Saturday January 10th 2015 Solignac About 25 km.

Shoes wearing out
 Almost at Solignac, abbey on top

All-day drizzling. Continuously up- and downhill and fortunately a rather evident route. I no longer follow the described and more or less marked voie de Vezelay, also called the route to Santiago. I did not feel like slogging through wet paths in woods, where I might get lost. Especially because I walk that route in the opposite direction and therefore I sometimes miss the markson the back of a tree or pole. Constantly nice quiet roads with virtually no traffic. No hurry, because tonight my bed will be waiting for me in the Abbey of Solignac. On the way a car stopped with a graceful lady. Where is your trip going to? I tied the animals, because with so much attention I wanted to have my hands free. Nathalie told me she is a horse dentist and she wanted to help me find a shelter for the coming days. Well, that’s a generous offer from a stranger. Or was it love at first sight? Je m’enfou (I won’t care less) as long as I get shelter. May be tonight I should better call Nathalie instead of going to Solignac. I have a niece Nathalie. Nathalies are good people!
A conversation with an elderly farmer with wheelbarrow, whom I didn’t understand at all. I just said oui, oui, and we laughed together about n’ importe quoi. I loved all the fruit etc. that I had gotten from Connie and Niek the day before. I was also called by the people where I stayed last Monday whether I had managed to find a farrier and a shelter for last night. What a nice people! That feels good.
Right on time, at 4 pm, we arrived quietly in the beautiful village of Solignac.
I went straight to that abbey: Right away I noticed lots of broken windows. A ramshackle wooden gate locked with a rusted chain. Nice reception! Really something for my young friend Kees, who goes to the film academy and who loves horror movies. If I may spend the night I don’t care about the shuddering atmosphere. Where is the entrance, I asked a not too brainy-looking passanger. After long thinking he said he did not know, but anyway there hadn’t been anyone in the abbey for years. Impossible, I said, because I called the abbey yesterday. I got the papers from one of the backpacks, called the abbey again, but at the place where I was standing I only heard some creaky noice. Starts shit happening now? I had learned from my fellow pilgrim of last night, you just enter a bar and ask for help. So I head to the nearest bar. I explained to the crowd that I was a pilgrim and that I was expected in the abbey. Whether I could use their phone because mine had no connection once more. That was o.k. Yes, said the operator of the abbey at the phone, your bed is waiting for you. Come on. Slowly it started dawning in the east.
There was also an abbey at Solignac Bordeaux, perhaps 100 km. away from here. This must be today’s breakdown, inevitable. The whole day had gone well, and that does not seem to be allowed. That rotten guardian angel of me is only looking for work. Maybe that angel should just fuck off. I asked the men  at the bar for help. And what now? The Pilgrims hotel (picture) was abandoned and threatened to dilapidation. On to the presbitérien, the priest, because sometimes he also housed pilgrims: not at home. Calling him, voicemail. Says an old man at the counter: I know someone who has a meadow for your horse and a teepee in his meadow, in which sometimes sleep pilgrims. Come with me. Yes, better an icy teepee in a wet meadow, then sleeping like a tramp in a doorway. The old man brought me to Yves and Patricia Faurel, two mid fifties. They offered me to have diner with them. Leon was put into their teepeemeadow and Tosca in the garage on a blanket. This evening you can join us to the neighborhood party, they invited me. If you want you can already take a shower. This evening we celebrate with the neighborhood association Epiphany, although in honor of the New Year. No sooner said than done. Of course cake, sect etc. There were only a few children. Funny, that not an adult, but exactly two of the children found the bean in the cake and thus became king. My hosts talked about their horses, their long walks etc. By the time the presbyterien called,  it was already decided that I would stay with Yves and Patricia, a large 2-bed (for me alone!). I think I’ll better keep that little angel on my shoulder. Tomorrow will be at least 35 km, if it is not 40, my host warned me. The first 10 km or so I cycle with you to show you the way.
Overwhelmed by so much cordiality and hospitality I still found a possibility right before closing time to buy a bottle of wine for them . In time to my bed.

Asylum found at Yves and Patricia Faurel in Solignac 87 Asylum found at Yves and Patricia Faurel in Solignac 87
[ Epiphany Celebration of the neighborhood association. Patricia in the white jacket, report on greenhouse  Epiphany 

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