the tallest in the world

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This post is about a 23km walk from Silheim to Ulm. I reach the Danube and the world’s tallest church, and I cross paths with myself.

My hosts had to leave for work at seven in the morning, so I got up early and left with them. There was a veil of fog that slipped off the land as I was walking towards the forest.

grave mounds

I went and looked at a little chapel that was just outside of the forest, then I walked into the forest and reached a grave mound. It reminded me of the huge grave mounds I’d seen in China, and of the medium-sized ones I’d seen in Bulgaria and Serbia.

Only it was much smaller, and there wasn’t much to look at. The only hint an an archaeological effort was a sign that said: PREHISTORICAL GRAVE MOUND AT WITCH MOUNTAIN, SILHEIM, 800BC.

reaching the Danube

I reached Ulm in the late afternoon. Or rather: I reached Neu-Ulm, the Bavarian part of the city. It seemed to be one giant commercial zone with hypermarkets and Ikea. I went and had a plant-based nacho chilli burger at BK which I hereby recommend.

Then I reached the Danube, and my god, the river was so small! It seemed logical that the Danube would get bigger as she gathered water from tributary rivers on her way towards the Black Sea, but this was still unexpected. The Danube at Ulm didn’t look impressive or even worthy of a river cruise. She looked like any old river.

still the tallest

When I reached the Ulm Minster, I got out my camping chair and sat down. Then I looked up. The spire of the church was more than 160 meters tall. Apparently, depending on what you counted as a building, this had been the world’s tallest building for a few years after its completion in 1890. And it was still the tallest church ever.

I sat there until it got dark, then I walked further west.

crossing paths

And it was there, at a historical city gate called Ehinger Tor, that I crossed paths with myself.

Two years earlier, when I had just gotten my MS diagnosis from a neurologist in Frankfurt, I had come to Neu-Ulm to get a second opinion from a specialist. “Yep, looks like you got MS,” the specialist had told me, and I, feeling lost, had decided to walk back from his office to the downtown area.

It was then that I had walked past this very same Ehinger Tor.

And now I had come back, pulling the Caboose all the way from Turkey to here, through scorching heat and icy winters, and I wished I could tell myself, the confused dude from two years earlier, that it would be okay.


The walk from Silheim to Ulm:

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