Jour #11 Saint Thierry à Verzenay. 26 km.

《Where the Camino meets Via Francigena》

I always have great respect and love of the monastic tradition. The time at the Benedictine monastery has deeply replenished my body and soul. God bless those sisters.

Reims is one of the major cities on the route and I don’t really like it (even to my own surprise). Having been in villages and small towns for over 10 days, I felt a sense of alienation once arriving the big city. Despite the grandiosity of the Cathedral of Reims, I just took a quick loop. Oftentimes I find the old Romansque village churches more soul uplifting than great Gothic or Baroque churches.

Greatest highlight of the day was seeing the first signpost (scallop shell) of El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St James) meeting that of Via Francigena. These two major pilgrim routes share some paths in this part of France. Walking to Rome can’t help making me comparing the experience of the Camino 10 years ago. Not just the two routes are very different. Rather, it’s the realization of the changes in me in this 10 years that makes me ponder even more.

To celebrate a bit (of the Camino spirit), I bought some Spanish ham for dinner. I happened to arrive the only grocery store 15 minutes before it closed. Gosh. The shop was close. One really cannot take it for granted there’s any food available in small towns in France.

(29 May 2018)

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