Walking the last two segments of the ViaRhenana was like coming full circle. I had begun the trail at the end of lockdown, and now I was finishing it before another impending lockdown. When I arrived in Bad Säckingen in November, the sun was shining.
Day 8: When I started out on the second to last segment, from Bad Säckingen to Rheinfelden (19 km / 12 mi), it was overcast and cool, and the colors surrounding me where various shades of brown.
The first three hours were mostly spent in the woods with few views of the river. The the only break from monotony were Roman ruins. It was easy to see why the ancient Romans chose to build watchtowers along the Rhine River.
Slowly I left the forest and the sun came out. The two hours I walked to Rheinfelden were more along the river, and I spent time fooling around with reflections in the water.
Even though it was still early afternoon, the sun was fairly low in the sky and and in the shade it was cold as I walked into Rheinfelden, a town with a picturesque street through the old part of town.
Day 9: The next morning I started the last segment from Augst, about 4 km west of Rheinfelden. This was due to the fact that all hotels apart from the hotel at the spa were closed for renovations. I was in for a 16 km/10 mi walk to Basel, the end of my hike. Augst is home to Augusta Raurica, the ancient Roman town of Augst which is now a museum. If possible, I’d like to visit next year. While I was walking out of Augst towards Basel, I stumbled across the ruins of Roman baths. There certainly is more to discover here!
The sun shone and the light was soft as I got an early start. This segment was completely along the river and the first hour passed by fishing huts built on the water.
As came closer to Basel, the last 2 hours were along the industrial harbor. Although this was clearly marked on the map, I was surprised when I arrived. But the engineer in me loves a good piece of machinery, and I was fascinated with all the steel and the few barges getting ready to leave the port.
Basel’s cathedral came into view and suddenly the hike was over. Since I began the journey in June, I had walked approx. 160 km / 100 mi along the Swiss side of the Rhine River. The hike was in some ways a metaphor for this year: taking each day as it comes and Germany in sight but hard to cross over to. I ventured up to the cathedral to light a candle and sit in quiet contemplation about the trail: what had I seen and experienced along the way.
Where to stay and eat:
Hotel Adler, Augst This lovely restaurant with a few rooms, is the perfect place to stay in Augst. It’s only steps away from the river and the hosts are very friendly.