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       Pilgrimage under one hat - on the way with Sandra

     Bavarian Swabian Way of St. James  

Stage 13:  From Bad Grönenbach  to Altusried 12.3 km

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Friday, July 3rd, 2021

Dry shoes in the morning dispel ugly foot worries

Thanks to the amount of newspaper in my hiking boots, which I swapped again before going to bed, they almost got dry overnight. There is still a few percent missing for absolute shoe rehabilitation, but it doesn't matter. The socks are like new again, just not as odorless.  My bladder is still in the same place, but it doesn't cause too many problems under the patch. However, if it gets any bigger, my biggest patch will no longer be enough to protect it.

Good prerequisites for the start.


The bad weather cleared in the night. For today, pleasant temperatures, cloudy with sunny sections and no rain are the order of the day. Yippieh!

I am leaving my accommodation  and take another look at the parish church with a blue sky, the tower of which looks pretty mini from the foot of the hill between two houses.

Before that, of course, I already examined my current connection route to the Ostweg. 

The next day's stage towards Lindau is actually described in my outdoor booklet with arrival in Wiggensbach. That's 21 kilometers. Today, however, I only run to Altusried. Not without reason, of course.


No hostel in Wiggensbach

I don't know why, but I wasn't able to book affordable accommodation for this Friday in Wiggensbach in advance. I wrote to several pensions, twice with the local tourist office  and phoned four private landlords. Unfortunately, I only received rejections. Wiggensbach seems to be a very popular holiday resort  to be in the Allgäu, which I have never heard of before.

I probably underestimated that in early July  Summer holidays are already in many federal states and are pandemic-related  many more people than usual  want to spend their vacation in beautiful Bavaria.

I could have booked a four-star wellness hotel in town, but the price did not quite meet my expectations and was also not suitable for pilgrims. 

So I rescheduled without further ado and declared Altusried to be the end of my last week's stage, because there the “Zum Bären” inn still has space for me.

A short mental stage

That shortens today's stage to 12 km, but to finish with a relaxing “strolling stage” is also something nice. I estimate just under three hours - that's nothing at all.

After the exertions of the past few days, I can hop on one leg to Altusried if necessary!

Googlemaps only says a little over two hours. They probably let particularly brisk pedestrians test the route, because an hourly average of 6 kmh with a little more than 300 meters of climb - not bad! It's almost like flying. 

"The wise man is not haughty in a high position, the common man is haughty without a high position ".

Ok loud  Confucius' quote I'm a "mean."  Person".  So in the sense of "simply knitted"  and not wise. And he is probably especially right about arrogance.

Because, what can I say, of course I underestimated the stage.

Whoever thinks the Camino de Santiago is a walk - no, it isn't

The first challenge comes in the form of a decision.  At a bank. I came across them after I left Bad Grönenbach, hiked behind the health clinics through a pretty forest and then across meadows along the edge of the forest.

The sun is shining pleasantly and I've seen a sign to a forest café twice so far, but unfortunately it is not on my route. I remember how the women at the next table  get over  Have a place near the café where you can see lots of fireflies on warm June summer nights  can watch. So about here. Firefly. They are great. Only once in my life have I been able to admire a natural, almost blue glowing chain of lights consisting of thousands of waiting worms,  who sat on a warm stone wall to attract their partners. That had been in Australia in the last millennium. A lasting impression gained from a nightly outback experience. Simply beautiful and incomparable.


Uh where have I been  

Challenge. Decision. Bank. Exactly.

There's a sign on the bench.

The Way of St. James leads straight ahead across the open field on the left side of the picture. However, a clearly recognizable path branches off to the right parallel to the edge of the forest.

This is the path recommended by the Bavarian pilgrimage community (whose downloaded gpx tracks I follow).

My little book doesn't really help me with orientation either, because I have no idea where in the description there  I am currently.

Hm. It doesn't look like anyone, or nature, is with me  Played the signpost Spin the Bottle and changed direction. So a counting rhyme is required. Ibben dibben dab and you're off. I decide to leave the signposted Camino de Santiago and use my app.

From the path at the edge of the forest, a junction soon leads into the forest. At first there is a relatively steep downhill section, but then on a wide driveway idyllically through the sun-drenched forest. After I come out of the forest, I follow the road through meadows for quite a while. Shortly before I reach the hamlet of Sommersberg, I meet at a small one  Luckily, the road junction is back on a sign with a shell. Somehow that gives me right away  a lot better feeling. Before that, I had also followed hiking trail signs, but it wasn't the same. It's funny. So I'm all the happier to be back on the signposted Camino.

I am faced with the next dilemma almost seamlessly. The yellow pilgrim's booklet writes that I should descend steeply to the forest behind Sommersberg and south to the Maierhof.  However, my Komootapp leads me in a wide dangling down a tar road towards Maierhof.  

Without a counting rhyme, I decide again for the app and thus for the detour over the tar road.  

The hamlet of Sommersberg consists of two handfuls of buildings, including stables.

In front of a house to the left of the street, a large dog lies under a tree and watches me carefully as I get closer.  I think it would be clever not to provoke him and voluntarily dodge far to the right, but I already know what it will lead to. When I reach his territory, the dog shoots at me and barks at me with all his might. Fortunately, he is on the chain that rudely pulls him back when he reaches the end. I hope once again that the aid will hold up against animal resentment, this time not a fence, but a chain.

