7 Jun: Fischenthal

Distance: 10.4 km to Steg plus 3 km by train
Elev: 520m up, 438m down, net +82m

The abbey here has been renovated and re-opened by the Benedictines, after it was closed and put to secular use in the 1860’s. The restoration in the church and chapel was just beautiful.

One of the lovely, pilgrim-esque benefits of staying in the abbeys that were (and still are) pilgrim shelters, is to be able to attend Mass, and to receive pilgrim blessings, as thousands have done before us, for centuries. And so we began our day with a pilgrim blessing.

Then it was steadily uphill all morning, past lunch, with spectacular views looking east.

We passed the three-canton junction point, leaving Thurgau with its light-blue waymarking and entering Zurich with its brown marks with white letters. (Really! Who thought this up? Brown marks on brown trees? The darned things are hard enough to spot without the camouflage paint.)

We kept climbing, getting some very welcome shade occasionally, until Hörnli, at 1133m the highest point on the Swiss Jakobsweg until Einsiedeln.

Then it is steeply downhill, sometimes on sunny farm roads and sometimes on graveled forest tracks. The westerly views are breath-taking, but gravel and steep slopes are not a good combination.

And so we arrive at Steg, our planned destination for the day. But there was no room at the inn. So we took a 3-km hop by S-Bahn train to the next town. It is along the Jakobsweg and so certainly walkable. But the views are suburban and tomorrow would be a very long day, so this works well for us.

Dining. The Gasthaus dining room includes a terrace, which we took advantage of on thus warm summer evening. Rösti is one of the Swiss national dishes – this is a gussied-up hash brown. So I had the local version, which included chicken and raclette cheese. Tasty and rib-sticking!

Lodging. We are at the Gasthaus Blume, which is two blocks south of the train station on the main street. Good location and clean, modern rooms. My WC and shower are down the hall but it works out ok.


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