Breisacher Ruderverein e. V.


Poetry is that which is lost in translation[1]. I have lived for some 40 years in some form of translation, so when I was offered the chance to write this report on the “Wanderfahrt” in English, I was only too happy to accept. Several colleagues offered to translate my text, but I hope that I was not rude in the way I turned down these offers. I want to offer all who read it the chance to make their own translation for their own needs.

Even if you do not understand the English language, just read it out loud and let the words work on you.

There are a number of words from German which have found their way into English. Possibly the most prominent is “Kindergarten”. Another is Frankfurter[2]. Beloved of theologians is the wonderful prefix “ur” as in Urquelle or Urtext[3]. We may well have to add “Wanderfahrt” to this small list. Despite trying different dictionaries and web-sites I haven’t been able to find an English equivalent.

There is of course the English “wander” but with its soft liquid w it has a very different feeling to the hard w of German.  Just listen to the carol “I wonder as I wander”[4], or that iconic poem of the English romantics “I wandered lonely as a cloud”[5]. To wander has something very light or ephemeral about it, soft and delicate, and indeterminate. Can this be said about a “Wanderfahrt”?

I will attempt to approach the essence of “Wanderfahrt” in different ways which may bring us closer what it means or is. In doing this I will reflect on our common experience of the “Wanderfahrt” of the ARC and BRV in September 2018.

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