Number of kilometres today: 33.7
Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 747.1
Total steps since Canterbury: 1,058,696
Oh what a day. It started off with me waling 20 minutes in the wrong direction when I attempted to leave Dampierre-sur-Salon this morning at 8.10am. When I realised my mistake, I actually laughed in amusement and turned around and started marching back into Dampierre and out the other side. It could have been worse. I could have realised my mistake in 40 minutes or an hour. This little mistake added 3 kilometres to my 26 kilometre walking day.
It was a charming day walking through petit farming villages along quiet country roades and in between woodlands. I stretched out in the sun at lunchtime by the lavoir and spent 30 minutes reading my book, relaxed by the sound of the running water and the warmth of the sun on my skin.
I wandered into a very quiet Gy at just on 3.30pm. It had to happen sooner or later, that I would arrive into a town and not be able to find accommodation. I went to the first place on my list. Gite de la Fontaine. They were closed so I rang the phone number on the door. No, there was not room for me in the inn tonight. No problem.
I walked up to the road to Hotel Pinocchio. I had read such good reviews about it from other pilgrims, one person describing it as a three star hotel for the price of a two star hotel. As I walked up, I saw the brasserie next door and planned my pizza and beer I would have for dinner. I walked up the steps to find the door locked and a sign with a phone number to call for information. I sat down on the step and rang the number. It rang once and disconnected. I tried again. Same problem. And again. I sat and waited for a while, turned my phone on and off, then tried again. The sixth time I dialled, it kept ringing and eventually a woman answered.
I gave her my usual spiel, that I am a pilgirm on La Via Francigena and do they have a room tonight? She didn't answer "oui" or "non" but something that was completley out of my range of comprehension.
"Je ne comprende pas," I told her. "Je parlais un petit francais" This didn't help. She kept rambling in French. I still didn't understand.
"Non, je ne comprende pas," I told her starting to feel exasperated. "Une chambre ce soir, oui?"
She still didn't answer yes or no but rambled.
"Une chambre ce soir, non?" I asked.
I really just wanted a yes or no. After more rambling, I finally heard a "non" which I took as my answer, thanked her, said good-bye and hung up.
I had counted on getting a room at the hotel as my back up plan but I had one final card up my sleeve.
The Office de Tourisime. They would be able to help me find somewhere to stay. Except they close at 2pm on Saturdays and it was now 4pm.
A little pot of panic started to come to the boil except a definitive voice from within told me, "Keep calm."
I walked to the bus stop, one of my favourite places to hang out because there is usually a seat, sat down and studied my guide book. There was one other option in Gy, or just out of it, a rural Gite. I rang the number. No answer. I rang the mobile number and left a message. Then proceeded to phone stalk both numbers for five minutes before I gave up. Just as well I did. I still haven't heard back more than 5 hours later.
And now what? There was nowhere else in Gy. There were a few places I had passed hours earlier but I didn't want to backtrack. I looked forward into the next section. There was very little before reaching the end of the section in Cussey-sur-l'Ognon another 15.4 kilometres away and a decent part of that uphill. That would be another 4 hours walking and I wouldn't arrive until after 8.30pm in the dark. On the list was a Chambre d'Hotes in a place called Choye (pronounce like Shwa). I found it on my map. It was four kilometres south-west of Gy and in the opposite direction of the trail.
I had two choices. Walk 15 kilometres uphill and partly in the dark making it a 44 kilometre walking day, or walk 4 kilometres off the trail and 4 kilometres back tomorrow.
I rang the number for Choye. A lady answered.
"Bonjour Madame. Je suis un pelerine. Excusez-moi mis je parlais un petit francais. J'arriver a Gy et non chambre ici. Avez-vous une chambre ce soir?" I asked. Actually it was more like pleading.
"Oui," she answered!
"Merci, merci beacoup," I told her. "J'arriver a quinze heures et trente (5.30pm)." I told her then walked straight to the boulangerie to buy bread for dinner and lunch and marched to Choye with a smile on my face, grateful for having found a room and amused that I almost didn't have one.
I walked into the warmest welcome by my hosts, Jean-Noel and Samia. They don't speak any English and my French, well I am learning more each day and can string together sentences of words that are hardly gramatically correct or fluid but get me by, but despite this, we sat around the table in their courtyard for an hour and a half chatting.
I ate my odd cheese rolls for dinner without a second thought for my pizza and beer and I will eat my plain baguette for lunch tomorrow happily.
Everything always works out.
We end up exactly where we are meant to be.
The Chambre d'Hotes I stayed in Dampierre. My host Monsieur Monney was so very friendly and welcoming.
The sky when I was leaving Dampierre
On the way out of Dampierre, the wrong way.
I discovered this on the way back into Dampierre. I wouldn't have seen it if I didn't walk the wrong way.
Walked past glowing golden fields of this. Anyone know what it is?
Walking in between the woodlands This is their fate.
Ruined farm house in Sainte Seine.
One of my favourite gates so far.
Gorgeous Mare and her baby. She was very protective and didn't want me standing there.
Arriving into Gy for my quick visit.
Brilliant colour on the way to Choye.