Plucking an apple from the next tree, sitting down on the side of the road and having a refreshing snack in the middle of an amazing landscape – life cannot get any better. And trees laden with fruits of all colors is the lasting impression I got from the walk from Riggisberg to Heitenried. Perfect setting for finding excuses to make a stop every few minutes! In fact, no excuses needed – who can resist such temptation?
It was a beautiful, sunny autumn day – and, quite unfortunately, it was going to be one of the last. There was also something else coming to an end: the walk between Riggisberg and Heitenried is, in fact, the last part of the Way of St. James on Swiss German soil. After that it enters francophone territory.
I was making my way through there during one of the nicest times of the year – autumn. The area around Riggisberg is very rural. It’s just perfect to enjoy an uninterrupted walk, the nice landscapes and philosophize or daydream.
I arrived in Riggisberg around noon and walked up the hill, from where I took one last look back on the village… …before continuing my walk towards Rüeggisberg. The following pictures are impressions from the walk in-between the two villages.As always in Switzerland, I passed by lovely little farms and couldn’t hold myself back from taking pictures. Such beautiful spaces!Rüeggisberg is a village with many traditional houses. This kind of roof and windows is typical for the region of Bern. The houses are majorly made of wood, which gives them a welcoming, cozy feel. And people use to decorate them with flowers. I highly recommend to take a little detour and make a short stroll through the main street.Shortly before the church, the Way of St. James is leading to the left, out of the village and towards the old Rüeggisberg Priory. The look back to the village was actually really nice…And so was the view on the ruins of the Priory in its splendid, mountainous scenery.The Rüeggisberg Priory was a Cluniac priory, which means it had similar structures as the Benedictine ones. It was founded in Romanesque times, between 1072 and 1076, and was one of the most important monasteries during the Middle Ages. In 1532 it was abandoned after a fire and has since been lying in ruins, which are open to the public. I loved walking through them and taking photos – I really love old, old buildings a lot!From the priory you also have a nice view towards the surrounding mountains.View from the priory back to Rüeggisberg.The view through the arch of Rüeggisberg Priory.After having taken a lunch, I continued my walk towards Schwarzenburg. See in the following pictures how the landscape is again starting to change – to a less mountainous one, different in flora and coloring. The first three pictures were taken right after Rüeggisberg…the following ones somewhere in the middle……and then some right before Schwarzenburg.All along the road, an abundance of ripe fruits just waited to be plucked.And then I was in Schwarzenburg, a small village in the region of Bern. On the side of the road leading into it, there’s another lovely farm building.And the following picture shows one of the nicest houses of Schwarzenburg.After Schwarzenburg, the Way of St. James is leading through a forest – where I found this funny way sign. Better don’t walk through here when it’s raining!From Schwarzenburg, it’s not far anymore to Heitenried. I arrived there around 4 pm and went directly to the pilgrim’s hostel, which is one of the nicest ones, if not THE nicest one, in Switzerland! My first trip right after this led me to the church of Heitenried, which is picturesque as well.I especially loved the arches in the entrance.The following picture is of one of the traditional houses in Heitenried, which I passed by on the way back to the pilgrim’s hostel.The most special thing about the pilgrim’s hostel Heitenried is definitely its interior and hosts, Klaus and Frieda. The two are a couple and pilgrim veterans themselves – they walked all the way from Switzerland to Santiago de Compostela.
Here are a few photos from this lovely pilgrim’s hostel. The entrance……et voilà – a typical scene for pilgrim’s hostels in the early evening. Usually, all of the pilgrims relax, read, write their diary, or have interesting chats with each other.Another great option at the hostel Heitenried is the great balcony, which is really inviting on warm evenings like the one we had. Like most of the people who were once pilgrims on the Way of St. James, Klaus and Frieda are very passionate about it and give their heart and soul into their little hostel. It’s very welcoming, and they are great cooks! For only a few Francs, you can participate in their extremely tasty dinner.I met several other pilgrims at this hostel, and we had an amazing evening with great food and great discussions. For me, this made Heitenried one of the absolute highlights on the Way of St. James in Switzerland!That evening I went to sleep on the Cruz de Ferro 😉
Each of the beds in the hostel of Heitenried has the name of an important landmark of the Camino Francés. So you could say I did not only sing on the Cruz de Ferro (see the article about that here), I also slept on it! Do you love my articles about the Way of St. James? If you haven’t yet read the others, click here to start reading through my adventures on the Camino Francés (the Way of St. James through Spain) and here to read into my experiences on the Way of St. James in Switzerland.
Stay tuned for more stories about the Camino, music, and much more!