Day 43 – Walking the Via Francigena – Pontarlier To Métabief, France – Crossing The Jura Sub-Alps Mountains In The Rain

Day 43 – Walking the Via Francigena – Pontarlier To Métabief, France – Crossing The Jura Sub-Alps Mountains In The Rain

Today we crossed the Jura Mountain range.
The weather forecast called for only drizzling rain, but it rained consistently all day long.

Luckily, we dressed for the cold rain in warm clothing.
We wore our fleeces under our rain coats and rain pants.
As always, we put everything inside our backpacks in big ziplock plastic bags and the clothing inside a dry sack.

The only things exposed to the rain were our mesh shoes.
I really should have brought my waterproof light trekking shoes instead of the mesh ones.

After breakfast, we left Pontarlier and entered into a thick forest.
It was wet but very scenic, still dark from the morning mist and mysterious in the fog.
We climbed up and up and when we got out of the forest, still climbing steadily, we got a glimpse of The Château de Joux, a fortress dating back to the 13th century.

It was covered in mist and not very photogenic in the rain.
In fact, I left my camera inside a plastic bag all day, and used only my phone for today’s photos.

For about an hour, we walked by the road, but in a designated bike lane.
I found by the side of the road a white balloon that escaped a “Just Married” wedding vehicle and I attached it to the back of Jules’s backpack.
Jules said that the floating balloon would help the passing cars identify us in the misty weather.

By lunchtime, we entered the village of Chaon, which came right after the village called Oye-et-Pallet, or as we nicknamed it in Yiddish, “the village called Oye Vey.”

It was hard to walk in the rain with the wind blowing our umbrellas.
I was thinking of the comforts of home, of a world in which people drive to the neighborhood Starbucks and order pumpkin spiced lattes, not walking in the cold rain….

In Chaon, we stopped for lunch at a local Auberge that serves lunch from noon to 1:30 in the afternoon.
You might wonder how these restaurants can make any money being open for only an hour and a half, but the place was packed with workers and locals, dining in big groups or in teams.

We love that about rural France.
Workers come covered in mud, wearing gum boots, and sit for a gourmet three or four course meal at lunchtime, always accompanied by a glass of wine.

We thought about workers in the USA who barely have enough time or money or the inclination to eat more than a fast food lunch.
They wind up with a cheap and indigestible lunch break, compared to the calm tasty feast workers enjoy in France.

We were not very hungry, but the owner looked like he was expecting us to eat, since he had allowed us to take a table at one o’clock, pretty late for a restaurant that closes at one thirty.

We ordered the fresh trout, which came with a lemon butter sauce, fries and a baked pumpkin cassoulet.
Then we ordered crème Brûlée and a tart of Blackcurrants for dessert.

In front of me on the wall there was a poster from an old french movie with an actor I remember loving as a kid, but I could not remember his name.
As a young kid in Israel, I loved French movies and French TV comedy shows.
I told Jules that I thought the comedian’s name was Louis de Funès, but I was not sure.

The owner of the Auberge had warmed up to us, and he came over to us confirming it was Louis de Funès.
He told us that we have about three more hours of walking in the rain to get to Métabief, and after that we can sleep well, for we were surely going to be exhausted from climbing the Jura Mountains in the rain.

From there, we entered the forest again and then climbed onto a high plateau with pasture and farmland.
There were a lot of steady climbs, as well as ups and downs, all the way to Métabief.

The farm tracks turned into mud mixed with cow manure, and I knew that the first thing I would do when we got to our room, would be to wash off our shoes and socks, which anyway were soaking wet.

The way was very scenic, even in the rain, but I am sure that the views of the lake and picturesque alpine villages would have been much more beautiful if the day were not so misty and rainy.

We arrived at our hotel and had to wait ‪until 5:30pm‬ to check in.
Nobody was at the front desk, but the hotel was open and we made ourselves comfortable in the warm lobby until the designated check in time at five thirty.

Dinner was served at seven o’clock sharp, so we had to wash up, clean all of our clothes and hang them on the heated towel racks and go down for dinner.

The dining room had a large group of twenty weekend hikers who dominated the hotel.
They dominated the jacuzzi and the sauna, and now many of them were tipsy and a little drunk.

We were served our meal before theirs, and our food arrived very fast.
It was a good meal, not exceptional, but good.

We are at the halfway point in crossing the Jura Mountains.
Tomorrow we will climb to the peak and make our way down to Switzerland.

To be honest, the walk today did not feel so challenging to me.
The misty, windy weather and the rain was my biggest challenge, not the climbs.

Or maybe it is my frame of mind that is getting better….
All day long I was thinking about these affirmations:
“Love created me like Itself.
Holiness created me holy.
Kindness created me kind.
Helpfulness created me helpful.
Perfection created me perfect.
I am NOT weak but strong!
God created me like Herself.
Love created me like Itself….”

Good night Holy sons and daughters of God,

Today’s Stats:
Daily Steps – 31,483 Steps
6.5 hours of walking
Active walking time – 5.5 hours
Daily Kilometers – 23 Km
Total Kilometers walked from Canterbury UK – 962.5 km

Étoile Des Neiges, in Métabief
A simple and comfortable ski hotel and restaurant in a small ski town in the Jura Mountains

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