Our guidebook promised that the shorter segment today would be “action packed” and it was. The first action theme was—cows, specifically, dairy cows. For a period our trail intersected with a local trail called the Milk Way which highlights to local dairy industry. There were signs, games, and plenty of cute cows that could give the adorable French cows we met on our hike through France last summer, stiff competition in a Bovine Beauty Contest.
Another key theme was the Christian faith, specifically, Catholicism. The Bavarian region is one of the few in Germany where over 50% of the population are practicing Catholics. In addition to amazing churches (pretty normal in Europe) we encountered a blessing inscribed above many doors: 20+C+M+B+23 The leading and trailing numbers (20 and 23) refer to the current year. The C, M, and B refer to the initials of the three wise men Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. We first encountered this when we lived in Germany from 1988-91 and saw this chalk inscription above our door. We puzzled over it until January 6th, the Feast of the Three Kings, when a group of local singers came by and changed the year for us. I bet if you keep an eye out for it, you will see it somewhere near you.
Another manifestation is that instead of saying good day, afternoon, or evening in German, common throughout most of the country, people will say Gruss Gott—German for greet God. Not everyone, but many.
And speaking of amazing churches, our path took us past a church with a grotto that overlooked the valley we had just walked through. The fire station nearby had a great mural of Saint Florian. In the mural he is pretty ripped, and would probably merit his own month in a firefighters calendar—at least according to Kim and Laurie.
In the early afternoon we came upon the Wieskirche, a pilgrimage site built around the legend of a farmer who had a simple wooden statue of Christ that shed tears. We didn’t see the statue, but our pictures of the church don’t do it justice.
As with yesterday, we encountered some showers that led to donning rain gear. Unlike yesterday, the path was pretty solid. We even had a long segment built out of wooden planks that gave new meaning to the term, “Walking the plank.” The forecast for tomorrow is…let’s just hope that the local weather forecasters are wrong. If not, a bus may be in our future.
Laurie’s Relive video captures a lot more of the “action” as well as some unusual car sightings.