I made it to St Romain La Motte in time for lunch, and enjoyed a very good meal there with friendly service.
The history of this area was clear in some of the road names. The loss was clearly mourned of some who had been deported off to death during WW2.
And although this route didn't have a whole heap of pilgrims along it during these modern days, we were 'remembered' in its name.
There was a very busy national highway to cross during the morning, but I didn't really mind, as it meant the route wasn't quite so solitary.
Finally about 3.30pm I arrived in St-Haon-le-Châtel, a beautiful small town. I was expecting a bit of a climb up to the town at the end, but it wasn't too long or hard. I couldn't see the gîte immediately but found an info centre open. The friendly woman in there switched to English for me, and rang the gîte owner to get me organised. I think I was probably a bit lucky to stay here, as more usually bookings were only taken for groups. But the other six pilgrims I had met had stayed here the night before as it turned out, and had talked about me. Preparing the way!
The gîte owner was a lovely young farmer, and she had realised I would be surprised by the fact there was a mid-week 'closed' day in the local shops. So she had brought along some pasta from her own pantry so I had some food to cook. She also added a kiwifruit in honour of my nationality! It turned out this lovely woman had even come searching in her car along the chemin routes for me during the day since it was so cold, and was going to offer to carry my pack for me to make life a little easier in the cold weather. But she couldn't find me...
Once I had showered and done my laundry, I headed out to explore the town a bit. There were medieval walls and many old buildings to see. And even if it is bitterly cold, you can't 'stay home' and not explore when these kind of 13th and 14th century walls are still standing.
As evening came, I locked myself into the gîte where I was spending the night all by myself. It was a very comfortable gîte, but this was actually what I found the hardest about the Cluny route- the solitary nature of so much of the walking and quite a few of the evenings. When I'd walked with Francis he had taken my hand on my walking pole at one stage, and said to me that Jesus would be walking with me each day. Somehow when the rainbow had crossed the sky this morning, I'd been very mindful of this. But I still found the evening loneliness quite hard...
|The local primary school, over the road from the gîte.|