Chapter 3 – My Camino continues in Bodensee …
I’ve been coming to Bodensee for almost 12 years as I started my chef training (practical) here in the Southern part of Germany at the border of Switzerland. The area is called Bodensee (in German) or Lake of Constance in English, where one of the largest lake in Europe is surrounded by Germany, Austria and Switzerland and one of the most picturesque places in the world – Grimm Brothers who lived in the next state (Essen) got lot of their inspiration from this enchanting lake and gingerbread homes that influenced his fairy tales.
If you would know the road ahead, ask someone who has traveled it – Chinese Proverb
History of Singen Hohentwiel
When I visit Bodensee every year I usually stay in a small city called Singen (in the sate of Baden-Wuerttemberg) where most of my friends live including my godchild. It’s an industrial town surrounded by many pretty villages, the Lake of Constance and unique volcanic mountains that were formed 70 million years ago and one of them is called Hohentwiel.
Hohentwiel is unique as it has a large castle on top which was built in 10th century by Duke of Swabia (Stuttgart) Burchard III and in the middle ages many royal families lived here including the family of Von Singen-Tweil and also invaded by Napoleon where he kept his army. Today Hohentwiel is the largest castle ruin in Germany.
Whether you arrive by car or train you won’t miss the sight of Hohentwiel as its huge presence will dominate as it will greet you. There is a restaurant and a winery on the mountain as grape varieties Weissburgunder (White Burgundy) Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Grauburgunder (Gray Burgundy) and Müller-Thurgau grows on the mountain. The wines are outstanding and made in small quantity as they are rare and sell out quickly.
It made only sense that I also train for my Camino here (my 2nd home) before I set sail to Spain. So I found a great hiking path that would combine all 5 volcanic mountains near Singen on a long hike including trekking to the Hegau Cross – large stone cross near one of the volcanic mountain Maegdeberg.
My friend and I hiked by all 5 mountains (Hoehntwiel, Hohenkraehen, Hohenhwen, Maegdeberg, and Hohenstoffeln) as it was enchanting going through many farms, apple orchards, wild forest sighing deer, rabbits and hawks. I will never forget this day as we sat over the ridge of one of the mountain eating our lunch and looking at the land formed by volcanos and glacier millions of years ago.
Next day I got my first Camino stamp – I am not kidding, I will talk in detail about the Camino stamp, passport and certificate on my next post. Coincidently I was in Konstanz (head of Baden-Wuerttemberg) Cathedral listing to the choir practice and as I walked past the pews I saw a sign that said Camino Stamps – it was a unique rubber stamp printed paper from Konstanz Cathedral that was for the pilgrims to take for the Camino.
This looks like a good luck sign to me – not only I did the Camino training walk in Singen for 22 km but I also earned a Camino stamp for my walk the next day in Konstanz all in serendipity for my big trip.