LA SOUTERRAINE – BÉNÉVENT-L’ABBEY
In late morning, I started the trek to the Bénévent-L’Abbey, a town fourteen miles away from La Souterraine. With each step I took, I felt better. Walking in nature is meditation for me; it connects me with something bigger than myself – with the bigger Self.
Picturesque Gothic window decorations and an old, deteriorating mill greeted me like old friends.
In the west, dark clouds had formed and soon I was surrounded by thunder, lightening and heavy rain. It was like the tension of last week was taken over by the sky and released by this powerful thunderstorm. I loved the soft sound of the raindrops falling on my red rain cape, the warm drops on my face and the walk through the rain puddles on the ground.
At 6pm, I arrived at the refuge in Bénévent-l’Abbay. The refuge was a charming house owned by Yves and his wife Thérese. Yves was a retired psychiatrist and Thérese worked in the psychiatric hospital in La Souterraine. Both share a love for donkeys. Their refuge is called Adosdanes. It refers to the donkeys they provide with a kind of retirement shelter in old age. The seven donkeys are named Nana, Spirou, Romeo, Bijou, Chocolat, Margarite and Capucine.
In addition to the warm welcome and the fantastic meal Yves and Thérese cooked, I also met two Belgium pilgrims here, Eddy and Rohan. We decided to walk together the next day, as the way Yves was suggesting was different from what was suggested in my book.