Day 11: Brünig to Ringgenberg

We wake up to a clear morning and admire the view from our hotel room as we retape our feet and repack our bags.

Leaving Brünig Pass, there are lots of great vistas at first …

but then the trail gets steep and tricky.

And then we descend into the clouds as we walk along an old mule trail.

Finally we are down, passing through the village of Brienzwiler and its pilgrim inn Bärren. And along the way, we get many more incredible views (as an aside, it is only when you get deep in the woods that you get a real alpine quiet, otherwise you hear the sounds of the highway, the passing trains (that are not obnoxious), and today, the Swiss Air Force flying circles above us).

On one of the houses, we see a cute figure of a pig lusting after a gipfilie (and they are as great as ever!).

Approaching Brienz we cross the Launnen Fields, meadows regularly scoured by avalanches and mudslides. Today they appear to be recently mowed.

Passing through the town of Brienz we make a point to traverse “arguably the most romantic street in Switzerland. The Brunngasse in the oldest part of the village is famous beyond the country’s borders and was once awarded the title of most beautiful street in Europe“. Or so say some of the guidebooks. “Most of the wooden chalets date back to the 18th century and are inscribed with woodcarvings.” Our verdict? It doesn’t suck.

Leaving Brienz on the north side of the lake we are disheartened to see that, far from enjoying an easy lake shore walk to Riggenberg, we are fated to endure several pointless ups and downs before reaching our night’s rest. (Comment from Reid: They are not pointless climbs, rather they are long periods of pain allowing one to meditate on one’s life, as pilgrims should do. Also, without the exhausting climbs and descents we would not have seen or traveled over the next few areas. In other words, it is a Swiss thing). But just as we were feeling a little down, who should appear behind us other than our fellow pilgrims and their dog Mali! They had somehow fallen behind us and are just catching up.

After a brief chat, they continue on. As we continue to struggle up and down our side of the lake, we get multiple views of the luxury Hotel Giessbach on the opposite side of the lake – if only we were not poor pilgrims.

As part of the walk up/walk down experience, we get to cross a number of ravines, some that have very extreme conditions in certain times of the the year. Here is one that was very mild, but the warning sign to bicyclists was eye catching.

Further on we cross a deep gourge, the Ebenglingengraben, on a long suspension bridge.

This bridge is taken apart and removed every winter because of avalanches, and then rebuilt again each spring.

More ups and downs. More meditation, contemplation, aches and pains …

Then a second surprise, Mali and his peeps taking a break, and Mali eager to play with a big stick.

So more walking, and more downhill to Oberried where we stop in the town church to see if we can get another pilgrim stamp (we did), but the church also had a nice stained glass of St. Beatus, of whom you will hear more tomorrow.

Climbing again, we get to an avalanche chute. Obviously a big one, with broken trees and boulders everywhere. We cross on packed snow. (A bit later we pass a sign warning hikers coming the other way that the trail is closed!).

After a long day we arrive at our destination, Ringgenberg.

We are staying at the Gasthaus Bären, and appropriately enough they warned us that a real bear has been spotted on our next stretch of the Pilgerweg. We’ll think about that tomorrow. Tonight we enjoy the tagesmenu, so reminiscent of dinners we had long ago.

8 thoughts on “Day 11: Brünig to Ringgenberg

  1. Wow, wow, wow, just beautiful. Perhaps you guys should be practicing self-flagellation to encourage deeper meditation on the ups and downs? Who will be slower in running from the bear tomorrow?


  2. Such inviting vistas; not having to endure the pilgrims’ feet issues makes our armchair observances a whole lot easier, and thank you again for continuing to fascinate us back here on flat land. And who knew there even WAS a Swiss Air Force?!. Cheers, m’dears…. Kirk


  3. Guys, a few days ago, I think that was Pilatus in the distance wasn’t it? A striking looking place, indeed. Tyson


  4. Amazing vistas and inspiring commentary! I appreciate your insights and admire your appreciation for Switzerland! Onward and upward and more delights to come. Safe travels. Happy Memorial Day Weekend from California, a place to stay put for the duration!


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