Hello to everyone!
Well here I am, now in Reims, having arrived yesterday afternoon and happily reuniting with Jo and Jill. It was lovely to see their smiling faces after my adventures of the last two days.
Today is a rest day for me….so I have taken full advantage of it! This morning I dozed in my comfy bed at the Hotel de la Paix in central Reims, until about 9am : ) and then progressed to a hearty, leisurely breakfast, which was followed by a visit to the hairdresser…… not your usual way to start the day whilst on a pilgrimage…. but one I thoroughly enjoyed!
I met Jo and Jill at 12…we had a coffee and then visited the wonderful Cathedral Notre Dame…utterly spectacular. This cathedral was built in 1211 but suffered some damage during the French Revolution and WW1 and 11….resulting in extensive restoration , still going on to this day.
We returned to the cathedral at 2 pm as there was a special welcoming for pilgrims who were passing through Reims…there we met Hugo from Belgium, who had walked from his country and was continuing on to Rome. We will probably see him quite regularly now on our journey, as he travels at about the same pace as us. It is interesting to note here that this is the point on the VF where the European way to Santiago in Spain crosses. There was a list of other pilgrims who had registered at the cathedral in the past few months…the same as we had today but most listed their destination as Santiago. Very few were heading to Rome. Hopefully over the next few years, many more will be inspired to attempt this walk…or part of it at least…
While sitting here, on this grey afternoon in Reims, reflecting on my past few days, I’m smiling to myself about how each day rolls into the next. Thinking back over the walk yesterday, from Corbeny to Reims…I’m finding it very difficult to remember the details with great clarity…and I must tell you, I haven’t yet consumed any of the wonderful French champagne that this region we are now in, is renowned for…..but I intend to : )
Yesterday, I left my hotel in Corbeny at around 8am and put in a solid 27 kms walking, to the village of Saint -Thierry, from where I caught the last 10 kms into Reims by taxi…mainly as it was getting a little later in the afternoon when I arrived there, the sky was very threatening, my body was very tired and I thought walking 37 kms in one day was a little excessive. My little helpers from above were again out in full force…sorry to all of you who are sceptics : ) but as I rounded a bend walking into the outskirts of Saint-Thierry, there was a black taxi parked on a crest by the side of the road,completely out of context with the scenery, window rolled down, driver sitting nonchalantly inside. Something made me stop and ask him if he could drive me to Reims but I said that I wanted to walk the final little way into Saint-Thierry and first grab a coffee, as there had been no cafes open along the whole stretch that I had walked, that day! He spoke no English and I wasn’t sure if he understood that I wanted him to pick me up in half an hours time in the bar in the village but I trusted my gut instinct. After walking into town and finding the bar was closed : (, I sat patiently and waited hopefully….feeling very, very tired. No-one was around, everything was closed and I prayed that my driver had understood my requests. If he didn’t arrive, I had no idea how I was going to call a taxi, as I had no numbers and there was no-one to ask. To my absolute delight and relief, as he was a little late… the black taxi, 40 minutes later rounded the corner and pulled up beside me. I’m being looked after..: )
A few snaps from yesterday.
The view, walking over a rise along the track from Gernicourt to Cormicy, almost stopped me in my tracks..it took my breath away! I thought to myself at this point, how lucky I was to be able to experience such a unique journey. My photo in NO way does it justice as the lens on my camera ( and probably more aptly, my photographic skills) were unable to catch the depth of it…however I’ll add it anyway.
Well, must go now, as I’m about to go and meet the girls for a celebratory champagne : )
I have some very sad news : ( Jill has decided to leave us here and head on back to Australia in the next few days. She has been experiencing very bad foot problems, as you all know..and she feels that she can’t continue. It’s going to be very sad to say goodbye to her, as I feel that I’ve connected with her very well…a lovely gentle soul: ) However Jo and I will soldier on!!
So much more to see and experience!!!
Love to all,