We have stayed in a lot of 2 star hotels so far. Some have been amusing. Being an old Camino pilgrim, I like the pilgrim accommodation best. Sometimes it, too, is dreadful. However, often the memories of these places long outlive the best hotels.
It’s always a relief to arrive at your hotel after a tiring flight or a long drive. But when you arrive after walking 42km with a heavy pack in the blazing sun in a state of near dehydration and you are met with such kindness and concern, then you are blessed indeed.
The sisters looked after us so well yesterday. Nothing was too much trouble and all this was provided without demanding payment. These are nuns who are supporting families of prisoners who are visiting their loved ones as well as we pilgrims. It is an enduring memory to take from this pilgrimage. Same for the psychiatric hospital.
It was also a joy to meet 2 other pilgrims and to be inspired by their endeavours. It is only by sleeping in pilgrim accommodation that you really stand any chance of meeting your fellow pilgrims, particularly on this route where pilgrims are scarce. The incredible Polish man who stayed with us yesterday was an inspiration to anyone. He is walking from his home to Compostela, 3500km, covering between 30 and 50km per day with only one arm. Just think about it.
We set off this morning after breakfast to face the hottest day so far, 32 degrees. Our plan was to complete yesterday’s plan. Initially we walked through shady woodland but eventually we were dumped onto bubbling tarmac and even worse rough gravel surfaces for the duration. In the village of Cirfontaines-en-Azois I met an English gentleman whom I had mistaken for another pilgrim. In fact he lived in a lovely large house with a beautiful garden. Due to an unfortunate sequence of events we had been invited into his garden by a colourful village character whom we assumed owned the house. So when we were discovered, our welcome did not extend to an invitation for a cup of tea.
We marched on. Eventually we reached Chateauvillain and collapsed into La Belle Époque hotel and restaurant after 24 gruelling kilometres. Rehydration started immediately in the bar and was followed by a good lunch. Over the next couple of days we will walk through empty France. The temperature is forecast to reach 36 and there are no facilities. We therefore visited the supermarket for provisions: sardines rolls, fruit. We will set off at sunrise tomorrow.
A pleasant enough start to the day
A really nice woodland walk
Tonight’s hotel in Chateauvillain. It’s owned by an English couple, Steve & Maggie.