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  • Finally, Dave's dreams come true

    While Dani sits eating pretzel. 😁
    No surprises there's no queue for the woman's toilets...hooray

    Dave: truly awesome museum... I took plenty of photos for my website. 😊

  • Bonjour la classe! We have arrived at Saint Jean Pied de Port which literally means at the foot or the beginning of the mountains to the Camino de Santiago. Here we visited the pilgrims office and registered for the Camino. A delightful French lady explained the route to us and assured us that the weather would be fine for walking across the mountains. It's important as the weather can close the pass easily. She finished by telling us that we were not tourists but pilgrims now and would be referred to as such! Peregrinos they call us! We feel as if we are "on the Way" now!

    Saint Jean is a medieval town and like all the towns in this region it's built on a rise with a citadel and walls for fortification. The church is part of this too as the people would seek refuge in it during sieges. It dates back to the 10th Century and the king of Navarre resided here. The citadel which served him with a wonderful outlook for enemies is now a school! Imagine going to school in a kings castle!! One of the photos looks down from there across the town to the Pyrenees where we will walk.

    Also Look at the photos and you can see a plaque we came across almost by accident!
    St Francis Xavier's paternal grandparents lived here in Saint Jean- his family had ties with the kings of Navarre. You could well imagine him visiting his grandparents as a boy here.
    Boys, if you love game of thrones- this is the place!! Au revoir for now- Ben Chery- I imagine you would converse well here!! I'm thinking of you all as you begin the term-
    Mrs D.
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  • Nannie is better again today but her throat is too swollen to get the tube out yet. It may be a couple of days yet. I can't wait to see her again.
    Today all the school kids in Uzes dressed up in costumes and marched right past our house. It was very noisy and fun.

  • Distance: 16.6KM + 140.3 by car (343.9/1526.4)
    Weather: 28C warm and humid
    Mood: rested and emotional
    Blisters: 1

    The big decision

    It was a hard one to make, but I think an important one to keep my mind at ease during the next phases of my camino. Today, I realised that I would need to walk an average of 26.3km a day for the next 64 days and that would be without any rest days. To be frank, even though my body is able my feet are just not op to that number and need the rest now and then.
    That's why I made the hard decision to cut out a piece of 140k, tot being the average down to 25.4k with the luxury of 4 rest days, which seems a lot more achievable. I found it a little hard as it feels like cheating and I don't like saying I walled from Reims but not really all the way.... But then, who cares, it's my way and I can always walk the missing miles later, like many people do. There are no hard rules and I should just do what feels right. Well, no longer feeling the pressure of having to do many 30+ days that's are just too hard on my feet feels like a relief. And.. As we drove through the landscape we decided that it was a pretty boring part anyway 🙂
    Marc has left now, which makes me feel a little sad and alone, but it's all part of my way and even that feels good in a twisted "way".
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  • It started of being a beautiful day, sun shining and Michelle and i eager to start our adventure. The first train from the hague the Brussels was perfect and easy. We dismantled the bikes on the train and put them into the plastic bags/bike bags like I was told on the phone by customer service. Then everything went wrong. The second train was thalys to Paris. We arrived early and the train manager said no. Just no. No bikes and no English and no smile. I argued obviously since this is expensive and I triple checked that I can bring a bike on this train as long as it was In a bag, which we had. He finally said yes. So we spent the next 10 minutes frantically unpacking and dismantling our bikes, I put my bike in train, grab all our bags put them in our seat go out to help Michelle with her bike and the doors close. "What are you doing???" The train steward asked me as if I was retarded. I helping get the bike on the train.... it apparently had to go on the next train, I said no it's ready let's go! No no no. That was it. The doors were not going to be opening again until Paris. We were stuck there watching in disbelief as all our possessions and my bike sit at the station for another 30 seconds, then slide away.

    After another lecture at us by the steward, who truly could not believe my stupidity, the helpful ones arrived. "Do you have your tickets? " no of course we didn't. But we were able to catch the next train to Paris which was 30 min later and they called the train manager. When we arrived In Paris i had to run to the previous train which was getting ready to go back to Brussels and all of our stuff was there, thank goodness! We spent ages just outside the station putting our bikes together properly.

    Cycling through Paris is terrible, scary, not just from cars but also pedestrians. We made our way to the Eiffel tower and decided to treat ourselves for the first 3km of riding with an ice cream; only to find our shared wallet was empty. Michelle's was empty. And so was mine. Someone had robbed our bags while they sat in our seats. We had about 300 Euro in cash, mainly because NL does not accept visa or MasterCard.

    We were obviously devastated! But kept going, we cycled for a total of 28km today to get to the warm showers host (couch surfing for cyclists! -although I still don't feel like one yet). We are with a lovely family just outside of Paris. They gave us dinner and route ideas.

    Day 2: towards orleans. It can only better right?
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  • And we made it to Strasbourg....
    Our biggest day of cycling yet... with a neat 76kms done and dusted

    Spent the evening in beautiful Strasbourg.
    The cathedral honestly took my breathe away when I first saw it. It's huge! We saw a cool light show that was projected on the side of the building... Nice evening

  • Uzes is very old and very nice! We are living on a pretty lane, our door is the first on the right in the first picture. There is no doorstep! You have to be careful not to bop people walking by with the front door, or cars. There is a fun cellar underneath and our bedroom is on the 3rd floor. All these pictures are of the house. We explored lots of laneways today and will go to the markets tomorrow! Look out for lots of my pictures!Read more

  • Great joke, eh?!? Having a nice time in Nice!

    First thing this morning, we took a tour a a French perfumery that's been operating since the 18th century. Interesting learning the differences between perfume and l'eau de toilette... Basically, perfume is 25% essential oils, lasts all day, and goes directly on your skin (where you can feel your pulse); while l'eau de toilette is "watered down", lasts a couple of hours, and is used more as a body spray. Both break down over time and should be kept out of the light to prolong useful life.

    We were dropped off at the centre of Nice, at the waterfront, for the day - it's nice. The colours of the water are amazing - many shades of blue! It truly is the Cote d'Azur (Coast of Azure)! Some of us walked up to the Chateau, which is the highest point overlooking Nice and the views are spectacular!

    We walked through street markets and bazaars. Enjoyed fresh olives, sun-dried tomatoes, brioche, crepes, and fruits... Nice lunch in Nice! So many cool shops, including the extreme high end... Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Rolex, Hermes, and the list goes on!

    The view from our group meeting place... McDonald's!
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  • Distance: 30KM (153/1847)
    Weather: 25C, sun and clouds
    Mood: Feeling strong
    Blisters: 5 (the only thing stopping me from walking more)

    I can't believe it's already day 7!

    No deep thoughts today, just the exciting news that I met two fellow pilgrims yesterday night (Dutch even) and it was great to share pilgrim stories and receive some greasy cotton wool and Gewohl cream to treat my feet and prevent more blisters. The walking was much easier today than my last 30k and I'm now sleeping in the old seminarie of Troyes (pic three).
    I'm starting to feel stronger, so let hope those blisters will sure soon (so I can walk even more in a day...)
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