Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A prison in an abbey

Monday 1 September

We were off before 9am this morning.  We had a fairly long day ahead.  The first part of the day was together along small country lanes and through small villages as usual.  We did notice, however, that the villages we passed today looked much more ship-shape than ones of recent days / weeks.  We can’t work out why some villages look like they have been abandoned ie houses are shabby and farm barns are practically wrecks, and others clearly have lots on money spent on them.  Wether shabby or chic they are still all so quiet, even on this Monday morning - 1st day of the working week.

We had our lunch bread and patisserie goodies at Bar-Sur-Aube, followed by a system boosting piece of fruit each. There were 2 sections of separate walking and cycling this afternoon joined in the middle by 5 minutes sitting on a wall together comparing map routes and wondering if it was too late to apply suntan cream.  

We had hills today.  We were still in Champagne country, but the vines were on very much hillier terrain than in recent weeks ( yes weeks ).  My hills meant that I had to push up them - good for the right arm muscle which had been resting rather too much I thought.  Tony, no doubt, will have steamed up his like a train.

We met and arrived at Clairvaux at around 5 pm, just in time to visit the Abbey ticket office before it closed.  The guided tours of the Abbey had finished so we wandered around the open courtyard ( car-park ) and imagined lots of 12th to18th century happenings.  

Our accommodation was a house on the main road of the village which takes in walkers, but mostly accommodates female family visitors of the inmates of the prison which takes up part of the Abbey complex across the road.  The house was owned and run by a Sisterhood of Nuns which originated from Alsace.  We had our evening meal with 2 of the nuns and another walker from Holland.  Around the table we were from England ( us ), Holland ( male walker ), Alsace ( 1 nun ), and Slovakia ( t’other nun ).  Around the table we spoke English ( us ), German ( us + man + 1st nun ), French ( me + man + both nuns ).  It worked.  

We were not allowed to help with the washing-up, so happily had an early night.  

Distance - 17 miles
Distance since Helmsley- 863.35 miles

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