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Pilgrimage under one hat - on the way with Sandra

Bavarian Swabian Way of St. James  

Stage 3:  Harburg - Donauwörth

Wednesday 8th July 2020 

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Attack of the forest beasts

Weather situation: It's getting hotter


If today is over, it will be half time. With this encouraging thought, I leave the historic city center to the east over the bridge. I quickly take a few more photos of the wonderfully gently flowing Wörnitz and the castle panorama in the morning sun. I feel well prepared for the next day's stage. According to the hiking booklet, there are 13.6 km ahead of me. That sounds like a walk compared to yesterday. At least half of the route leads through a large forest area. So, very pleasant prospects awaited a maximum temperature of 27-29 degrees.

Unfortunately, the further signs from Harburg are not that obvious to me and I have to concentrate not to miss any turns. Thanks to my trusting cooperation with Komoot, it works.

On a small open hill, I am happy about the view and the wonderful weather.

Stop for a moment and take a deep breath.

Most beautiful moment of the day

Puck the pilgrim fly

After that it will soon be in the forest. It's relatively humid, or I'm walking at a decent pace, at least I'm sweating again. I don't know whether that is the sole reason or just an additional incentive, at least since the beginning of the forest, so little critters, I have called them thunderstorm flies, have not let me out of my sight. Literally. They remain my constant companions in the forest and swarm around me in a small cloud close to my head. They jump in time with my resilient movements for about 50 meters to the imaginary limit of their territory, then I am taken over by the next patrol. I press my lips together tightly, but soon I'll be sucking in the first one through my nose. Disgusting. Maybe they're following me because I still smell good, freshly washed?

It's not that sunny in the forest, actually not at all, but I still quickly pull out my sunglasses for protection and pull my hat lower over my face. But the masquerade is more appealing than that it is a deterrent. The pests are grateful for this opportunity to rest and relax on my glasses.

Puck the pilgrim fly without wings, with mini flies on the temple.

Why do I think of stupid rhymes right now? No, not a flattering comparison. Next try.

Like a wild horse without a tail, now I am ready to flee.

So continue at a gallop. Every now and then I wave my hands in front of my face in annoyance, which does nothing at all, except of course to get me out of my running rhythm, because in my hands, as always, I hold my second pair of horse legs. So I exercise for a while inside, cursing and snorting like a sniffy pony (lips are still closed) in front of me. Due to the high humidity, my walk today is much more strenuous than yesterday's. But luckily it's not that far today.

Sign reading for gifted people


Placed in a clearly visible place on a tree, a sign pointing the way hangs at the next fork in the road, which I cannot read correctly even after reading it several times. I'm spoiled for choice, straight ahead or right. My destination Donauwörth is indicated straight ahead. My app also says straight ahead. Two to zero, because my internal navigation system has just switched off. So I go straight ahead, there I definitely get to my goal.

It wasn't until a while later that I realized that I didn't go directly via Los, but rather pulled the prison card and would therefore make an unnecessary 5 km detour via Kaisheim. I had already read the passage in my pilgrim guide the day before. And they took the right fork!

Normally I would have dug out the booklet on the sign and compared the route, but since these mini monsters didn't give me a break, I stopped trying from the start. Strangely enough, the flies were joined by a horde of bloodthirsty mosquitoes that attack me as soon as I stop.

So I increase the pace again and sprint as best I can through the forest, which naturally seems endless in such situations. For brave hikers, those responsible have even set up a few benches along the way, but taking a break today really makes no sense at all. I would have needed one so badly. My drinking container has been empty for a long time and I would have liked to drink from my spare bottle in the side pocket. In addition, I have neither fitness nor desire and generally the faxes thick. And suddenly my bladder is also squeezing! But pull your pants down here in this forest? My tiny companions only dreamed of this little weakness on my part and in my mind I saw them sharpening their mouthparts with anticipation. No way! Further in the text.

Escape the forest!

Every horror comes to an end and at some point I stand at the edge of the forest next to an asphalt road. I walk a few more meters to a small intersection.

Nobody, no car on the road and suddenly a clear view through the sunglasses. My pursuers had given up at the edge of the forest and stood in wait to be able to pounce on their next victim with howls of war, which could still take days. I have no idea what was going on in this forest.

I throw off my backpack, take out a drinking bottle, banana and granola bar and then sit down on the bag, exhausted. Comfort is different, but that's all there is. Around me meadows and fields and behind me forest. So I recharge my batteries. After a half-hour break, I'm all alone again and, like a slow steam locomotive, make an unscheduled stop in Kaisheim, which I would still have liked to have done without.

Bears, hunters and plasterers  

It's around noon, the sun hits the asphalt and I discover the bear pharmacy right on the main street. Rummaged out the mask, then in to buy a pack of resistant adhesive plaster for my upper arm abrasion. Of course, due to the continuous friction and the sweat, the freshly applied plaster had said goodbye again in the morning and only hangs down by a rag. The open wound gives me additional pain in addition to all other worries in the body.

There is a bank in front of the pharmacy that I can use for direct emergencies. While I am cutting and sorting to myself, a pickup stops in the driveway next to me and a hunter gets out. Clear. Obvious. Bear pharmacy.

We start a conversation, he asks about my motives and finally explains the way around the Kaisheim prison in the direction of Donauwörth. Was there actually a prison here? That fit like a fist on the eye with my previous monopoly days.

After Kaisheim the further way is deserted again. The third day in a row. Once I see two figures in the distance in front of me. But they are immediately swallowed up by a curve and never reappear.

With aching feet, I drag myself to the outskirts of Donauwörth. Here civilization has caught up again. The final 3 km through the suburbs to the city center are excruciating. With the last mobilized reserves, a bright red head and extremely sweaty, I stand in front of my quarters at around three-thirty. My expensive plaster is already hanging listlessly from my arm again.

Out and about in Donauwörth

After checking in at the “Goldener Hirsch”, I first take a cold shower, massage my feet with deer sebum cream as always and relax on the bed for half an hour. Then I gather up my tired bones again and stomp to the tourist information office, which fortunately is open a little longer in Donauwörth.

There I get the information about my stamp that two or three other pilgrims have actually looked in in the last few days. In any case, the employee there is delighted that he is allowed to swing the stamp and that finally a few pilgrims were on their way again. Just as pleased as I am.

Donauwörth is a beautiful, touristically interesting town, but this summer it is certainly less crowded than usual. Definitely worth seeing in my eyes and I regret once again my poor physical constitution, which prevents me from doing any further explorations.


As if on call, an ice cream parlor comes along, which by its sheer presence on my way back to the “Hirschen” has a short one  Stay required. In ideal ice-cream conditions, I sit outside and the two Italian operators all alone  I feel a little sorry for the ice cream parlor. A black tea, a small ice cream, a good tip.  Everything very well deserved for everyone. Slowly my muscles relax and again I am very pleased with myself.


One more note in the margin:

No, in this case the detour that was taken did not turn out to be the better decision in retrospect. 

And a walk! A bad day!

But you grow with your challenges.

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