Over three weeks in November and December 1974 Herzog walked from Munich to Paris. This passage from his description of the walk is after he leaves a bar in Bavaria where he’s had lunch and beer:
Outside in the cold, the first cows; I am moved. There is asphalt around the dungheap, which is steaming, then two girls travelling on roller skates. A jet-black cat. Two Italians pushing a wheel together. This strong odour from the fields! Ravens flying east, the sky quite low behind them. Fields soggy and damp, forests, many people on foot. A shepherd dog streaming from the mouth. Alling, five kilometres. For the first time a fear of cars. Someone has burned illustrated papers in the field. Noises, as if church bells were ringing from spires. The fog sinks lower; a haze. I am stock-still, between the fields. Mopeds with young farmers are rattling past. Further to the right, towards the horizon, many cars because the soccer match is still in progress. I hear the ravens, but a denial is building up inside me. By all means, do not glance upwards! Let them go! Don’t look at them, don’t lift your gaze from the paper! No, don’t! Let them go, those ravens! I won’t look up there now! A glove in the field, soaking wet, and cold water lying on the tractor tracks. The teenagers on their mopeds are moving towards their deaths in synchronized motion. I think of unharvested turnips but, by God, there are no unharvested turnips around.
– Werner Herzog, Of walking in ice, 1978, tr. Marje Herzog and Alan Greenberg, 1980
It is true that Herzog’s book, and his walk, are shorter than those of Patrick Leigh Fermor (Rotterdam-Istanbul) and Nicholas Crane (Santiago de Compostela-Istanbul), but it is about the same stuff. Paul Theroux. Are there women who write in the same vein?
I read it on the train back from England yesterday, the cold of the book overlaying the wet warmth of our weather.
PV panels between Kneiding and Münzkirchen, Austria, March 2016