<Allison> It was another short day of only 20.22km (12.6mi). For the first time in many days, the sun was shining as we started off. Sunshine is so much more inspiring than rain; although to be fair other than the one day, it has mostly just been on and off sprinkles. You know, just enough rain to require us to don and doff our rain gear several times during the day. Ironically, the cool rainy days have been when we have walked the farthest. Perhaps the rain is a motivation to hurry up and get the miles/kilometers done.
Even though we had coffee and eggs for breakfast before we ventured out, we stopped about one block down the street for croissants and coffee. Yummy! When you walk every day for long periods of time, you can justify the goodies whenever possible. Seriously, we struggle to keep up the calorie count – I know…lucky us.
As I was walking today, I thought about all the surfaces we have walked on. Today we must have hit almost all of them. Every time I thought about changing from my awesome but completely fashion-challenged convertible pants and into shorts, we would begin walking through a field of waist high wet weeds including nettles. France can certainly grow some healthy nettles. So,…long pants win for the day since some sort of leg and ankle protection is needed.
We also had fun walking through a swampy wood. It was here that we saw some suspicious signs to one side of the path. None of my French lessons included phrases like “nuclear waste dump” or “unexploded ordinance” but these signs were a bit ominous. There were no incidents as we stayed on the marked VF path. Every day is an adventure. Honestly, the signs probably meant something more benign like, “restricted area”, but the warnings were pretty clear in international symbols conveying “Hey You….Stay Out!”
<Mark> The only mildly interesting thing we saw – and I’m really stretching it here- were a few slag piles. This area was the coal mining Mecca in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Artificial hills of coal slags are scattered across the landscape. Most have reverted to nature, but their oddly unnatural shape (a steep solitary hill where the rest of the land is pretty flat) gives them away.
We did walk past the village of Liettres. This village’s claim to fame is the invention of the game of Cricket. Who knew?
Walking along each day this seems to be a regular occurrence; little annoyances of pain that move around my body with no real effect other than to remind me that the miles are starting to accumulate. There’s no real pain – I mean it is all real- just minor in severity. It’s odd that it moves around, but perhaps that is just the nature of things.
<Later>. We’re staying at a farmhouse gite “The two lime trees”. They serve a farmhouse dinner, so we will enjoy that this evening. Other exciting news, another pilgrim is reportedly coming this evening. He or she will be the first other hiker we’ve seen this trip.
So on that subject of pain. It’s an odd thing, but just as we ended walking yesterday I started having an intermittent sharp hip pain. This morning it was still there. It would randomly zap me. “Well, this could make for an ‘interesting’ day!”, I thought. But sure enough, after the first hour it was gone. But by that time my left foot arch was aching. An hour later it it was my right knee, and the next hour my left shoulder hurt.
Our lodging for the night is at the Gite les deux Tuilles. It is a farmhouse. They have a beautiful garden.
This owner is retired and now raises racing pigeons…that’s right…racing pigeons. That’s a thing.
Anyway we viewed his prize pigeons and afterward had a delicious farm cooked meal of soup, roast pork, and vegetables with an apple tart for desert. Sooooooo good! Oh and we met our first fellow pilgrim. Dominiq (left) is walking to Reims.
Good night all!