Tuesday 9 September
We had a very hearty breakfast with home-made jams, treacle / gingerbread cake ( local speciality to the Dijon area ), figs, prunes, other misc fruit, croissants and sliced loaf. This would see us well through our final day of walking.
This day was a combination of farmer’s gravel tracks and tarmac. We were happy with this, as it gave us brain space to contemplate our journey rather than to watch where we were putting our feet ( and wheels ).
We did the usual, ‘ what have you enjoyed most and least, will you miss most and least ‘ chit chat, and summarised various things - examples below :
Wildlife seen - cats, dogs, horses, ponies, cows, sheep, goats, hens, cockerels, peacock, camels ( circus ), deer, herons, geese, mice, lizards, snakes.
Bike incidents ( Rachel ) - 5 punctures, 1 new tyre, a set of pedals, 2 fall-offs, numerous bruises + 1 cut on legs by pedal ( when walking alongside bike on rough ground ).
Walking incidents ( Tony ) - several bovine confrontations in the UK, one pair of walking boots worn down to the sole.
Types of accommodation experienced - camping in people’s gardens, in church yards and in campsites. Sleeping in town hall annex rooms, nursery classroom floors, a convent, a barn, on camp beds in walker’s refuges, in bed & breakfasts and in hotels.
Our destination today is Citeaux Abbey ( see further down for info on this ). We reached it mid afternoon. We had an arrangement to meet a Brother ( monk ) from the Abbey this evening, so we popped in to arrange a time to meet later. We then walked / cycled a further 2 miles ( oh the torture ! ) to our accommodation for the evening. It was called ‘ Ferme de Saule ‘ Willow Farm, and was a barn owned by the Abbey, part of which had been converted ( in the loosest sense of the word ) into basic accommodation for walkers / pilgrims. We spread our possessions around and claimed our camp beds ( we were the only people there, but better to be safe than sorry ). We made curry noodles for tea, and got ready to go out for our evening rendezvous.
Now that Tony was no longer logging the walk ( destination reached earlier in the afternoon ), he was excited at the prospect of him riding the bike, and me walking. Or perhaps he could give me a ‘ croggy ‘, or ‘ backy’ for us Scots. This we did, with surprisingly minimal wobbling, but with a few expressions of discomfort coming from me. It was fun.
We met with Brother Benoit, and enjoyed a very interesting and informative discussion with him whilst walking around a small Abbey garden. We parted company with him at 8pm as he had to attend Compline at the church. We attended too. It was a wonderful end to our very special destination day.
Some of you may think that we have been wandering aimlessly through UK and French countryside in a general southerly direction with no particular destination or aim, just because we can. This isn't the whole story....
We have walked from Rievaulx Abbey (the first Cistercian abbey in the North), Helmsley, North Yorkshire, England to Citeaux Abbey ( ( home of the Cistercian Order), just south of Dijon, France. We are creating a new long distance walk / pilgrimage between these two Cistercian Monasteries which takes in other British and French Cistercian Abbey sites. We will be creating a website in months to come which will have GPS co-ordinates and written text for others to follow who are interested in walking this route, or just parts of it, plus other Cistercian Abbey linked walks in both the UK and in France. Watch this space / website - www.abbeywalks.co.uk
Distance - 17 miles
Distance since Helmsley - 1006.85 miles !!!!!!!