Since my return from Switzerland……

My worn-out boots © Ricky Yates

My worn-out boots © Ricky Yates

Five weeks ago today, I returned to Prague after spending a wonderful two weeks accompanying Sybille on her pilgrimage from Prague to Santiago de Compostela, walking with her across Switzerland. Since returning, I have successfully written and posted seven blog posts about our journey together. A big ‘Thank you’ to the faithful few who have left kind and appreciative comments on these recent posts.

The evidence of how far we walked can be seen by state of the soles and heels of my much loved walking boots. In the last couple of days of walking, I did slip slightly in a few muddy places, because of the increasing lack of tread. I also discovered that the waterproof cover, integral to my rucksack, was unfortunately no longer waterproof :-( . I have now invested in a new pair of walking boots, though I’ve yet to test them out over any serious distance. And I will buy a new, separate waterproof cover for my rucksack as, despite being twelve years old, it is otherwise still in good order.

Two other major things have happened since returning to Prague. On Tuesday 2nd September, I paid another visit to my dermatologist at Vojenské nemocnice, the Military Hospital. Unfortunately, one Basel Cell Carcinoma (BCC) on the right side of my forehead had, despite numerous treatments with liquid nitrogen, refused to disappear. So we mutually agreed that the only way forward was to have it cut out under local anaesthetic.

What then followed speaks volumes for the efficiency of the Czech Health Service. Armed with a brief report from my dermatologist, I went straight-away to the plastic surgery department in another nearby building. There, without an appointment, the surgeon quickly examined the BCC and promptly gave me an operation date of Wednesday 10th September – just eight days later.

My head following surgery! © Ricky Yates

My head following surgery! © Ricky Yates

The operation on Wednesday 10th September, despite being under local anaesthetic, was a bit more major than I was expecting. I was grateful that I’d accepted the kind offer of my friend Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz, to accompany me to the hospital. This is how I looked following the operation – Karen being responsible for taking the photograph! Fortunately, when I returned to the hospital the next day for a follow-up visit, the head bandage was replaced by a large sticky plaster which I was able to remove the next day.

The wound was pulled together by six stitches, the last two of which, were only removed on Monday of this week. But the good news is that the histology report, whilst confirming that what was removed was a BCC, also said that it was completely removed – it was clear around the edges. I now have a return visit to the dermatologist booked for the middle of October.

Then on Monday 22nd September, the day I had the last of my stitches removed, came the news that my daughter Christa, had gone into labour with her first child. Later in the evening came word from my son-in-law Ian, that I had become a grandfather for the first time, following the birth of my grandson Finley.

Because of breathing and other difficulties, Finley was immediately taken to the Special Care Baby Unit of the hospital in Northampton. But as this picture below, taken yesterday, shows, Christa and Ian were finally able to hold their newborn son for a short while. The latest news is that they hope to be able to take Finley home this weekend. I’m hoping to meet my grandson for the first time at the end of October when I’m visiting the UK for a few days.

My grandson Finley and his proud parents © Ian Margieson

My grandson Finley and his proud parents © Ian Margieson

Gland – Geneva

Prangins Church © Ricky Yates

 

 

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, . . . → Read More: Gland – Geneva

Ecublens – Gland

The tower of St-Sulpice Church with Lac Léman beyond © Ricky Yates

 

 

 

After a good night’s sleep and an excellent breakfast, we bid farewell to the Jordan family and walked the 1.5km back from Ecublens, to St-Sulpice Church, in order to rejoin the Chemin de Saint-Jacques. En-route, we were able buy bread for our picnic lunch. After the rain of the previous afternoon, the morning of Sunday 17th August was fine and sunny. Not that we knew it then, but the previous day’s rain was the last wet weather were to experience whilst walking together.

From St-Sulpice to the larger town of Morges, the Chemin is almost exclusively along the shore of Lac Léman. Just occasionally, the path goes slightly inland, where somebody long ago managed to claim ownership of the lake shore, or to avoid a lakeside yacht . . . → Read More: Ecublens – Gland

Curtilles – Lausanne – Ecublens

Moudon Church © Ricky Yates

 

 

 

 

After a splendid breakfast provided by Frau Luder at her home near Curtilles, we set out on a grey, but at that point dry, morning, to walk five kilometres along the La Broye valley, to the town of Moudon. As we reached the town centre, it started to rain, so we sought shelter in the Swiss Reformed Church.

As I remarked in reply to a comment on an earlier post, although pilgrimage is not really part of the Swiss Reformed Church tradition, I was many times impressed by the way their Churches which are located on the Jakobsweg/Chemin de Saint-Jacques, seek to make welcome pilgrims who visit them.

 

 

 

 

 

St. James Chapel, Moudon Church © Ricky Yates

The Church in Moudon illustrated this very well . . . → Read More: Curtilles – Lausanne – Ecublens

Froidville bei Posieux – Curtilles

The French is slightly longer than the German ‘Wanderweg’ © Ricky Yates

When we left the ‘House of Angels’ at Froidville bei Posieux on the morning of Wednesday 13th August, the sky was cloudy and grey. Within in a few minutes of setting out, light rain began to fall as we climbed the path through the woods, heading towards Posieux. After walking for about forty minutes, we reached the beginning of Posieux and shortly afterwards discovered a most pleasant surprise.

In the front yard of a house was a refreshment point for passing pilgrims. There was hot water in a flask, together with tea bags and a jar of instant coffee. In a sealed plastic container were various nibbles. All of this, together with . . . → Read More: Froidville bei Posieux – Curtilles