St Gallenkappel to Rapperswil, 14Km
This is my last day of walking. My plans were always a little vague except I never intended to go all the way to Le Puy-en-Velay this year but hopefully I’ll return next year to finish it. At one point I thought I’d finish at the Swiss border, to complete the long walk across Austria but about a week ago I decided to aim for Rapperswil because it’s on the Camino which starts in Konstanz. That gives me the option to walk from Konstanz next year which I think is more popular among pilgrims. I’ve also had generous offers of accommodation from Swiss friends I’ve made on previous walks so hopefully that will be possible next year.
It’s been a strange day. I set off at 7.10 on what was intentionally a short day, negotiated my way through one last herd of cattle and then took my revenge in McDonalds. There was little of interest on the way. I’m still struggling with traffic driving on the right and bicycles actually using cycle lanes which they tend not to do in Britain. Anyway I arrived safely in Rapperswil and took the paddle steamer to Zurich to mop up time.
I’m now at Zurich airport. I wanted to give up flying but what can you do when the British trains are on strike and BA charged me just 50 pence and some of their air miles for a one way ticket with dinner and all the beer I can drink? And the plane practically lands in my garden. I’ll be home in bed while the last few passengers are still disembarking.
It’s been an incredible experience, to walk across Austria. The landscape was spectacular, both along the Danube and then in the mountains. The accommodation was mostly excellent and the food rather good. It was a chance to reflect on the country’s history in empire and war and the rich culture in classical music (shame they couldn’t continue that tradition into the modern age and the negligible Austropop genre). And there were those great movies, The Third Man in Post War Vienna, The Sound of Music made in 1960s Salzburg and perhaps Chalet Girl but I’ve not seen that one.
Thank you for following these ramblings of mine and I really do appreciate every single comment, particularly on what has been a very lonely journey this time. It’s a privilege to walk across Europe because it’s not an option for many people today, nor was it in the past. And who knows what the world will be like next year.