Fra(i)ncia X – Path to Vézelay I

Me and Lucy ate that rainstorm with dignity, being spurred on by the cold and the rain itself we pushed through it harder than we walked all day. No shelter anywhere in the field and forward was our only option. No point in trying to walk to lights in the near distance to take shelter, no point in getting my poncho, no point in trying to be stagnant. 

We pushed on so hard that when the rain stopped I was actually sweating and Lucy was even having fun, as she hopped through a field going after mice and what seemed to be hares from the contrasted shapes. I slowed down just a tad and just took in the evening air. Walking was slippery and shit but that was the case all day, the darkness didnt help though.

I walked into some village that I could already see from a distance and decided to park my tent next to the church. Another rain storm blew in, a little bit less intense but a little bit longer in duration. I spotted it just after I refilled 1 water bottle at the local town hall (which was still open due to some hunters meeting there). I was also able to take shelter from the rain in an enlarged bus stop 20m away. I tucked in Lucy nice and warm in my mexican blanket and I ate a can of Fringles. I contemplated drinking the bottle of champagne but hahahellno! Prepared putting up my tent and gave my parents a call to let them know whatsup while I waited for the rain to pass.

The next hour was cool, especially if youre tired, cold and slightly wet. Do jumping jacks/pushups/pull ups to stay warm, as soon as it stops raining or it dies down a little, run towards the church, bag in hand, put up the tent as fast as possible, run back to the busstop as soon as it starts raining again. Rinse and repeat.. Then when you finally have the whole thing setup, youre more full of adrenaline than a Korean dog being prepared for dinner. It was whatever. I made it. Eat those fucking lemons son..

The next day it was clear and cold, I took my meds and turned around and went back to sleep until it warmed up more. Went on the hunt for some water but there was none until I found Lucy barking at some dog, the owner came to see and I asked him for some water which he was happy to give me. I continued on through fields alongside a forest later, quick stop in a small village to drink a tea and eat a few quiche. Not much but its something.. Then I took the same damn route through the forest I took time, even though it was hardly a route, more like completely off roading up against a steep hillside. Ended up on the same road and walked towards a place where 5 years ago I wild camped next to a cemetery like my mentor Bob had instructed me to do. I even built a shower out of a planter, how’d you like me now Bob? This time the shower was complementary of nature and I didnt have to setup anything for it. I thought it would be fun to go into city hall and get a stamp there, as a sort of remembrance and the lady asked where I was going to stay for tonight. I told her in a tent and she looked at me funny. At this point the mayor walked into the room and said I should stay in their humble pilgrim abode, WELL GOOD MONSIEUR MAYEUR, I didnt know you had one!

He drove me to a little sort of house on the edge of the town and showed me around, shower/kitchen area/toilet (haha not really, just a hole in the ground, never skip legday)/common area where you could sleep on a wood bench. I didnt care. It was going to be in the -celsius again tonight so even the fact I didnt have any food didnt matter at all. So much for eating alongside your antibiotics.. Or maybe the antibiotics IS the food? The mayor of Sommeval tried to force some alcohol on me but I kindly declined.

I showered and even took the time to take a shave and do my hair. Drank some green tea and was going to do some writing but ended up getting in a pretty interesting discussion with a friend of mine on Whatsapp <3.

The next day I continued and waved them goodbye as I passed the town hall, friendly people. On the hunt for some food it is.

Its funny how you almost never have everything at once on a trip like this. You have enough water but lack food and electricity. You are cold but you have enough food/water, still no electricity, you have electricity but no food / plenty of water. Your just playing 4 of a kind with your basic needs. Its all cool, Ill just eat the lemons that this trip has prepared for me. And besides I Ramadidnt fast for nothing earlier this year. Now it will pay off as Im already used to the feeling of not eating and I wasnt even that hungry to be honest. My body switched to the reserves that I crammed into myself while living the caravan life in Troyes like flipping a switch and I maybe even felt more energetic.

Ervy-le-Châtel was up next and I remember being really, REALLY fed up with Lucy last time, this was wild-camp-night-4 in a row, where she would just start barking in the middle of the night and then run off.. While I crawled out my tent, looked for her in the cold damp night, not to mention being scared shitless of the unknown that she barked at because I had no hair on my soul yet.. This time no such thing and I knew exactly where to go, the camping on maps said it was open, so I absolutely knew for certain it was closed for the winter and low and fucking behold..

Hmmm I uhmm..Did find..uhm..some….abandoned buildings at theee edge of town? Hmm? HMMM? Maybe? Am I ballsy enough for this? I wondered..

Store was open until 2000h which gave me a good amount of time to scope the place out. It was a whole housing block, abandoned for not that long a time.. Windows? Check! Floor? Check! Doors? Some! Bed? yuck..CHECK! Meheheh its something. Did some further recon on the housing block and even went through a garden filled with thorny bush, up a stairs, through a cellar into some sort of workshop area? A hole the size of any bad horror movie in the floor, 2-3 meters across, leading to some cellar/crypt subterrain area. I expected any ol’ serial killer junkie to pop his deformed head through it, asking if I had some sugar for him at any time.. It dawned on me,,, what the hell am I doing down here.. I didnt even have my blade handy.. All I had was a fully loaded Lucy and a slight flame in my breath from my citrusy diet. I went back upstairs to the reasonable room, room. Flipped the mattress so I at least could pretend I slept on a clean part (which it was). Closed the windows, barricaded the door with a closet and went to the store. If you think its healthy to power a ≈50km hike with eating antibiotics/ginger and a rogue cookie I found somewhere in my bag in a day then youre just as crazy as I am. The omelet sandwich I made was terrific and I was happy to have some food in me. 
The bar I was going to write a little bit, was closed and I just barely made it to a pizza place to refill a water bottle. It would have to do, slept in my sleeping bag all the way zipped up until it felt like a proper condom and had a reasonable sleep.

The place was not abandoned that long ago it seemed. Bills scattered across other rooms suggested the guy left in a hurry. During scouting through the rooms I quickly waved through an old photo book displaying the owner in what seemed happier times. Drinking a beer with a grandchild (HAH, I fucking hope) on his lap, daughter with her arms lovingly around his neck, smiling at the camera, sitting at the table that now laid toppled over on the floor.. Sunshine, beaches, a new car, weddings, barbecues. Yea this isnt helping on the depression scale..

The odor of hasbeen and oncewas filling the air, weighed heavy on my soul. The next day, besides being glad I survived another night, I decided to leave the place, it was Sunday today so I might as well prepare for another day without food. But nothing turns out the way you expect it.

You see at some point you eat so many lemons that they start turning into strawberries, and thats when you get thrown one lifeline after another.

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