Nobody goes by here that often, so I am glad that the dog is not allowed to defend his home and property freely. But it's not half as bad as the encounter in the bull pasture the day before yesterday. I don't need to fish my heart out of my pants. A successful attack just needs a moment of surprise.

E-bikers ahead  

Shortly before the Maierhof, the Way of St. James turns sharply to the right of the road and remains a harmless road until the beginning of the forest.  Then it narrows to  Path that can no longer be used by motor vehicles. From there it goes in more or less steep passages through the forest down to the Iller.

The highlight of the day is waiting here:

the steel girder blue suspension bridge over the Iller.

"Surefootedness required", I had read somewhere about this section.

I am just about to follow the path down to the forest when a pair of e-bikes in their late fifties, they are a bit stronger, overtakes me and stops me at the fork. They don't look extremely athletic.  

I hear in the same breath as the woman says to her husband:

“We'll just try it”.

Personally, I think that's brave now.

And bang,  the two rushed past me. 


If they can do it with the bike, I think I can do it easily, and without an electric drive, I don't trot so quickly afterwards.  At the first descent in the forest, the one with walnut-sized pebbles  is covered, I wonder how they managed it. Respect. Shortly afterwards the next agility exercise comes - an airy narrow bridge  over a trickle that you have to overcome - and which flows into the third balance test on the other side. A short stretch of narrow, uneven path awaits here, a slope on the left and a slope on the right.   Uijuijuih ... who  loses brakes here and makes a descent down the steep slope….

I'm happy again that I have my sticks with me. All in all, the descent to the Iller is not as steep as I expected. Only the last 50 meters are a bit more extreme, but also well secured by a railing. Before the last part, I have a good view of the bridge and the river and can also see on the other side of the bank that the e-bikers are taking a rest there. 


A practical suspension bridge


I take a few photos from above and then climb up  down to the bridge. Somewhere on the way downhill to the river I have the county  Leave Unterallgäu and enter the Oberallgäu district.

The bridge is a nicer color than the water.  On the bank of the brown Iller I join the daring and speak to them.

They freely admit that they pushed the wheels on the two steep passages. That calms me down a little. They live nearby and have a yard.  Spontaneously they decided to go on a day trip today in this great weather. Great! It's great that this is possible. I think that's the exception rather than the rule.

It is now twelve o'clock and in the  got really warm again. Still pleasant in light wind.  Optimal flying weather. Even today I was able to observe many birds of prey on the section up to this point. The man explains to me that these are mainly sparrowhawks and kites. However, I have no clue how to tell them apart.

I decide to rest here in this idyll and first apply some sunscreen, especially on the inside of my arms.

There is an information board next to the bridge. I am learning that there was a ferry connection across the Iller until 2001 and that the bridge was only built in 2007 (I assume you had to swim over in the six years in between).

The Swabian Jakobusweg has only found a shorter and more attractive route thanks to the new connection in the last 14 years. 

End of the walk in Altusried

  I am firmly convinced that the rest will really be a walk and that the roofs of Altusried will appear shortly after the bridge. At least in the distance.

But something else just shows up. A little Confucius appears before my inner eye and raises his index finger in warning. Yes / Yes. It's okay, I know.

That what I have just descended on the other side of the Iller, I am now going up again on this side through the next forest. I fight my way up a path that resembles a dried-out stream bed, full of stones and wood, branches and furrows. Not bad, but uncomfortable to walk and exhausting.  Once at the top, I peer over the meadows. But now it should finally be visible, right?

Still no trace of Altusried. In total, I continue to walk behind the suspension bridge for over an hour until I arrive in Altusried.

I thought half the distance equals half the effort. But again thought wrong.  In fact, I'm just as exhausted as on the other days. That up and down really got to me. When I imagine that I would have to walk another nine kilometers to Wiggensbach and at least manage one major climb…. Nah, I don't think I want to imagine it exactly.  


The tired she-bear finds her cave

The universe apparently already knew that and gently gave me to understand that Altusried was probably the better choice for me.

I check in at the “Zum Bären” inn, located directly on the main road, and first stretch out all four of me like a bear. I was on the road for four and a half hours. Well, there was a long break. But 2 hours 20 minutes for the average consumer? I think it's a rumor.

I think it would be better for the reservoir under my skin bladder if I now take a longer break so that it can drain away again soon.

In the center of Altusried's market square there is a market fountain surrounded by a few smaller shops.  A few steps further along the main street I even find an ice cream parlor and treat myself to a delicious ice cream to celebrate my arrival. The first one this week.

Then I get my (for the time being) last pilgrim's stamp in Altusried in the parish church  St. Blaise and Alexander.

There I leave my last pilgrim stone.




The bus stop is less than a hundred meters from my accommodation. I'll drive home from here in the morning.

Before the bus ride, I get a very generous breakfast, which at least four people would have been full of. In the bear you are hungry as a bear. Logical.

It was a very demanding week, both physically and mentally.  I think I've come a little further with myself and my W-questions. Not all the answers have been given yet, but I am on the right track. And that is, as is well known, the goal. Everything else will be found. I have faith in that.

I am already looking forward to my next section, which will lead me to Lindau on Lake Constance.

Until then: 

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Information on stage 13


My pilgrim-friendly overnight stay:

Gasthof Zum Bären

Main street 20th

87452 Altusried, Germany

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

Kmot Karte BGrönenbach Altusried 2.png
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