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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Out of the mists appeared dead frogs, a cart load of singing women and the Edelweiss.

Last nights stay in the Hotel Post, Wildsteig, was a wonderful experience of friendly hospitality, fabulous food and an overall feeling of relaxation. I had the best bowl of soup ever, wild garlic leaves  with cream and it was to die for. When we said our goodbyes, this morning, with the promise that we would return, last nights dense fog had changed into an early morning thick mist. The mist gave everywhere a quiet, eerie, almost dark dangerous underworld type of feeling as we headed in the direction of  Weis and its UNESCO, world cultural heritage site, the Weischurch. Along a small road that linked several hamlets we came upon a small dainty church, that could only seat about ten people, but never the less it was ornate, clean, full of flowers and lit candles. Amazing. We then walked along a fairly barren, moorland path, with the morning sun trying to burn away the mists and fog, until we entered a forest that would eventually bring us to the imposing church that dominates the landscape and has created a world reputation for pilgrimage and retreat with more than one million visitors each year. The large onion dome towered high above us as we entered the small hamlet, but it was only after climbing up the steps, and entering through the enormous oak carved doors that we were hit by the magnificence, the beauty, the light infused space of this Art Rocco inspired church of the "Scourged Saviour of the Wies". Songs, poems, prayers and books have been written so all I can say is that Mary and I were impressed. There was a special feeling.
We had arrived early and practically had the building to ourselves, but, on leaving almost an hour later, there were several bus loads of tourists arriving so we got the experience without the annoying clicking of cameras. We walked down the hill to the local Gasthof for coffee and hot chocolate to find that they had had another famous visitor. Photos of the Russian President, Gorbachev, when he stayed in the Gasthof, standing with a wide smile and an even bigger glass of beer. Time to leave and find the path through Trauchgau to Halblech and our final destination at Buching. Most of the way was undulating with the path constantly changing from farmland to small forests. On one open stretch of path we were intrigued to find a line, a series, of dead frogs all lying belly up in the middle of the path and the grotesque procession went for almost half a mile. Later as we entered a small forest by a mucky path we could hear singing and then from around a bend appeared a large wooden cart pulled by two enormous horses with a driver, about eight women dressed in alpine gear, and all singing away merrily. Upon reaching Truchgau the landscape dramatically changed and became totally alpine with the snow capped rocky mountains  around you on three sides. We passed several ski lifts as we walked through the group of small hamlets that would take us to our Alpenhotel in Buching. As I'm now sitting on a sun drenched balcony, looking over the snow capped mountains, watching idiots with multicoloured chutes paraglide on the thermals, I can reflect that the most outstanding memory from today's walk, for me was the abundance of brightly coloured flowers that cascaded down from the mountains and through the trees. Bright, bright yellow, deep blues and the sight of streams of beautiful small white flowers which I think were the famous Edelweiss . It matters not, this is Sound of Music country so the sight of these rivers of white, streaming out off the snow line, brought on a song. Tomorrow is our last leg of the walk and takes us past the legendary castles, down a deep ravine and a finish at Fussen. 

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