Leg Columban / 2429 m
June 30, 2020 – Columbansweg Switzerland opens
The European long-distance hiking route “Via Columbani” leads from Bangor near Belfast to Bobbio in Italy, some of it also through Switzerland. The Swiss section was opened in Wettingen by IG Kolumbansweg.
The Swiss part of the international long-distance hiking trail „Via Columbani“ comprises 21 stages and 500 km. In contrast to the St James‘ Way, which is an actual pilgrimage route, the Kolumbansweg is a memorial route. Here you hike on the most beautiful paths and through historic villages and towns in the footsteps of the Irish monks Columban and Gallus. From the late 6th century onwards, they and their successors gave important impulses to Christianity and thus to European culture on the continent. Around a hundred monastery foundations, according to Cornel Dora, Abbey Library of St. Gallen, are associated with Columban and his followers. These monks, according to Dora, were Europeans in a new sense. In a letter to Pope Gregory the Great, Columban testifies for the first time to the idea of a Christian Europe that also encompasses the north.
Pearls on the Kolumbansweg
The Kolumbansweg, says Josef Schönauer, President of the St. Gallen pilgrim hostel, also connects us with spiritual history. Every pilgrimage is a spiritual path. Like every pilgrimage route, the Kolumbansweg can be compared to a string of pearls: there are important pearls of spirituality on the way. Wolfgang Sieber, President of IG Kolumbansweg, referred to these “pearls” when he presented the Swiss part of the long-distance trail from Ireland to Italy. Tuggen, Arbon, Bregenz – the monks were verifiably in these places. With a certain probability, according to Wolfgang Sieber, they followed the rivers at that time. Thus the Swiss Kolumbansweg begins in Basel, leads via Zurich and Tuggen and from there via the Ricken to Wattwil, St. Gallen and Bregenz (in Austria), where the life paths separated from Columban and Gallus. The latter went to St. Gallen, Kolumban with his companions along the Rhine to Chur and from there via one of three possible passes to Chiavenna and from there to Bobbio, where he died. The pass they were crossing leads over the Septimer pass. Near the highest point of the entire route, there is a Columban Lake above Bivio, which reminds of the monks.
Cooperation with health country Switzerland
As far as possible, the Kolumbansweg follows well-known marked hiking trails such as No. 60 Via Rhenana, No. 4 Via Jacobi and No. 64 Via Sett. With a length of 500 km and 21 stages, it is one of the longest long-distance hiking trails in Switzerland. The Kolumbansweg, says Franz With, is also a way of decelerating, and therefore the health country Switzerland platform is an ideal partner for the IG Kolumbansweg. They want to give people a variety of impulses for health for body, mind and soul. The platform www.gesundheitsland.ch is intended to give hikers a unique overview of the many possibilities and wonderful treasures of natural health in Switzerland. Alongside or near the path are also some of the partners of Health Country Switzerland, such as Soglio Produkte AG, Kingnature AG, Regena AG, Max Zeller Söhne AG or Kybun AG. They can also be visited on the hike.
Plaques show the way
In the oldest restaurant in Switzerland and in a place steeped in history, the “Sternen” at the Wettingen Monastery, the IG opened the Swiss Kolumbansweg and also unveiled the plaque that is attached to various accommodations, historical sites and buildings along the 500 kilometers.