16 Sep 15: Riggisberg 

Distance: 16.3 km Total Climb: 207m Total Descent: 185m

The day dawns cloudy and briefly spatter rain, as I follow the meandering route across rolling pastoral countryside.

This is the halfway point in my journey this year, and I must confess the length feels about right. It is long enough for mental space and healing, and takes some effort — but not so long as to be a grind (or intolerable for my household left behind). So for those of you who do not have the time to spend months on the Camino or Jakobsweg, be reassured that shorter stages can still offer considerable refreshment.

Each day I have seen a few other walkers; more on the weekends of course. Yesterday there was a pair of women heading to Geneva and then doing the three week stage from Leon to Santiago, the last of the Spanish sections. Today – only one walker, up ahead of me and pulling away.

   

 Cresting the big hill before Blumenstein there was a “free cold drinks for Pilgrims” kiosk that was most welcome. Shortly before Wattenwil, the darkening skies finally made good on their threat and it started to rain. I met a pilgrim forum friend here, and we had a delightful lunch at Rendezvous-Vous, located two blocks from the middle of town. Pork roast stuffed with prunes and a red wine sauce, plus carrots and polenta, and a mixed salad before. Highly recommended.

  
The hill coming out of Wattenwil is a substantial 170m climb, so do not underestimate your afternoon’s work. The rolling pastures and farmland continue all the way to Riggisberg, where I have my room for the night. There are only three places with rooms here, as it is such a small town. Backeri Ernst is to the left as you enter town, and two flights up is my small and simple room. But it has all that I need, in true pilgrim fashion.

Dining

Rendezvous-vous Restaurant, Musterplatz 4, 3665 Wattenwil

Lodging

Backeri Ernst, Vordere Gasse 9, 3132 Riggisberg, +41 (0)31 809 36 36, beck.ernst@bluewin.ch , http://www.beckernst.ch

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