We awoke to a Zapfendorf morning in our tired little Gasthof and enjoyed another typical German breakfast—bread, ham, cheese, jelly, and this time a bonus boiled egg apiece—before hitting the road again. I felt more energetic than I had in some days though Andrew was dragging more than usual, and Anne-Sylvie was feeling a bit mournful that today was her last day of pilgrimage with us (for that matter, we were feeling mournful about it too).
It was mostly countryside today, chickens and cows (and slugs), and we couldn’t help but notice the very public piety of Bavaria with lots of niches in houses with Marys, usually as Queen of Heaven, or roadside cross shrines, or paintings of St. Florian, patron saint of firefighters, on the walls of the Freiwillige Feuerwehr in every town. The rain didn’t start till about noon, but after not too long we managed to find a shelter and had our little lunch before continuing on again into, you guessed it, more rain. Incidentally, if you should feel like praying for less rain to fall on Bavaria, it would certainly benefit the farmers and people being driven out of their homes by the flooding even more than us. The little creeks were all fearsomely gushing with chocolate-milk colored water; we passed an old mill with a waterwheel spinning at high speed.
Up and over a few more hills brought us to the outskirts of Bamberg. It’s kind of amazing how the outskirts of a town in Germany look pretty much like the outskirts of a town in America—the same spread-out industry, badly used commercial space, run-down residences, railroad tracks, parking garages. Bamberg promises to be cute (though not necessarily cuter than Strasbourg; we’ll see tomorrow) but ready to be through for the day and even more ready to see our son Zeke again, we found the bus center and identified the #918 to the charmingly named hamlet of Bug. After a very happy reunion with Zeke and with Andrew’s parents too, we all enjoyed that age-old Bavaria-Thailand connection by having a spicy Thai dinner under a ceiling lined with antlers and signs proclaiming the local beer. The massive elk-sized rosary hanging from one set of antlers opposite a Thai Buddha was a particularly jarring sight—but the food was good.
We’re looking forward to our first rest day tomorrow, the reward for making it through our first week safe and sound, if a bit damp.