Saturday, 6th September

Today our pilgrimage started by getting up in the middle of the night (O.K.: 4:30 am) to get our train to Lausanne. It would be unfair to say that it rained the whole day. As we only reached our starting point at noon, however, the preceding dryness was of little avail to us. When we stepped out of the train station, it rained heavily. Undaunted, we set down in a café at the station to abide the inevitable improvement of the weather over a cup of coffee. We drank the coffee. It was still raining. We ordered a beer. We drank the beer. It was still raining. We decided to look for a church to begin our pilgrimage properly by saying the Rosary and then to start (as it was bound to be better by then). The church we found – St. Francis – was very beautiful, 13th century, stained glass windows in the apse – but no tabernacle. In fact, the lack of a holy water stoup at the porch had already been quite a giveaway: it was a reformed church. We nevertheless prayed the Rosary there, and when we stepped out after this ecumenical act – it was still raining. Now, though we had not explicitly prayed for better weather, you know, if you first seek the kingdom of God, all other things… but never mind.

So we went to another café and had another beer. Dear reader, do not be shocked; they were both very small beers, and absolutely necessary for what we did next, as, when we stepped out of the café – it was still raining. We cycled one hour and forty minutes in rain of the intensity of a well-functioning shower. I will not bore you with a detailed description of rain slowly soaking scarf and shirt at one side, and your feet (in spite of shoe covers) at the other side, while the middle of you gets wetter end wetter from sweating under rain jacket and rain trousers. In the end, we only progressed 33 km today (and missed Mass).

Right now, while we are sitting digesting a quite passable pizza, the hotel room offers an interesting perspective of wet things spread over the heating (which is not working), the chairs, the wardrobe, and even the lampshade (which in turn is working, giving quite some heat and drying stockings, gloves, shoes and other small items rather quickly). Hoping for better weather tomorrow.

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