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Learning to Walk

August 26, 2022

A Nice Slow Start

I’m here! Arrived in Le Puy en Velay, the starting point for the Chemin de Puy/Via Podiensis late this afternoon after arriving in Paris this morning and taking three trains this afternoon. I almost missed my train from Paris because the woman giving information didn’t speak English, and my three years of French were 40 or more years ago (what????) When I asked her if this was my train she said, “no, next one.” But it WAS my train!! Glad I decided to follow what everyone else was doing and just get on the train.

I have had three hours of sleep and a few catnaps in the last two days, So a nice slow start is just what I need. I will spend two nights here, and have the day to explore Le Puy tomorrow before I start walking on Sunday. But the pilgrim way of life has begun: I am in a “dorm” with six beds, spaced about a foot apart, both men and women. I think my acting years are going to come in handy—well, the lesson of shedding modesty anyway. When you are doing off-off Broadway shows, often there is one crowded dressing room for everyone to change in, and in one show I had several quick costume changes that had to happen in the wings, the minute I came off stage, with someone helping me or I wouldn’t have made it back on stage in time. Getting comfortable with those circumstances is going to come in handy staying in tight quarters in mixed dorms! I sure hope the earplugs work! And like a good pilgrim I washed my clothes in the sink as soon as I had showered and they are hanging out to dry. I am praying it doesn’t rain.

Every time I come to Europe I am struck by just how old everything is compared to the U.S. This plaza I am sitting in for instance-looking at the buildings surrounding it, I imagine most of them are older than any structure in the US (well, structures that white European settlers/colonists built anyway). I believe people have been starting on pilgrimages from Le Puy en Velay for more than a thousand years, and looking at the buildings it feels like I am just stepping into the flow of all those who lived before us in this place. Conversations, in French mostly, are swirling around me. There won’t be many solitary dinners—most gites owners provide dinner—so I am enjoying this one. It is dusk so the light show should begin soon. It happens in the old part of the city and I am told it is not to be missed. My lack of sleep and glass of wine (wine is cheaper than water here) are about to put me out. Time to get up and walk around. I am so looking forward to tumbling into bed tonight, even with five strangers snoring and tossing and turning.

Buildings from where I sit. Love the variety of old shutters.

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  1. Barbara Mossman permalink

    Hope you do indeed get a good night’s sleep. Your description of the journey is wonderful.

  2. Susan Anderson permalink

    Praying that you have a restful sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. Thanks for your description of the area.

  3. Sweet dreams! Really hope you have a restorative night’s sleep x

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