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       Pilgrimage under one hat - on the way with Sandra

     Bavarian Swabian Way of St. James  

Stage 12:  From Markt Rettenbach to Bad Grönenbach  - 24.7 km


View from the balcony door. Yesterday's wonderful view is history.  It's cloudy, overcast and raining. The road is wet. Today my red rain poncho will finally be used again. I strengthen myself with the bought breakfast, pack my things and say goodbye to Mrs. Presence. She is so friendly and helps me put on the poncho.

She also recommends that I take a shortcut right behind the house up to the edge of the forest, where I meet again on the Camino de Santiago,  which saves me a good kilometer through the city.  I'm not going to say no, especially not with the weather.

It's uncomfortable outside from step one. It rains relatively lightly, but constantly. I cross the main road directly behind the house and walk gently uphill towards the edge of the forest.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2021


      Here comes the rain again .... Falling on my head like a memory ...


Advice of the day:


Is it hot - kneipp with ice,

is it cold - it will be winter soon,

if it's wet - it's no fun!


Then I pass the Rettenbacher Kneipp facility with an integrated ice machine. Now of all times I don't need a Kneipp facility.

Today I will probably be able to practice kneipp in my shoes. I don't like eating ice cream in the rain either. And three times not at eight thirty in the morning. Then probably no ice cream for me. It's a shame, the day before yesterday I wouldn't have said no to that. You don't get such opportunities often, but always in the wrong place at the wrong time!

I think with concern that I probably won't be able to take breaks on the benches today because they'll all be totally wet and so will I. And the rain is now joined by a good wind. That’s going to be fun ...

Ambush attack

At that moment I notice that several angry young bulls are charging towards me from a distance of 50 meters from the right. They roar in anger and I freeze for a moment only to realize what is going on. Sure, my fluttering red cape upsets her. We are only separated by a measly low fence with two wire spools and I hope that there will be enough  Power is on to stop them. I don't really want to take it down, because they look like they're going to roll down every high-security wing.

I take my legs in hand and run against the wind with mine  red cape waving like a flag along the pasture. That only makes them madder, I see out of the corner of my eye how they change direction and come closer and closer with thundering hooves.  They keep yelling at me. The scenario is probably a picture for the gods, but my heart beats with fear and exertion. Finally I reach the end of the fence, leave  the cattle behind me and bring extra parameters between us. Even when I stop 200 meters away, I can still hear them raging. I have shaky knees. Bloody hell! I wasn't prepared for that at all.

I just didn't notice the animals as I passed the meadow. I hadn't seen them or thought about being an attraction. Oh great. If I pass as many male cows today as I did yesterday, I run away from cops all day. The day is now over for me.

What would the alternative be? Take off your cape? How does that work? Cow pasture ahead - Cape off? Danger over - cape on? Then I'll be soaking wet in no time and  war  the also wet thing no longer dressed anyway. And not at all in the wind. Total bullshit. So either brave with a cape or soaked without.

One thing is definitely crystal clear to me. This is the last time I'll have that red cape with me. I will definitely order a blue or olive green one.

It takes me a few minutes to recover somewhat, mentally and physically. Then I meet the next animal on my way. Fortunately, this is not aggressive.


The way is the way or the way is gone


As planned, I come back to the Camino de Santiago at the edge of the forest and follow it. It's been going well for a while, albeit slightly uphill.

Apparently, I am still mentally in the bull inferno, because next I suddenly find myself in the middle of an unmowed meadow. I was actually sure that the arrow was pointing in that direction. The grass goes up to my knee and is soaking wet. It's also going uphill. From the side, the wind puffs up my poncho, so that the rain, which is now pouring down, slaps directly onto my non-waterproof jacket underneath. My pants are soaked up to my thighs  and it feels great every time.  I can hardly see 20 meters from the rain. But what I miss right in front of me is the path.  I turn around looking. The way is gone! I have no idea if this is the right place for me. And actually no choice but to go on. I can't take my cell phone out in this weather to find my way around. 

