You know, today I had plenty of time, as I walked with Jo and Jill, from our auberge in Vendeuil,to Laon…for reflection: ) I chose to walk the final 12 kms into Laon by myself. As I walked, immersed in my thoughts…after singing very loudly and more than likely, out of tune to my iPod : ), I slipped into a more subdued mode as I remembered a quotation I had read several days before in a book casually left opened on a table at one of the places we were staying …actually I think it was Mme Gevas in Amettes.
It simply read….
“Being a pilgrim, just to be clear, is not an ambition, nor an athletic challenge, nor a job, nor a quest, nor a form of escapism but, quite simply, a state of being.”
This little quote struck a very sharp chord with me. When one sets out on a pilgrimage such as the VF, there is very little support and infrastructure, there’s miles and miles and miles in front of you…which really you never, ever really consider….it’s just one foot in front of the other, day after day, nothing to occupy your mind but being in the present. Even the issues which in everyday life, would be of great concern….such as accommodation, food, weather etc. seem to slip into the background…and you just know that all will be ok. Sure, challenges arise and they can be confronting but I seem to be able to let them recede…as the gentle state of being takes over. It’s a really wonderful thing to be privileged to experience : )
This morning we left our auberge at Vendeuil at about 9.30 am! Very late…hehe…
We decided, not to head back into ‘ beautiful’ Tergnier but rather catch a taxi a little down the track on our route, to a gorgeous little village called Saint-Nicholas-aux-Bois and start from there. This would give us a 17 km walk into Laon, rather than 32 kms. The reasoning behind this decision was twofold…..one we were keen for a change of scenery (and that’s what we got!) and two, Jill was in need of a little time for her poor toes to recover sufficiently to be able to travel more kms.
The walk from here was very, very beautiful! The landscape now seems to have changed quite dramatically and today we walked through quite hilly, heavily treed terrain.
I’m so sorry to all of you that would like to know more about the route to today..but I’m very tired..and will try to fill in the gaps tomorrow… only problem is..tomorrow brings so much more to tell you!!! However here are a few photos for you : )
Laon is the most amazing city! I haven’t had a chance yet to take photos but I will try to tomorrow before I leave and then fill you in with a little of the history.
There’s been a little glitch in our pilgrimage together…just for a few days : ) Poor Jill is really suffering with her feet problems and is finding the going incredibly hard ….but has been very stoic, however she really, really needs a few days rest to recover and regain her physical and mental strength. After much discussion tonight, Jill and Jo are going to take the train to Reims tomorrow and rest for a few days and I’ll try and walk to Reims over the next two days but if I run in to difficulty I’ll try and take some sort of transport and meet up with them. I hope to have two nights rest in Reims, in order to recuperate myself, then on we go : )
Time for bed now my friends,
Lots to,tell you tomorrow…no doubt : )
Love Netia XX