If you look at the tiny gap in the mountain just above the Berghaus Adelboden, you can see the pass I crossed yesterday. A close-up View:
And now, moving on to today. I woke up to sunshine! I got going at about 7.45 and had all the views of the mountains with fresh snow – what I did not see yesterday.
And I thought that was really fine. And so I set out with an “all’s right with the world” feeling. And because this was only a five-hour day with less than 1000 metres elevation, I took it easy. The trail went up through a forest and then into open meadows.
And then, about an hour before getting to the top of Hahnemoospass, this:
And it got cold and windy fast. That said, no rain! Everything, even my boots, had dried overnight – so I was good to go.
Because there is a series of gondolas taking people to the top of the pass, I encountered quite a few folks on trottibikes – all the rage in Switzerland. In case you have no idea what a trottibike is, imagine a scooter with big wheels like a bike and handlebars like a bike, and brakes like a bike – but you stand on it and it goes downhill as fast as you want it to.
Handy in a country where there are a ton of downhills on paved paths.
At any rate, I got to the top – the most unexciting I’ve seen. Most of the walk up was on paved or gravel roads – narrow, but still the kind of gradient I don’t like – built for machines and not people. I’d prefer a thought, steep uphill any day.
But, as always, it was fine crossing into the next valley. Just when I thought that the mountains were behind me and it was going to be all foothills from here on, the clouds began to part!
There are more than enough mountains left, all the way to the end.
I was working my way down when a group of four people caught up with me: the two Swiss couples I’d met at the last mountain hut. They had trained and bused it to Adelboden yesterday while I got soaked to the bone going over the pass. Really lovely people. This was their last day ( doing 6 days on the trail) and they were celebrating by stopping at every mountain restaurant (read tavern) along the way. They asked me to join them for a drink but I thought that one or two glasses of wine at 11.30 a.m. might not be a wise choice.
And so I popped down into Lenk and walked to the Hotel Alpina – so far the best place yet – and one of the very cheapest too. I’ve got a big room with a huge balcony with a view of green meadows – and a lovely bathroom and a big bed and a host who is the epitome of care and hospitality.
After lunch and a nap, I popped into town to look around. The Swiss towns and villages still close all the shops on Sundays. It’s a rest day and that is that. However, the market was going full blast complete with a blues band singing and playing Swiss blues songs. Who knew there even was such a thing? And so I danced with a woman holding on to a walker because she really wanted to dance and I was feeling the beat and she smiled and laughed with utter joy. Me too, of course. And there was a giant bouncy castle overstocked with kids and a really great old fashioned carousel.
Lenk is as pretty a village as any I’ve seen.
And now I’m back and showered and cozy in my room. I don’t much feel like going out again for dinner so I’m having a couple of pretzels I picked up at the Bahnhofstrasse kiosk – just about the only thing open today.
There are a couple of older Aussie guys staying here tonight – also doing the Via Alpina – but doing it their way. We all had a great laugh about it. They have not missed one single chance of taking a bus, train or gondola. In fact, they’re not sure they’ve actually crossed any of the passes. But they’re having a great time. I don’t see that anything else matters.
One of the things I like about this trek is the simplicity of it. Each day is a bare bones experience. Get up, have breakfast, put everything back in the pack (organized the exact same way every morning, which means you know where everything is and don’t have to think about missing anything), sling the pack onto your back and start walking. At the end of the day, find a hotel, unpack, shower and change, wash out that days clothes and then either get food or write the blog – and make sure you’re well read up on the next days route.
So simple. No big decisions to make. One solitary focus.
I can’t believe that tomorrow is the 15th trek day. Only 4 days left to the end. Tomorrow is a big pass again but then again, it’s only just over 1000 metres so it shouldn’t be much more than a 6 or 7 hour day. (Can’t believe I’m saying only.) basically today, tomorrow and the next day should be pretty easy and then the last two days are biggies – at least 8 hours each, maybe more. I plan to take full advantage of the “easy” ones.
I am still bereft of great chocolate. On the other hand, I have had more than my share of great cheese. And I am so done with cheese.
I find myself, more and more, falling into a peaceful state where I feel like I can handle anything that comes my way – big or small. And not in the sense of being strong or anything like that – just a kind of quiet equanimity.
And I am soooooo looking forward to seeing Simon. I hope he’s prepared for a 50 second hug – at a minimum.