Wednesday January 19th 2015 Loye-sur -Arnon 24 -26 km.

In the morning it takes me 1.5 hours between alarm and departure. That time is not primarely occupied by my makeup, but rather in organizing everything, sweeping my cottage, packing horse Leon, saddling, . This morning after nearly 2 hours, at 8.45 am., I finally was ready. Landlady Chantalle showed me a shortcut, viz. through the meadows. That would be less kilometers to reach the Santiago way again. I was skeptical, but I thought God bless me. Al the way straight on. What’s straight on at a junction in the field? When you reach the tree that evidently is by far the biggest you should go to the right, explained Chantalle. That tree was clearly the biggest, but how can I be sure that there is not a clearly still much bigger tree ahead? I’d better walk on the roads of my GPS. I do not like to elaborate for directions. That always goes wrong. But with the help of modern technology, so GPS again, I got it straight.                                                                                                                It gradually got sunny and quite warm. Everywhere I saw still small scale agricultural landscape, lovely sloping and I enjoyed the walk.
Beep, beep: a text message. That is always a delight. While working in my office the ringing of the telefone often was the black killer (long ago), later the white murderer, always hushing me. But not now: My Lili Marleen! Again sister in law Lilian, who lives in France, had organized a sleeping place. Such an sms text makes my day again.
In a town Tosca found a fortune: a discarded white plastic bag with a rest of sandwiches. She dragged it a few 100 m. The bag tore and Tosca devoured the bread. Of course she left the plastic. I saw a few people, a little down the street, skeptically look at me, me the tramp in red jacket, Eric the Red, the viking ! These people shouted angry words that I did not understand at a distance of 100 m. Then I understood that it was the plastic. Is not mine, I yelled back annoyed and ignored them for the rest. Do they think that I come from the Netherlands, to help clean up the garbage of their fellow citizens? They may be glad Tosca at least makes an attempt to do so. Bunch of “opgereegde dreksjkiebele” (excited perverts).                                                  A few times my self-selected gps route crossed the official pilgrimage route to Santiago. Oh, may be I should follow the official track for a while again. But I experience that in winter the official Santiago track is muddy, wet grass, going wrong. Again those romantic, but too narrow bridges, with beautiful watermills where a horse cannot cross the water. I hate the official camino so much that I prefer to indicate those self chosen paths. This official Santiago track is not made for people who want back to basics with their horse. For those people you need neat, clean, dry, well-marked roads! That Santiago Society doesn’t understand much of it! By now I’m fed up with those Santiago Roads in winter: mud trails through fields and forests. That’s o.k. for people who each year walk only one week a stretch of the route, and always in summer. From now on I follow my own gps route. Excuse me, Saint Jaques. You should have been clearer.
Along the way once again I was asked where I came from. Do they mean the Netherlands, the South of Spain, or last night’s shelter? And whither I go. Norway, Cape North. It probably means as much to them as the average Dutch knows where Timbuktu is located. They also nod understandingly at my explanation!                                                                                                       
Talking about Timbuktu, I get another association with the Nijmegen student era. We were trained to recite limmericks. A limmerick is a six-line verse stanza with the rhyme scheme Aabba. So I learned it at school. The limericks I had learned in Nijmegen had a peculiarity: their content was of a somewhat dubious level. At my high school the teacher apparently did not know that. The name Timbuktu reminds me of the Limericks. There was once a man in Timbuktu, who went to the whore on the corner to, and the rest doesn’t rime in English.
Finally I arrived at my very remote located night lodging. I remember that I went to the village in need for wifi and for shopping. Which is 2 km. uphill. I ask the old landlord, whether he remembered the famous French cycle celebrities of the sixties Poulidor and Anquetil. Absolutely. And I asked him if he could just borrow me a bicycle. I didn’t have much time. O.K., I had to self-inflate the bike. Pas de problème. I cycle on that children’s bicycle with a saddle, so low that I was almost touching the steering wheel with my knees, first 2 km. to the village. The cheesemaker there only sold cheese. He ran out of bread. Yes but I need desperately bread. You can have half of my hunk, he said, and broke in half his bread. I would almost say that I recognized him at the breaking of the bread. So nice! But for a real store, I had to ride 9 km. back on my route to Chatelus. Yes, all right then, because the dog food was very low. But hurry up Harrie, because it starts to get dark, I had no light, and soon the store would close. So I cycle in sweat, uphill, downhill, all together 18 km on the pitch dark road.
And of course the inevitable happened: the weel chain off. And it was such a chain that you can’t reach, because it is hidden in a cover. Untill I got my first car, somewhere around 25 years old, I had cycled so much, that the chain was of course a breeze. I was still lucky that I did not have a flat tire. There is always something else that makes the evening short. My little bag of soup turned out for 4 people. That was only good. The half hunk of bread of the cheese man was eaten with the quatro soup. The pizza I had been carrying for days in my backpack  also was devoured. In the absence of microwaves I had been dragging the pizza again and again to each next address. Again, of course, no micro. Then I just fold that thing and bake it in the pan. But there was no butter and no oil. So of course it burnt black. Sjeiss egal (shit happens). See picture. Tasted exquisite. There was also an oven that was broken and a washing machine, which did not work. For any coffee there were small milkies in the refrigerator. There were two cartons of milk, due date Oct. 2014. The landlord checked the closure. It is open. Then you better not use it. The other pack is still closed. You can take that. Well, that’s also long over due. The kitchen window was wide open in order to give some warmth to the green house adjoining the kitchen. Many degrees of heat were lost from the kitchen. But oh, it’s also possible to have diner with a coat on. In Nijmegen I have been cooking for many years, and baked on a hot plate of no more than 20 cm. cross-section.
My landlord takes my pilgrim’s passport with him, probably to be sure . I never experienced that before on this trip. Well I don’t care very much , but it does suggest suspicion . A big advantage here is that the fridge has beer, I have to pay for of course .
And now I have to stop , otherwise I’ll be in bed late again. Bona sera señorita , kiss me good night , or something , sings the song ” Napoli” .
Caption id = “attachment_99996” align = “align none” width = “300”] nice place for lunch in ancient hamlet nice place for lunch in antique hamlet [/ caption] nice lunch spot with antique hamlet nice lunch spot with antique hamlet [/ caption] frugal lunch meager lunch [/ caption] crossing for pilgrims. Not for horses crossing for pilgrims. Not for horses [/ caption] Leon saves himself Leon saves himself [/ caption]
Omwisselen naar het Nederlands
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shopping after 18 km cycling finally home shopping, after 18 km cycling finally home [/ caption] Preparations for dinner preparations for supper [/ caption] Har ponyanddogtrip 2014-2015 512 landlord landlord [/ caption]

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