Heidelberg 2

Thursday 15 June

A busy week, preparing for a conversation, having it, and writing a report. Very little walking so far.  I thought of going out this morning, but someone asked to use the computer in the flat so I stayed home.  After he left, it was too hot, and later there were threats of thunder.  Tomorrow evening I am talking about pilgrimage.

I heard that the 30-day Ignatian Camino walk I had hoped to do in September/October has been cancelled.  Not surprised as I knew they had not had many registrations.  Instead, I booked a week walking the first part with Ramblers, and am thinking I might continue on my own, since I have the guidebook.

I listened to a YouTube reading from Evelyn Underhill’s book on Mysticism,  There are indeed more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy.


A small turnout for my pilgrimage talk, but one of them had been to Sansepolchro and seen the picture shown in my slide in the Footsteps of St Francis talk.  We spoke about different ways of doing pilgrimage, alone or in a group, and whether my walk on Heiligenberg counted as a pilgrimage.  To the latter question, partly – the monastery ruins.  But in fact I had been reading David Jenkins about the church’s over-attention to the past (in The Calling of a Cuckoo) which led me to feel ambivalent about historical pilgrimages.


I intended to walk the “most spectacular” section of Neckarsteig, from Neckargerach to Mosbach.  However, I failed to recognize the replacement bus at Eberbach, and took a regular bus to Neuenstein instead.  After asking the way several times, I found the path, and did one of the longest sections, to Neckargerach.  Lunch by a ruined castle, then resisted the temptation to take a much shorter route to the station and walked round the edge of a side-valley.

Sunday 18 June

I had chosen two hymns from the more modern section of A&M New Standard, and had been singing the calypso Linstead Market to myself.  The organist, however, had substituted saying a psalm, perhaps because I had requested Psalm 8 on Trinity Sunday the week before.  The last hymn, “Sent forth with God’s blessing” to the tune The Ash Grove, turned out to be one where they wanted an inclusive-language version.


Mirjam, whom I met on the Camino in 2004, came to stay.  We had two good walks together, the Via Natura after taking the funicular railway up to Königstuhl and a short morning walk up through the woods along Blütenweg to Bierhelderhof.  It was good to have company, and she has invited me to stay with her in Bayern, which might fit in with another visit to Heidelberg.


This evening was the monthly meeting at the Chaplain’s flat.  I had chosen the theme “Faith in hard times” and started with a reading of Psalms 42&43.  Only one taker, but we had a good discussion.


my last long walk, up to Weissenstein, where I found a busy restaurant.


Church cleaning and barbecue.  I had been assured it was OK just to come for the latter, in the garden of the Old Catholic parish house.  Argument about whether the BBC was biased to the left or the right.

Sunday 25 June

My last service here, unless they ask me back.  Preached about Sarah and Hagar, for which several people thanked me.  A lot of newcomers and visitors including 3 priests from the Episcopal Church, one of whom asked me what Jesus meant by saying “not peace but a sword”.

After my last ice cream, tried to get up Königstuhl by a path from the shooting lodge beyond the castle.  But the path along the edge of a slope was badly eroded, and I didn’t fancy it in my church shoes.  So, through the castle grounds and back to the Old Town.


Up ridiculously early, and had packed, washed up and taken out the rubbish by 9.  No point in leaving for my train until 11, so catching up with the blog.






Thursday 1 June

I found the local Aldi supermarket just before it closed at 21:00, and grabbed a packet out of the chilled section as the shutter was lowered. It turned out to be flat cakes of potato and onion, which I fried and topped with a cheese slice. Could have been worse.


Walked to the church along a main but not very busy road, bought maps, and returned along the side of Königstuhl, one of the two mountains.  Not much over 200 m ascent, seemed a lot more, with a very long flight of steps taking me back to the valley at the end.

Paul Needle had posted a link to the Radio 4 daily service, from Diocesan Synod, so I listened to it instead of saying Evening Prayer, and Shared the link, remembering some bags I saw in a bookshop window: Twitter is not Berthold Brecht. Facebook is not Frank Kafka.

Tried Lidl, slightly closer than Aldi. Must remember that neither provides baskets, you need to pick up a trolley before entering or restrict yourself to  a handful. Good practice in resisting ice cream. But I shall have to shop again tomorrow as Whit Monday is a public holiday.

Found a book about Anglican churches in Germany up to 1945 and read the first 60 pages. This confirms my theory that Bishop Bell’s visit to Sweden in 1942 was not solely to confirm some candidates in Gothenburg, but to meet Dietrich Bonhoeffer for what turned out to be the last time, on 1 June.

I thank God for the opportunities of being part of the Diocese in Europe.


Thundery showers forecasted at three separate times, so I stayed in the flat. Finished rereading Paradise News by David Lodge.


Enjoyed my first Sunday service in Heidelberg, but was surprised that the tune to the second hymn was not Puer nobis nascitur.  Don’t take anything for granted.  Walked back over Königstuhl, a different route from Friday, avoiding the long flights of steps and passing a rural pub.


Whit Monday is a public holiday in Germany.  The. English Church is one of about 8 congregations taking part in an ecumenical service.  Very large congregation!  I took part in the intercessions, reading a short prayer in English.  Refreshments afterwards.  This reminded me of the international services in Gothenburg.  Afterwards I walked on the Philosophers’ Way, like many others young and old, but went a bit further,  crossing the river at Steinach and returning to Heidelberg by a cycle path alongside a main road.


Tried the biggest of the local supermarkets. That’s more like it!  It had started raining by the time I got home, so I didn’t go walking until the afternoon.  The first stage of Neckarsteig involved climbing up “heaven’s ladder”, a series of flights of rough stone steps.  I tried to do 100 between breathers.  Beautiful view from the terrace at the top. This is one of the two “black” stages, i.e. challenging.  Apart from a short shower in Hauptstrasse, the rain held off until I got off the tram coming home.


Stayed home in the morning waiting for a meter-reader and revising an old sermon for tomorrow.  Then did a round walk from Emmetsgrund and was delighted to discover that part of it followed the E1 long distance footpath, of which I walked two weeks’ worth many years ago.  There was even a visitors’ book to write in, so I did.