11 July 21

I cannot believe that another week has gone by since my last post. Time flies, and simultaneously, it seems like I have been walking for years. “Yesterday” and “today” are merged. There is a constant push and pull of the timeline; events that happened weeks ago belong to my most recent past and vice versa. For example, what I lived in the English part of the journey is not further away from yesterday’s experiences, although both feel like things that have happened years ago. It is difficult to explain this feeling, but it is as clear as every step I take every day.

As I said on other occasions, walking is great, but this kind of walking goes behind the everyday activities of home; here walking can become hard, it is perpetual, it takes most of the day; it is so present that it loses its presentness, and what it is left of the activity is the surrounding.

Normally, when at home, I experience the landscape as the backdrop of my activities, something that is there, ‘Present at hand‘, framing my actions, but always disconnected from me in one way or another. However, here the landscape shifts and becomes ‘Ready to hand’; it is not only useful, as Heidegger’s definition of an object ready to hand, but it becomes an integral part of me, like something that without which the walk would not be possible to take place. Of course, this last thought is creating some internal conflict, particularly related to one of the aims of my PhD project, but before expanding further, I need to take some extra thought once back home in order to reflect more clearly.

Anyway, since my last post, we hit 700 k, and we crossed the French’s midpoint of the journey. Then, we entered the wonderful region of Champagne Ardenne, where immense vine fields constitute most of our surroundings. We walked extensively with Alessandro and Massimo, sharing chats, campsites and BnB.

Photo by Alessio Tomasella

Along the way, we met great hosts; one of those is Vivianne, who welcomed us with a nice bottle of champagne. Unfortunately, from her point of view, water was not allowed on the table.

Vivianne and the Champagne

The past few hundred kilometres were silly at times as well!

At some point we had a sleepless night while camping. We are crossing mostly small villages with very few people. However, that specific evening all the youth population of the village decided to meet at the local camper van camping area where we pitched our tents. They played football and listened to music until 3/4 Am.

Even though we had not had a proper night’s sleep, in the morning, we carried on walking as usual.

Alessio took some great pictures of Carlos and I walking.

Photo by Alessio Tomasella

Today we decided to take two different routes; while Alessio and Massimo decided to walk the official Via Francigena, Carlos and I opted to walk the road, a much easier option for the trolley. On our way, we crossed a town with a very peculiar name: The Other World which left us quite puzzled.

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