Day 26: Champlitte

Number of kilometres today: 40.9

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 695.8

Total steps since Canterbury:  986,004

Yes, I really walked 41 kilometres today.  I have to admit, it wasn't my best day's walk. It was a bit of a rollercoaster really. I slept badly for the second night in a row. The Devil just wouldn't get comfortable on my back.  My shoulder was shooting pain.  I would be comfortable for a while, find my rhythm and then lose it again.

This morning I walked towards an amazing sky, thick silvery clouds shrouding the sun and that summertime cool air with a promise of heat to come.  It eventually came.  After lunch, by which time I had clocked 25 kilometres.  I walked on minor roads with no shade in the scorching sun with no breeze and I was wearing black.  I had 16 kilometres more to walk. I cried. I let it go and accepted all there was to do was take one step after the other. My rhythm came back.

The last kilometre of the day was the hardest and uphill.  I know I take about 1417 steps to walk a kilometre.  I started counting to keep myself going and get myself there.

This section of France has been challenging because we walk through a lot of small villages where there is either no or limited accommodation.  Many villages, like Mormant, don't even have a boulangerie or a bar, just some houses and usually a church and mairie.

My body rejects a 41 kilometre day.  My spirit rejects it too.  Surprisingly, walking an average of 4 kilometres per hour (not allowing for breaks) is too fast.  It wants to walk slower, to meander and rest a little more and drink in its surrounds, these moments that pass and will never come again. However, there are a few more sections where it is hard to find accommodation and some more long walking days may be forced.

Tomorrow is a short day.  Only 18 kilometres to Dampierre-sur-Salon. It may also be one of the last days of sunshine for a while as rain is predicted this weekend.  I plan to sleep in, eat a slow breakfast, buy my lunch and dinner supplies and then amble my way to Dampierre and find some time to stretch out on the earth and in the sun and just be still.

Exiting Langres this morning.

Sunrise just outside Langres.

This morning's amazing sky

Chateau wall in Le Pailly

Chateau in Le Pailly

Forgotten logs near Ferme de la Gosse Sauve

Grapeviine draped above window in Leffond

Montarlot-les-Champlitte

Chateau in Champlitte