A day so short it almost felt like a rest day – a mere 18km from my hotel to the train station in Orsieres. I had to go to the train station, as that is also where the tourist office is. The is a pilgrim gite in Orsieres with three ways of getting the key: tourist office; train station; or the presbytery. The tourist office was closed, despite the sign saying they are open everyday until 12 noon. Ditto the ticket office at the train station ( they are right next to each other). Maybe someone had called ahead and warned them. Anyhoo, I figured maybe their Swiss clocks were fast and they would return for the afternoon shift, and in the meantime I may as well go into the village and find where the place was. Which I did… eventually, and while I was studying the notice on the door as to who to call to get the access code (unhelpfully the tourist office is first on the list), a man stopped his car and introduced himself as the custodian (the last name on the list). So he kindly let me in and explained the operations. His french was heavily accented and hard for me to follow. Maybe he was speaking Romanch. I smiled and nodded as now I had somewhere cheap to stay for the night – a first for Switzerland!
The walk today – actually it was a hike, was mostly on mountain trails similar to Vancouver’s North Shore (which is perhaps not that helpful to those reading this blog who are not at all familiar with Vancouver). In places it was actually quite gnarly, clambering over ancient rock falls. Every now and then you’d catch glimpses of trains trundling up the valley (or one of the valleys, as there are branch lines galore). And the highway was busy, and loud at times as the testosterone set red-lined their high performance cars on the Alpine roads. I am quite sure my day was more memorable than theirs.
My first memorable moment was emerging from the steep first section of trail and coming face to face with a gas station. So I partook of a coffee – real coffee, not the dreaded Canadian gas bar coffee. I declined the hotel’s breakfast offer (at 15Sfr (CAD 22) it seemed a bit rich), so this was an unexpected bonus. Now I’m at the train station and I notice they have a Lavazza coffee vending machine, so I know I can score an early coffee tomorrow (Sunday) as well.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for was shooting practice for Switzerland’s part time army. I just about fell off the trail when they started blazing away from behind the adjacent mound of dirt.
I’m writing this at the train station/tourist office. Right beside the erroneous hours of operation sign is one saying “free WiFi”, so I’m about to test its free-ness. Often you have to give a virtual DNA sample in order to access such free services.
Pics today of the village of Orsieres, and a reminder that more famous folk than me have passed this way before.
Daily kms: 18.