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 club. Whilst we saw no fellow pilgrims, the way was busy with joggers and cyclists, all out for their weekend exercise.
This was our view of Morges as we walked towards the town with the Church on the right and the castle to the left.
We arrived at the town’s Swiss Reformed Church, soon after the end of Sunday morning worship. The congregation were enjoying post-service coffee and biscuits to which we were warmly invited to participate. Several people spoke to us in French and one older gentleman, in fluent English.
This is a view of the interior of the Church. Whilst it is very much in the Protestant tradition with the pulpit centrally placed, it was interesting to see the use of liturgical colours with a green frontal for the Holy Table, (I’d better not call it the altar 🙂 ), and a similar one for the lectern. I think it reflects a greater interest than in the past amongst many Protestants, of valuing and marking the liturgical year. In another Swiss Reformed Church, I saw a chart explaining the traditional colours for the complete liturgical year!
The whole of this day, we had wonderful views across Lac Léman to a snow-covered Mt Blanc. I had great difficulty in choosing which of my many photographs, to use in illustrating this post 🙂
Further along the lake shore, adjacent to the castle, there was a musical fête in progress with various barrel organs playing and in this case, accompanied by a Swiss horn.
This is Morges Castle. Note the yellow waymarking sign, attached to the pole with the tourist information sign.
Soon after walking out of Morges, the Chemin leaves the lake shore for a while before returning once more in the attractive small town of St-Prex where we ate our picnic lunch.
After lunch, the next settlement we walked through was Buchillon where we spotted this sign on the side of a house. Sybille had by then already walked over a thousand kilometres but now she had less than two thousand to go!
By now we were walking through one of the main wine producing areas of Switzerland with south facing slopes going down to the shore of Lac Léman, covered in rows of vines. During our time together, we enjoyed many glasses of Swiss white wine, all of which were most quaffable. You very rarely find bottles of Swiss wine outside of Switzerland itself, no doubt because the Swiss drink it all themselves 😉
Our route also took us across this bridge with the volume of water passing underneath being indicative of the heavy rainfall that Switzerland had experienced in the previous weeks.
Late in the afternoon, the chemin once more passed along the lake shore where there was a bar-restaurant, a couple of kilometres short of the village of Perroy. We stopped for a ‘cool glass of something’ and decided that we ought to start trying to find somewhere to stay for the night. There were a couple of B and B possibilities in Perroy on Sybille’s accommodation list. But when Sybille phoned to enquire, one was fully booked whilst her other call received no answer.
From the bar-restaurant on the lake shore, we walked uphill to the centre of the village of Perroy, and realised from reading various notices and the imposition of temporary parking restrictions, that over that weekend, the village was en-fête. We had arrived in the middle of an event which only happens once every four years – the celebration of the Abbaye de Perroy.
As was explained to us, the Abbaye was formed in the mid-nineteenth century as a local defence force but is now a glorified gun club who hold a shooting competition in August, once every four years, followed by a weekend of celebrations. The most successful shooters get to wear laurel wreaths on their heads and to be accompanied by attractive young ladies, as you can see if you follow this link to the one photograph from this year’s event which is so far up on their website.
We watched this grand parade through the village and were then invited, because we were passing pilgrims, to a reception on the terrace behind the Mairie where we were served complimentary glasses of wine with several varieties of local delicacies to nibble.
Meanwhile, the band played on the terrace. And you cannot beat the view from the terrace! Sybille successfully found the village mayor and asked him if the Mairie had accommodation for pilgrims, as historically had been the custom. No it didn’t was his answer, but he told her that a nearby restaurant had rooms that we could try. However, with the village being en-fête, these were inevitably fully occupied.
So having enjoyed our wine and nibbles, but with nowhere to stay the night in Perroy, we walked on 2km to the edge of the larger town of Rolle. Here there was a campsite – but it didn’t have any cabins to let. Nearby was a sign for a hotel – but it was now defunct. Just as we were trying to decide what on earth to do, Sybille’s phone rang. It was the B and B in Perroy who had picked up on Sybille’s missed call from about three hours earlier. Yes her room was available. So we walked two kilometres back up the hill to Perroy Church, where our hostess picked us up in her car and took us to her home.
After a comfortable night’s sleep and an excellent breakfast, we walked back down the self-same hill we had walked up and down the previous evening, into the town of Rolle. Here once more for a short while, the Chemin was alongside the shore of Lac Léman, and past this splendid castle.
Then it was slightly more inland, through the long village of Bursinel, where this plaque informed us that none other than Winston Churchill had holidayed in the village, only a year after the end of the Second World War.
Around 13.30, we reached the outskirts of the town of Gland. Here we knew there was a Gîte pour pèlerins/Pilger Herberge, specifically for pilgrims which, as you can see, was very clearly signposted. Although we had only walked for half a day, Sybille was keen to stay here. The door was locked, but a notice gave three phone numbers to ring. The third number answered and we were given a numeric code to key in, to open the door.
Once inside, Sybille declared it to be ‘Pilgrim heaven’. As well as a dormitory with eight beds, a shower and a toilet, there was a kitchen with cooking utensils and all necessary plates, cutlery, cups and glasses. There was wifi – the access code was on the noticeboard. But best of all, there was a washing machine and a drying machine.
After we had both showered and changed, we took full advantage of the washing machine. Sybille just wore the bare minimum for the rest of the afternoon – three items of clothing – so she could wash everything else she had with her. We didn’t need the drying machine as there were clothes racks and pegs, with the breeze and the sunshine doing the rest. Whilst our clothes were drying, we walked for twenty minutes to the nearest supermarket and bought things to cook an evening meal, along with appropriate liquid refreshment.
Later in the evening, as she had promised earlier on the phone, the hospitalera arrived to register us and to collect the very reasonable CHF 10 per person for staying overnight, plus CHF 2 for using the washing machine.