BÉNÉVENT-L’ABBEYE – BILLANGES
It was great! I did not have to look for the way as Rohan took the lead and I was following him. No worry anymore about getting lost. Eddy was a fast walker and always waited a bit until he could walk at his own speed. We were a great team as we shared our love for silence, beauty and for just walking.
Our path took us up the highest peak of the Via Lemovicensis, to the 2,192 feet high village of Saint-Goussaud. In front of the 12th century church, we met three Dutch pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela. One of them did not carry a backpack but pulled a two-wheeled chart behind him.
Saint – Goussaud was a Roman settlement and got its name from the Roman hermit Goussaud, who once lived in this area. He is known for his love for animals.
When we left the village, we followed an ancient Roman road down the mountain. Trees covered with thick moss were lining up along the path like Roman soldiers. Silence was surrounding us. It seemed that time stood still.
At a charming little settlement, we took a rest and had lunch. A young lady filled my water bottle. Her white pet rat was lovingly crawling on her shoulder and she allowed me to take a photo of it.
When we arrived at the refuge in Billanges, Francois, the owner, was not at home. She left the house open for us. We were told by Yves just to enter and we were immediately surrounded by pure creativity. Everything in her house was unique – it was unbelievable. Later on, Francois showed us her studio. She is not only a professional porcelain painter, but also does prints, paintings and sculptures.
In the evening, she prepared a delicious meal for us – Spaghetti a la Francois, a big bowl of fresh salad from her garden, sweet melon and a carafe of French Red Country Wine. Like in every refuge, we got a pilgrim’s stamp in our pilgrim’s pass. The pilgrim’s pass is a requirement for being able to stay overnight in a refuge.