Tuesday 7 October.
It was still raining when we left this morning at 8 am. It continued on and off until the afternoon but never got as heavy as the other day. We were well covered up when we left with rain jackets on top of our fleeces and waterproof trousers. We hadn't heard from the woman in the office about whether she got through to the two places where we wanted to stay so Moira used 'booking.com' and secured places for us to sleep in Orbe tonight and Lousanne tomorrow. Both were very expensive, over €100 per night, this is going to hit the budget. Its a good job we managed to save a bit through France.
The sign as we left L'Auberson said 'Sainte Croix 4km'. It had been 6 km from the border to Orbe and 2 km to L'Auberson, so it looked like the long stretch through the village didn't count in calculating the distances. From leaving the village we climbed and climbed, up to the Col des Etroits at 1153 m. When we got there I thought there would be a sign that I could photograph as the first Swiss 'Munro' but there was nothing. Thinking about it, I suppose a col at that height wasn't really of any significance in Switzerland. Once over the col we entered the town of Sante Croix and headed for the railway station where the waymarked track to Vuiteboeuf started. On the way Moira found a bank and drew out some Swiss Francs from the machine.
Leaving the town we initially cut through fields with high hills clad in pine in the background. Then we started to drop steeply with cows lazily chewing the cud in the meadows and the bells around their necked giving a merry chime as they moved. We were following the waymarks to the Gorges de Covetannaz and Vuiteboeuf, I also had my copy of the Cicerone route as a back up, fortunately they corresponded. When we reached the Gorge it was another magnificent walk.
A good path twisted its way down the valley through towering cliffs with the river below thundering down rapids and waterfalls. It was just as good as our walk the other day to the Source of the Loue. At the bottom of the gorge we reached the village of Vuiteboeuf but we didn't enter it, instead took a lovely path through the woods to Baulmes. We had hoped to find a spot in Vuiteboeuf for a cup of tea in a sheltered spot. We thought we would have to wait until the next viilage but then found a seat in the forest constructed from large log. At first it was just going to be for a rest but the rain had eased so I got the cooker out and brewed some tea.
When we reached Baulmes there was a boulongerie and Moira got some bread, double the price of France. We were to head for the railway station here via Rue de la Gare but couldn't find it. The woman in the bakery directed us. But our troubles didn't finish there, after crossing the railway line neither Cicerone or the waymarks made sense of the way to go to the next village of Rances. We couldn't decide on the correct route and ended up taking the road. It was only 4 km and it was fairly quiet. In Rances there was a convenient bus shelter where we had lunch. The bread Moira bought, our first in Switzerland was very nice with a crunchy crush and chewy.
Leaving Rances we followed the waymarks again and they took us along paths through vineyards. There were still red and green grapes on the vines and we sampled some of them, they were nice and sweet and refreshing. When we got to the next village of Valeyres-sous-Rances the path came out near the end of the village so were quickly on our way to meet the main road into Orbe. There was a concrete track beside the main road and it crossed a motorway, we were staying in a motel which was just off this motorway by-pass. I asked for directions from a man at a house and he indicated it was only 200m away on the right.
When we got there is was annoying that we were kept waiting while the receptionist dealt with the kitchen staff. When I am paying €110 for a room I expect instant attention. Eventually she got round to us and soon we were in our room. It wasn't bad but not any better than we had last night for 50% less. At least the WiFi was good and I posted my blog that I prepared last night, it went through in seconds. We decided to shower first then go into town and look for a supermarket. It was another shower that you needed a University degree to operate, well at least the instruction manual. We both worked on it and at last got the water flowing.
We walked towards the town centre but it was only about a couple of hundred metres when we reached a Coop supermarket. We got cold ham and salad to have a picnic in the room. The prices Moira informed me were about double those in France. Once stocked up we returned to the hotel. After dinner we were able to listen to the BBC radio via the WiFi. Margaret phoned on FaceTime and were able to see the boys, Rhys is getting bigger ever time we see him.
It wasn't very warm in the room and the heating system doesn't seem to be switched on yet. You would think that with the prices they charge it should be available for when you wanted it. We went to bed it was warmer there. We head for Lausanne tomorrow on Lake Geneva. It is about 33 km so we got to sleep early to be fresh for it.