Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Via Jacobi (August 8, 2013) - Day 8 Flueli-Ranft to Brienzwiler

Quite frankly this was not a pleasant day (read brutal...33.8 kms as per my Bad Elf) was really tough however in hindsight it may well turn out to be one of the more important days on this walk...more later.

I mentioned in my last blog that a group was expected at the sleep in straw. Well if you can believe it it was the 4 llamas I saw yesterday plus a group of 13 adults.

Llamas resting in pasture outside sleep in straw

The group consisted of 3 leaders and10 mentally challenged adults. They walk for 5 days leading the llamas from farm to farm. The top leader has been doing this for 10 years and some of the adults have participated in all 10 walks.

They ate supper together however I asked one of the leaders (only one who spoke English) whether it would be ok for me to give a small gift to everyone of a Canadian lapel pin...he was totally onside and I placed a pin at each table setting plus left an additional 4 for good measure.

Before they sat down the English speaking leader spoke to the group about (I think) that I had gifted the lapel pins, was from Canada and was completing the Jakobsweg. A huge cheer went up from the group and many came to shake my hand.

Later the English leader played the guitar and was all quite nice. One of the adults came up to me later and pointed to his hat...he had 4 pins on his hat.

As mentioned earlier today was not any way shape or form. First I had a poor night's sleep as someone mistakenly set their alarm for 3:00, I had some form of indigestion (ate too much last might of the potato salad...eggs finally?) and simply did not have much zip. Ahead of me was a 25 km day over a substantial mountain pass which included 600 meters of elevation. 

The German couple and son were there as well and they thought I should do it in two days, or take a what's the point of taking a boat? All in all it was not a promising start with many negative mental thoughts.

I decided to start, take it easy, see how far I could get and be open taking two days if needed. I was fairly slow to start but sometime an hour or so later I perked up a bit...believe the fruit juice did it it!

Slowly but surely I made some progress and then a small thunderstorm moved in followed by steady rain. I then pulled out my Altus poncho which is a clever invention which allows the poncho to cover the backpack. Slowly but surely I gutted this out and before I knew it I was in Brunig and near the top of the pass. I celebrated by eating lunch...Mars bar from vending machine!

Lunches are really a hit and miss affair...depends on whether the location for the night is close to a town. Unfortunately the Jakobsweg passes by a number of towns and believe me the last thing one wants to do is leave the trail. Anyway today's lunch was pathetic...oh also had an apple.

The toughest part of the day was still ahead on the descent from the mountain path through a long trail  through the forest. Tree roots, rocks and wet wood are a recipe for disaster in wet conditions...thankfully I have done this before in the Canadian Rockies. I tried to be so very careful as one bad slip could easily result in an injury which stops me in my tracks... The use of trekking poles really helped as they essentially provide a third or fourth contact point.

My sleeping quarters for the night

First sign which is multi language  

About sums up the day!
Cute sign which helps on a day like this

So the long and the short of it is that I managed to make it through the day...tomorrow should in Interlaken and should be an easier day than today.

Now I am waiting to walk a km up the road to a restaurant run by the sleep in straw farm...I was told it is very good. I am looking forward to a decent meal.

Late breaking news 

I think I now know why I pushed so hard to get here. A really nice lady mentioned to me that the restaurant had a special on...raclette which is a traditional Swiss dish of cheese, onions and potatoes. The special also had a salad which had green beans in it...I also had a bowl of tomato soup and orange juice. Man was this ever good!

Raclette and yours truly

I also had to provide information about where I am from and on this form there was mention of a single room. I asked and it was 45 Swiss francs vs the 28 I am paying for the sleep in straw. I hummed and hawed a bit and said I would stay where I was.

The lady went to talk to the owner and came back with 30 Swiss francs on the basis that they were having problems with my neighbours.

My new luxury room

Forgot to mention that I gave a Canadian lapel pin to a fellow who gave directions to this place. At supper there was a family of 6 and I left 8 lapel pins with them...they had two boys maybe 6 or so and they seemed really happy...on went the pins! Finally a couple from Germany showed up and I gave them and the nice lady pins as well.

Future pilgrims

I highly recommend the Reitsportzentrum Bifing Ballenberg Familie Abplanalp farm...great food and right on the Via Jacobi...

1 comment:

  1. I had problems with supplies for lunch on the Jacobi as well. One must leave the marked route to enter town, and it can be difficult to get matched up with the route again when leaving town the next morning. Arranging the supplies for lunch really was the most difficult part of the route in Germany and Switzerland for me. (I do speak a bit of German, otherwise that would have been the worst bit.) Enjoying reading of your journey and the experiences meeting the people.