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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Large Cathedrals, a tiny church and awesome views.

After a very substantial breakfast we left the Hotel Seefelderhof and walked up through the Herrnstrasse to the famous Cathedral of Mary, the Marienmuenster. This is the most famous of all churches in Bavaria, and after being mesmerised by its beautiful architecture and frescos, I can understand why. You could stand, transfixed, all day and admire the beauty of the intricate paintings. The ceiling is quite simply stunning. Well Mary did what Mary always does, and lit a candle, then we headed back to the trail where a statue of St James was showing us the way. The first section of today's walk was along pleasant country paths and then it wound its way through fields, always passing dainty, beautiful hamlets that are too small to be included on the map. We walked on lovely lanes and at one point were directed to cross over several fields. After about an hour of walking in the bright morning sunshine we entered into the first of today's forest sections. The path under foot changed dramatically with exposed, wet tree roots and wet stones making progress slow as we climbed out of the valley towards the tree covered ridge. On the climb up we passed several religious grottos but imagine our surprise when we discovered a very small church at the top. It could only hold about twelve people but there were fresh flowers and lit candles. When we left there was another lit candle. Outside they even had a summer seat where you could enjoy the magnificent mountain views. The path then followed the ridge before dropping down into agricultural land that spread out in front of you. It felt like walking through a landscape painting by one of the old masters. The second of today's forest climbs was hard and at times brutal but as we emerged from it the Camino society had placed a bench for you to take in the beauty of the view. The snow covered mountain peaks of the  Zugspitze rose up in the distance as Mary and I watched several eagles hover above. What a place to enjoy a drink and our packed lunch. After the forest climb we were again on the rolling plains and it suddenly struck us what had been different about today's walk. The lack of modern day societies noise, there was no noise pollution. We had been enjoying the beauty of the sounds of nature without any interference from man. The last climb to Wessobrunn was one of those gradual gradients that lasted an hour and drains you of strength and energy so it was a tired couple of walkers who reached a sign proclaiming Santiago 2605 kilometres. That's for someone else, our wonderful day was finished.

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