Sunday, May 29, 2011

A hike through Germany: Oberpfalz

Statue of St. James
Preparing my thruhike this passage has been the most difficult one. I had to connect the Frankenweg with the Goldsteig and did not know how to. In the end I decided to change from the Frankenweg to the Jurasteig and then continue on the Jakobsweg, which is one of the pilgrimage trails that eventually lead to the famous Camino and then on to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

The weather continued to be absolutely fantastic and another highlight was coming up in Oberpfalz: A visit of Ute, an old friend of mine in Weiden. The 50 km or so on the Jurasteig were nice, but uneventful. The Jakobsweg turned out to be remarkably well marked which came as a bit of a surprise as there is only one hiking guide for it and I had had a hard time finding gpx tracks for it. But pilgrimage trails are very popular and therefore well maintained even in Germany. It was amazing that most people I met on the whole trail would generally ask me whether I was on a pilgrimage trail - not whether I was hiking. The Jakobsweg provided another generous amount of pilgrimage churches, chapels and Stations of the Cross, especially since the Oberpfalz is predominately Catholic.

Old Forest road
I was a bit nervous about my stay with Ute as she has 3 kid living with her - and I have no clue whatsoever about children and how to deal with them. But things turned out great: The kids taught me everything about rabbits which they had as pets and even let me use their computer to update my blog. Ute and I spent hours talking and I even had a rest day mostly spent in front of the computer. It even turned out that I was leaving on Ute's birthday (about which she had not told me anything in advance). But this birthday led to this stage's culinary highlight: Ute's kids had baked her a cake and made a very generous amount of Tiramisu - both of which was served for breakfast! I had never tried Tiramisu for breakfast but be assured that it tastes as good in the morning as in the evening... I was very well fed and rested when I left Ute.

Ticks lurking everywhere
But unfortunately, the Oberpfalz also had a very bad surprise for me: ticks!!! I ran from one tick hotspot into another one and was picking about 100 ticks off my body - 30 of which had unfortunately already bitten me. I was getting more and more worried. In Germany ticks transmit 2 diseases: Meningitis (FSME), against which I am vaccinated and Lyme Disease (Borreliose) against which there is no vaccination. According to my internet research about 30% of German ticks are infected with Lyme Disease.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ticks would make camping tricky.
D