Having visited the town and harbor of Lachen last night, we set out directly from our self-service motel on the highway. The weather is much better this morning, the sun is shining and we can see the mountains in the distance, a nice change from the past few days!
It is a long climb from the lake up to the Etzel Pass. Along the way we encounter a couple heading off to work (at least that is what we think they represent).
On our hike (trudge) up the hill, we get a view looking back a Lachen and of Rapperswil and the Zürisee. We can even see the Holzbrücke that we would have crossed if we had chosen the path through Rapperswil.
Continuing up the hill we pass through an arbor next to a farm house celebrating the Pilgerweg (note the scallop shells).
Farther on we see evidence of the preparations Switzerland made during WW2.
It’s a long climb, but finally we find the Chapel of St. Meinrad.
Martyred by thugs and revenged by his raven friends, he is now recognized as the patron saint (if not the actual founder) of the Einsiedeln Abbey. But before we start down the hill, and since today is to be a shorter walking day, we decide to enjoy a long lunch at the nearby inn.
Although the “famous garlic soup” was not on the menu today, we had a wonderful meal and relaxed our feet and legs for a brief while. Resting on the terrace, within sight of the chapel, we are struck by how already we have encountered two saints with important and faithful animal friends and familiars: St. Gall with his bear, and now St. Meinrad with his ravens.
What’s next? From here on to Einsiedeln we will have our eyes out for raven sightings.
After lunch the rest of the day’s walk is mostly downhill, but with a fair amount of uphill thrown in to make it interesting (and more painful). On the way we cross a small stream on the Tuefelsbrugg, a wooden bridge dedicated to one of Einsiedeln’s native sons, the 16th century mathematician, philosopher and alchemist Paracelsus.
A fascinating guy: more on him here.
A bit further on we pass the Galgenchappeli, marking the spot where up until 1799 convicts were hung, their last view being of the abbey below. Actually, we could not see the abbey from this spot, but a little father along we did get our first glimpse of it in the distance.
And finally, closer.
Einsiedeln is not only an important stop on the Way of St. James to Compostela, but arguably the most important place of pilgrimage in Switzerland. Since tomorrow will involve a very long walk on very sore feet we go directly to visit the Einsiedeln Abbey, check in on the Black Madonna(and, by the way, we have seen many black Madonnas in the small chapels along the way to Einsiedeln, so are they recent additions, copies, or what? Something to look into when we have time), and get our credentials stamped at the church gate. Then it’s time to relax!
Passing through the large plaza directly in front of the church, we note the pilgrim’s fountain, whose waters are said to flow from Meinrad’s original spring, dedicated to Mary. Pilgrims from all over Europe have come to drink from these faucets, many believing in their curative (or at least health-giving) powers. Taking no chances, we plan to fill our bottles here in the morning, and may they heal feet!
Our hotel it turns out is only a few meters away, right on the edge of the square, and here we take a well earned rest! And our 6th floor attic room has a view!
After a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant, complete with a view, we finally get to settle down for the night – tomorrow will be a tough one, but then we will have a day of rest.
Mark may even sleep better hearing the church bells all night.
One thought on “Day 5: Lachen to Einsiedeln”
Continuing fascination. Being more familiar with the French part of Switzerland, this is often new for me! Black Madonnas, Toblerones, interesting churches and sleeping in the attic. Glad you had sun today!