Well, another beautiful day’s walk with a positive conclusion.
This morning I left my hotel room with extreme reluctance and after going by the local patisserie, I made the 2km walk into the town of Rolle. I must explain that I have a budget for each country which I travel through and that my budget for Switzerland was down to the last 16 Swiss Francs (CHF) this morning. CHF 16 equals roughly 11 British Pounds. So, in typical me style I decided to invest my last coins in 2 glasses of wine at a wine shop, and in an ice-cream; also surprisingly sold at the wine shop outside on the street. I didn’t want to leave Switzerland without trying some decent quality Swiss Pinot Noir and that’s exactly what I did. It is said that wine is Switzerland’s best kept secret, and I would have to agree.
From Rolle, I lost the Camino path but remembering that the path roughly followed the shoreline of the lake I continued along my merry way until reaching the town of Nyon. Like Rolle, Nyon boasts an impressive chateaux:
The view from the chateaux:
For some reason this Roman statue reminded me of the “Biggus Dickus” character in Monty Python’s Life of Brian:
There was also a lovely Easter display in the centre of Nyon, made from tin cans and what appeared to be empty Nespresso coffee cartridges:
From Nyon I continued to roughly follow the route of the lake – this time on the road – until the town of Coppet. The distance as the crow flies from Lausanne to Geneva is 59km, but the Camino path covers around 80km:
Coppet, as with Rolle and Nyon, also boasts an impressive chateaux:
From Coppet I found the Camino path again and began walking in the direction of Geneva. I had planned to sleep far from Geneva as I’m not a fan of arriving to a city in the evening with no sleeping place planned, but the terrain today was mostly flat and I found myself covering distance fast. In the early evening I noticed the planes descending to Geneva airport were flying much lower and that I was in fact quite near to the city limits:
I could have stopped at a church to sleep but my legs and mind were awake and ready to continue walking. I decided to take a gamble and continue walking and simply see what the evening would bring.
At around 8pm I arrived in the Geneva suburb of Pregny and it was beginning to get cold and dark. Plus, it looked like it might rain. There didn’t seem to be anywhere to crash for the night on the way and when I eventually reached the church at Pregny I found it was closed and without an attached house where I might find a priest. I decided to take another gamble and I went up to one of the houses nearby and rang the bell. Dominique answered the door and after a brief conversation she invited me to stay in her house. I gladly accepted and it is from her spare room that I am now writing this post:
Dominique made tea and offered me bread and cheese, and we had a wonderful chat about her interests, work and some of her family history. Her Mother was Dutch/Belgian and her Swiss Father was a pastor. They left to live in Lyon before the 2nd world war broke out and then decided to stay. When her Mother became pregnant with Dominique she made the risky decision to travel over the (closed) border to Switzerland and by doing so had to make a tough travels; including crossing a river by foot at night and of course evading soldiers. It was fascinating listening to Dominique and I am looking forward to listening more to her in the morning before I set off to the centre of Geneva where I will take in the city for a while, get my pilgrim stamp, and try to contact Yves who offered to host me at his apartment in the centre. If I am able to make contact with Yves then I will stay 1 night in Geneva tomorrow. If I am unable to for any reason then I’ll continue straight on over the border and into France.
Looking forward to a second night of warm, deep sleep.