15 Sep 15: Amsoldigen 

Distance: 13.5km +2km +2km Total Climb: 300m Total descent: 250m

A great storm passed though last night, with much rain and wind. But the morning dawns quietly, with broken clouds and a light breeze. Thirty minutes’ walking through the byways of exurban Spiez and I am once again on the pilgrim route.

Speaking of which, I must say that the way-markings for the route in Switzerland are the best of anywhere I have walked in Europe. The Jakobsweg in Switzerland is called the Via Jacobi, and it is numbered as Route 4 of the 6 transnational hiking routes. So at major trail junctions there will be a vivid green pointer with a big 4. At minor junctions there will be a yellow pointer, often with a hiker icon. And in the forest, or other places where the way is not clear, yellow diamond markers are used. That being said, I have had to launch the Swiss Mobility app at least once a day, and quite a few times this particular day, to get a fix on the map. Usually this is in or near town, where I have had to leave the route for some reason, such as lodging.

This was definitely Old Churches day – as in dating back to the 1200s. A small Romanesque church in Einigen by the lakeshore was very interesting, and I was treated to some organ practice while I was there. There is a larger Romanesque church here in Amsoldigen with a crypt.

There were some moderate hills today, but nothing too taxing; a mix of pastures with views, and forest with shade. 

I am at another private B&B tonight, which has wifi. The restaurant here in town takes its Ruhetage on Tuesdays, so my hostess kindly drove me down the hill to Allmendingen, a suburb of Thun, to Restaurant Kreuz. A stupendous mixed salad (Herbstsalat) with sautéed mushrooms (it’s mushroom season) and a top-notch venison ragout (Rehpfeffer) with spaetzle and seasonal vegetables were absolutely wonderful.

 The rest day and the moderate walking today were very helpful to my pilgrim mind. So was this poem:

Tourist or Pilgrim by Macrina Wiederkehr
I stand on the edge of myself and wonder,

Where is home?

Oh, where is the place

where beauty will last?

When will I be safe?

And where?
My tourist heart is wearing me out

I am so tired of seeking

for treasures that tarnish.

How much longer, Lord?

Oh, which way is home?

My luggage is heavy

It is weighing me down.

I am hungry for the holy ground of home.
Then suddenly, overpowering me

with the truth, a voice within me

gentles me, and says:
There is a power in you, a truth in you

that has not yet been tapped.

You are blinded

with a blindness that is deep

for you’ve not loved the pilgrim in you yet.
There is a road

that runs straight through your heart.

Walk on it.
To be a pilgrim means

to be on the move, slowly

to notice your luggage becoming lighter

to be seeking for treasures that do not rust
to be comfortable with your heart’s questions

to be moving toward the holy ground of home

with empty hands and bare feet.
And yet, you cannot reach that home

until you’ve loved the pilgrim in you

One must be comfortable

with pilgrimhood

before one’s feet can touch the homeland.
Do you want to go home?

There’s a road that runs

straight through your heart.

Walk on it.


Restaurant Kreuz, Thun-Allmendingen, +41 (0)33 336 80 60


Gasthaus Rosalie, Waldeggweg 3, 3633 Amsoldingen, +41 (0)33 341 12 77, hirschams@bluewin.ch


One response to “15 Sep 15: Amsoldigen 

  1. Wonderful poem, thank you!

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