My final two days of walking through Switzerland, accompanying Sybille on her pilgrimage from Prague to Santiago de Compostela, took us through a series of towns and villages that are predominantly home to people who commute to work in Geneva. Whilst the surroundings became increasingly urban, there were still some attractive stretches of countryside in-between settlements.
On the morning of Tuesday 19th August, we left the Pilger Herberge and walked through the town of Gland, passing under the main Lausanne-Geneva railway line by Gland station. Walking along a series of minor roads, we reached Prangins with this delightful Church at the centre of the village and a peaceful outdoor café where we enjoyed a mid-morning coffee.
Prangins then merges with the much larger town of Nyon which we traversed, parallel to the main railway line, before the chemin took us away to the more peaceful surroundings of the Bois Bougy where we found a bench to sit on whilst we ate our picnic lunch.
The next commune we walked through was Céligny, which is clearly aware that it lies on the Chemin de Saint-Jacques as it features five scallop shells on its coat of arms.
From Céligny, the chemin once more entered woods and fields before arriving at the impressive Château de Bossey, home of the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches.
Whilst we couldn’t see inside the main building, the chapel was open to visitors. We both smiled when we saw the bookshelves at the back of the chapel with an amazing variety of liturgical and hymn books in several different languages.
We had hoped to stay that evening in Commugny, about four-and-a-half kilometres on from the Château de Bossey, where there was another family who were listed as accueil jacquaire; people who offered overnight accommodation specifically for pilgrims. Sybille tried phoning their number two or three times during the day, but got no answer. We found the house as we entered Commugny, as it is situated right alongside the chemin. But ringing the door bell also received no reply.
So we walked on another couple of kilometres, into neighbouring Tannay where we stopped at a little shop and café and each had a small beer. Whilst we enjoyed our liquid refreshment, we agreed that we would stay in whatever accommodation we next reached when we walked on. Much to our amusement, immediately around the next corner was Auberge Lion d’Or. Our enquiry about the availability of a room received a positive response. It was expensive, but we both agreed that, as it was to be our last night together for three months, we might as well treat ourselves. So we did!
We also enjoyed a splendid evening meal together on the terrace of the Auberge, where I managed to take this photograph of Sybille, checking out something using her tablet, especially bought for her pilgrimage, to enable her to keep in contact with ‘her world’. It also has a Kindle app to which many books have been downloaded, without adding weight to her rucksack
Although I did get a slightly askance look when I asked for a third cup of coffee , breakfast at Auberge Lion d’Or was otherwise fine. Afterwards, we set out on our final day together, walking from Tannay, through Mies, Versoix, Bellevue and Chambésy, to the hillside village of Pregny where we enjoyed a lunchtime drink sitting on the garden terrace of a bar-restaurant.
We visited the village Church before the chemin then began to descend quite steeply and we had this first view across Lac Léman, of the city of Geneva with its famous fountain.
Our actual entry into Geneva was where we had to walk alongside the main Cantonal road for about a kilometre. Sybille suggested I should pose directly under the sign, just to prove I did get there
Soon afterwards, the chemin took us from the busy road, through a park, to the side of Lac Léman where we ate a late picnic lunch. Then, after taking in my final view of both the lake and the fountain, we walked to the main railway station. There we said farewell to each other. I went to buy my ticket and catch the train to Bern and then on to Langenthal. Sybille walked on through Geneva to the Swiss – French border, some seven kilometres further away.