Just before giving up


I could cry with frustration. All alone in the middle of a slope somewhere in the middle of nowhere in a terrible weather.

What the hell was I thinking?  I clench my teeth and keep trudging uphill. Every few meters I get a wet gust of wind  away. I've been on the road for about an hour now and notice that my shoes are already soaked. I'm not yet wading in the water, but my socks are wet and uncomfortable.

After fighting my way through the first meadow  I come to another, but this time mowed meadow, which I can follow up to a road. Fortunately, there is another guide for me here. At least I'm back on the Camino de Santiago.

I know that it's a little less than half the day's route to Ottobeuren. From there I could take a bus to Bad Grönenbach. So until then I would have to hold out.

I dislike the idea enormously, but survive the whole day under the conditions? Nah, I wouldn't be able to do that. Without the opportunity to take a break in the dry and wet from head to toe? Ponchos in the wind are crap. Red ponchos in the Allgäu anyway. And shoe kneipping is not going to be a new trend sport.

Walking through the forest is no fun at all today. Of course the ground is muddy. In many places even boggy, in others the water is ankle-deep in the tracks of the tractors and you hardly have the opportunity to balance around it.  If it's not wet, it's slippery on the stones or roots. Without my sticks I would be lost today.

A small ray of hope

Shortly before noon, Ottobeuren with its monastery church, which dominates the townscape, comes into view. In the meantime the rain has actually subsided and has even taken a break. As I walk towards the village, my pants are drying again and my mood is improving. When I reach the city center half an hour later, it is actually almost dry and I am becoming more optimistic again. It is a few meters further and a few steps higher to the monastery.

Hm. Look at the sky. Gray, but not that bad anymore. I have half. I can still manage the other half.

True to the motto: Worse is always possible, but never today.

So no bus. At the same time I hope that I won't regret this decision again.

But first of all, I'm looking forward to it  in the beautiful baroque church  to pick up a stamp  and then take a break. There is enough seating all around. I climb  So go up the steps and go in, but come out again without having achieved anything. Also have  no reference found inside. Maybe I should follow the sign to the monastery shop on the back of the church? But that's natural  a few extra hundred meters there and back.



No, then it just shouldn't be today.

I sit down on a bench with a view  to St. Alexander and Theodor and take my lunch break. Half an hour later, conveniently with the onset of dripping from above,  I set off again and now I also find the information board for the Way of St. James for Ottobeuren.

It actually says that you can get the pilgrim's stamp at the tourist information office.

But it was already behind me? Even if only about 150 meters.  How impractical to set up the board at this point and to point out where the St. James pilgrim has already walked past it. May not be a problem for others, but I don't like going back. Not at all today.


The challenges don't stop there

Behind Ottobeuren it goes back into the forest. And - it starts to rain again.  But at least it's not as windy as it was this morning on the slope. And there are no cows in the forest either. Always think positive.

At the hamlet of Niebers, I emerge from the forest, only to disappear into it shortly afterwards.

The next highlight of the day comes around kilometer 15.

An off-grid section takes me maybe two hundred meters on a narrow path  steeply down the mountain, secured on the valley side by a ramshackle wooden railing.  The ground is naturally wet, uneven, furrowed, interspersed with slippery stones and demands all my concentration.  The path would have been okay in the dry state, but in these conditions I have to carefully feel my way down with my sticks. It would be unpleasant to injure yourself here now. The transition into one  one and a half meter high nettle and blackberry forest that grows into the path is almost flowing.  However, I don't know whether stumbling would hurt less here.  I would really be interested to know when the last person walked this way before me. I feel like a pioneer while I knock the nettles aside. Needless to say, I haven't met a soul on the way so far. Today, however, I wouldn't even chase a dog out of the door.  I also master this piece and am very happy when I arrive on a flat road at some point.  


