Saturday, 27 June 2015


Friday 26th June 2015

Well it was with a very heavy heart that I felt relieved to escape Abbaye d’Acey. During the course of my Pilgrim trail from the North of England I have stayed in a number of religious places that have offered accommodation, all have been superb, the most memorable being Sister Lucy. The Abbaye d’Acey was not in that category and that is a real shame because as I mentioned in my previous blog, it truly is a special tranquil place.

My escape was planned with military precision:-

Did I have enough change to leave a small donation ……check, yes

Was my alarm set………..check, 5am yes

Was all my gear laid out ready for a quick pack………check, yes

Was I ready to go to sleep at 8pm……….check, o yes

So with eye mask on I was soon in the land of nod.  The alarm clock went off and I quickly packed and tidied my room to leave it as I had found it. I had not planned to have any breakfast but I took advantage of having a yogurt left over from the supplies I had been given the night before. This included picking up the now semi stale piece of bread too. I left a message to give the Hotelier some feedback expressing my sincere disappointment on my reception and put the key where he could find it and walked out of the door.

By now it was just before 6am and a pleasantly cool morning with the occasional glimpse of the sun and a nice day in store. My plan today was to take a direct route to the nearest rail station some eighteen kilometres away, considerably less than the planned thirty eight kilometres to Besancon. I was  just hoping that my feet were going to last out. 

My strategy was to take each kilometre at a time and if I needed to stop and take all day then so be it. As it turned out it was not too bad. With my stale bread in hand and a tuna and tomato quiche I had kept from the previous day for breakfast, I waddled along. I travelled through a number of villages each about 3 kilometres apart and it was those additional goals that kept me going. After a couple of hours I was still waddling along although by now my feet were starting to complain. I just told myself to get on with it and at the penultimate village, three kilometres from Orchamp I decided to take a decent break.

I sat on the village green on the outskirts of the village and dined on muesli bars I had brought from the UK, washed down with the days vintage aqua. I really did look quite a sight as several buses of school children went by. I am sure a sight many had not seen before. 

After a well deserved rest I set off, by now this was becoming the worst part, just putting the weight on the balls of my feet as I walked. Slowly I built up my speed as my feet started to become adjusted to the resolve of walking again and soon any discomfort was once again in the back of my mind. At 9.30 am and ten miles later I waddled into Orchamp and went straight to the rail station. It was with some mixed relief that the next train was not until 1pm but now I had to kill some time. 

I navigated my way through the French automatic ticket machine that gave me so many options of what type of ticket I wanted. I am sure there was one there to the North Pole to see Father Christmas! With ticket in hand I set off into the village to find somewhere for a strong black coffee. There was no obvious place so I called into an arty farty shop that sold fancy beer and other products in clear cellophane with ribbons around it. Oo la la! The madame uttered the obligatory Bonjour with which I reciprocated Bonjour. Une cafe long monsieur? Au non une cafe grande sil vois plais I begged, probably with a slight tear in my eye at the relief of finding somewhere so close.

So with over three hours to kill this was to be my home for the rest of the morning. I have never tasted such a good coffee or made one last so long. I took advantage of the time by writing up the previous days blog as I was too tired and weiry to complete it the previous night. With a touch of guilt at being sat there for so long I asked for another coffee and having noted my rather strange walking style we soon burst into conversation.

My view has and is always that if you are in another country it is only polite to try to speak that countries language even if you make a real pigs ear of it, at least you have tried. So in a mixture of gesticulating (that’s always good) and French we had and managed quite a healthy and interesting conversation. Including being shown and old book that showed what the area, the shop and square looked like in the 18th century. 

With my blog page and walk diary notes completed I waddled off back to the station. At 1pm prompt the train arrived and took me to my preferred sanctuary. Arriving at Besancon I gritted my teeth and finally set off to find my hotel and oh I can’t explain the relief I felt at finding it just across the road from the station.

Sanctuary………well Ibis budget hotel!

Total planned distance - 38 kilometres
Distance from Citeaux Abbey, Dijon - 95 kilometres

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