Spiez to Montbovon: 82 km
Ruth: We had a beautiful but long ride today. I decided to take a train over the pass cutting 17 km and 350 meters of steep climbing. We are now relaxing at a beautiful farm that breeds Bernese mountain dogs. One of them has befriended us and I think she is bilingual.
About 20 km back we entered the Canton of Vaud, which is French, and suddenly we are no longer illiterate and mute. As much as l like the game of charades, it will be nice to talk with people again. Lack of language skills can be an intimidating barrier. I believe that is the reason that many of the German pilgrims that we met are stopping at Fribourg, the last German speaking city on the Jacobsweg.
It was frustrating and embarrassing to travel in Austria and Switzerland with no knowledge of German. In spite of having German great grandparents on both sides, no ancestral memory gave me any clues to unlocking the language. For instance, what is one supposed to do when faced with a sign that says “Ausfahrt”? I had to rely instead on my imagination.