Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm not the only winter pilgrim!

The further south I travel, the more pilgrim houses are available. Small refuges owned by the municipality and run by local volunteers; three or four bunkbeds each with a pillow and a blanket; a shower and restroom, heat and a kitchenette. Basic things a pilgrim with a sheet and a towel needs, all for a donation or a small fee, tea bags and pasta included.

Importantly; there's always a 'Livre d'Or'; the Gold Book for registering and leaving a pithy comment.

In the village of St Martin de Lacaussade; one day's walk north of Bordeaux; I saw the notation of a Belgian pilgrim who passed there on New Year's Day; nearly three weeks ahead of me. The gracious keybearer of the pilgrim house is proud of her headcount - my arrival in the same month puts the count ahead of previous Januarys'.

I expect that once I cross the Pyrenees in a week and a half; I'll start seeing others. Though happy in my solitude, there's comfort in knowing I'm not alone on the trail.

In Saintes, between Poitier and Bordeaux, the pilgrim house is built against the 12th-century church of 4th-century St Eutrope, whose tomb lies in the much older crypt beneath. The painting is of one of the eeriest capitals of a crypt column I've ever seen. The funny thing (as in odd, not haha) was that the light in the crypt, dim as it was, is on a timer. It took three cycles of the light switch to finish the sketch. Just my luck that the eerie capital is on the furthest corner away from the light switch, leaving me groping in complete darkness every time it switched itself off. Just me and the remains of St Eutrope down there...


Anonymous said...

Hi Ann - Good to hear that there are others doing the winter pilgrimmage. How's your weather? keeping warm? we're in the 70s today. take good care.
Deanna and McKaylee

mom said...


Don't feel too bad. It is chilly and wet in sunny CA, and acording to the news, it is 17 in Newark. Obama was sworn in as president yesterday, much happy hoopla, but all looked frozen.

Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Keep slogging through the rain. Remember there is always sun shine after.
Be safe.
Pittsburgh Suzy