A hike through Southern Europe: Saar Hunsrueck Steig
If you were worried about me after my last desperate post: Don't despair, I have survived (although barely....) I spent the night in the guesthouse feeling like an invalid. Every trip to the toilet was a major undertaking and totally exhausting. If this is what old age feels like I am not looking forward to it.... At least I was glad to be in a bed because I have no clue how I would have gotten in and out of a tent with a knee that can hardly be bent. In the morning things had improved. My knee felt a bit better and I even managed to limp down the stairs in order to get my breakfast and chat with my host. That night there had only been two guests and the other hiker had already departed by the time I had leisurely gotten up. I still quizzed my host about the popularity of the Saar Hunsrueck Steig and found out that the hikers had become his biggest source of income. And I must admit that this trail is indeed very beautiful, although a bit frustrating for the long distance hiker. I wanted to make miles to get South quickly but the trail meanders around and takes in every little sight that there is. Which is nice for the casual weekend hiker, but led me to make a lot of short cuts.
But first I had to go hiking again, something I did not look forward to regarding my bruised knee. But when I limped away from the guesthouse, my knee got only better. Movement seemed to help and so I decided to slowly hike on. I did not set any speed records in the next two days but I still managed 20 plus km. Getting in and out of my tent was an acrobatic act and doing my big morning business became sort of a big problem as I could hardly squat down. Soon it became apparent that my knee got better and better but that I had traded it in for another problem. Either because of the fall or my weird posture afterwards I had sort of dislocated my lumbar vertebrae again resulting in pain in my hip. This is a well known problem for me as it had happened several times before. Usually it takes several days or weeks and the vertebrae set themselves again. It just takes time and movement like hiking usually helps. But honestly: I did not feel like suffering any more. I googled the next town Mettlach and chiropractor and to my great surprise a GP with a specialisation in chiropractics turned up. A quick call confirmed that he was on duty today. I took several short cuts to get there in time and made it. It felt horrible to visit a doctor after hiking several days in hot weather without a shower and clean clothes but it could not be helped. The doctor was very friendly and even knew my Berlin chiropractor. And then a hop on the couch, a quick push and a crunching sound - and the vertrebrae was set again. It still hurt a couple of days but got better and better. So hopefully all my aches and pains will soon be gone for good.
It was a pity that I was so busy diagnosing my various aches because the trail is indeed very pretty. There were several highlights but the bend in the river Saar definitely stands out and rivals the one of the river Rhine I had seen just about a week ago. There were plenty of other hikers on the trail and I could see how my host was right. This is a very popular trail! It is incredibly well marked, avoids pavement and actually covers a lot of single file trail which I was not too happy about in my fragile state.... But I saw a lot of castles (in ruins or not), nice little river streams and of course the river Saar.
Mosel near Schengen/Perl
But all good things come to an end and this end for me was the town of Perl which marks the end of the Saar Hunsrueck Steig. It is right in the "three country corner" where Germany, France and Luxemburg border each other. I got there on a Friday afternoon and the small town of Perl resembled a traffic hell house. Everybody and their mother had come from France and Luxemburg to go shopping in Germany. You could hardly hear any German spoken and the cars in the parking lot all had French and Luxemburg license plates. All of which just proves that Germany is quite a cheap country compared to its neighbours. And conveniently every German low budget supermarket chain had a shop here in little Perl. Lidl, Aldi, Norma, Penny - all right next to each other. I bought several of my beloved dehydrated food packages, some more chocolate and then was happy to be out of that hellhouse. I crossed the bridge over the river Mosel into Luxemburg, shlepped myself up a steep slope and found myself in France where I bedded down for the night.