Walked Distance: 12.1km Walked Climb:100m Walked Descent: 450m. Skipped section: 8.7km Skipped Climb: 232m
The heavy weather of last night has cleared off, leaving a low-hanging puddle of cloud over the lake below, and puffy white clouds forming a backdrop to the peaks above. The views from the monastery dining room are absolutely spectacular; I wish I could stay another night here. One does not need to arrive on foot; there is a car park and also a bus stop down the hill a short ways.
The way continues downhill rather steeply (stairs are involved) until it crosses a stream. This entire section of the Jakobsweg is called the Bruder-Klaus-Weg. Brother Klaus is the Swiss national saint. There is quite a large pilgrimage site here. And here at this stream Brother Klaus settled, building a hermitage chapel and living the last 20 years of his life, dying c.1487. The current chapel was erected c.1687 (there must have been a religious fever in those years, as many of the shrines and chapels I have passed have had similar dates). Here is a contemporary wooden statue of Bruder Klaus; the Swiss do a nice job of integrating the old and the new, in many areas of their life.
Further on, down a long steep slope with many steps (to which my knee is objecting), is the town of Sachseln. Since the dark thunderheads that have been threatening all morning are now producing rain, I duck into the church for a bit of journaling. It appears Brother Klaus is buried in the altar: a full body reliquary is on display. Then it’s time for lunch, and in my continuing effort to sample some of everything that Switzerland has to offer, I sit down at the Gasthaus Zum Klaus, a four star establishment immediately adjacent the church. They have a specials sheet: steak tartare, which I have never had. So, salmon tartare it is. Excellent! Very highly recommended.
From there the route heads downhill to waters edge and follows the lakeshore. And so do I, as far as Giswil, where things start going uphill again towards the Brünnig Pass. A local train takes me to Lungern, and my lodgings at Erlebnishof Ming, which is a sleep-in-straw place.
Since the Sleep-in-Straw places are something of a tradition in Switzerland, so I felt I must try it out. This is a very clean – and very large – former milking barn, with some two dozen sleeping places. There is a deep bed of loose straw (maybe 2 ft) that is penned in by hay bales. Fortunately it was not crowded (I imagine there is quite a ruckus when they have a full house); an Austrian fellow from east of Salzburg was the only other guest. He’s going all the way to Santiago, and he’s making 30km a day. Should be done before Christmas at that rate. A toilet, laundry sink, and kitchen are also in the barn. A shower room with two stalls and a toilet is on the far side of the main house. Our host was a nice lady, the family’s grandmother, who speaks quite a bit of English. The Austrian chap not so much, so I carried on as best I could with him in German.
Erlebnishof Ming, Bruenigstrasse 49, 6078 Lungern, +41 (0)41 678 12 86 , fam.ming@erlebnishof-Ming.ch