Day 40 – Besançon, the Jura and the Gateway to Switzerland

The rain fell all night long and when I awoke at 5.30 it was still raining. I suppose we could have put our rain gear on but it looked so uninviting. What to do? I checked Accuweather and it said the rain would stop in 117 minutes. Precisely. How does it know that? And yet it’s always right. These clever people are probably just one step away from controlling the weather through their app.

This sort of weather data is valuable to the pilgrim. We made a strategic decision to stay in bed for 57 minutes and then take breakfast in the hotel. Pinocchio promised us a good feed and he wasn’t lying. Cereals, milk, yoghurt, baguette, croissants, proper cafe au lait for 7 Euro. And we could have upgraded to cheese and ham for another 3 Euro.

At 7.25 we dragged our packs onto our backs. Accuweather said “rain stopping in 2 minutes”. It did. Off we went.

Initially we followed the Camino to Vezelay but soon diverted onto the forest road. Our route lay on a minor track through the trees. On a hot sunny day it would have been a pleasure. Today the grass and ferns and trees were dripping. They offered the full car wash experience. Insert the token as you enter, the ferns start spinning and your boots get scrubbed too. We would have been drenched. Instead I steered us back onto the road which was notionally longer but dry.

It was a beautiful walk through the woods and farmland. As we approach Besançon the country is coming to life. We paid 7 Euro for 50cl of beer in a rundown bar at lunchtime. It washed down our sandwich nicely.

As we walked towards Besançon there was a sense of urgency. Cars and people were rushing home for the France World Cup Qtr Final. At 4pm we could have taken a short cut along the motorway; the place was deserted. And when we crossed the river and entered the central city we were caught up in the victory celebrations.

Tonight we have a perfectly wonderful room in the Ibis La Cite which costs just a couple of beers. We have been to St John’s Cathedral and had our credentials stamped. But there is more football to come.

This morning’s wet forest

Another bath house

Some storm damage


Bring on the Jura…

St John’s Cathedral

8 comments on “Day 40 – Besançon, the Jura and the Gateway to Switzerland

  1. Roger Clarkson

    Well done, nearly Switzerland then ‘The Bells’ ‘The Bells’ ‘The cow bells’, hopefully not so hot.

  2. Why is Paul always in front?

    • He’s always in front when I’m behind and vv. And the rest of the time together. You can tell if he’s in the shot or not!

  3. Philippa Thomas

    Hi Tim & Paul, we’re very impressed with your long walk through the less-populated regions of France! Interestingly, I see that le Tour (the first stage of which we are watching right now) flies over the area you have just crossed. Too few spectators & facilities perhaps? Hope there are more pilgrims (and cats!) in Switzerland. Philippa & Peter

    • Hi Philippa & Peter I hope so too. They are so difficult to photograph

  4. Lucy Davies

    Gosh! All those logs would keep my wood burner alight for years! As always, loving the photos and having the opportunity to read and see your pilgrimage through such amazing pictures

    • Thanks Lucy, would you like me to bring a few logs back for you. There are many here

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