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Via Francigena, day 3 (1/Aug): From Bruay-la-Bussiere to Peronne

Left the Ibis hotel in Bruay after a great breakfast. The first destination of the day was Ablain-Saint-Nazaire and it took me just over 1h and a half to cover the about 20 Km of this stage.

As usual in these small villages, I couldn’t find any place that could provide a stamp onto my pilgrim’s credential. I don’t let that stop me from riding to these tiny villages as the goal is to follow the same 80 stages Sigeric did 700 years ago (not the route he took though, as many parts are only suitable to those walking). I always spend a few minutes in the villages, taking pictures, having a little rest and taking up some water.

After Ablain-Saint-Nazaire I rode to Arras, which is a big town in comparison to the previous villages. As I got there what stroke me most was the distinctive architecture and the “beach party” place they had built in one of the empty spaces, complete with sand, Caribbean music, palms trees and everything.

Few hundred meters more and I was in the town centre looking at their impressive cathedral. Took a few pictures and headed to the nearby Tourism Information Office to collect my stamp.

After getting my stamp, I left to Bapaume, another small town (not a village though) village along the way. I managed to get a stamp in the Hotel de Ville, or town hall. On my way from Arras to Bapaume I passed by a curious “Route 66” American style dinner, with a big statue of Elvis in front.

Left Bapaume a bit unsure as to how many more kilometres I should ride before to stop. Decided to just check the next stop in Sigeric’s route and decide when I got there. Next stop was Péronne and as I arrived in the outskirts of the small town it was already 7:00pm, so I decided to stay there. I had seen a sign pointing to the municipal camping site and decided to stay there, but then, for some unexpected reason my phone lost GPS connections, which meant Google Maps didn’t work. I tried the navigation on the Garmin, but it didn’t have the camping site on its database and I didn’t know the address. So I rode around for about 30 min and stopped a few times asking for directions. It is not easy to ask for directions in France when you don’t speak French, but a very nice gentleman took the time and drew me a little map on a piece of paper and with that I managed to find the camping site. Must confess I was looking at the navigation, when I should have been looking at the road signs as there were clear indications on the streets to the camping site.

Thankfully as I arrived the camping manager was still there and told me to just go and setup camp and pay me the next day. The charge was €8.00 for the night. After a shower I went out to see if I could buy something to eat, but the only thing I found open at 8:30pm was a kebab trailer in the town centre. So I got myself some Kebab take-away (and something for breakfast next morning) and had a tent feast.

It rained heavily all night and that prevented me from sleeping well. I had never used this tent under rain before, but it performed well and no water came inside.

Before closing this blog post, I have to ask: Have you already donated to my cause? Please, do so. One of the reasons I am writing these posts, even though very tired after riding all day is so that I am able to give you something in return for your contribution.

Now let’s write the next day as I am already behind of these posts.

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