Schwarzenburg – Fribourg – Froidville bei Posieux

Signposting the Jakobsweg © Ricky Yates

Signposting the Jakobsweg © Ricky Yates

 

 

Once more there was thunder, lightning and rain as we stayed overnight in Schwarzenburg. And unfortunately, unlike the two previous nights, it didn’t stop as daylight broke the next morning. We ate breakfast slowly, packed our rucksacks slowly, accepted the kind offer from our hosts of a further cup of coffee, all whilst we waited, hoping the rain would stop. Eventually the rain became very light so we finally decided to set out, but an hour and a half later than our usual start time.

After around three kilometres of walking, we crossed the River Sense, and so passed from the predominantly Protestant Bern Canton into the predominantly Roman Catholic Fribourg Canton. Soon afterwards, as we climbed towards the village of Heitenried, the heavens opened once more with a vengeance. Our guidebook spoke of the wonderful views there were to be had around Heitenried – unfortunately we couldn’t see them :-(

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protestants to the left - Roman Catholics to the right © Ricky Yates

St. Antoni – Protestants to the left – Roman Catholics to the right © Ricky Yates

What Heitenried did illustrate was the change in Christian affiliation with crossing the cantonal boundary – the village Church was Roman Catholic. But as we walked on, battling with soggy underfoot conditions, we eventually reached St. Antoni which is a two-Church village as the road sign clearly illustrates.

Swiss Reformed Church in St. Antoni © Ricky Yates

Swiss Reformed Church in St. Antoni © Ricky Yates

We ate our lunch, sheltering from the rain under the porch of the Reformed Church and took advantage again of their toilet facilities.

Roman Catholic Church, St. Antoni © Ricky Yates

Here is the Roman Catholic Church, looking back from the Jakobsweg on our way to the small town of Tafers. 

Façade of the St. James Chapel, Tafers © Ricky Yates

Façade of the St. James Chapel, Tafers © Ricky Yates

It continued to rain off and on as we walked to Tafers where there is this chapel, dedicated to St. James, alongside the town’s Roman Catholic Church. The illustration on the façade tells the legend of the hen and rooster miracle from Santo Domingo de la Calzada in Spain.

Baroque altarpiece © Ricky Yates

Baroque altarpiece © Ricky Yates

Within the chapel is this baroque altarpiece with St. James in the centre, together St. John and St. Peter.

Although we had only walked about thirteen kilometres, a combination of starting out late and constantly battling the wet weather meant we both felt it was time to stop. Within the main Church was a notice giving details of five homes within Tafers, who offered Bed and Breakfast accommodation to pilgrims. The first three didn’t answer Sybille’s phone call, but the fourth one did – a widow and retired archaeologist. It meant a walk of at least a further kilometre, nearly all uphill :-( but we were made most welcome and had a peaceful night. 

Route from Schwarzenburg to Tafers 14km

Route from Schwarzenburg to Tafers 14km

The next morning, Tuesday 12th August, dawned fine and sunny. We walked back downhill to the centre of Tafers and went to buy lunch supplies from the Coop supermarket. As we were leaving the supermarket, I noticed a sign saying that on Friday 15th August, the store would be geschlossen for Mariä Himmelfahrts Tag. We both agreed that we needed to make sure we had bought adequate food supplies the previous day, so as not to be caught out finding all shops shut on Friday. Fortunately as it turned out, on Thursday 14th, we crossed into the Protestant Vaad Canton, meaning that the next day, all shops were open :-)  

Crossing the linguistic border © Ricky Yates

Crossing the linguistic border © Ricky Yates

After walking for about five kilometres, we reached the edge of the city of Fribourg and another boundary, this time a linguistic one. As this sign illustrates, we crossed from German-speaking Switzerland into Francophone Switzerland. This was to be the last time we saw a sign saying Wanderweg.

Not only does the language change, so does the architecture. Over the following days we said to each other on several occasions that it would be very easy to believe that we were in France, rather than Switzerland. 

Fribourg with the Cathedral of St. Nicholas © Ricky Yates

Fribourg with the Cathedral of St. Nicholas © Ricky Yates

This is the view that greeted us as we descended downhill into Fribourg. We crossed the bridge and then headed for the Roman Catholic St Nicholas Cathedral. 

The 'pilgrim corner' of Fribourg Cathedral © Ricky Yates

The ‘pilgrim corner’ of Fribourg Cathedral © Ricky Yates

Within the Cathedral is a ‘pilgrim corner’ with details of possible accommodation and a rubber stamp for our ‘pilgrim passports’. 

