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 a picnic table and chairs, was set up under the wide eaves of the roof of the house meaning we could shelter from the rain whilst enjoying all that had been provided.
We realised whilst sitting there, that this was also a place on Sybille’s printed list that offered B and B accommodation for pilgrims. Sybille had actually phoned the previous day to see if we could stay there. But the hosts only had two beds and one was already booked, hence we stayed in the ‘House of Angels’ at Froidville bei Posieux instead. No doubt there was a lucky pilgrim, walking about three kilometres in front of us 🙂
We walked on through Posieux and neighbouring Ecuvillens, around an aerodrome and into a forest. As we were about to enter the forest, the light rain became heavy rain. Fortunately, in the middle of the forest was a walkers hut – Cabane Cornard. Whilst the hut was locked, it had a large covered porch where we were able to sit in the dry and eat our lunch whilst the worst of the rain was falling.
By the time we had finished eating, the rain had all but stopped, so we made our way on to the village of Posat, then dropped down to once more cross the River Glâne. A climb up the other side of the valley eventually brought us to the larger village of Autigny. As you can see in the photograph, Sybille didn’t trust the weather and still had her poncho over her rucksack, ready in case the heavens opened again.
The last part of our walk that day was along a minor tarmac road from Autigny to the next village of Chavannes-sur-Orsonnens. We then diverted away from the Chemin de Saint-Jacques for over a kilometre, along a somewhat busier road, to the neighbouring village of Orsonnens. This was to reach the Monastère Notre-Dame de Fatima, the home of a group of a Vietnamese Cistercian monks who gave us excellent hospitality overnight.
The next morning dawned fine and sunny and remained so for the whole of the day. We made our way back onto the Chemin de Saint-Jacques, a kilometre or so on from where had left it the previous evening, and headed towards the historic hilltop town of Romont.
Being a hilltop town, it did involve quite a steep climb, zigzagging up to the historic town centre. Having made it to the top and visited the main Church, we rewarded ourselves with a small beer, sitting at an outside table of a bar-restaurant, enjoying the bright sunshine.
Descending from the town centre and passing through part of the modern town suburbs, we found a shady spot near the village of Billens, to sit and eat our picnic lunch. Then there was a little more climbing to do to reach the highest point on our walk that day at around 800 metres above sea level, where we crossed the boundary from the predominantly Roman Catholic Fribourg Canton, into the predominantly Protestant Vaad Canton.
There then followed a quite steep decent of nearly 300 metres down into the La Broye valley to the village of Curtilles, part of which you can just see through the trees in this photograph. The much larger town of Lucens with its prominent castle, can be seen on the other side of the valley, across the river.
In Curtilles, there was a horse-riding school which according to Sybille’s accommodation list, offered the possibility to again schlaf im Stroh/sleep on straw. A lady who we spoke to at the riding school, said she would send a text message to the proprietor who was out with some of his horses. Ten minutes later she came back to us saying that we should walk on for about a further kilometre to where there was a roadside water fountain and some people harvesting potatoes in the field opposite and they would be able to help us.
It was here that we met Frau Marianne Luder, a sixty-nine year old farmer’s widow who was busy helping her son with the potato harvest. She offered us overnight B and B accommodation and later explained that the riding school could not help us because it was still school holidays and they were therefore fully occupied with children staying for a week, learning to ride.
Although we were in Francophone Switzerland, Frau Luder explained that she was originally from Bern. Therefore, although she spoke fluent French, she preferred to speak in German. Her price for B and B was CHF 30 per person, very reasonable by Swiss standards. But she also offered to provide ein kleines Abendessen for a further CHF 5 each, an offer that we happily accepted. What followed was a wonderful three course meal, the largest kleines Abendessen that either of us had ever experienced 🙂
Just as we were eating our dessert, the phone rang for Frau Luder. It was the riding school, asking if she could take four German cycling pilgrims who had just arrived, also hoping to schlaf im Stroh/sleep on straw and had found there was no room. “Yes she could”, was her answer, “as long as one of them didn’t mind a mattress on the floor”. In due course, the amazing lady produced a second kleines Abendessen, to also feed these new arrivals!
Not only was our host extremely hospitable, much to Sybille’s delight, she had a large, elderly dog called Ali. Sybille is normally rather reluctant to have her photograph taken – she much prefers to be behind the camera, rather than in front of it. But this a photograph she actually asked me to take – with her doggy friend 🙂