Marcel had brought a huge long table and two benches outside this church onto an equally huge area and had our breakfast laid out for us. I think Ermanno had said it would be a nice place to have it – at 7 degrees it wasn’t. But the fact that he had actually done it had us laughing and applauding along the 1200 metre walk to breakfast. This was also the distance to our shower, so we could have gone to the next town in the same time!
He wasn’t a minister of the church, but someone who did everything, but nothing. We had good discussions about Switzerland’s society and culture – how expensive it is; huge wages; people of all classes using public transport because it services even the smallest village; people coming here must give their religion and a certain amount of their income goes to it; and many other things.
Marcel then became a tour guide and walked with us through this fascinating town. We walked in the shadow of its castle, over a covered bridge through a small park, on to the edge of the end of the lake we’ve been following for a while, past an imposing building with towers on its corners, close to a place where Brahms used to compose, then we left him to do nothing because he had spent his time with us doing everything.
Up into the hills once more away from the lake along a short length of bitumen and once again into the forest. It was Sunday so families were out on their bicycles; tandem bikes with a disabled passenger on the back peddles flew past; people with their dogs – terriers, Labradors, three St Bernard’s, a white sheep dog and cats.
Ermanno would have to come back to Thun by bus to catch a train to Zurich and back to work tomorrow, after a morning’s walk with us. It was sad to say goodbye but hopefully we will see him and meet his wife in Zurich before we head home. It’s been great to walk with him and enjoy his great company over the past 2 days. Just like the time since we walked into Rome together disappeared.
We’ve had to postpone seeing our Swiss friends of our Australian friends but hope to catch up with them in the next 2-3 weeks.
The walk along a raised pathway which seemed to have been built down the middle of a river dividing it into two, with other streams joining them further downstream. All the way we are conscious of those beautiful white peaks watching over us: the Schwarzhorn, the Eiger, the Munch And the Jungfrau with its step-like slope leading away from the others, and then other lower mountains completed this superb landscape.
Just before we reached home on a small hill at the back of town, a woman called to me because of my Parkinson’s sign. I turned to see her husband determined to stand free of his walker. We mimed for a while because he couldn’t speak and she spoke only German. We worked out that he has had PD for 20 years, goes to a rehab close by and walks as much as he can.
As we left them, we reflected on PD, its challenges, and how fortunate we are today with all the variety of therapies there are at our disposal. It doesn’t cure it but it does help with the quality of our lives.
After a visit to our local village we returned at the late dusk to see the nearly snow gone face of the Eiger, the snow going cliff of the Monch and the fully covered snow side of the Jungfrau – shining alone at 8.30 in the evening – a sight to behold.