PORT-SAINTE-FOY-ET-PONCHAT – SAINT-FERME

 

When I crossed the river Dordogne, I entered the area of Bordeaux. Very soon, I was surrounded by seemingly endless rows of vineyards. There was not much else growing. Every little flower I met on the way was joy for me.

 

 

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At one point, I could not find the shell sign and asked a construction worker about the Way. He was an Englishman by the name of Kevin who lived and worked in France. He offered to help me find the way again. It turned out that I was on the right Way all along, but he gave me a ride for several Kilometers up a hill. I was very thankful for that.

 

 

Kevin giving me a ride

Kevin giving me a ride

 

Nevertheless, the day was a day of walking many, many miles on hard asphalt streets, up and down hills with vineyard after vineyard. My legs were swollen and cramped and the body was revolting – and I still had 180 miles to go. I decided to listen to the body and stop my pilgrimage. The next day, in Reole, I would take a train to Paris and go back to Vienna.

 

 

Miles of asphalt streets straight to the west

Miles of asphalt streets straight to the west

 

 

In the evening I arrived in the refuge of La-Ferme. Jean Paul, the hospitaliér, was already expecting me. I was the only pilgrim there. When I told him about the plan to stop my pilgrimage, he convinced me to go on. The next day he would take me 20 miles westwards with his car so I could walk in a more relaxed speed. The dinner he cooked was fabulous– vegetable soup, potatoe gratin and yoghurt with raspberry sauce.

 

 

Jean Paul

Jean Paul in the refuge “Voie de Vézelay”

 

Later on, I even got a tour of the former monastery by a native with the name of Jean Claude. In French, he told me enthusiastically about the history of this place and I could hardly understand him. But this really did not matter.

 

 

La-Ferme, former Benedictine Monastery, 12th century

La-Ferme, former Benedictine Monastery, 12th century

 

The acoustics were fantastic in the church. Jean Claude asked me to sing a song and I was surprised how my voice filled out the whole space.

 

 

Inside the church

Inside the church

 

 

 

One of many different symbols of masons

One of many different symbols of masons