Sunday, 4 August 2013

Via Jacobi (August 1, 2013) - Day 1 Rorschach to Schwellbrunn

Started the day bright and early at just after 7:00 as I knew I had a long day ahead of me. I expected it would be in the 32 km range....little did I know what was ahead of me!

Proof that I was there at the start
Today was a day of many firsts. Obviously my first day on the Camino so I was really pumped and ready to go. It was 24 degrees at 7:00 this might have reached 30 degrees plus for sure this afternoon.

It was a tough long 8.5 hour day (Marc consistent with some of Rockies hike...not from an elevation point but simply long) which included all of 20 minutes for lunch in St. Gallen...but was it very good...quiche with broccoli!

In all my trusty Bad Elf device indicated I did 39.5 kms...which is consistent with a 5 km pace...not sure about the distance. I got lost a few times in St. Gallen and especially Herisau (where it turns out the signs were reversed...I kid you not)

This was not the start I expected (27 kms in my planning)...if all other days go like this I will turn my 2,400 km dream into something approaching 3,500 kms. Not possible! Tomorrow should be much easier!

Overall a real mixture of incredible scenery and not too spectacular walking through cities.

Took Barb's advice and decided to smell the is proof...well almost!

I heard my first Buen Camino in St. Gallen from a lady in an outdoor cafe. At that point I was not impressed about the signage...did not think of handing out a Canadian lapel pin...she deserved one!

I had my first Coke in many a was a Swiss national holiday...oops on my part so basically nothing was open. I was drinking water like crazy but the effort was tough and for some reason I craved something like Coke. Going forward I think I will likely need to supplement my water intake with some type of electrolyte sports drink.

I had my first "Am I going to be lost forever" in a few places where the signage was a little sparse...however I trusted and I was going in the right direction.

I saw my first Camino arrow in Herisau

First Camino arrow
Saw my first mountains

I persisted and finally reached Schwellbrunn where I used my international cell phone for the first time...well I didn't really know how to use the phone (hate instructions) and I also did not understand how to phone using the country code. I had done research however it wasn't on the mark!

Finally I got phone conversation went something like this...Hi I am at the church...Do you speak English? What a stupid question...of course the answer is something like nein. So then I said Jakobsweg,  church, pilgrim...and Katherine said something promising ( don't know what) and hung up.

I was staying at Christian and Katherine Kollar's Sleep in Straw farm...about 4 kms from where I was.

So I waited and by this time had decided that if they did not come I was prepared to take a taxi to Barcelona (where I fly from) and fake it in future blogs. Or I was prepared to die right there on the church bench. Just then the church bells rang for what must have been 5 minutes at least. It was really a cool sound however I was worried that I might have set out some secret alarm or something!

My girls....especially Claire...tell me consistently that I look terrible. Well I looked worse then that and I thought that if someone was picking me up they might just refuse and drive right past me!

View from church bench

Well Christian Koller did come and while we can't converse I am sure he realizes how thankful I was. I was in awe on the drive in with the scenery! It turns out I am the only one here therefore have the choice of a bed or straw...hmm!

View from my writing spot

After a shower, washing clothes, my first Swiss beer. Turns out I am the only guest for tonight! Evening meal was really filling...and a bit lonely/weird as Katherine, Christian and I think their 3 children who drove in for supper patiently waited until I was finished first. My queue for leaving was when Katherine asked me about breakfast which I think was settled as 7:00 tomorrow.

Makes sense though as I would certainly not be able to add anything to the family conversation!

First came the salad and then the Evening meal - potatoes and white sausage which I loved!

Not sure how the rest of the trip will go however it likely won't be better than what I have right now! Come to think about it that's how things should always be!

All info points to a low 20's km day tomorrow which is good as I think my feet may not be too happy!

Have a look at additional pictures at the Flickr link or the Google Earth link if interested...on to tomorrow where I have a B&B treat.

Future Pilgrims

If you are planning on stopping anywhere Schwellbrunn consider Christian and Katherine's sleep in straw farm. I was treated extremely well and they have great facilities. All in all for a sound night's sleep, great breakfast/dinner, a beer, and including driving pickup to and from church in Schwellbrunn the cost was 42.5. Swiss Francs. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Guy,

    We have been in Quebec for a week and even though I speak a bit of Franscais, I can relate to your language dilemma. I ordered a seat of gaffers avec fruites (waffle plate with fruit). I am sure the waitress was laughing all the way to the back.

    Greg A