Yesterday we walked over 16 miles, which was a long day and OK except for the steep downhills in the last few miles, where Mark’s knees suffered. Our plan for today, either from extreme optimism or stupidity, calls for about 18 miles with two big sets of down/up to start us off. To set the stage further, we woke up to a hard steady rain.
Being old enough now to have acquired a little bit of judgement, and remembering well the experience of walking long in wet boots, we went off script, and hopped on a Post Bus. (Any medieval pilgrim with sufficient means would have found a wagon going in the right direction, surely?)
So, riding in our wagon for about eight miles in the rain, we disembark in the town of Tafers. Tafers we find to be largely German speaking, even though located in the French speaking canton of Fribourg.
Beside the town church we find two chapels. In front of the St. James Chapel the paving stones are laid in the shape of a scallop shell.
And on its façade eight panels tell the story of the hanged man and the chicken. Painted in 1769, it illustrates one of the most often-heard miracle legends on the Way of St. James.
Before continuing, we opt to put on our rain pants – the rain, while lighter now, has not stopped.
The landscape has definitely changed from the previous days. The hills are more rolling and we do not encounter the steep ascents and descents of earlier.
Continuing on we reach the outskirts of Fribourg, capital of the canton of that name.
Much of the old town walls are still here, including the Red Tower, Cat’s Tower and Berntor, parts of the original battlements.
In medieval times all pilgrims from the east were required to enter the city via the Bernbrücke, but we can’t help but notice that it is way down there and there is a very serviceable bridge right here in front of us.
And right here we cross the linguistic divide between German and French speaking Switzerland: the Röstigraben, which translates roughly to “hashed-brown potato ditch”! Röstigraben
Passing through the heart of the Old Town, with its more than 200 Gothic facades, we pay a visit to the Fribourg Cathedral, dedicated to St. Nicholas, the same Bruder Klaus we got to know back in Flueli-Ranft.
If you look close on the facade above, you will see what your future could be – on the left is the righteous side, on the right the other option. Which do you choose?
All of the stained glass windows in the church tell a story about someone. The panels on the left of this window seemed a little creepy.
Leaving the city, and having a little time in hand thanks to our wagon ride, we split a pizza for lunch. Continuing on, and finally out of the suburbs, we come to the Stone crucifix Belle croix, on the edge of the woods near Moncor. Dedicated to St. James, this has been an important pilgrimage stop since at least 1480.
Just inside the forest trail beyond the cross we find a totem to pilgrims obviously made by locals.
And then we pass through a couple of forest trails and over an old stone bridge as we head to our destination in Posieux.
This path appeared to be an old mule trail, with a rocky base and steep sides.
As we approach Posieux, we see an interesting wood carving celebrating the Camino.
And finally we arrive at our hotel for the night and a welcome rest. Tomorrow is a short 12 mile walk to Romont where we will catch a train for out final rest day in Gruyeres.