Wandering the Doubs River in the Jura

IMG_1315Another weekend, another canton to visit. Rain forecast in the east of the country, so a trip to Appenzell was out. The rain chance in the Jura was slim, and an easy hike along a river with an adorable medieval town seemed a perfect jaunt. Add to that a special deal on an SBB Day Pass, and we were off, leaving a gray Zürich behind.

Jura, the newest Swiss canton (formed in 1979), contains some of the Jura mountain range which straddles Switzerland and France. It sits on the French-speaking side of the Röstigraben, and the term Jurassic comes from the Jura mountains.

We showed our train tickets to the controller in that canton, and he was quite confused since they were printed in English. He asked if we spoke English or German (I said both) and he wanted to know where we were from. I told him America, but he asked if we lived in Switzerland. Upon confirmation, I explained that the tickets were Tageskarten (Day Passes), and that seemed to clear up his confusion. H told me to stop being a problem for the nice people of the SBB…

Despite this, we managed to make it to St. Ursanne, a small medieval village on the Doubs River. After walking through the town, we found the stone bridge I’d seen in photos and proceeded to follow the Wanderweg along the river. My plan was to walk for a ways, maybe an hour or so, eat our picnic, then head back into town to catch a train.

Along this part of the river one can walk on a very level path for about 15 km to the town of Soubey, one leg of the Trans-Swiss Trail.

We could hardly call this hiking as part of the path was paved, and we never gained any elevation, but we were happy to be along the beautiful river, seeing fields, woods, meadows, hills, cows, and occasional farm houses and some campgrounds.

After we returned home, I looked at the map again and realized that we did not go the way that I had planned, but had gone the exact opposite way along the river. We would never have reached Soubey that way, and we would have crossed over into France.

So, I get an A+ in planning a lovely walk and a lesser grade in map-reading. Or, lack of map-reading. But it didn’t really matter since we never got lost. Plus, we got to add Canton Jura to our list! Four cantons to go…