Day23 Laon to Pontavert – a complication

Agnes and her mother Mme Tordeux

Last night we were the guests of Mme Tordeux-Bremand. She has looked after pilgrims for many years and was so kind to us during our stay. Her daughter Agnes was also visiting, and we enjoyed getting to know them both for a short while. Mme Tordeux-Bremmand received a key for her generosity to so many.

After a cooked breakfast and a wonderful cup of coffee, we set off with some hesitation after packing and not finding one sock each. They are likely folded up in some other cloths….well, we hope so anyway. Luckily, Reims is only 2 days away. There will be a chance to replace them, so it’s not too worrisome.

Most photos don’t capture the steepness of a hill well, so when one does. You KNOW that it’s steep.

The descent from Laon was very steep, knee-straining steep. Luckily the descent wasn’t too long. Before long we were out into the country and heading south toward Rome again.

A French Mule without his beret.

Our day ahead would be yet another 20miles. Honestly, we both admitted that we were in a good routine. Twenty miles was starting to feel normal. I know that sounds crazy, but your body does indeed get used to it.

We walked through our first field of Sunflowers

We travelled through the village of Martigny with its cool Art Nouveau church built after the destruction of the city during WWI. The standing angels caught my attention as a beautiful detail.

The church at Martigny
The angels in the spire of the church at Martigny

After this, it was a beautiful wooded and hilly trail with the occasional ruins of an abbey nature preserve thrown in.

Ruins of the Abbey Vauclair

A short walk farther we stopped for lunch, and that’s when it happened! We started our usual routine of preparing a baguette for sandwiches. Today we were having sausage and cheese sandwiches with some applesauce and nuts to top it off. The baguette made, I took a big bite into that lovely crunchy baguette….and then this happened….

I’m blaming this on the French Baguette

Well now for our day off in Reims on Tuesday, I hope to be sitting in a dentist office. Unfortunately, our Duolingo French lessons didn’t make it to “how to discuss dental repairs”. I’m going to be totally trusting Google Translate on this one folks.

The good news is that this is the tooth that I’d had a root canal on a few years ago. So there is no pain associated except for some rubbing on my upper lip. My French colleague from work Emmanuel is helping me find a suitable dentist in Reims. Thank you Emmanuel!

The rest of our day was relatively uneventful. After a broken tooth, even the cool deer encounter and short hail storm we walked through didn’t make it to the headline.

So now, we are resting at the lovely home of our hosts Jean Paul and Nadine Portet in Pontavert. He has a fantastic garden and also keeps bees. We are the first Americans that have stayed with them. “Apologies in Advance” to all future Americans for any damage we may do! 🙂

We loved talking to Nadine and Jean Paul through the afternoon. Nadine had told us over the phone that on Sunday she did no cooking, so she’d only be preparing some cheese and butter and bread etc. This was perfect for us since we really enjoy simple meals and had been craving something like home. Well, when we came down at dinner we were treated to a feast of eggs, ham, butter, bread, cheese, and from their garden: beans, potatoes, cucumber, and tomatoes. Oh Joy!!! To tomatoes from the garden, yum!!! It was so good. Exactly what we’d been missing. We were even treated to some ice cream with whipped cream after dinner.

What a way to end the day!

Le Jardin de Jean Paul

Published by

Mark Dowty

"An Intentional Life"

17 thoughts on “Day23 Laon to Pontavert – a complication”

  1. Is that the same tooth you damaged when you you walked into a tree on one of your hikes?!
    Who knew hiking could cause so much harm to your teeth! Ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps this is not yet the time to ask for this, but my impression is that the two earlier Caminos were more notable for time spent in reflection and meeting people along the trail with whom you had time to develop relationships. This pilgrimage seems more of an adventure but in isolation. Yes, there are two of you and you meet folks along the way, but they are not with you, i.e., companions along the way.

    As I recall, you had forecasted that it would be that way through a good bit of the trip through (this part of?) France and it would change further south.

    As suggested above, I hope and pray for the best possible dental solution and am glad pain is not an overriding issue.


    1. Hi Rodney, this is Allison responding. Yes your impression is correct. Knowing that the first part of the journey will be more isolated is different than experiencing such.
      Thank goodness Mark has no pain associated with the dental dent.


  3. I’m so sorry Mark! It is such a humbling experience that God is using in your life. When we don’t understand, we trust, right?
    You know I understand and I’m praying for you. Much love

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love love the sunflower fields; that would make me tremendously happy walking through fields of flowers. As others have said hope the dental problem gets fixed quickly. Keep smiling even a toothless smile is a great smile!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. For the sake of Dowty-isms comments, I want to say due to lack of food I hope you don’t come back half the man that you are now!😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Katie sent me this message today: Love you mommy. Praying for you in your time before retirement. (Another story).
    I’ve been thinking about that message and that in the time before your tooth gets fixed, it’s that in between space of time that God is always at work. Wonderful to know He’s always at work and He is always with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One more thing, turned the east and wave at Luxembourg. It looks from your interactive map that it is due east of where you are right now!

    Liked by 1 person

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