The Swiss Jakobsweg (way of St. James, Camino de Santiago de Compostella) goes almost past
our house door on its way from Lucerne to Geneva on the border with France.
We kept on coming across it in other parts of the country, and so gradually the idea formed to start walking
it from end-to-end in small sections. We started of with a two week holiday in Wald in the Canton of Zürich,
and using public transport managed in day trips (plus one over-night stay) to walk from Constance to the
Brünnig pass on the border of the Canton of Berne.
After that, we took day trips at the weekend to continue on with a goal of reaching Geneva in 2019.
Our ‘Jakobweg' is maybe different to the ‘norm’ although maybe there is no 'norm'.
In initially, we were restricted in our time availability as Angus was still working.
We started our walk as a way to spend a holiday enabling us to spend time together doing something that we both enjoy - namely walking.
Angus needed to relax and sleep hence the idea of renting a flat for two weeks. This did pose the problem of getting
to each stage or section of our walk but it also allowed us to see that stage in a different way.
It also allowed us to discover different forms of transport to which we were less accustomed, such as postal buses.
Switzerland has an amazing transport system making any journey possible.
Renting a flat also took away the worry of where to spend the night- and the expense.
We could eat a simple meal at night on returning to the flat as opposed to eating in restaurants- again, a great expense in Switzerland.
After the initial two weeks, we now walk when time allows and we enjoy these days very much.
We think that it is to us what this is all about: it’s enjoying God’s creation and listening to what has to say,
it’s enjoying the discovery of this wonderful country that we have chosen as our home,
it’s about the history and diversity and it is about just being together.
From there, it expanded; once we reached Geneva we could no longer travel backwards and forwards,
so we started with Angus taking breaks from work to walk from hostel to hostel, crossing France in 2019 and 2021.
Then at the end of 2021 Angus retired and we could take longer breaks.
We arrived at the Abbey of Belloc at Easter 2022, almost our most important goal when we started out,
a place that Sue had visited many times over the years and could be considered her Spiritual home.
But despite reaching this important waypoint, there was no question of stopping now,
and so we continued from there to the Spanish border at Irun, and started on the Camino del Norte.
In September 2022, we returned to Bayonne, and from there worked our way down to Hendaye, and into Irun in Spain.
The coastal route was full of ups-and-downs, in all senses of the expression! We had warm weather, allowing us to
paddle (and even swim) in the ocean, but also torrential rain leaving us to huddle cold and wet outside a monastery
waiting for a monk to open up the pilgrim hostel. The coastline itself was challenging at times, with walks along
sandy beaches interspersed with steep scambles up and down headlands, but all very worthwhile.
We ended up saying goodbye to our companions at the Albergue La cabaña del abuelo Peuto in Guemes -
an experience not to be missed!
We finally arrived in Santiago de Compostela on 3rd May, 2023 after having returned to Santander,
and travelled along the coastline of the Camino Norte, turned down into the Camino Primitivo,
and then cut across to the Norte again by way of the Camino Verde, joining the Camino Frances
for the final walk into Santiago, where our arrival was greeted in the square by a group of placard bearing
young people who had befriended us on the way!