Despite the physical exertions we haven’t slept more than usual on this trip—until last night, when we both slept like stones for 8½ hours, and even then it was slow going getting out of bed. We were even slower leaving the hotel, though that was because it was hard to tear ourselves away from the rapid wifi connection. (We’ve concluded that Luther could walk 42 km because he didn’t have any internet business to take care of at the end of the day.)
We were back on the Santiago trail today, which was much more interesting and pleasant than yesterday’s canal: lots of cute Bavarian villages, signs for the Friday mackerel market, and—believe it or not—sunshine. Once or twice I actually got hot. This is not to say we weren’t rained on; we were; but nothing like previously. In fact when the rain started to fall this afternoon I faced it bravely and cheerfully, perhaps aided by the fact that Anne-Sylvie had just sent us a text message reminding us that rain is also God’s creature.
We had a nice serendipitous moment in one village when we needed a water refill and all the shops were closed, so we knocked on a door and kindly Frau Pinzel filled up our bottles—even offered to flavor ’em up with syrup, one of the more curious European passions, or so it seems to us Americans—and then asked us to pray for her when we got to Rome. We will. We were also impressed with the pear tree in her front yard, heavy with fruit and trained to make a frame around a fairly massive crucifix hanging on the wall.
Another pleasant serendipity was getting a message from Bp. Matti Repo of the diocese of Tampere, Finland, telling us that his son Heikki was just nearby in Erlangen at the Martin-Luther-Bund studying German for a month. A few phone calls arranged it and Heikki joined us for dinner in Kalchreuth this evening. I’d met Heikki the first time in January, when I was in Tampere for the Lutheran-Pentecostal “proto-dialogue” sponsored by my Institute, on which Bp. Matti also serves. (Incidentally, the temperature in Tampere in January hovered around -25 C, so I have no business complaining about the rain and cold here.) Heikki and his wife produced a short film last year so Andrew and I had a good time discussing moviemaking with him, as well as matters of more direct theological import, like Lutheran-Catholic-Orthodox relations in Finland.
We’re in another little Gasthaus tonight—still lacking the gumption to even consider camping out—directly over a Metzgerei, i.e. a butcher shop. The chalk signboard noted that they have specials on heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and tongue. I wonder what’s for breakfast tomorrow.