We certainly appreciated these 4 rest days up in Luzern. A big thank you to Erika & Mark (Paul’s brother) for their generous hospitality and for allowing their beautiful home to be converted into pilgrim accommodation. The sleep and Erika’s fine cooking has restored us back to health. During the week we also ventured into Zürich, my first visit since 1972.
And now, in the immortal words of Lobo, we’re Back on the Road Again. We are scrupulous about walking every step of the way to Rome so we returned to St Croix this morning and had coffee in the same bar where we finished on Monday. The local tourist office was very helpful. Apparently an official meeting was held in October 2017 during which the Via Francigena route between Sainte Croix and Lausanne was changed. The new route is more direct and plunges steeply downhill through a dramatic gorge. We were given a map of the new route because it has not yet been signposted which is quite a serious next step in Switzerland.
Walking through a steep and shady gorge with a fast flowing river and waterfalls when the temperature is 29 degrees is preferable to a gravelly straight Roman Road in wheat fields. There was only one slight challenge to overcome. We have walked 1155km which is farther than I have ever walked before. Naturally my body assumed we had finished so it was quite difficult to persuade it to restart.
We are back in the French part of Switzerland and the difference to the German part is noticeable. We arrived in Baulmes and found the bar. No food was available so we ordered a small beer. We were then told that the bar was closing at midday and as it was 12.30 the patron asked us to leave. Just imagine Wetherspoon closing at midday on a Saturday. I pretended not to understand and suggested midnight rather than midday but that didn’t wash and we found ourselves outside.
In the next village, Rances, the beer was served and we were told that the kitchen was now closed. The chef was too busy eating his lunch to make us a sandwich. So we made our way into Orbe where we have checked into a most unpleasant hotel (Le Chasseur, 140 francs for 2).
It’s wonderful to have some pilgrim company with us now. Claude & Marie, who walked with us from Canterbury to their home in Mermetz, drove all the way to meet us this evening and to walk with us for the next several days. And two more pilgrims from last year are joining us soon. I met Christof last year in Lascabanes and we walked together for several days. Christof is Swiss and lives near Zurich. We met him for dinner on Thursday and he will join us in Lausanne tomorrow. Coco is also joining us for a few days. Coco was ever present from Aire Sur L’Adour last year and will drive her 900cc motorcycle down from Lyons and meet us just below the Pass in Italy.
If you can’t find new pilgrims it’s very nice to have some old pilgrim friends to call on.
We return to the little bar in Sainte Croix to resume our walk.
Heading into the gorge
At the bottom of the gorge