So 5 years ago, I walked into Troyes with the German guy, we did about 105 km in 3 days and I had blisters from around the time I started walking in the Netherlands. I cant really tell you how long Ive been on the road at this point but it seemed way shorter than I currently am. Maybe thats because time seems to move slower this time around because Im more used to the traveling.
We walked into Troyes and we had 2 days of 50-55 km and 1 rest day in between. I was teetering on the edge of getting an infection on my feet and even though we got offered a ride as soon as we entered the city limits, one that I was inclined to accept. The German guy refused because he wanted to walk every single bit of the entire journey. Now I dont blame him for this but I just couldnt keep up with him (literally). As soon as we arrived on the campsite I was rekt, my feet were swollen like 2 fucking sausages and I was just tired as fuck as I could feel the fever chills running down my spine from infection. A little high off painkillers, I told him right then and there that maybe we should break up. This wasnt working and it was also going against how I think I should do this. We didnt separate as enemies or anything and he also didnt leave right away and we hung around on the campsite a couple of days. I couldnt go to any supermarket because I was limping like an extra on The Walking Dead and he was kind enough to fetch me fruit from the grocery. In the showers weirdly enough was a boxer short in light blue (color of France) with little white dogs on it, the cleaning crew wasnt going to touch it and every time I went to take a shower it was still hanging there. Foreshadowing much?
I finally got my head in the game and decided to buy some cream for my dry as fuck feet. With Shea butter. This made a big difference right away and I felt better in a couple of days.
On the 2ndnight I got to know some French people that I hung out with, with my clunky French but luckily a bar guy who worked there could translate some things for me. They had family that had their own vineyard and this was the first time I got drunk off champagne. I remember also eating fake surimi crab sticks when drunk and this was not a mix I can recommend. No no, not at all. I didnt sleep in my tent but in a room behind the recreation room since there was also wifi there and it was nice and warm on a couch.
The German guy left in good time and I decided to keep going on fruit, champagne and foot creme until my feet were completely healed up.
This took around a week, week and a half. At the time, a mouse also found some shelter by gnawing straight through the side of my backpack and make himself comfortable in my underwear. At least it gave me something to do. The campsite was run by Dutch people and there were a shitton of Dutch people on the campsite (just like every campsite in France ever). I heard rumors about some animal going inside people’s tents in the middle of the night licking dirty dishes and digging up bones but being very much on her toes and nobody seemed able to catch her.
At some point I was chilling with the French people again and it was warm as fuck. We had a very cosy evening and I decided to go back to my tent to sleep. First I wanted to go to the toilet and as Im sitting there, I could hear the scratching of nails on the hard surface of the open shower/toilet area. All of a sudden a blond nose pops under the door and when it saw me it bolted. I was already whiping so I got up and told it to be calm. I knew where there were some plastic bowls and I told Billy to come with me while I filled one up with water. Little Billy was thirsty as hell and while its drinking like its been in the desert for the past couple of weeks, it kept looking upwards to me. When Billy was finished it jumped at me and started licking me and I tried to tell her not too since I have no idea where that tongue has been lately. After a little inspection I noticed that she wasnt packing a gun, so Billy may not be the most appropriate name. I settled on Lucille – Lucy – instead since this was the most French name I could think of.
We walked back to my tent and she was a little bit distracted by thingies here and there but she did listen reasonably well. It seemed like for her the choice was already made but me being a cat person, it took me a little getting used to.
I went inside my tent and she didnt understand what the hell was going on and started jumping against the tent. After telling me it should come here it crawled under the outside tent and slept against the inside tent, right next to my head and I whispered to her that if she was still going to be there tomorrow I would take her along.
The next day I woke up and it was a wake up like so many Im used to nowadays, just instantly being pounced and doggy assaulted by the cutest animal ever. Crooked teeth, white gold fur and a look in her deep brown eyes like dude-lets-fucking-go-already! Yes this was meant to be. I remembered the boxer short and put it in the washing machine. All the while Lucy was galavanting around, being cute, still looking like an animal although slightly more owned. We took a shower for an hour, where I removed all the little seeds from her fur and gave her a good scrubbing. The little pillows on her feet were fucking weird and Ive never felt anything like it before. She looked alright like the night before, no weird shit in her eyes/ears, no drooling, wet nose and a tongue that smelled like cheesy fish or fishy cheese, whatever.. She didnt have any ticks or fleas and things were looking promising. I finished drying her which she seemed grateful about and when the boxer short was ready, I cut it up into a scarf to put around her neck.
My feet were still rekt and I took the time I needed to heal to whistle to her so she knows what to listen for. We moved around like a pack and I decided to get her some food. This was a Sunday sadly and the only thing in the area open was a sushi stall, yea I gave her fucking salmon on our first date, the way to a lady’s heart? I told the camping boss lady and she gave recognized her because she scared her back on the campsite about 3 weeks ago because she thought it belonged to someone.
I still wasnt completely sure on the new team format so I looked for other options, apparently the dog pound in France only gives animals 40 days to get a new owner and after that its sleep inducing injection to doggy heaven so that wasnt really an option. No I decided to just keep my promise I made to her and keep her around. The camping boss lady still had some food for other dogs that sometimes come around and gave that to me, she told me to mix it with bread but as soon as I put it in front of Lucy it was gone down the hatch.
After a week or so chilling together, I decided to continue my journey. Lucy of course didnt know we were going on a little walk of lets say 1500km but she was there, all the way, always 10m in front of me. She did her business in the bushes away from where people might walk, she begged harder and better than any professional gypsy I encountered in France and when she smelled a bone it would be hers for the next 10 minutes. All left overs from her time out in the wild I reckoned.
We left Troyes and in the first dead angle corner, she didnt listen when I called out for her and a car that was revving up hit her. It didnt hurt her but it did scare her enough to remember her name next time I called out for her.. A French guy yelled at me to put her on a leash, dude I just fucking found this dog and I cant go into a store without her stalking after me.
Her not having seen an open field in the last months, she just started running as far as I could see. Then she started running back when I used my whistle, stopped next to me, jumped and gently bit my hand and then she was off again. She did this about 5 times and I could only see this as her, showing her appreciation for this.
I thought she was going to close doors but the opposite was true, she is a door opener and an icebreaker. Some French lady that was taken in by her charms told me that her name comes from the latin word Lux – which means Light.
And I couldnt agree more..