Distance: 15 km Total climb: 330m Total Descent: 80m
The hotel offered the regular hotel breakfast buffet, with yogurt, cereals, breads, cold cuts, hard boiled eggs, juices, teas, and coffee drinks. The bus load of Chinese tourists was putting quite a dent in the larder.
A ten minute bus ride brought me back to the Stans town center, and the route runs uphill from there. It’s quite steep at first, until one reaches the shoulder of the slope, then it turns to run along at the same elevation for a ways. Gorgeous vistas of The valley, Stans, the lakes either side, and the mountains all around. One could certainly spend several days here, hiking, taking the funicular and gondola, and so on. Perhaps another year.
We climb past pastures and through orchards, following the contour line of the hillside. Yes, the Swiss have cows! Mostly Holsteins and Brown Swiss, with some Goldens occasionally. The apples are ripe and are being gathered in; the others on the ground are fermenting already, perfuming the air with the scent of cider. Haying is also in progress (rain will come soon and that’s not good for hay); every meadow either has cows or has been recently mowed, and drying hay waits for the baler.
The past few days, there has been the opportunity for a sit down restaurant lunch, near the time and place I have chosen to picnic. So today, in my continuing effort to eat enough to prevent bonking, I stopped for lunch at the aptly named Restaurant St. Jakob, in Ennetmoos. Now, you must understand that this is way out in the country by Swiss standards, and the rural folks speak only Schweizerdeutsch (Swiss German) which is not so much a dialect as a language. Standard German (Hochdeutsch) is a foreign language. As I’m waiting for a menu, I see several “blue plate special” type plates go by, so I just ask if I can have what they are having. A goodly crowd of senior citizens and workmen can’t steer you wrong. So I got a large cup of boullion with noodles, a very nice fresh salad with a house-made Parmesan dressing, and a generous plate of roast pork with brown gravy, potatoes au gratin, and green beans. With beverage, SFR 20. Very highly recommended. The restaurant is located at the St Jakob bus stop; you can take the bus here from Stans if you need to shorten your day.
A half hour after I resumed walking, the napping spot magically appeared, and a short snooze was refreshing. It is a good thing to be more alert when one comes suddenly upon a squad of Swiss army troops, who have set up a checkpoint where the route crosses a woods. Fortunately they wave me on through. I have been hearing gunfire across the valley for two days now, and military jets and helicopters frequently, so I assume these are partnof the annual fall maneuvers.
Mid-afternoon is always a deadly time for me; the energy level ebbs and the finish line is not in sight. So I was very grateful for the pilgrim snack bar one farmer had laid out. Cookies, ice cream, coffee and tea, all with an honesty box. Thank you, Family Windlin!
By 4:30 I was very glad to find my lodgings for the evening, at Bethanien, a Dominican cloister. Very modern and comfortable. I am in the pilgrim dorm room, which sleeps 5 but I seem to be the only one expected. WC and bath are across the hall. Room, dinner and breakfast for SFR 50. Dinner was quite good, served almost family style. Boullion, a lovely salad table with a choice of six varieties, and a pasta bar with four sauces. I was seated with a German woman from Munster, and we were able to carry on a decent conversation in German, although I didn’t catch many details.
Bethanien Kloster guest house, 6066 St Niklausen (OW), +41 (0)41 666 02 00 , info@kloster-Bethanien. Ch