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A truly wonderful day!
As usual btw you can click on any of the photos to enlarge if you wish.
CAMINO NEWS UPDATE below too! 🙂
I took my 5 Euro picnic in one of Kelheim’s parks and then began the walk first along the bank of the Danube and then up into the hills and down again to the Benedictine monastery at Weltenburg.
There are in total 2 options to reach the monastery from Kelheim:
The first is to pay around 5 euro for the passenger ferry.
The second is to walk the (approx) 8km and then pay the 1 Euro fare to take the 2 or 3 minute ferry boat over to the other side of the river where the monastery majestically strides the shoreline.
The ferry btw operates without a motor and relies solely on being attached to a wire reaching between both sides of the river and the power of the tide (in combination with a complex oaring system) to traverse at will this approx 30 metre stretch of the Danube.
The ferry boat is operated by a sun-bleached monolingual man who has no concept of providing any such sort of discount for a traveling pilgrim ( 🙂 ). I thanked the man for the journey over and paid him my coin – the imagery of the river Styx at this point wasn’t lost on me.
I proceeded to walk up into the monastery grounds…
…where the first thing I planned to do was to try one of their monastery-brewed beers. I was recommended to try the dark beer and this is what I did. It was excellent.
With a slight feeling of Dutch courage I explained to the waitress that I was a pilgrim on my way to Santiago and looking for the opportunity of a shower in the monastery building and she very kindly found out where and who I could ask. I paid for my beer and went looking for the office where I found a multilingual secretary and priest who gave me a stamp in my Pilgrim Passport, who told me that I could stay in one of the monastery rooms for free overnight if I wished (they usually charge from 50 Euro per night for non-pilgrim guests). They also explained that dinner is to be served at 6:30pm and breakfast from 7:30am; at breakfast I can then ask the staff to pack a lunch for my onward travel for the day ahead tomorrow. Result! 🙂
Mass is on for 6pm and 7am (for 20 minutes each respectfully) and although it isn’t a prerequisite for my stay, I attended the 6pm mass and will also attend morning mass. Evening mass was very interesting: it felt sublime watching a centuries old mass custom carried out by the 7 Benedictine monks present.
The beer garden at the monastery (photo taken from my bedroom window)
The direct view from my window.
My room for the night. Everything I need: I can charge up my electronics, wash my clothes, and again wash myself (I took a bath with my clothes on and they are now drying on the window radiator). One of the main issues on the way is personal hygiene and ensuring to stay clean. Staying clean prevents among other things, blisters on ones feet. I also find that when I am clean shaven that I am distinguished more as a pilgrim and less than simply a traveling bum with a stick. It doesn’t really bother me either way but for personal morale I like to keep up good appearances when I can.
Dinner was served to me at 7pm and it was delicious
I was served what appeared to be 3 massive tortellini; spinach and a tomato sauce encased within. It came with a very delicately seasoned spring garden salad.
With Saint George as patron saint and a healthy beer brewing culture at the monastery there is little surprise at their choice of insignia.
It was getting dark when I took this photo so the quality isn’t good, but my room is on the 3rd floor and the 4th or 5th one along.
Sanctus Pater Benedictus
Tomorrow morning after 7am mass and 7:30am breakfast, I will continue my journey.
Notable points coming up on my walk in the days to come are Eichstatt, Donauworth, Ulm. Once I reach Ulm its then a southerly walk down to Konstanz and the Swiss border (I should be there in a few week’s time).
!!! My CAMINO NEWS UPDATE is that I have decided to crank up the adventure level a notch and that as from this afternoon I will continue my way through Germany without using any of my Camino funds. I have my gas cooker with pot and with coffee and tea (couldn’t start the day without coffee no matter how hard I tried) but other than these luxuries I will not be using money at all until I reach Switzerland. I foresee eating a lot of restaurant bread from now on and I am looking forward to the new angle on my Camino walk which this decision will bring !!!
Wishing you all a lovely weekend!