Despite its absence of charm and the economy class chicken dinner (20 Euro), I slept well and we had a typically good breakfast at Le Paon hotel. Nevertheless we had a spring in our step as we set off today. We were glad to leave Tergnier behind.
Today’s walk was quite beautiful. We had a few hills and a large forest to give us shade but we walked mostly on tarmac.
The hotel owner promised us a restaurant in the Foret Domaniale de St Gobain. But when we arrived it was closed. We sat down and ate an apple pastry from the patisserie next to the hotel. We set off again; I left my walking pole behind and we walked almost 5kms before I realised the loss. There was no option but to return for the pole. I’ve used this pole on both my previous pilgrimages and couldn’t leave it behind. I sent Paul on ahead and began to retrace my steps.
And then I had a Camino moment. A little Renault car came chugging along and I stuck out my thumb. The car stopped. It was the forest ranger, a young man in his 20s. I explained my problem and he told me to jump in and off we went, back to the restaurant. My pole was waiting where I left it. He then drove me back to the place where he picked me up, close to his office. What a relief! Reunited with my walking pole.
Laon is a pleasant medieval city which has been restored to meet the needs of the modern tourist. Most people come to visit the 12th century gothic Cathedral which crowns the hill on which old Laon stands. GIt is the first Cathedral on my pilgrimage and we will soon visit the even more famous Reims Cathedral. At last there is a sense of pilgrimage to this walk. Now all we need is a pilgrim or two.
Last night’s hotel
Poppies always make me happy
The restaurant “Mexico” where I left my pole behind
The walk through the Foret Domaniale de St Gobain
Laon old town
Laon: view from my hotel