After a very cold night—the heating gave out halfway through, which I guess qualifies as another “authentic” sort of experience, though authentic wouldn’t have involved any heating in the first place—we trudged off along the canal again. Boring as ever. Added to this Andrew seems to have caught Zeke’s cold (we’d appreciate your efforts to pray it away!). So far I’m holding steady in good health.
About an hour and a half away from Illertissen we ducked into the town of Altenstadt as it seemed to be about church time. We were only ten minutes late—we just happened to be in the wrong town. Illertissen and Altenstadt form a two-point parish and ironically enough today’s services were held in Illertissen. In our experience, both today’s and extensively in the past two years, European churches aren’t big on websites, and even if they are they don’t list their worship times. (In Strasbourg we were told, with some surprise, that you’re supposed to see the news in the Thursday paper. Didn’t you know that?) So we supplemented our own prayers with some extra hymns and kept along, trudge trudge trudge, down the endless path. The one pleasure to offset the tedium was the weather—finally warm and sunny. For all that it really felt like fall for the first time, instead of unseasonably cold summer, probably because of the crunch and smell of the leaves underfoot and the slanting of the light through late morning and from mid-afternoon on.
Eventually we did branch off of the canal path, enjoyed some sensory-stimulation in the form of noisy cars zooming around the shoulder-less road, passed some cornfields, and finally reached the outskirts of Memmingen… which also seemed to go on forever, especially with Andrew sick and me having a mysteriously sore foot all day. Once in town we staggered around looking for a place to stay. When we finally did we went out in search of food… and that’s when the long-awaited serendipity of the day happened. The church just across the way had a modern fresco painted on it, declaring that the present-day church of St. John the Baptist used to be an Augustinian cloister. We know for certain that Luther came to Memmingen on his own pilgrimage. So, in other words, Luther slept here! It’s the first Augustinian cloister we’ve seen on our trek so far, so that was pretty cool.
Added to that, Andrew realized that the evening mass was just getting started, so we were able to partake in the church’s worship on the day of resurrection after all with our Catholic brothers and sisters. Happy ending!