Inspiring encounters at Lake Thun

Despite some sort of a sadness arising, the walk from Interlaken to Thun was a walk of joy. And certainly the enormeous beauty of the landscapes around Lake Thun had a large influence here. As I wrote on my return home that week-end:

When God painted Switzerland,
he chose a colour palette
abundant of various greens, blues, whites and a selection of browns.
If anything like God exists, it must be a painter!

That week-end I actually had a hard time getting myself to pack and set off for the Camino. But I finally did manage to motivate myself, to pack my backpack and to get on the bus fairly early on saturday morning.

My regret to not just have turned around and continued sleeping became less with every step I took. And when I saw the facades of the houses of Interlaken West being mirrored in the river for the first time, it had eventually made space to the feeling of joy. Immense joy. Joy about the abundance of colours. Joy about the great weather. Joy about the beautiful trees and flowers seaming the way. Joy about this gift to be able to walk so easily, without any pain or health problems. Just joy about everything.

After Interlaken the way leads along a river and then through a forest to the shore of Lake Thun, where you walk right next to the water for some time. I found the landscape there absolutely awesome. The only thing stressing me out from time to time is the fact that the Way of St. James is leading right  through public swimming baths several times. It seems kind of odd to walk through crowds of sunbathing people in one’s sweat-soaked walking clothes and with a huge  backpack.
Lake Thun
After having walked through THE most crowded place on Lake Thun, I was really happy when the way was finally leading away from the masses and uphill. I totally understand that everyone wants to go swimming on hot summer days like this one. But why the heck did they have to make the Way of St. James lead right through those public swimming baths??

Anyway, I loved the feeling of being alone again and got a marvellous view over Lake Thun once I had walked upwards for a few minutes. The lake glittered in the sun as if it was full of diamonds. I was blown away from that sight 🙂

Of course I had to take a few shots of nice traditional houses…again…

After some time the way comes back to the shore of Lake Thun. I took advantage of some nice benches in the shade to eat lunch and have some rest.

Just a few miles from there the way was leading uphill again. This time it was rather steep and leading straight to the Beatus Caves. Had to take a shot of the entrance building high up in the rocks. And of course also had to walk up there to enjoy the view down on the lake.

Actually I had thought about taking a look at the caves themselves but decided differently when I saw the price. 17 Francs for the entrance. No thanks.

So I walked back down towards Lake Thun and Merligen. This turned out to have been a good decision. I was just taking a short rest before Merligen, somehow being really sad when an older woman stormed towards me and asked me if I was a pilgrim as well. Ivana had started her Camino in Prague, Czechia, and she had barely met other pilgrims up to then. So whe was overjoyed to finally have met one – me! 🙂

You definitely meet many less pilgrims when you are walking in northern or middle Europe. Quite often you are on your own and when you happen to meet more than two other pilgrims in the hostels, that’s actually already an exraordinary thing. It’s only from Le Puy in France that there are more and more pilgrims on the road. And in Spain most of the ones who started further up north get a bit shocked by the massive amounts of pilgrims on the way.

As for me: I was happy as well to at least have met another pilgrim after I hadn’t been lucky for several weeks. And therefore Ivana and I decided to walk together for a while.

I took the opportunity to ask Ivana to take a few pics of me. Up to then I had barely had that possibility on the Way of St. James in Switzerland. And therefore most of my pics are just landscape pics.

We walked along the Camino leading up into the vinyards after Merligen. Though it was a very picturesque landscape which let us in awe, it was hard walking up there. The way there is enormeously steep and it was a challenge to keep the balance due to the kind of rubble they are using there. Walking sticks definitely recommended!
But look at the photos. The view was just breathtaking. And it was a really nice background for a shot of me walking the Swiss Camino.

After a few kilometers the way is leading back to the shore of Lake Thun again. Ivana used that opportunity to take a swim while I walked on towards Thun.

One of the nice things about walking in Switzerland really is that there are so many nice and clean lakes inviting for a swim during summer. This is actually quite a unique thing as I was told by other pilgrims. You don’t get that possibility that often when walking in Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Germany or France. Neither in Spain of course. The Swiss Camino is quite special in that and also in terms of landscape. It is like some kind of a different universe…

I took another break at the side of the lake just before Thun and inquired about possible accomodations for pilgrims. There’s a pilgrims’ hostel a little outside of the town, the “Herberge zur Schadau”. I decided to stay there and just kind of hoped there would be other pilgrims around.
But on the way there I took some other shots of the marvellous surroundings.

As it came out I wasn’t the only one at the “Herberge”. Pierre-André and Lisa, a couple from western Switzerland, were walking on the Way of St. James in Switzerland. Pierre-André had already walked from Switzerland to Santiago once and tried to convince his wife to walk a pilgrimage to Santiago together with him. He had finally brought her to walk with him from Rorschach to Geneva, hoping she would love it as much as he did.

They tought me a nice lesson about how relaxed and mutually supporting a relationship can be. They had agreed on phoning for one hour every tuesday evening while he was walking the Camino from Switzerland to Santiago. And that both of them would only talk about positive things. Means that when she had problems with the kids, she wouldn’t talk about it but instead about a nice trip they had enjoyed together. And he wouldn’t talk about fatigue, blisters or unhappy events but instead about the nicety of people and of everything he encountered. They really did that throughout all of those 3 months and thus supported each other in a very positive way. He knew he doesn’t need to worry about things at home and she knew he would make it. Inspiring, isn’t it?

There also was a young Swiss woman crossing Switzerland with her new bike. Katharina is the courage in person! She had travelled through Cameroun and other African countries all on her own. Wow. And we sometimes worry about little things like if we took the right turn because we might otherwise have to walk a surplus 4km to get back on track…

And last but not least…it turned out that Ivana was at the same hostel. Cool!

As they just had the festival of Thun, we all enjoyed a great night out together. Having interesting discussions and enjoying the atmosphere at the festival.

About Miriam

I am a traveller. Not in the fast sense. I am travelling on foot, as a pilgrim. And I love writing and playing music. Since I found back to singing and writing while walking the Way of St. James in Spain, I started mingling the two. Means I am walking with my little guitalele and playing whenever the situation seems right for it :-)
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3 Responses to Inspiring encounters at Lake Thun

  1. abeerhafiz says:

    nice seems to me as If i am in Kaptai,’s almost like this.

  2. mike nicholas says:

    hello miya, cheryl and i are starting from constance on about the 30th/may2013 and walking through to geneva,we have allowed the month of june..does this sound right??we left it a bit late and have not arranged a pilgrim passport ,can this be done in constance
    thanks for your blog!!kind regards

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