Finally, the day arrives….
The first travel of the Camino… Switzerland… so long in the planning and preparation…. from making lists of things to take; crossing off items with a dubious weight – to – utility ratio… (we have to carry EVERYTHING we need on our backs) … we weighed every possible item right down to tooth brushes… packed only one deodorant & one tube (mini – sized) of toothpaste. I scrounged light – weight cases for my glasses… It was all about being able to enjoy the walk without feeling like a pack animal…
We tried a number of ‘trial’ packs, each time eliminating items. Once, I took the pack to the treadmill and walked 5 km at a 6% grade,… just to see how it felt. But, my real concern was for Tilly … her hip and then back was giving her problems (aches and pains) off and on … could she ( and me too) withstand the rigors of a 100km walk over a 6 day span? For the last 6 months we had seen two different doctors… a couple of physiotherapists … finally, three days before we were to leave, we went to a chiropractor who in one session eliminated the pain – at least temporarily… more we hope.
This next 6 days will tell … whether Till’s back/hips/feet and my feet also can handle the hiking. I’m hopeful. But it is not the physicality that worries me it is the mentality… do we have the will to struggle a bit, suffer a little and still find the joys of the journey. After all, we had not “trained” as hard as we might have and maybe should have. Outwardly optimistic, I harbor a few minor doubts…
After two flights, a train ride and a short 2 km walk (in total – 19 hours of continuous travel) we arrive at our first lodging – the Hotel Trompeterschlössle… 2 meters from the German border…WWII era concrete posts for a border fence still existing – there is still fencing but not chainlink or razor wire… just waist high residential fencing. Other than an empty border control building in the middle of the road you would never know you were crossing an international border. Sadly, I remember a time when the US and Canadian border was almost as easy to cross…
We are tempted to fall onto our bed and crash for the night, but decide to explore in hopes of finding the Kathedral of Konstanz our guide book said was the starting point for the Jakobsweg.…. Google, Google Maps, iPhone maps were of little use.. the Kathedral of Konstanz would not be found….. Using the map our host had given us, we managed to find The Basilika Unsere Liebe Frau Konstanz.. Only after Tilly asked the woman behind information counter if the Basilika was also known as the Kathedral of Konstanz did we confirm our starting point.
Better though, is our discovery that the opening parade for Oktoberfest is forming up right outside in front of the Kathedral.
After a brief look around we hurry out to sit, have a beer/wine and watch various traditionally dressed bands march, drum and play their way out of the Kathedral square after consuming copious amounts of the freely flowing beer.
I had always thought Oktoberfest was celebrated throughout the month of October. I/we did not know that it began the evening of the 18th of September and continued for two weeks until October 4. I like it… the Germans complete a month of beer consumption in two weeks … fast track honest debauchery.
I consider that there might be a conflict between the purpose of our journey… the walking of a sacred pilgrim path… and celebrating Oktoberfest But, it all fits. We are here to experience the pilgrims path and the culture of the region.