Nothing can be quieter than a Sunday in Lausanne, we thought. Except a Monday, which in most parts of Western Europe can be just as quiet. Office workers and local authority staff are back at their desks but most shops are shut. And so it was in Fribourg, where we made a brief pit-stop to look at a few “good buildings”, to use Dr K’s parlance and have a bit of lunch on our way to Bern.
Bar a few besuited types who filled the terraces of the rare restaurants that were open, we had the town to ourselves. We set off, armed with a few of Dr K’s numerous guidebooks – which altogether accounted for about half of our total luggage weight – in the morning sunshine.
Set on a dramatic cliff top, Fribourg is a compact place. Still, it has a cathedral, Saint Nicholas, a comparatively small gothic building but with beautiful turn-of-the-century stained glass windows, especially those by Polish artist Josef Mehoffer.
Across the square is the 14th century Franciscan Cordeliers convent, much more sober and flooded with light, and with a splendid altar piece.
Next to it is a museum dedicated to metal artist Jean Tinguely, who was born in Fribourg, which we would have liked to visit but which is shut (remember, Monday).
A quick tour at the back of the cathedral past the town hall and we climb up the high street to the town’s main square. It’s marginally busier. But overall, it’s not exactly jumping. Equally, there’s a nice feel to it. It’s feels peaceful, which is a nice change London’s 24h culture.
We end up in the friendly Café des Arcades, enjoying a salad of smoked trout fished in a nearby stream. Our neighbours are a group of local businessmen on one side and a trio of female lawyers on the other. They all peel off at 2 o’clock. We finish off our meal unhurried. It’s beginning to feel like a proper road trip. Next stop, Bern.