Day 42 – Walking the Via Francigena – Walking Around Pontarlier, France

Day 42 – Walking the Via Francigena – Walking Around Pontarlier, France

We have entered the Jura Mountains.
The region is beautiful and very green, with tall mountains towering around us.
The Jura Mountains are a sub-alpine mountain range, located north of the Western Alps, on the France–Switzerland border.
The Jura separates the Rhine river and Rhône river basins.

We have chosen to cross the Jura Mountains on the westerly side, instead of on the easterly side.
The westerly side is part of a protected national park in the Jura range, with a small ski town and better hotels.

We will cross the Jura Mountain range in two days, stopping for an overnight in the ski town of Métabief.
Even though it is not a very high ski resort, with only a few green and blue ski slopes (not too challenging), I am a bit nervous about our walk.

I have been looking intently at the weather in the region we are walking through.
It is predicted to rain every day for the next fourteen days.
I do not want to walk in the cold rain all day every day, but my preferences go against hundreds of thousands of souls who have been praying for rain to water their vineyards and gardens, and to fill their rivers.

We tell ourselves that walking in the rain and the cold or hot weather, is part of a pilgrimage, but a part of us knows that we much prefer partly sunny days with pleasant temperatures.

Today we slept late, ate a late breakfast in our hotel, collected all our clothes and muddy rain gear and went to the nearby laundromat in Pontarlier.

A bit later we had clean and dry clothes that smelled so nice.
Then we took our laundry back to our room and walked around the old part of Pontarlier.

We saw the old city gate which has been rebuilt through the years, and the remains of the old stone walls that once encircled the town.

We bought chocolate at a chocolate boutique.
The chocolate maker giggled nervously as we entered his shop.
We must have looked to him like two scruffy western cowboys looking for trouble.

But appearances are misleading…
We are never looking for trouble, just for some good chocolate to have on our long walking days, when we need to uplift our spirits and we have no access to food or water.

We found a fabulous Moroccan restaurant called “La Medina” in town, and decided to have lunch.
We had a salad of grated carrot with orange blossoms and fresh orange juice as an appetizer.
It was wonderful, and the taste and smell of the orange blossom essence transported me back to Morocco.

For a main course we had the La Medina Vegetarian couscous.
We got a plate each full of fluffy couscous with fried onions, fried almonds and raisins soaked in honey and cinnamon.
In a big communal bowl, we got a chunky vegetable soup with pumpkin, carrots, cabbage, turnip, chickpeas and zucchini, all cooked in a wonderful vegetable broth with aromatic spices.

We ladled the soup on top of our couscous and savored the taste.
We also got some fresh leaf teas, jasmine for jules and Vervain for me.
In fact, we loved the food so much and found it to be so wholesome, that we decided to have dinner there also.

At the restaurant, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirrored wall.
I look wasted and tired.
I did feel tired and wasted and grateful to have a rest day to see Pontarlier today.
Luckily the weather was perfect to allow us to walk around town.

I decided to buy a bottle of orange blossom essential oil.
Sometimes when I feel wasted, I rub a little fragrant essential oil on my temples or neck and inhale them.
Or I add a few drops to my facial cream to make me feel better.

I was looking for a health food store, but in France, essential oils and many other holistic tinctures and herbal medicine are available in many pharmacies.
I found a great homeopathic pharmacy with shelves full of essential oils and among them I found the orange blossom I was looking for.

On display in the middle of the store, they had a natural perfume, made of wonderfully fragrant orange blossoms.
Despite the fact that it will add to the weight of my backpack, I bought a bottle of it.

While traveling, I have found that if I pass up an opportunity to buy something that I love with the hope that I would be able to buy it at the end of our journey and not carry it along, it never worked out.
The item might not be available in another country or it might be something made by a local maker and only available locally.

Of course when you are traveling with a small backpack that you are trying to keep light, this can only apply for a small item or two, and I have learned not to want to own everything that I love at the shops that I pass.
It is OK to admire something, love it and not take it home with me.

We visited the old church of Pontarlier and sat in a lovely tea house in town. Jules tried at three separate shops to get a haircut, only to be told that all of the barbers were fully booked for days or weeks ahead. We returned to our hotel, and I had a luxurious sleep in the afternoon.
I felt so rejuvenated after the afternoon sleep, a hot shower and some essential oil cream on my face.

At night when we left to have dinner, we dressed up for the first time in our warm winter coats, gloves and warm hats.
The weather in this region is dropping into the single digits, and everyone in town seem to be wearing warm coats.

With love and light,

Today’s Stats:
Daily Steps – 9,977 Steps
4 hours of walking
Active walking time – 2 hours
Daily Kilometers – 7.5 Km
Total Kilometers walked from Canterbury UK – 939.5 km

Hotel Saint Pierre in Pontarlier, France
A centrally located hotel with comfortable rooms and a good shower.

2 Comments on “Day 42 – Walking the Via Francigena – Walking Around Pontarlier, France”

  1. Hi Tali!

    Blessing and good fortune! Not sure how many folks are following along with your journeys, but know I have enjoyed many, many of the posts.

    Looking forward to the progress through mountains! I was able to enjoy a couple of trips to northern Italy last year (Turin, Milan, Trieste) and it was wonderful.

    Stay dry!

    Big Love and Hugs to you both!


    • Dearest Doug,
      Thank you for your wonderful and supportive words!
      They mean so much to me.

      I do not think many people follow our pilgrimage online, and it is awesome to hear you have enjoy reading the posts.

      I am glad to hear you enjoyed northern Italy last year.
      I hope we will enjoy it like you did.
      We plan to also visit Milan and other places on our route.

      Thank you my friend and Jules also sends his warm regards,
      Love and hugs,

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