination Markt Rettenbach

I am very happy when I arrive in Markt Rettenbach. Right next to the market square is the church of St. Jakobus, where I put my today's stamp into the passport. There is also an attached note on the possibility of staying overnight in the Presence house. My pilgrim accommodation today, which I have already booked in advance.

A heavy shower sets in, just as I am at church  want to leave again.  That's too hard for me, so I'd rather wait and crouch in the entrance until the rain subsides again. Around 5 p.m. I reach the Presence house on the outskirts of Markt Rettenbach and am welcomed by a very nice landlady,  their two old children's rooms on the first floor, which the children have now outgrown,  now rented to pilgrims. There is everything a pilgrim's heart desires, a refrigerator with drinks, dishes, tea maker, funny printed toilet paper, but unfortunately no breakfast. My room has a great balcony with a wonderful view. First I unpack my feet  - ouch, the bladder has enlarged a lot and does not look so healthy anymore, but it is still tight. I thank the developer of the blister plaster.


For dinner and breakfast I go to the supermarket in the village again with sandal soles and cover myself up.

All in all, that's 25 kilometers run per day.

The rest of the evening I chill on the balcony, ventilate my feet, drink tea, feed myself, write in the existing pilgrimage book and enjoy the wonderful view.

Last sentence in the diary today:  

My favourite day. Satisfied all round!

Information on stage 11

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My pilgrim-friendly overnight stay:

Hannelore presence

Kneippstrasse 4th

87733 Markt Rettenbach

You can find the gpx tracks for Bavarian / Swabian  here:

Karte Kmot BWörishofen-MRettenbach.png
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