Distance: 20km Total climb: 200m Total descent: 100m
After a very simple breakfast of brown bread with butter and jam, plus coffee or tea, we bid a fond farewell to the very hospitable monks at Hautrive.
We three set out, up a wooded hill and through small towns and farmland. The terrain is gently rolling; we can see mountain crests to the south but where we actually walk is very gently contoured. I have come to the conclusion that all the dramatic scenery in Switzerland is east of Interlaken.
Lunch is a picnic on one of the many wayside benches provided here by the local hiking groups. Because of the time constraints today we did not take advantage of the village offering fried chicken as the local delicacy (I think they schnitzel it – Colonel Sanders has not passed through here just yet). Some more brief bits of woodland shade break up the long grind of shade-free pastures on a sunny afternoon.
We push on, as the nuns at tonight’s convent have directed that we arrive before 5pm, or we lose our beds. And it’s 20 km, a distance I would not undertake unless there were no big hills. We made it with time to spare, but my calves are really complaining! I haven’t had much soreness at all this trip, except for the two 20km days.
The convent is right on the route, just at the beginning of town. Quite convenient since town proper appears to sit on a hill, which will be the first order of business tomorrow. The convent dates to the 1500’s but the guest quarters have been recently renovated and it is quite comfortable.
Dinner was a most congenial cream of spinach soup, followed by a generous portion of creamed spinach and a delicious cheese quiche. All vegetarian and all very tasty. We were joined at table by a Congolese priest on temporary assignment from the Gregorian University at the Vatican, filling in for the local priest. Since he spoke French, Beatrice was able to translate and we had a lively and very interesting discussion.
Lodging: Abbeye Fille-Dieu