Day 32: Orbe via Jougne

Number of kilometres today: 39.4

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 887.4

Total steps since Canterbury:  1,257,502

Today has been filled with highs and lows.  It started low when my Camelbak hydration bladder decided to leak inside The Devil which I discovered after I geared up and was about to leave the room with a suddenly very wet and cold bum.  I have walked at an altitude of 1,000 metres, literally in the clouds.  I have picked my way down rocky steep slopes wincing at the pain in my knees.  I have walked through Autumn-kissed forests on leafy carpets the colour of a burnt sunset.  I have walked on a muddy tracks no wider than my two feet and hung on to some sturdy vines to help me descend the path without slipping or falling over the edge.  I have walked next to the tourist railway line and had to squeeze my way between a wire fence and a locomotive to escape the holding yard.  I have stood with one foot in France and one foot in Switzerland. I have walked next to water pipelines and a hydro-electric plant.  I have walked through a gorge listening to the sound of the Orbe river running many metres below the trees out of sight.  With only 4 kilometres left to walk until I arrived in Orbe, my path through the gorge was blocked. At the height of my tiredness and foot pain,  I was forced to detour back up a path unsure of where I was going but convinced that I was going to have to walk a very long around to get into Orbe.  I cried.  Fortunately, the path wound its way back in the same direction as the river and merged with my original path adding 700 metres to my day.

I arrived into Orbe without accommodation booked.  I had called the Catholic Parish but they do not accommodate pilgrims.  I had tried to call a B&B but there was no answer so I decided to hand it over to the universe and see what transpired.  Arriving into town, I walked into the first of only two hotels.  They were charging 145 Swiss francs for a room I would have paid 45 euro for two days earlier.  I walked away and straight to the Tourist Office where I was told the other hotel is even more expensive.  The lady made a phone call and found a room for me at a Pilgrim friendly private home for 25 Swiss francs.

I bought my dinner from the supermarket, chilli con carne and rice, and walked a weary and painful kilometre up hill to the house. I was greeted by a 10 year old girl in the street who didn't speak any English but had been sent to show me into the house.  She showed me around, whispering explanations.  I still don't understand the reason for the whispering or much of what she said except where to leave the key when I left. There are a couple of people living here but I haven't seen them or met Madame Latifa who has put a roof over my head for the night.  It is a slightly strange situation.

Tomorrow I will reach Lausanne.  I had planned to take my rest day there but accommodation is expensive and I don't want to take my rest day in a dorm room shared with strangers.  Last night I shared a 4 bed dorm room with an 80 year old French woman.  She was very sweet wanting to give me food and make sure I had breakfast in the morning but she was a snorer and she also went to the toilet every two hours which involved turning the light on, putting her slippers on and shuffling to the door which was in desperate need of having its hinges oiled then shuffling back in.  I didn't sleep wellI.  So I have booked myself a private room for the night at the Backpackers where I will have wifi access and can catch up on emails and post some photos from the last few days. Hopefully, I can take my rest break one day later in Vevey.

I am done with 35 plus kilometre days.  The need for them is over as accommodation from here to Rome is generally plentiful and I am on track to make it to Rome before the first of December.  And there is a big difference between 39 kilometres flat and 39 kilometres hilly.  I learned the hard way. Theres not much of me that doesn't hurt tonight.