Day 1: Lindau By Boat To Rorschach, Walk To St. Gallen

Our first day, and off we go! img_0009-1We start the day at the Lindau harbor and board a boat, as pilgrims have done for centuries, to cross the lake to Rorschach.

As we leave Germany we get one last look at the lighthouse and the Bavarian Lion guarding the entrance to the harbor.

For early pilgrims this must have been an expensive and probably dangerous voyage…though their only alternative was to take the long walk around this very large lake. For us, it is an easy decision: just a quick hour and ten minute trip in a modern lake boat!

And during our passage we have an omen of good luck: we meet our first fellow peregrino! Markus left his home in Bavaria nine days ago and is determined to reach Santiago in September! Buen Camino!

Approaching the Swiss shore is as we imagined…

Stepping off onto the quay in Rorschach we look around and yes there is a way marker with the shell, leading us onto our first steps on the Way of St James in Switzerland.

Marking the WayFirst thing we do is visit St. Kolumban to get our pilgrim stamp and then head off to climb the long uphill away from the lake.

Today’s trek turned out to be tougher than expected. Shorter than most of our upcoming walks, this one nevertheless had its moments: long (long! Or so they seemed) climbs, capped off by a few miles of suburban concrete. Mark was getting close to crying uncle, and Reid wasn’t saying! Still, there were many views along the way that reminded us of why we are here.

Finally, we come to the old town of St. Gallen, whose name comes from the Irish missionary monk Gall, founder of a hermitage here around 612. Apparently Saint Gall was so renowned, and so successful as an evangelist that today he is often called the Apostle of Switzerland (though there is some contention for the title with St. Beatus, but more on him later).

Much more fun is noting the signs of the Bear everywhere we look: On flags, signs, coins and seals.

Where did this connection with the bear come from? Well, look here: St. Gall and the Bear

We find our “hotel” very near the Einsiedeln Abbey complex. Well, not a hotel exactly: our room is four floors above a pizzeria, but the view is great (and we know where we are dining tonight)! After a quick clean up we head out to admire the Abbey and Library, both of which are recognized today as World Heritage Sites, and well worth the visit:  Abbey of St Gall and Abbey Library of Saint Gall

Back to our room just in time: after a full walking day with no rain, the sky decides to open up! See you tomorrow.

One thought on “Day 1: Lindau By Boat To Rorschach, Walk To St. Gallen

  1. Great pictures and commentary, guys. I am glad you went to the library. Even the FLOORS were amazing in that they were wooden mosaic that you walked on only in felt slippers. Also, one of the most important manuscripts in the library is the catalogue. It dates from early times and confirmed that the library at one time housed previously unknown manuscripts. Those manuscripts later disappeared, but were known to exist at the time of the abbey’s hey day. Because of that, many were hunted for with renewed vigor and eventually found elsewhere in Europe. (So I was told.)


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