Day 13 and 14

Day 13 19/06/21

It has been difficult to find time to write in the past few days.

We spent Friday in Calais; the hotel wasn’t special at all. Both Carlos and I are very easy, and we do not expect much from our accommodation, but I think we ended up stay in a sort of brothel. The smell was disgusting, and we woke up with the police at the hotel’s back entrance. We were delighted to leave.

We forgot everything about the hotel a few minutes down the road as soon as we spotted a delicious patisserie. We looked at each other, and we went in without thinking twice.

After leaving Calais behind us, we walked along a river where a cute family came to say hello.

The day carried on pretty much uneventful, probably because we were not properly connected with the world around us, trying to forget the still fresh, nightmare crossing. The air felt pretty heavy. We walked with tired legs, trying to push ourselves forward, but both my rucksack and the trolley became burdensome to carry. We kept walking along the river, getting amused by the variety of horses: a majestic grey and brown horse which laughing I told Carlos it looked like it was in “drag”, a newly born foal which was still struggling to stand for the first time. I saw three of them laying down, to the extent that we both thought they were dead!

Gorgeous horse “in drag”
Newly born
Lazy horses 😉

After 12 k, nearly exhausted ourselves, we spotted a cafe where we decided to stop for a cappuccino with great joy. Our joy exploded further when we saw what the owner served us.

After a few more kilometres, we reached a camping site where we were told that we didn’t need to pay to pitch the tent because we are walking the Via Francigena as pilgrims. Very pleased, we set up our home and headed off to the shower. We went for dinner as soon as the restaurant opened. We understood the menu, but we weren’t expecting what we got… another surprise…delicious!

With our bellies full and definitely happy, by 10 pm, we were ready to sleep. At around 2 am we were woken up by a very loud wronnnnnnnn, few seconds later, a bright light and another wronnnnnn: a light, 1 sec and wronnnnn. We were in the middle of a thunderstorm. I waited a few more seconds, and I told Carlos that I didn’t want to stay in the tent any longer. We got out and ran into the toilet building, which was very close by. A thunderstorm was my greatest fear during the organisation of the journey, and it still is, particularly because of the tent. We stayed in this large building until we could count at least 5 between the lightning and the thunder. The storm was getting further away, and we decided to go back to the tent.

it wasn’t easy falling asleep, but eventually it happened.

Day 14 20/06/21

Today has been a very tough day. We walked 34 k, and we really couldn’t see the end. We left Guines at around 8.30 am in the direction of Zudausques. The weather improved from the night; it was still overcast, but glimpses of the sun appeared here and there. We soon discovered that it is challenging to find anything open on a Sunday in this part of France. We walked for over 20 k before finding a cup of coffee. The French landscape is beautiful; I can see similarities with the landscape accompanying us in England, lush and green; here, it just feels vaster.

We walked mostly in the countryside or little roads virtually unused; we passed fields, farms and little villages. We didn’t meet anyone for a very long time, and we were in need of socialising with someone. Finally in Journy, we meet Paul, a friendly man, English but with a French accent to my ear. We had a long conversation, and I discovered that although he has been living in France for nearly 30 years and masters French perfectly, locals still recognise that he is a foreigner.

We carried on our journey, stopping to take a few pictures here and there, but the oddest thing was a “cafe” run by a lady who didn’t really serve coffee as you might expect. We asked for a coffee, and she went in the back to prepare it on the stove and the toilet….well, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Toilets by the front entrance

Not far from the cafe, we spotted the courtyard of a house with several peacocks, I love them, and I love their call!

We walked for nearly 34 k when we finally reached Zudausque. We couldn’t find a place to stay, no hotels, B&B or camping. We stopped by the church to decide what to do when a man approached us. We started to chat and found out that there used to be a family which rented a room. We followed his advice and went to ask. We were lucky again.