Day36 Somewhere in the Woods to Champlitte Part Ii

A word about the Word of the Day

The feeling the morning after tent camping is an experience that anyone who has done it doesn’t need explained. You aren’t the MOST comfortable but you survived and the best thing to do is start moving.

Beauty along the Via.

So we packed up our tent, thankful that there’d been no dew fall so everything was dry. We had two crickets in our tent and we joked that we’d better be sure to get them out or we’d have chirping backpacks all day.

Morning update Day3

On the road again, we made our way into the little village of Grandchamp. Sometime in the last km’s a strange thing had happened. We crossed an imaginary line in France and the people just changed. We’ve had zero complaints about the hospitality of people in France. Oh sure, there was the odd sales person who was brisk, but in general we have been warmly received everywhere we’ve walked.

An unexpected encounter awaited us here in Grandchamp. I took this picture to send to Matt and Katie saying that we were headed their way.

But in Grandchamp, as we were stopping to tie a shoe, I said Bonjour to a man sitting outside his home. We exchanged the normal pleasantries “Yes, we were pilgrims”, “we’re walking all the way to Rome”, “yes, it’s been a very rainy and cool August”, “You slept in the woods last night??” and then… happened….he asked us if we’d like a cup of tea or coffee. It struck me that this simple act of generosity was very genuine. Also…after camping a hot drink sounded lovely.

Generosity demonstrated. Jean Pierre and Allison

We obliged and sat for about 30min talking to him. Jean Pierre received a key for this simple act of kindness. He mentioned that, like in the United States, the south of France is known to be more opened hearted.

Jean Pierre and his key.

About an hour later we stopped to grab some nuts out of our packs at a cute little footbridge in the small creek (later to become a river) Salon. We watched as a bakery delivery truck stopped to make a delivery to the cottage next to us. It was interesting to see this truck through the morning so far as he distributed daily bread, pastry, and fruits through the village.

After the truck left, a gentleman from the cottage came over to us and …. offered us coffee. We had indeed crossed an invisible line of hospitality. This man, Jacques was a retired judge from Marseille. He was spending time in the country for a vacation with his 11yr old grandson.

So twice in our day we’d been randomly offered coffee. Perhaps we’re just looking more tired than usual, but I think it’s more.

Later in the day we had one more quirky encounter. We walked past a beautiful old waterwheel and peered through an open gate to take a photo. A shirtless 30 something man with a small sunflower in his long hair strode toward us asking if we needed help. Struck by his hippie appearance I glanced in the background to see several other tie-dyed adults hanging around. It turned out to be a 70’s themed birthday party. Groovy.

Sorry I didn’t capture the hippies! Haha

Finally we reached our destination for the night, the village of Champlitte.

We’ve coined a name for that “mascot” pilgrim that marks our path “Petey”. First he is small (except in this case) similar to Petite, second Petey is diminutive for Peter, the patron Saint of Rome, and thirdly as a word for PD which stands for Pilgrim Dude. We think it should stick.

Champlitte is special. It is the headquarters of the French and Swiss Via Francigena society. A young man, Jacques had agreed to meet us and had even asked if we’d be willing to have dinner with him. On our arrival, Jacques and his associate Vanessa met us outside our hostel.

Jacques is a Christian believer and directs the Francigena society in France (and Switzerland) went out of his way to act out his beliefs and help us on what was ostensibly his vacation day. He even took our truly filthy and smelly clothes and washed them at his house. Wow.

Jacques further treated us to a visit to the local castle which is now a museum of culture and art of the area throughout history.

Allison giving Jacque his key.

We ended the evening by having dinner at a local restaurant which was fun. Inviting Jacques to eat with us was only fitting as he had done so much to assist us. Jacques received one of our keys. We even got to taste the local pear schnapps. How do you get a pear in a bottle? Wait, I know. Do you?

Pear in a bottle

Published by

Mark Dowty

"An Intentional Life"

3 thoughts on “Day36 Somewhere in the Woods to Champlitte Part Ii”

  1. Bonjour à vous deux,
    Ravie que vous ayez rencontré Jacques, bon courage et bon chemin à vous
    Merci de partager votre expérience


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