Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Day 25. Aulnay to Saint-Jean-d'Angely. 25 kms (609)

The ploughman homeward plods his weary way.

After yesterday's marathon effort, I was sluggish today. No grand events to report! I didn't lose my phone and I didn't lose my way. It would have been difficult to get lost in the Departement de Charente-Maitime, where we are now walking. Big concrete blocks embedded in the ground and displaying the coquille indicate any change of direction.

After breakfast, I visited the Eglise Romane Saint-Pierre-de-la-Tour. Outside, some of the carvings are eroded, but there is an interesting statue of St. Peter crucified upside down. Inside, the carvings on the capitals of the columns are well preserved and quite magnificent. Sorry if you are thinking "another bloody church".

As I walked out of town, I passed la Rue Sans Soleil. That was a bad sign.

Later I passed a farmer making hay. That was a good sign.

I walked at a leisurely pace across the high plains through fields of oats, wheat and barley. The sun came out and I enjoyed the beauty of it all. The brilliant red poppies along the edge of the fields stood out against the yellow background of the canola flowers. In the trees I could hear the song birds, and above the fields, the larks. A harmony of colour and sound! I miss the maggies and the gum trees, and I like walking in the Canadian forest, but nothing matches the beauty of the European countryside. 

I also met a couple of friendly dogs and saw sundry farmyard animals.

Just before Saint-Jean I passed a very plump lady cutting some very long grass in a very large yard. In the centre of the yard stood her husband dressed in a pink shirt and red velvet pants. Why was he just watching her, I thought. Why wasn't he helping, the lazy bugger? He didn't move. He was a scarecrow.

I am staying tonight at the European Culture Centre which is housed in an old abbey. I am sharing a room with Frank the Parisian and another pilgrim who has just arrived from Brittany. They will leave me behind tomorrow.

Normally, I would be walking 35 kms tomorrow to Saintes,  but I have decided to break this step in two. The Office de Tourisme has reserved a place for me on a farm halfway. 

I have written enthusiastically before about the Offices de Tourisme. Since then, I have found one or two who were less than helpful, but in general, they have offered to book ahead for me. I will telephone  if I have to, but sometimes I get someone at the other end whom I can't understand, and I don't know what I'm agreeing to. So I always accept their kind offer.

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