On this path we continue through the forest for the next three kilometers. Apart from short breaks, it remains uncomfortably wet and there are also imponderables that the storm probably left here the night before last. Twice I have to climb over two wet, old, uprooted spruce trunks that have fallen across the path. But at this point I just accept that.

  I am relieved when I finally come out of the forest near Niederdorf. Fortunately, the rain is taking a break and so I treat myself to my second day's rest on a bench at the edge of the forest. I half sit on my rain poncho with it  my almost dried bottom doesn't soak up again. I think the worst is behind me now, but I still have about 6 km to go.

Final sprint

Experience shows that the last few kilometers stretch like chewing gum. First you walk towards the railway line and the motorway and when you have managed that, you walk parallel to the main road on a bike path  straight ahead to Bad Grönenbach.

You also pass the Mammut outlet center. It's a shame, I would have liked to take a look under different circumstances.

Today it just doesn't work for me, I just want to arrive in Bad Grönenbach. In fact, I do that too. After 25 kilometers and a few squashed people, I arrive at the "Zur Tanne" guesthouse.

What a day!



Here I am welcomed very warmly by Ms. Thiel. I get a nice room with a bathroom and first of all ask for newspaper for my hiking boots. I have to get them dry by tomorrow. Fortunately there is a hair dryer for socks and Co.

I take a short rest, then I put on my sandals as usual and run into town. I have to grin, after 25 kilometers I actually hop off again voluntarily.  Strangely enough, I'm not hungry tonight. Actually, I had planned to go out to eat, but I'm not dressed warm enough, I'm shivering and it has already started to rain again. My second pair of socks is just getting wet in my sandals. And not just the socks.  No, then I don't go out to eat and just struggle up the many steps to the church for a moment.

I'm lucky and can spot a stamp right away. What surprises me, however, is that there is no sign at all, which indicates that the West and East Path will be merged again here. Or maybe I just didn't see it in my condition.


Bad Groenenbach town hall

The city center and especially the town hall is really nicely designed with flowers, but unfortunately not to be admired in the weather.

I hobble back to my pension. I've definitely had enough for today.

After a shower and a little EM soccer on TV, I'll soon lie down. I can't really explain why, but I sleep badly that night.


Though I don't dream of cops.


Observations at breakfast

Ms. Thiel's breakfast compensates for all the stresses and strains of the previous day. It is just fantastic how caring, friendly and in a good mood the landlady takes care of all of her guests. I am completely enthusiastic about this good soul and the warmth of her heart.   She finds the right words. We talk very pleasantly. I even get a book recommendation. 

The four women at the next table are also very remarkable and I can't help but listen to their conversation with the lady of the house.

I think each of them has  to carry their package, but once a year they meet in Bad Wörishofen, where they met years ago  to a kind of revival celebration  together with a larger group that is housed elsewhere. Of course, this year the gathering looks different than usual due to the coraona.

Even at breakfast  indulge in beautiful memories together, laugh together, talk about their lives, enjoy the time together. What is clearly recognizable with the four and yet so rarely observed - they appreciate each other very much. And they take good care of each other.

Ms. Thiel even received a really official pilgrimage book from the Bavarian Swabian pilgrimage community. I didn't even know that there were such books

and I am happy that I can now write in it.  

I feel very well  in this house.  On the one hand, I am sorry to learn that the hostess has to postpone her pension for another three years because of the losses last year. On the other hand, there is something reassuring for me that the fir tree will still open its gates for guests and pilgrims for a few more years.

When I leave the house, I put one

Pilgrim stone in the entrance area. I

think here is first  In good hands,

until it is lifted.


Information on stage 12


My pilgrim-friendly overnight stay:

Pension Zur Tanne

Mozartstrasse 2

87730 Bad Groenenbach

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

Kmot Karte MRettenbach BGröbach.png
Note: The first 20 minutes (1.5 km) of the tour are missing, which were not recorded.
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