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After getting my Pilgrim Passport stamp for Ulm yesterday at the semi-helpful Tourist Information office, I headed to McDonalds to update and work online and then went to a local Netto supermarket where for under 5 Euro I bought enough lunch to create a maxi-sandwich for my afternoon siesta:
At the Tourist Information office I picked up a semi-helpful map of the Camino path route to Konstanz and on one side was a photo of the main Camino routes in Europe. At Ulm the Camino from Regensberg meets up with the Camino path from Nurnberg btw. It was at this point (i.e. after seeing the route on paper from Prague to Santiago) when I realised how far I had to go and how relatively little I had already covered:
I have been averaging 35km per day and its basically because my rucksack has been too heavy. Every evening my legs have been killing me and I have been absolutely exhausted. In the summer when I walked the 900km from St. Jean Pied de Port to Finisterre I was averaging 50km per day. I had to make a drastic, but necessary decision and act: I had to lose some weight. The following items I considered highly important, but not completely essential:
The last item to throw away was my book on meditation which I picked up in Thailand. Was I really going to read it? No. Well, eventually maybe, but I guessed that the book’s fate might wound up similar to the yoga mat which I bought last year in Thailand; the one I didn’t use until I decided to take it with me to Thailand for the trip I had this January, only to forget it on the aeroplane and meaning that I then bought another yoga mat which I also brought back home with me and which is gathering dust almost (but fortunately not as intensively) as the forgotten mat which Emirates Airlines had the pleasure of inheriting after a long flight east. Just as I was going to also chuck the book into the bin a young chap with dreadlocks comes sauntering along the river path and a few minutes later the book was in the possession of someone who I hope will use it to its max and hopefully not at this moment using the front cover as roach material:
I immediately felt the difference in weight and what had been a few weeks of hard trekking suddenly transformed into a much more enjoyable walking experience. As a result of losing the approx 3kg weight I walked a total of 50-something kilometres yesterday and already today I have walked about 30. Ok, I did wake up at 3:30 and then begin walking at 4:30 – early start due to the noise emanating from the church in the post picture which I slept near to last night – but the weight difference now means I can improve my distance per day and also enjoy my general mood while walking.
One additional note is that in Germany I have noticed that people in general are at first very wary of a pilgrim with stick, but that after I very quickly announce “Jakobsweg!” they tend to immediately warm up and feel comfortable to talk; secure in the knowledge that they hadn’t in fact come up upon a wandering vagrant with no fixed plans I imagine. It is also very sweet how, when they hear where I began my walk from and where I’m walking to, some of the older people exclaim in a low and gruff voice: “Respect!” 🙂