This begins my fourth week on the Jakobsweg in Czech and Germany. I am much more alone than I expected, actually. While I rather enjoy walking, and resting, at my own pace during the day, I am really missing conversations and meeting people in the evenings.
It rained overnight and the dawn is gloomy, but things are supposed to dry out as the morning progresses, and no more rain is slated for several days.
My hosts redeemed themselves this morning, with a large breakfast including 2 eggs, 4 slices ham, two different cheeses, butter and preserves, and a basket with a half dozen different rolls. Plenty for lunch as well! And a younger woman (baker’s daughter?) and her 6 year old son gave me some conversation.
Before leaving town, I stopped by the Ensdorf Kloster, originally Benedictine but now Salesian. Not surprisingly the church was quite large, but had no pilgrim stamp.
The steep climb out of town (another Stations of the Cross, another tiny hilltop chapel) continued through logging roads surfaced with pea gravel, which is difficult walking (like a sandy beach). The forests in Germany seem to all be managed; they are not the wildly beautiful forests of the Czech Republic.
I made a midday halt in the bus shelter at Engelsheim (the clouds were threatening again) and took a snooze. There was a woman in a van there. Turns out, she is married to a Bostonian, and she is the support vehicle for a youth group from Nuremberg walking the Jakobsweg. We had a nice chat before the kids and their other adult arrived for lunch. Later in the afternoon I met three retired gentlemen out for a stroll, and we had a brief chat. This was the longest distance yet, and it really does mark the outer edge of my comfort zone. I can reliably make 3 km/hour of walking inclusive of the short breaks, and today made two midday halts totaling an hour and a half, so it was 7.5 hours door to door.
Hohenburg has a lovely row of gabled houses on the market square, and my lodgings were right in the middle. The parish church is dedicated to St Jakob and had a stamp. And my hostess, who has a bakery adjacent, made a terrific pizza!