Day 21 – Walking the Via Francigena- From Les Petite-Loges to Châlons-en-Champagne, France – A Long Day of Walking and a Great Evening


Day 21 – Walking the Via Francigena- From Les Petite-Loges to  Châlons-en-Champagne, France – A Long Day of Walking and a Great Evening

Sometimes life presents us with wonderful, magical days, and despite the difficulties of long days of walking with a heavy backpack, I am so grateful to be roaming around the world, coming upon charming small towns and encountering wonderful unplanned experiences.

The day started pleasantly enough with a good breakfast of homemade Champagne and apple jams, natural yogurt, bread and butter and tea.

I was nervous about the walk today.

Our feet had started to hurt yesterday, and today was scheduled to be an even longer walk, most of it along dusty field tracks, narrow, rough strips between huge fields and the busy road.

I was relieved to see that the first hour passed easily, and that both of us were walking strongly, even though the path was uneven beneath our feet.

After about three hours of walking, we rested in the fields on a silver foil blanket that we had brought with us.

These very thin silver foil blankets fold into a tiny light packet, but when  unfolded, offer a wonderful place to lay on while leaning on our backpacks.

Since we walked all day in the sun with no places to drink or dine, we unfolded this silver blanket a few more times during the day, to have a snack and to rest our feet in the middle of the farmland.

we chose scenic spots and cars passing by tooted their horns in encouragement to us or gave us a thumbs up gesture.

The path was long and the day was warm, but the clouds provided a pleasant protection from the sun.

The color of the crops in the fields changed as we walked south for what felt like many, many Kilometers.

I was surprised to see how quickly we had gotten out of shape…..after all, hadn’t we just walked a long pilgrimage this springtime?…..

After about fifteen kilometers, our feet felt achy and we were tired, but we still had a long way to go to get to our destination for the night.

It felt that it was like going to the gym, and getting on the treadmill and running for three long hours.

When you are tired and sweaty and you want to get off and go home, someone comes and tells you that you CANNOT stop now.

You HAVE TO continue for four more hours before you can stop….

About six Kilometers from our destination, we stopped at a rest area on the highway that had a cafe and a sandwich shop.

We were so very happy to see the comfortable chairs in their lounge, to use the toilet and to drink some hot tea.

We ordered a delicious tart of pistachio and cranberry, a raspberry tart and a yogurt.

I wanted to rest my feet for as long as I could, but we only stayed for thirty minutes.

We still had to get to town, and we had told our guesthouse that we would arrive between five and six in the evening.

When we finally arrived in town, we still had a long walk to the center of town, where our guesthouse is located.

It is a pretty town, with beautiful buildings still standing that date back to the ninth century.

We saw a sign in town saying that the town itself was founded about 20 BC.

I was delighted when we arrived at our accommodation.

We were shown to a small two story stone cottage that will be our home for the next two nights.

Luckily, we planned a rest day tomorrow so we could tour the town.

The town has beautiful and diverse architecture, ranging from gothic churches with piercing towers and stunning stained glass windows, to alpine houses with mud brick walls supported by thick logs.

Around the corner from our hotel, we had a Swiss Fondue dinner with mushrooms and cheese which came with with boiled potatoes to dip.

We tried some specialty drinks of the area, like a Champagne coupe, and an organic blueberry craft beer.

After dinner, we strolled around town.

On the ancient church of Notre Dame, that looks like any other cathedral, they projected a very creative and artistic light show.

I am adding here photos of the church at night.

The evening felt magical, and in one of the town’s squares, a Circus was getting ready to perform.

We sat on the big carpet they spread out on the cobblestones, among many locals and some tourists.

The performance was not like a circus, it was more like a combination of a rope trapeze with a theatrical interpretive dance.

We all gasped as the dancers performed amazing, daring movements in mid air without a safety net or mattresses below them.

“Talk about walking from England to Rome, it is a piece of cheese cake compare to this.

It takes such inner balance supported by perfect bodily strength and lots of trust in yourself, your abilities and in your partner as well!”

I thought to myself as I observed them.

I sat on the floor, looking around me, and a wave of happiness rose from inside my being.

I am so happy to be here….

So happy to be part of the human race which can do such lovely movements, and create amazing music that moves your soul so close back to God……

Wishing you a blessed day/ night,

Tali   

Today’s Stats:

8.5 hours of walking

Active walking time – 7 hours

Daily Steps – 40,876

Daily Kilometers – 30 Km

Total Kilometers walked from Canterbury – 454 km

Accommodation:

Les Caudalies Inn and restaurant in Châlons-en-Champagne

 

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