2012 Walking the Way

The Way of Saint James, Day Twelve

June 8th, 12th day of Will on the Way: Partnership Day
I woke about 5:00. As Barb was sleeping I went out to the living room and wrote until about 7:00. By then the house was rising and the pilgrims getting ready to make their departure. We all sat down together to share the usual but welcomed fare of coffee, bread, and homemade jams. By 8:00 we and our gear were packed up in Jean’s car and he took us back to the chamin. 

It had started raining again so we all donned ponchos and rain pants and began our walk for the day. Barb and I were heading for Chavanay while Patrick and Claude were heading another 15 K farther. The route took us through forest paths that were riverlets from the downpour but the walk was tranquil and the rain pleasant. We walked for several hours before Patrick and Claude bid us goodbye as we passed one of the villages on route to Chavanay. We had exchanged emails and promised to connect again. As they walked away Barb said I have a feeling we will see them again, and I wondered how that would be possible?. 

By this time the rain had abated and we were able to take off our ponchos, but kept them handy in case it started again. This part of the chamin was the least attractive so far. It took us parallel to the Rhone and we walked under buzzing power lines and could see a couple of cooling towers of a nuclear reactor in the distance. We stopped several times for food and pack breaks taking our time and having more conversation than our usual custom. This was our first day of not having purchased baguette sandwiches for lunch so we made do with our dried fruit and nuts and later ate our cans of tuna and sardines. It was during one of these breaks that Barb’s prediction of seeing Patrick and Claude again transpired. Long after saying goodbye, as we were eating sardines and tuna, up the path they come, having stopped in the village for lunch. We said goodbye one last time and watched these two pilgrims depart making their way on the the Way. 

It was during one of our breaks that the topic of bringing clients over from the US for a “Find Your Way on the Way” experience came up. The idea had first surfaced for me, on Vineyard Day, of taking people on a pilgrimage walk as a way of shifting their experience and perspective and helping them grow into a fuller self, as was happening to me. However, I didn’t think further on it again until Patrick mentioned that he was going for an interview next week to be a mentor to troubled youth where the first month of the program would be spending time with that individual walking the Camino together. The Camino does heal and change us. I mentioned it to Barb and she immediately grew excited, quickly seeing the possibilities and rewards of such a venture for all involved. We spent the rest of our walk to Chavanay brainstorming ideas of what it would look like and how we would offer it to potential clients. 

This conversation was also an extension of earlier talks we had had on how we might work together as we discovered our work was very complementary. And now that we had lived and walked together on the Camino, not only learning deeply about ourselves but also learning about how to be in partnership in harmony and grace. We were both learning to walk our talk together. Furthermore we had been putting into practice through our respective coaching and healing arts on this walk, the very things we would offer our clients next year the Chamin. 

As we walked and talked ideas surfaced about what a person would gain from the experience of Walking the Way. One image that came forth was that of our being like a jigsaw puzzle. Some times you put it all together but there is a piece missing and you can’t see the whole picture without the missing piece. Just then as we were walking along the highway I looked down and saw a jigsaw puzzle piece on the road! We were sure we had just had an affirmation from the universe. Thank-you St. Jacques! 

We had fun creating and playing, passing the time in this way, being excited about the possibilities until we reached our friend the Rhone and crossed the bridge into Chavanay. 

By the time we reached Chavanay the sun was out and we were warm. We found our hotel without any issue. It was on the main highway that passed through town and looked a bit down and out, like it had seen better times. This impression was amplified when we went inside. On entering there was a bar to the left with several patrons standing and talking, to the right was a restaurant area with a number of round wooden tables rather uninviting if I were looking for a place to enjoy a meal, and in front of us was a small reception desk where a surly woman curtly greeted us. We explained we had a reservation and asked to confirm if there was WiFi, this being the primary reason we were staying in Chavanay, to connect with the internet. She replied yes of course and seemed offended when I asked for the access code, telling me none was needed. We were taken up to room on the second floor. It was dumpy, ugly, hot, and noisy being right on the street. After she left us, Barb and I confered and agreed it wouldn’t do. We returned downstairs and this time a man, one whom we believed we had spoken to on the phone, met us. We explained the room was too noisy and asked for one away from the street. He advised us that the only ones available were double beds, no single bedrooms were off the street. We asked to see it and found it to be quieter by far and though it didn’t have a toilet in the room it did have a sink and shower. As we had learned to sleep in the same bed the previous night we agreed to take the room. 

After making sure we could connect online we decided to go for a tour of the town and get some food as we had eaten little that day. We walked to the town center, about five minutes away and found a sweet little boulangerie where we purchased a mini quiche each and a treat: me a thick piece of baked flan and Barb a pain au chocolate. We took our goodies to a nearby park, ate our quiches and did yoga stretches for the next hour, saving the desserts for later. It was a beautiful afternoon and we felt happy to have “it off” from walking the Way. 

Returning to the hotel I took a shower. However the hot water only lasted three minutes before getting cold. When I told Barb she said she would just take a sponge bath then. I thought it ridiculous that we shouldn’t have a hot shower and again went downstairs to find the proprietor. When I explained the situation he seemed angry and said impossible! He then grabbed a key to another room had me follow him upstairs where he led me into another room and turned on the hot water tap in the bathroom, showing me there was hot water and then telling me angrily that we could switch rooms. I tried to explain that we didn’t want to switch, I only wanted him to know there was no hot water in our bathroom and would he come and check it out. He agreed and once again there was hot water coming forth. I was confused and apologized for troubling him and he left seemingly placated. Barb then took a shower and had three minutes of hot water! I didn’t try to talk to him again. 

We had dinner in a cheery restaurant nearby. They were having a special that night of something called Tartins served with french fries and salad. There were a number of varieties of Tartin and the one we choose was delicious. Barb had a glass of red wine and I a glass of Monoco, a local drink of beer with lemonade and grenadine. I had seen it being poured from a tap for another customer and liked the pretty color as well as being curious to try it. It was a little sweet but tasty and refreshing. The waitress spoke some English and we had a nice conversation. I remarked to Barb that the experience showed me how the world was getting smaller when a waitress in a small French town speaks English and understands American conventions so well. Kind of cool and cool and kind of sad. We left having enjoyed our meal greatly. 

We returned to the hotel both happy and full where we spent the rest of the evening sending pictures and blog updates to Kerry before “going to bed together.” 

Day Twelve Photos 

“Barb, Chembre d’ Hotes we stayed at in Cote St. Andre, Dramatic Vista before going down to Le Grand Lemps, Poppies and Le Grand Lemps church tower in distance.” 

“Michaela who became a dear dear friend to us both, Michaela’s pack marches past the poppies. Nature is a flower arranger. Poppies and wheat.” 

“Pilgrim on the Rainy Way. The road of the pilgrims. Wheat fields ripening on the Way.” 

“The Villa Jenette. Will and Barb at special marker honoring pilgrims on the Way.” 

“Will and Barb in Rain gear. “ 

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