The visit of the Wise Men © Ricky Yates

The visit of the Wise Men © Ricky Yates

The Cathedral also has some wonderful stained glass such as this depiction of the visit of the Wise Men to the infant Jesus. 

The slaughter of the innocents © Ricky Yates

The slaughter of the innocents © Ricky Yates

However, it is very rare to see the slaughter of the innocents, (Matthew 2. 16-18), illustrated in stained glass!

Whilst exploring the Cathedral, we had a different linguistic experience. Sybille was trying to photograph one of the stained glass windows when a man standing behind her said ‘pozor!’ to his wife, telling her not to get in Sybille’s way. ‘Pozor‘ is Czech for ‘attention!’ or ‘look out!’ “That couple must be Czech”, Sybille said to me. I then saw the back of the T-shirt the man was wearing, which advertised a café in Brno :-)

 

Ancient footbridge over the River Glâne © Ricky Yates

Ancient footbridge over the River Glâne © Ricky Yates

That afternoon, we first had to walk from the city centre, through the western suburbs of Fribourg, and then through the adjacent town of Villar-sur-Glâne, before finally once more reaching the countryside. The Chemin de Saint-Jacques, as I now must call our pilgrim way, descended into a wooded valley before crossing the River Glâne on this delightful bridge which is clearly several hundred years old.

Maison-des-Anges, Froidville bei Posieux © Ricky Yates

Maison-des-Anges, Froidville bei Posieux © Ricky Yates

For once, our accommodation that night was neither a long way off-route or up a hill. Instead, it was literally three minutes, almost level walking, from the Chemin – the Maison-des-Anges in the hamlet of Froidville bei Posieux. The ‘House of Angels’ is a very French-style Chambres d’hôtes as you can probably tell from this photograph, with pictures, carvings and statues of angels everywhere! It made for a very pleasant end to our first day of walking through Francophone Switzerland.

Route from Tafers to Froidville bei Posieux 16km

Route from Tafers to Froidville bei Posieux 16km

Einigen – Schwarzenburg

My pilgrim wife observing the local livestock © Ricky Yates

After a night punctuated by further thunder, lightning and rain, we awoke to grey skies the next morning and heard the pitter-patter of rain falling once more whilst we were eating breakfast. But just as we were resigning ourselves to a wet day, blue sky began to appear above the hill behind where we were staying. Our host assured us that where the blue sky was appearing, was the direction from which the weather always came. Fortunately, her forecast proved true and we enjoyed a dry and increasingly sunny day.

We first walked three kilometres back to the main Jacobsweg at Gwatteg, passing along this interesting path which traverses . . . → Read More: Einigen – Schwarzenburg

Walking with my pilgrim wife

Sybille taking a photograph alongside the Thunersee © Ricky Yates

My sincere apologies that it is exactly one month since I last posted anything here on my blog. Long-standing followers will know that this is an extremely rare occurrence. Over the next couple of weeks, I do hope to write several new blogposts to compensate.

As I explained in responding to my Liebster Blogger Awarder Emily, answering her Question 3, I’ve spent two weeks of August, walking with my pilgrim wife Sybille. During that time, I had virtually no access to the internet – hence the absence of blog posts. I only returned to Prague last Thursday evening and this afternoon and evening is the first real opportunity I’ve had . . . → Read More: Walking with my pilgrim wife

Hora Ríp

Hora Ríp as seen from Vražkov. Note the yellow waymark © Ricky Yates

Hora Ríp is a prominent hill, located about 48 km/30 miles north of Prague. It protrudes from the otherwise relatively flat Central Bohemian Plain, and is very visible and easily accessible from the D8, the Prague-Dresden motorway. Of course, there should be a hácek, a little hook, above the ‘R’ in ‘Ríp’, as there should be above the ‘c’ in ‘hácek‘. But as I have explained several times previously, the set-up of this blog cannot cope with many Czech diacritics and instead renders them as ‘?’

Wearing my geographer hat, I can tell you that Hora Ríp is . . . → Read More: Hora Ríp

My Liebster Blogger Award – part two

As promised in my first post eight days ago, here are my answers to the last six questions set by my Liebster Blogger Award nominator Emily, the owner of the blog Czechesotans.

6. What drives you crazy?

The addiction that so many people seem to have to their mobile/cell/smart phones. In particular, the number of people I see here in the Czech Republic, who talk on their mobile phones whilst driving, even though it is completely illegal to do so. What drives me even more crazy is that I’ve never yet seen the police stop someone doing so, even though here in Prague, there are always plenty of police around and they seem to stop people quite readily for relatively petty offences.

. . . → Read More: My Liebster Blogger Award – part two