Sunday, 11 May 2008

Update May 2008

Another new phase is about to begin. Our past seven weeks of contortions and false starts – and work breaks and holidays – will be over. Almost. For those of you who have observed that you can’t figure out what’s going on or where we are up to, here’s the plot:

After reaching Reims in March and pressing the pause button on the day-by-day walking, we spent a week of pure indulgence around the Lac du Der regional park in the Marne department, followed by two weeks based in a cottage in the Champagne area south of Reims (but a bit north of the Lac du Der), which allowed us to complete our original planned route from Fismes, just west of Reims, to a little village south of the Lac du Der called Lentilles, on the way towards Troyes.

We then drove to Troyes for our week with friends; and fresh from that holiday we skipped south to the Morvan where, from the base of two different cottages, we walked the Santiago de Compstela path from Auxerre north of the Morvan mountain range, via beautiful and moving Vézelay to a little town called Grury in south Burgundy, near to Bourbon-Lancy.

From May 13th there’ll be no more walking backwards and having to explain ourselves to other pilgrims. But it will feel strange to be back in the flatlands, back in the relative north. Because we’re going back to Lentilles to spend about nine days walking from there to Auxerre, starting once again to progress day by day on foot alone, carrying our fully-loaded packs. From Auxerre we’ll take the train south to pick up the route at Grury, where we stopped on 4th May.

It’ll be around 23rd or 24th May, Pentecost, before we reach Grury and can pin our shells back on our packs, hold our heads up among fellow pilgrims and just maybe share their company for more than a couple of miles on the way to Compostela. The walking in the Morvan has been beautiful and tough – higher and with a lot more climbing than we’ve been used to, long days that have reminded our legs what it’s all about. But the warmer weather, the glimpses of cosy hostels hidden away in the hills, and the two fellow travellers who we’ve walked and talked with – the tall, lined and relaxed Dutchman Wim and French Julien, short and sore but with good courage and a calm smile, a student taking thinking time form his social work studies – have made us eager to rejoin the proper route.

As of today we have walked 929 miles (1495 kilometres). It’s about 200 miles short of what we had imagined we would have walked by now. Yet when we reach Le Puy en Velay, around 20 June, we will have covered on foot all 1339 of the miles on our personal route from London.

We will be some three weeks behind our schedule – but the schedule was generous, and we hope we’ll catch up with ourselves and still arrive in Compostela towards the end of September.

So please wish us “bonne route” once more.

12th May 2008

1 comment:

Kevin said...

OK, think I understand. Could you run that schedule by me one more time? Good luck for next stage. Kevin, Chris, Charlie and Amelia xxxx