Oct 8, 2014

Rapport Quotidien

With such a late arrival last evening, it was quite late by the time I finally got to sleep. Check out time at the hostel is between 7:00 and 10:00, but by the time I had said my prayers, ate breakfast, and carefully repacked, I just made the deadline.

Mindful of how much time I had spent not walking on Tuesday, I resolved to be more careful today. For that reason, I didn't go looking for the Orthodox Church in Vevey, even though that may be the last one along the Via Francigena until I reach Rome. Nor did I stop along the way to explore the many intriguing churches and castles along the route, although as I approached Montreux I found myself stopping more and more frequently to take pictures.‎ 

A few kilometres outside of Montreux I took a break and applied a moleskin patch to an area of my foot which had developed a hot spot. (I'll see in the morning whether I acted soon enough to avoid a blister.)‎ As I was sitting in bare feet on a bench with my back to Lake Geneva, I noticed two older women across the street gesturing in my direction and talking. Then they headed over and asked me (in French) something about the book of Revelation. As I had suspected, they were Jehovah's Witnesses.

I asked them if they spoke English, and for the first time in this country I met Swiss citizens who only spoke one language. Our conversation proceeded haltingly, but they waited patiently while I fired up the Bible app on my phone and turned to Matthew 24:36. Before leaving home I had pre-loaded a number of different languages, so they were able to read the words of our Lord in French. (In hindsight, I wondered whether I shouldn't have also shown them what Christ had to say about those who falsely prophesied about His parousia, but decided there would have been no point beating them up.) I convinced them that I had no interest in accepting any Watchtower literature. And then I told them I was an Orthodox Christian who was walking 4000 km to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. (heheheh)‎ "Well, it is in the Bible," one of them said to the other. I just hope that their view of non-JWs as ignorant, apathetic, nominal "believers" was challenged. And if the Watchtower could be wrong about people like me, what else might it be wrong about?

Anyway, after going over the next few stages in my guidebook Tuesday night, I had thought that Aigle was a reasonable destination for today, if perhaps a little long for someone trying to get roadworthy again. When I arrived in Villeneuve in the heat of mid-afternoon, I had already decided to stop for lunch. Then I saw the signpost which announced that Aigle was another 7.5 hours away!‎ 

That decided it. I headed to the local tourist office and made some inquiries, and then following up on a friend's tip I visited the local Co-op supermarket. Apparently they have lunch counters where you pay a fixed price for the plate and can then pile it as high as you like with food from the buffet. Switzerland is not a cheap country, so this seemed like a great idea. I guess Villeneuve isn't a large enough community to warrant a buffet, so I bought some supplies and then headed to the campground. By 7:30 pm, I had pitched my rain poncho tarp, eaten, showered, washed my clothes‎, and uploaded a few photos. With the free WiFi here at the campsite, I have spent more time than perhaps I should have uploading photos, but I'll still be asleep several hours earlier than I was last night. (And as long as the clothespins hold, my laundry should be both clean and dry in the morning. I washed them by hand, wrung them out, and pinned them to my tarp.)

So, tomorrow I hope to be on the road much MUCH earlier than I was today. I've got a small breakfast already prepared, so I should be walking towards Saint-Maurice by 8:00 in the morning. According to my guidebook, that's a 26 km walk, with an increase of only 49 m in elevation. And now it's time to send this off, retire to my laundry-shrouded tarp, say my prayers, and go to sleep.


  1. Well, after this post I went directly to make some research about JW's beliefs...just in case!

    1. If you want a good but very basic overview of this and other varieties of religious expression from an Orthodox perspective, check out Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy by Fr. Andrew S. Damick. www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1936270137/ref=redir_mdp_mobile

      The thing is, any Christian who is reasonably biblically literate and established in a traditional "church" will have no difficulty.Most JWs I've met over the years have not been very well-prepared to discuss things with someone who knows the scriptures. The operating assumption is that "We know the Truth." And therefore, you don't.

    2. PS: a really good "gotcha!" verse when talking with JWs is John 5:23. One of St Athanasius' major arguments against the Arians was their liturgical practice of offering worship to Christ. JWs don't do that, of course, but if you introduce the subject subtly and then have them read this verse, even from their own translation, it might make them stop and think. (Or it might not. Most JWs I've met have not been able to break free from their intense conditioning to actually consider divergent opinions or interpretations. Some have, though!)