It’s November, 2019. Gail and I have been back in Winnipeg for six weeks. I’ve been occupied with a book project, just now completed. So it’s time to get back to our Via Francigena pilgrimage, starting where you last saw us.
Back to September 29 as we leave the coal mining town of Bruay le Buissiere on a gentle 22-kilometre saunter across rolling farmland. We walk through quiet villages too small to support a grocery or a cafe. Just tall churches surrounded by small stone houses and farm complexes. Dogs bark from fenced yards. Boys and girls cycle by, curiously observing the two strangers with backpacks
And we end our day in yet another tiny hamlet, Frévin-Capelle, also free of any restaurants or grocery stores or boulangeries. There is only our chambre d’hôtes, La Grenouillère. And Anna, our gracious host, who has agreed to drive us to nearby towns to collect groceries and wine so we can prepare dinner in our cottage. Who decides, while driving us to these various shops in assorted towns and villages, that she will cook our meal that evening.
And, with that, our day ends with a lively dinner, in a small town, on a traditional farmstead, with Anna, her husband, their daughter and son gathered around the family table.