Day24 Pontavert to Reims – What a haul…pop the bubbly!

A crisp morning. 

Waking up in the country after a good night’s sleep is a wonderful thing. We had breakfast on the glassed-in patio overlooking a lovely yard and a huge vegetable garden. Our hostess, Nadine, even sat and had her morning coffee with us after her husband poured Mark and I the largest cup of coffee we have ever had. I think Jean-Paul read our blog post about where I missed my morning coffee. No such complaints this morning. I am caffeinated and ready to roll.

We walked along the road in the crisp morning air. The road had quite a bit of traffic, so we opted to venture off-road/off-the-VF and take a “short cut” which actually was a true short cut! We did cross a few countrified “keep out” signs. We joked that if this was West Virginia there would be several stills with their guard armed with his trusty shotgun. Luckily we saw no one, no one armed that is.

Back on the Via Francigena, we went through an area that had recently experienced a strong storm. The path was completely blocked, and we struggled to make our way through the downed trees.

Our path is straight ahead. 
A difficult path

While eating lunch in the village of Merfy, we saw two other backpackers coming toward us. Of course we looked super cool sitting on a street bench with our socks and shoes off and me with my feet propped up on my pack. Of course I mean the “opposite” of cool, but my feet felt great! Anyway, the young couple was polite enough to stop and chat with us. Agnes and Yannick were on a short adventure together and were spending the night in a local monastery. Wow did they seem like us a few decades ago! I even spied them walking together hand-in-hand as they left….I thought WE were the only ones to still do that! 🙂

Our lunch spot was at the northern edge of Champagne. 

After lunch we checked the time and distance to Mark’s dental appointment. Fortunately, or ironically, the appointment was 1hr55min away and google’s shortest route matched it exactly. We needed to get moving.

An impression of Wine Country

Unfortunately the google shortest walking route takes no account for safety or practicality (it is a computer after all).  We found ourselves walking at top sustained speed of 3.7mph.  That is so fast we were both breathing heavy and sweating buckets as we were throw into the ditch repeatedly by high speed oncoming traffic.

Clearly in the Champagne region now. 

We would have been terrified, but there was no time for that.  We just soldiered on and dared the cars/trucks to hit us.  I pictured the two of us diving into a ditch at the last minute to avoid an incident.  Honestly, the drivers were mostly polite and tried to pull over when they could.

Anyway, after trudging through what seemed like and endlessly long suburb, we made it to the dental appointment with 2min to spare!

While Mark had fun getting his tooth super-glued back in temporarily, I just waited in the waiting room wondering when someone would kick me out due to Covid rules or the stink factor. Mark already mention that we had worked up a little sweat as we walked into town. My conclusion…the French are beyond patient and kind.

After leaving the dentist office with only a 39euro dental bill, we headed in the direction of our lodging but got side tracked by a wine bar. Seriously, I think we deserve a glass of wine and some tapas after today’s 22.5 mile adventure. I mean, look at Mark’s smile. That smile says it all!

We hit up a grocery store moments before it closed and then finished our walk to the hotel. The hotel was near the train station and was an ExtendedStay type of place. Most of the clientele seemed to live there more permanently than two pilgrims and we felt a little out of place. Still, the room was clean and we were so tired we didn’t really mind.

Tomorrow is a rest day! This will be our first since Dover two weeks ago and although we don’t feel too bad I think some time to chill for a little while will be welcome. There is so much to see here. More about Reims tomorrow.

Published by

Mark Dowty

"An Intentional Life"

13 thoughts on “Day24 Pontavert to Reims – What a haul…pop the bubbly!”

  1. Mark, you look like one very happy guy with your nice smile. You made me chuckle! Glad you got the tooth fixed. Before you reminded me of some of our ministry’s clients 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good see you got your tooth fixed in, hope it stays in place. That was a very cost effective bit of dental work. Hope today’s walk is a little less dangerous.

    Liked by 1 person

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