Switzerland is a hiker’s paradise. Numerous sign-posted trails crisscross the mountains, hills, and valleys, and a number of them stretch out from the Abbey of Einsiedeln. It is possible to traverse much of the country this way, and there is plenty to see. I have yet to venture all that far, but it seems that one breathtaking view after another lies just around the bend or over the next hill. From top to bottom:
1. Pilgrims of various sorts dot the landscape along the hiking trails. This is near the Abbey’s sawmill/lumberyard and horse training arena. I wonder what the four-pawed pilgrim sporting the backpack brings along for such a journey? Each must carry his or her own weight.
2. A view of the Abbey from the small mountain directly behind it. Included are the church, monastery cloister, and associated workshops, gardens, and other facilities. The town of Einsiedeln lies beyond it. This day, nobody is lifting off the ski jump to the right.
3. In the valley a short distance from the Abbey. The cows and sheep grazing on the hillsides create their own music as they munch away. What sounds like a perpetual orchestra of wind chimes is performed by the bells tied to the animals’ necks (so they can be found in the hills if they stray). I may get one for myself--just in case.
4. The Big Mythen (MEE-tun) as viewed from near the town of Schwyz. Some of the monks of Einsiedeln are from hometowns on this side of the mountain, and others are from towns on the other side (closer to the Abbey). They razz each other about which side is the “front.” I maintain neutrality.
5. The Alps as seen from near the town of Schwyz.