Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Via Jacobi - Witzweg hike and Canadian Lapel pins

First thing asked Volkmar (manager at Youth Hostel) whether he had a Pilgrim stamp for my Pilgrim Credential booklet issued by the Canadian Company of Pilgrim's. He did and I have my first of stamp! The idea is to collect these stamps as you make your way to Santiago de Compostela to demonstrate that you have completed the pilgrimage. Volkmar received a Canadian lapel pin...he seemed happy.

After that a typical day in Switzerland today...at least by my limited experience! Early this morning boarded a little red mountain train (Dawn remember the Bois d'Amont Train) which took a number of us the mountain side to a village called Heiden.

Mountain train to Heiden
From there started an 8 km hike to Walzenhausen where a boat subsequently took me back to Rorschach. It's hard to properly describe the hike except to say that it was what you imagine a Switzerland high valley ramble to be. Swiss signage was at it's finest and the path wound it's way through back roads, dense forest and often right past someone's front door steps.

Quite often all that separated me from dangerous animals like sheep, goats and cows with bells on was the simplest of fences! I both prayed and hoped for the best as I edged past them! A few pictures of the hike...

A few of the dangerous animals
Typical Swiss signage (have to be careful!)
Unfortunately there were many signs such as the one with the cartoon character in it...all in German...couldn't read a single one. If only there was an Apple app which could allow you to take a picture and receive an immediate translation! Maybe this exists...let me know if it does!

Houses on the route
Path through forest
Stairs through forest
Perfect Canada food guide lunch. Bread, Dairy (cheese), Fruit, Meat, Vegetables (tomato based sauce) and Cookie...missing food group is Chocolate
More pictures can be found by clicking on the link in the top right hand corner Camino Flickr Pictures and the Via Jacobi Walk album...note I was trigger happy today and post Camino will cull out pictures.

For the first time I also tracked my walk which turned out to be 10.4 kms instead of the intended 8 kms (due to a navigational error!) using my Bad Elf GPS device. Worked great! If you click on the top right hand corner on Camino Earth Actual Walk and go to the Witzweg hike you will be able to view this in Google Earth which gives a really good perspective on the walk (need to have downloaded Google Earth first). If you look closely at Wolfhalden you will see my boo boo.

Canadian Lapel Pins

The rest of my day was not as much fun...I was trying to find the Camino route out of Rorschach...spent about two hours (many additional kms) following some very hard to find markers. I had read that the route finding can be difficult in some cities...here's hoping Rorschach is an exception to easy!

As I was fumbling around an elderly lady stopped as she was cycling past and said something to me. At first I though she was asking me for directions duh!!! Finally she mentioned the Jakobsweg and I then knew she was trying to help me...she tried and then waved for me to follow her for a few 100 meters to where there was a Via Jacobi sign...without her help I could be in Russia by now or crying at the side of road.

I thanked her and gave her a Canadian lapel pin and she seemed happy as well! Tomorrow I will spend the better part of the day retracing steps (boring but necessary) until I am sure of how to get started properly...first day (after tomorrow) deserves a good start!


  1. Hey Guy,

    There are several "translate the text in this photo" apps you can use on the iPhone. Given that you are likely going to be places without signal you might need one that is not connected (the best ones rely on communicating to a more powerful server over the internet).

    1. Translate voice/audio to another language: The Lonely Planet Offline Translator
    2. SpeechTrans (translates text from your photos)...also works Offline

    boa viagem meu amigo!

    1. Claudio,

      Thanks for the suggestions...have sent an email to SpeechTrans asking a few questions. Lonely Planet apps seem to focus on individual languages...will consider for Spain depending on answers from SpeechTrans. For now I will likely rely on hand gestures and goodwill for the next week.


  2. Hi Guy,

    The missing commentary was that you were probably lying on the ground stomping your feet in frustration. I suppose this is a silly question, but couldn't your iPad or your Bad ELF have helped you find the start? Surely Google Maps could have helped? Or is the pilgrimage about finding your way without electronic aids?
    Greg A.

    1. Greg,

      That too! Bad Elf re rods only...no visuals...designed by a system architect (honest truth based on an earlier question I asked prior to purchasing). I only have WiFi access with my iPad...data costs are very high. In any event I don't believe anyone has mapped out the various hikes and Camino routes in any detail. Trial and error will have to be the way to go...actually like your comment about no electronic aids...that's really the reason.


  3. Actually the GPS tracks for the Jakobsweg routes through Germany and Switzerland are mapped and available online, at the German pilgrim association sites. I downloaded to my iPhone and this proved very useful.

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