Saturday, June 28, 2014
Day 10: In German Switzerland
I am writing this post from a hostel in Solothurn, which is the first major German speaking city in Switzerland after crossing the Jura mountains. There were a few German towns before that, but Solothurn is the biggest one we've seen so far. Since I last posted, so much has happened and it's hard to know where to begin or what to talk about. Ed and I stayed at a hotel right after the Ballon d'Alsace and made our way in the morning. We got a pretty late start, and we didn't have a particular goal for that day, but just to go as far as we could. We had an exciting incident involving wild animals at 4 AM, so we left really early the next day.
We were about 6 km from the last French town, so that day would be our last in France. Up to that point, things had gone pretty well and we've been looking forward to more of that. There are aome things we do each day as part of our pilgrimage. We pray the Rosary for all the intentions of our pilgrimage (including those sent to us at email@example.com. Also, we observe an hour of silence each day for each of us to reflect on our own. Usually this is the part where Ed gets way way ahead of me. The hours of silence are not as bad as I though they would be, but it gives us a little window into the loneliness the previous authors experienced since they did it on their own. I am glad Ed is with me. I guess that's always been a given since this whole thing was his idea in the first place.
As such, Ed and I have been talking a lot. We have had theological discussions, which have been thought provoking, but we have also made lots of references to movies and TV shows, not to mention Strong Bad and Homestar Runner. One of the traditions we've started and modified is to tell each other one good memory and one bad memory and one optional hope for the future. The good memories are great fun, and they usually lead to further reminiscing. We have heard some of the tales before, but it is fun to hear them again. By the way, those of you who know me know that I can tell some pretty long stories. But I can assure you that Ed's stories are even longer. The bad memories are a little more difficult because evn the worst ones can be learned from and thus turned positive in a way. It's been a good way not only to learn about each other, but to learn about ourselves.
Now you might be saying currently, "But Luke, I've read this far in the post and you haven't actually told me anything you've done in the last 4 days." You would be right, but one must keep in mind that when Belloc wrote his book, he would often skip over large sections of his travels with random tangents, some of which are utter nonsense.
I did post some pictures the other day to tide you over. But let's see. Ed and I have met quite a few charming people despite the fact that we look and probably smell disgusting. I don't imagine that salt stains on my t-shirt will ever become fashionable. We have walked through many charming villages in the countryside, and the last two days were fraught with much climbing of the ridges of the Jura mountains, which we finally left behind today. On our way down from Weissenstein, we got caught in quite the thunderstorm, which dampened our clothes but not our spirit, and we finally made it to the hostel where we are now, even after both our electronic devices died and we couldn't remember the name of the hostel we'd booked online.
Oh, yeah. One of the other cool things I've been trying to do is to sing Gregorian chant in as many of these beautiful churches as possible. My favorite one so far was the church in the tiny town of St. Ursanne.
We've had a couple rough half days. I say half days because usually if one half is bad, the other half has tended to be good, or sometimes simply a good ending can make a bad day worth it.
It's late and I have to go to sleep, but I wanted to leave you with one last cool memory from this trip. Ed and I wound up watching the US vs. Germany match with a German young lady we happened to meet in Porrentruy. She spoke English well, and we talked for a good long time. The US lost the match, but they still made it to the next round. She also showed us the local Catholic Church (St. Pierre), which I also sang in. Before we left she even gave us some token gifts, which we accepted gratefully.
Okay, if you are still dissatisfied with the lack of detail in these posts, remember that Ed and I do plan on writing a book when we're done and we can't give it ALL away, right?