12 Sep 15: Brienz

Distance: 13.1 km Total climb: 390m Total descent: 540m

I must say, I can heartily recommend sleeping on straw: ten hours of the best sleep so far this trip! Although I may be picking out bits of straw from my clothes for a few days yet. 

Breakfast in the farmhouse was yogurt with muesli, fresh bread with butter, local cheese and homemade preserves. Quite the fuel for today’s adventure, which involves climbing across the Brünnig Pass. Since Lungern is halfway up, this is not as bad as it might be. 

It’s the old road, due to constraints of topography . Although we climb separately, the train, the highway, and the footpath all converge in very tight quarters at the top. Along the way I pass some archeology work: they are excavating down to the original roadbed stones. I don’t know if the Romans came through here, but certainly the Swiss have been using this pass for a thousand years or more. 

I made Brünnig in 2-1/2 hours, in good order. The climb up, while not gentle, is well constructed and flattens out frequently. A roadside gasthaus offered a good lunch: Rösti, bratwurst with the ubiquitous brown onion sauce, and a beer. Rösti is the Swiss national dish; we might call it gussied-up hash browns. The ringside seat (we were quite literally roadside) on all of Europe’s new motor toys was free. There was a motorcycle club. There was a Porsche club. There were campers and RVs. A sunny Saturday afternoon and everyone hit the road.

However, Brünnig is not the top of the pass; there is still climbing to be done, another 100m up or so. Then the descent begins, and it is treacherously steep- so much so that informal switchbacks have worn their way into the track. This is a tree root by tree root, white knuckle affair for a solid hour before the slope eases up some. In bad weather, I imagine people die up there. 

Fortunately this trial eventually comes to an end, and the route flattens out for the next two hours, through the picturesque town of Brienzweiler. 

And on to Briënz, where I am staying for the night at a nice B&B Haus Trauffer. Directly on the Jakobsweg, in a large and nicely furnished private home. Three double rooms share a bath and a reading area. Since I had a substantial lunch, dinner will be a simpler bread and cheese (no restaurant close by).

As I walk each day, I often sing. Here is today’s earworm:  In Wisdom’s Pleasant Ways  


Hotel Silvana, Passhöhe 1007, 3860 Brünig


Haus Trauffer, Rothornstrasse 11, 3855 Brienz, +41 (0)33 952 22 30 , Cristina.trauffer@traufferag.ch


2 responses to “12 Sep 15: Brienz

  1. It is wonderful to be sharing your Jakobsveg travels once again! You are a wonderful photographer and a keen observer of your surroundings. Reading your daily updates is a great pleasure. Inspired in no small way by your adventures, Kay, Betsy (also on the Elbe River trip where we met you) and I have decided to do the Way from the French Pyrenees to Santiago next fall with a church sponsored pilgrimage. We are not as brave as you (but also not as young) so going it alone as you have been doing is not very inviting to us. However, we are with you in spirit and will greatly enjoy following your intrepid journey. Thanks for keeping me on your list of blog recipients. Kay & I will be in Brazil (in the Pantanal area) for most of October, but I will try to catch up with you whenever I have a WiFi connection which may not happen often. Travel safe and bravely. Lois Gray

  2. Absolutely gorgeous scenery! i’m so glad the weather is cooperating.

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