Our 32km day found us walking through more open fields and across the German Hindenburg Line into territory primarily controlled by the Germans for the greater part of WWI. In fact, our destination for the day, Peronne was itself part of that famous defensive work.
An early morning start.
Since we had a long way to go, we set the alarm early for 5:30am and began walking by 6:15. Making an early start is critical when hiking longer days.
We had the hotel make us some hard boiled eggs as a take-away for our breakfast, and we had purchased an eclair each…(ok, it was two each) as well. The air was crisp as we started off, and the blue skies were a refreshing change from the past week.
The early start however meant that whenever the trail went through overgrown areas we would get soaked with the dew saturated grass. This, as well as a way to avoid the ever present nettles, is another great use of waterproof pants.
Our feet, however, became soaked in just a matter of minutes. The high grasses and weeds were still nice and wet from dew and rain the previous evening. Not even waterproof shoes are immune to the amount of water we trudged through. But you continue on because that is what pilgrims do.
We once again saw no other pilgrims which is not surprising on this part of the VF. Our feet hit the pavement in anticipation.
At Rocquigny the church and village were destroyed as part of the Hindenburg line of WWI. After the war ended, a church was built. The style is unique. It is now considered a transitional architectural style. Unfortunately, the construction was sub-par and the building itself was falling apart. So much so that in 2000-something it was scheduled for demolition. I’m glad it was saved. I found it pretty cool. It looks like it was supposed to represent a church steeple damaged by war. Well, that’s what I saw in it. Just before arriving in Peronne, we left Pays du Calais and entered the Somme department. Tomorrow we will leave the Somme and enter the Aise.
We stopped at Perrone for the day after calling and reserving a donativo to stay near the city center. Actually we arrived a little earlier than expected, so our hosts were not home. We called and told them we had arrived and would be in town having a cold drink. Our two hosts showed up personally to chat and provide us with the key and instructions. Somehow we communicated with our poor French and their small grasp of English. I am thankful for patience and see God working in my weakness.
Mark pulled another mark-ism by asking if we were to stay at the “casa Blanche” mixing Spanish and French. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to to with that man! Haha.
Remember dinner last night…that fancy feast we had? Well, we’re making up for it tonight with a microwave pizza. You can’t live high all the time.
Tomorrow and for the next two days we have some slogging to do. Our goal is to camp tomorrow night, with another 20mi day the following day and near Laon the day after. That’s aggressive, and we’re both ok if it doesn’t work. But this section is a little sparse of things to do and see and places to stay.