Day 25 – Walking the Via Francigena – Vitry-le-François to Chavanges, France – A Long Hot Day of Walking, and a Lovely Evening

Day 25 – Walking the Via Francigena – Vitry-le-François to Chavanges, France – A Long Hot Day of Walking, and a Lovely Evening

I was worried about today’s walk.
Beside being thirty kilometers long, I could not figure out which route to take, in order to walk on quieter roads with less traffic.

A part of the Via Francigena passed by an industrial zone and zigzagged too much.
If we were to follow it exactly, it would make for an even longer day.

Finally I just gave up and decided on the middle road, the one that did not seem to have much traffic.
We decided to leave early, right after breakfast.
But because there were no options for lunch today, or even any shops in the small villages we were going to pass today, we first walked to the center of town and bought a seeded baguette for lunch.

Then we continued out of town, heading into the southbound traffic.
We walked on the left side of the road, opposite the cars.
When we saw cars or trucks coming, we simply walked on the grass verge by the road.

After about two hours of walking, we came upon a café that was also a small hotel, a bar, a pizza restaurant, a tobacco shop and a tiny gas station.
We sat outside in the shaded patio and had a cafe au lait, a soda water and most importantly, we rested our feet.

From there, there were very few villages nestled among the vast fields.
It was another hot day, and I placed my bandana inside my hat, so the flaps would cover my face and neck from the sun.

There were a few old benches for us to take some rest in the small villages we passed through.
Usually these rural villages have a mayor’s office, an old church and a few houses.
They have no shops of any kind, and no businesses.
Once in a while we saw a small guesthouse, but of course there were no other walkers.

A couple of times today I had to ask people to fill my water bottle, and once we filled it in the garden of an old church.
Usually the churches we passed were all closed.
This one was also closed but the gate to the garden was open and the water seemed very clean.

It got even hotter by mid and late afternoon, which slowed us down.
Our walking path joined the straight train line and we walked on the gravel path by the side of the train tracks.
There were no trains coming or going, and we were very tempted to continue along the train tracks, especially when our path split off to make a much longer route.
If we had stayed by the train tracks, it would have shortened our walk by three or four kilometers.

But we didn’t.
My map did not show that we would have a walking path, and I know that when train tracks pass through a forest, the tracks can be elevated and offer nowhere to walk.

Jules was feeling better today, no pain in his foot and less pain in his shoulders.
I am doing great.
Much less achy and going strong.

We had promised our guesthouse that we would arrive between five and six in the evening.
It was becoming obvious that we would not be making it in time.
At six in the evening, we were still two kilometers from town.

I was thinking to text them or call them, but then I thought that this is France, and being half an hour late is not a big deal.

About twenty minutes later, a car pulled up in front of me.
It was Agnes’ husband from Le Gilliard, our guesthouse for the night.
He had come to look for us, for they were afraid that we might have gotten lost. 

He told us that we were only a kilometer and a half from town and that Agnes was worried and waiting for us.
We put our backpacks in his trunk and got into the car.

He took us to their lovely home, where Agnes was waiting in the street, looking for us.
She showed us to our room which was lovely, and well appointed.
She showed us how to operate everything and best of all, told us that she had prepared a dinner for us.

The town has only two restaurants and a market, and all of them were closed today.
Knowing we were coming by foot, she prepared for us a delicious dinner while we took long showers and changed our clothes.

We ate a whole wheat baguette with a salad of fresh carrots, sprigs of white asparagus, tomatoes and a hard-boiled egg.
For the main course she served us a pan fried sole fish with quinoa and pasta in tomato sauce, all of which were delicious.
Then she brought us a plate of local cheeses and a lemon sorbet for dessert.
She also served us hot tea and stamped our pilgrims’ passports and scroll.
She admired our scroll very much.

Agnes is a licensed Shiatsu and Reiki therapist and she offered to give us a twenty minute treatment.
Agnes told us that the village is small and people do not know much about Shiatsu and Reiki.
Many of them have never even heard of it.
We scheduled a treatment for each of us, starting early in the morning tomorrow before breakfast.
What a treat!
What a great way to start another day of walking!

With love and light,
Tali

Today’s Stats:
8.5 hours of walking
Active walking time – 7 hours
Daily Steps – 41,738
Daily Kilometers – 30.5 Km
Total Kilometers walked from Canterbury UK – 538.5 km

Accommodation:
Le Gilliard In Chavanges, a lovely Bed and Breakfast with the sweetest holistic owner.
She runs very clean and comfortable rooms and made us a wonderful dinner and breakfast, plus she is a licensed Shiatsu and Reiki therapist.

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