Amriswil, 7 January 2016
“Your body is drip-dry.
You are not made of sugar and you won’t melt in the rain.
Most of us had concerned mothers who wouldn’t let us step outside without being swathed in all manner of rain gear and thought we would surely die if we got wet.
There is no reason to stop walking just because the rain has arrived.”
(Wendy Bumgardner, walking expert)
Wife coming home this evening from Zürich, but not until late.
Preparations for tomorrow´s teaching are already done.
Morning in Landschlacht, though cloudy, offers a sky so clear that I can see Mount Säntis, 2,502 m (8,209 ft), nearly 100 km southeast distant.
Off on another adventure – the view of the Alps from railway station of Landschlacht
View from the summit of Mount Säntis
Säntis transmission tower
Because a winter´s day at present only lasts from 8 am to 5 pm, a planned walk is a short stroll, unless one is prepared to overnight somewhere.
Once again, despite imperfections in the book itself and my ability to read it, I decide to try yet another walk in Herbert Mayr´s Bodensee Süd walking guide.
(See the Epiphany of Canada Slim of this blog.)
Starting point of this day´s wanderings: Amriswil, only 11 km from my home.
Amriswil, population nearly 13,000, is not found in many of the tourist books, certainly not in the big-name guidebooks:
This is not the Fountain of Youth, but rather it is the Spoerlé Fountain in Amriswil, a stone´s throw away from the main bus/train stations.
It was built by Bruno Spoerlé to commemorate Amriswil´s 1,200-year jubilee in 1999.
Below are pictures of the stately half-timbered hotel “Zum Bären” (when a cave just won’ t do), City Hall and the old Parsonage (built in 1672, now a museum of local history):
Hans Bruhlmann (1878 – 1911), painter, was born in this town.
The beachcomber woman (1909)
One must travel to the Langmatt Museum in Baden to see his works.
Dino Larese (1914 -2001), Venice-born, a writer of poetry and prose, biographies and autobiographical essays, plays and children´s books, he was one of the largest cultural icons in this Bodensee (Lake of Constance) area.
Educated as a teacher at the Kreuzlingen Seminary (1930-1934), he taught at a primary school in Amriswil from 1936 to 1980.
Simultaneously, Larese was a programme editor for the East Switzerland Radio Company (Ostschweizerischen Radiogesellschaft) (1949 – 1962), a member of the German Academy of Children´s Literature, and Vice President of the Salzburg Children and Youth Theatres.
Larese was the founder and organizer of the Amriswil Academy Conference, of which other great literary contemporaries were members, like Thomas Mann, Martin Heidegger and Carl Orff.
In 1994 the Dino Larese Foundation, at Arbonerstrasse 2, was founded by his estate.
Larese´s best-known works were:
- Cultural Cultivation in Village, Homeland and Worldwide
- East Switzerland Encounters
- Where is Amriswil? / Memories
- The Lake of Constance: A thousand years of lierature by the lake
Larese died here and is buried just south of town in Hagenwil.
Yet, outside of the Foundation, 15 years after his death, who remembers him?
Amriswil´s only bookstore (that I could find) did not know who Dino was.
Even Google Switzerland does not acknowledge his existence.
Maybe not finding Dino remembered brings the bad weather, but by the time I walk from the station to the ice rink, set up across from City Hall next to the Bear, the occasional raindrop turns to a heavy downpour and even snow for a short spell.
Yet children happily skate and slide on the rink, ignoring the rain completely.
After a quick coffee I tell myself:
No guts, no glory.
Maybe the rain will stop.
After zigzagging through town I find myself walking beside the Heglbach (Hegl Creek) and singing “down by the old mill stream”.
I stumble across an odd sight to see outside a home.
It is the day after Epiphany so to see a Christmas tree outside in the rain is not unusual, but this tree is still decorated…
The creek leads to the Heldmüli:
…and on to the Hellmüliweiher (the Hell mill pond)…
( I am again on a pathway to Hell!)
(See On a pathway to Hell of this blog.)
…past a drowning tennis court, across roads and along pathways…
I see in the distance the Schöllenberg Lookout Tower.
It reminds me of the structures guarding the underground passages of the Morlocks in H.G. Wells’ classic The Time Machine.
I am cold and I am wet.
The Gasthof zum Hecht in the wee hamlet of Schocherswil is a welcome retreat from the rain.
One glass of hot mulled wine and a conversation with the bored waitress, serving only me, the sole customer, I again trudge on.
Again Mayr´s book fails me.
The trails were supposed to lead me to the Biessenhofer Weiher (a pond) but instead I am led through fields and backgardens towards the Oberaach station.
By now I am tired and feeling rather damp.
My ankle has a blister the size of a Swiss 5 Franc coin or an American half-dollar.
The shades of night are quickly descending upon Oberaach and street lights are slowly coming on as I gingerly limp to the platform.
Why do I like hiking so much?
My wife suggests I have a masochistic streak in my character.
I share the station shelter with a teen couple shyly getting to know one another.
The dusk, the shy couple, the drizzle, my soggy aching condition create in me a sense of unreality.
Al Stewart serenades “Time Passages” from the jukebox of my mind.
“It was late in December, the sky turned to snow.
All round the day was goin’ down slow.
Night like a river beginning to flow.
I felt the beat of my mind go
Drifting into time passages.
Years go falling in the fading light.
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight.
Well I’m not the kind to live in the past.
The years run too short and the days too fast.
The things you lean on are the things that don’t last.
Well, it’s just now and then my line gets cast into these…
There’s something back here that you left behind.
Oh, time passages…
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight.”
(Al Stewart, “Time Passages”, from the EMI album Time Passages, 1979.)