19 May: Stetten

Distance: 12 km
Elev: 70m up, 40m down, +30m net

There was a large party in the hotel in Giengen yesterday – they were going when I arrived mid afternoon and still going strong when I finished dinner. I took this to be a wedding. So at 4:45 this morning there was a big male chorus going down in the street below, that was finally answered (took several verses!) by a single female voice. Then we could all go back to sleep.

It was a steep climb ip the the ridge overlooking Giengen: lots of concrete steps and steel hand railings. This would be tricky going in the rain. At the top, we break out onto a plateau, with suburbs spread out behind and small farms ahead. It’s Sunday morning, and I have passed lots of walkers, and cyclists, and families with dogs, and one inline skater with Nordic poles. All this companionship on the route is quite unusual for me; two cyclists passed me at lunch a couple days ago, but that’s it. As the two-week Pfingsten holiday starts today, perhaps I will see more.

This is Baden-Wurtemburg, so we are back to “Guten Morgen” rather than the Bavarian “Gruß Gott”. As I stop on a bench for my canonical hourly break, an older couple and their beagle come by. Turns out, their dog and my dog share the same name. So we chatted a bit, trading stories of Jakobsweg walks. They told me about a “miniature Jakobsweg” that I would find soon. And sure enough, outside Hürben, there it was: a 4km Rundweg (circuit trail) that simulated the walk from Giengen to Santiago. These photos show the sections from Giegen to Konstanz, and then into Switzerland, that I plan for this trip. You can enlarge by clicking on them.

The start of the Rundweg is a tourist attraction: think of Gatlinburg doing the pilgrimage route. Full parking lot (this is a popular Sunday family outing), children’s play area, fast food window (chicken nuggets and fries). But – they had restrooms!

After I escaped the madding crowd, the route crossed the valley and went wandering up a forested hillside. Finally I came out at Stetten, with some trepidation. The next town with lodging, Nerenstetten, would have made a 22.5 km walk. But of the two lodgings listed, one was not showing on Google and I didn’t have email connectivity to see whether the other had responded to my reservation request. The weather forecast was for a squall line moving through, and with black clouds moving in I didn’t want to be caught in it. So I forged ahead. First, I see the Adler, closed up tighter than a drum, chain across the parking lit – no wonder it wasn’t showing up on Google. The church was right next door though, so I went in. There is a beautiful Baroque altarpiece – to St Michael I think.

And behind, in a relic vault, a black Madonna!

These are very rare; but Wiki tells a good tale about them.

I check the street address for the other lodging, find the right street, and start hoofing uphill, watching street numbers as I go. I get to the end of the street, and all I see is an old schoolhouse, decrepit and closed up. I’m beginning to think I will have to go sleep in the church. Then I spot a few cars, and some more cars, and the gasthaus is open and found! Rarely have I been more grateful.

Dining. Stylish and modern, very popular dining room. I had a big lunch of Maultaschen, the German ravioli, and the salad bar. For dinner, not that long after, some soup followed by ice cream. Very nice menu of Schwabian dishes.

Lodging. This Gasthaus-Hotel Zum Mohren is just super! Modern, upscale, very friendly and helpful staff. The first single room to offer me a wide mattress (the others have been narrower than a standard American Twin). Free wifi. Very highly recommended; worth making a detour for. One block off the Jakobsweg route.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


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