Despite the unusual sleeping arrangements I enjoyed a good night’s sleep. After breakfast, we walked past Aigle Castle and its surrounding vineyards into Aigle town centre where I needed to visit the post office to send home the items I had removed from my rucksack last night.
Today was going to be a relatively easy walk of around 18 kilometres to Saint Maurice so we were able to take a leisurely approach to the day. It was another fine day as walked from Aigle through pastures of gold and green crops with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains to reach Ollon. Later the path took us close to the youthful river Rhône which we followed to reach Saint Maurice. It is a beautiful wide valley with the Alps providing a spectacular backdrop.
We arrived in Saint Maurice just before noon and enjoyed a glass of cold beer and a sandwich in the first cafe in town. We had arranged to stay in the Abbey but we were too early to take our rooms so we went to the Abbey visitors office and arranged a tour of the Abbey, its archaeological site, and museum
The town and abbey are so named because of the martyrdom of Mauritius, a Roman legionnaire, and the Theban Legion, who were executed for their Christian faith at the end of the 3rd century AD. The Abbey was founded by King Sigismund of Burgundy in 515 AD around the church built in 380 AD by Bishop Theodule to shelter the remains of the martyrs. King Sigismund began the tradition of perpetual prayer at the Abbey which has lasted until today without interruption. The Abbey of Saint-Maurice is the oldest continuously active monastery in the western world. The current basilica structure dates from the 17th century.
The community at the Abbey are regular canons and brothers and it was one of the canons that came to greet us and take us to the rooms the Abbey provide for passing pilgrims. Later after settling into our rooms we joined the service for evening mass and after we found a local restaurant for supper.