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Via Francigena, Day 9/29: From Arc-en-Barrois to Langres

"As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow". A. C. Benson.

In this post…

    1. Introduction
    2. The statistics and metrics of the day
    3. The most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts
    4. Video of the 2nd part of Stage 33, from Arc-en-Barrois to Mormant
    5. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 34, from Mormant to Langres.
    6. Pictures of the day.

1. Introduction

Blog post about the 8th and 9th day published during the journey on the 2n August 2016
Blog post about the 8th and 9th day published during the journey on the 2n August 2016

This post complements the post I published on the 2 of September 2016 in which I described the experiences I had on the 7th of August 2016 while riding between Arc-en-Barrois and Langres, in France. I am not going to repeat the content of that post in this one again, but I will try to add a few highlights for each one of the stages below. I encourage you to read the previous post before continuing on this one.

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2. Statistics and metrics of the day

  • Date: Saturday, 7th of August 2016
  • Route: From Arc-en-Barrois to Langres in France
  • Distance:  46.29 Km
  • Departure time from Arc-en-Barrois: Around 12:00 noon.
  • Arrival at Langres: Around 15:45h (+ ~ 1h to find the tourism Information office and then ride to the pilgrim’s hostel).
  • Duration of day’s Journey: 4h 49min
  • Expenses this day: Total = € 22.54
    • €12.54 for food.
    • €10.00 – Accommodation
  • Overnight location:  L’Abri du Pelerin (The shelter of the pilgrim), Tel: +33 03 25 87 11 48
  • Type of accommodation: Pilgrim Hostel
  • Lightfoot Guide Stages:
  • Physical and body Stats: Link to the Garmin Connect Page for this ride
      • Duration (elapsed time): 04h 49min
      • Moving time: 3h 25min
      • Average Speed: 10.1 Km/h
      • Average Moving Speed:  13.5 Km/h
      • Max. Speed: 46.2 Km/h
      • Total Elevation Gain: 568 m
      • Average Heart Rate: 122 bpm
      • Max. Heart Rate: 164 bpm
      • Calories: 1,468 CAL
      • Number of Pedal Strokes (Cadence sensor): 11,166

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2. Most memorable moments and thoughts:

As I mentioned in my earlier Blog Post, I had a terrible night in the tent and ready struggled to breath. I presume it was the humidity that built up inside the tent during the night that triggered my asthma and prevented me from falling asleep.

In addition to a bad night sleep I also left the camping ground quite late as the tent was completely wet on the inside, so I turned it inside-out and let it dry under the sun for about 30 to 45 min before packing it in the bag.

Goggle Maps guided me to a forest and other than having to lower the bike closed to the ground once to go under a barrier, it was an easy ride. I did have a strange encounter with what I believe was a small lost dog (a Dachshund “sausage” dog) in the middle of that forest, but as I explained this encounter in the earlier Blog Post, I am not going to repeat it here again.

It was the right decision to stay in Arc-en-Barrois the night before as when I arrived in Mormant I confirmed that it is a tiny village with just a few houses. There used to be an Abbey there where Sigeric allegedly stayed during his pilgrimage, but it is now in ruins. There are some historic plaques telling the story of the site.

20160807_140117There is nothing to do in Mormant, so after taking a few pictures I resumed the ride and a few kilometres later I met Nicholas from Lancaster, the very first Francigena pilgrim, after more than 600 Km and 9 days into the journey. I was so happy to see I wasn’t alone in this journey 🙂

He had left Canterbury on the 11th of July 2016 (nearly 3 weeks before I did) and expected to arrive in Rome by the end of October.

He told me that after his brother died, a few years earlier, he walked from Lancaster to Canterbury in his memory and there was when he heard of the Via Francigena. He was dedicating the pilgrimage to the memory of his niece, who 40 years ago was abducted (or went missing) right after birth. He says that even after all this time, his sister is still grieving for the loss of her girl, so he was taking her little hospital blanket with him to Rome. Just one of the many interesting stories along the way.

If you watch the video of my ride after Mormant you’ll see that Google guided me to a point where the path was closed, so I had to make a “U-Turn” and that also meant I wasted some time.

P1010756As I arrived in Langres there was (obviously) a substantial hill to climb to get to town and I was already feeling very tired from the bad night sleep, so I looked for the Tourism Information Office and asked if there were pilgrim accommodation in town and they sent me to the “L’Abri du Pèlerin” (the Pilgrim Shelter), offered and maintained by the Catholic church, located nearby the Cathedral. It is a small place, only 2 rooms (although in the web site it says there is only 1). One room has 2 beds and was already occupied by a couple, the other 1 bed (the one I slept in). It has a bathroom and a kitchen and it cost €10 a night. There was no WiFi there.

It was Sunday and those that have been to France know that trying to find anything open on a Sunday is a challenge, but thankfully, as I arrived quite early, after a shower there was still time walk to the town centre where I found a mini-marked opened and buy some food which I prepared in the hostel.

As I was leaving the hostel to walk to the town centre that evening, the bells of the Cathedral started to ring and this is what they sound like.

I had a good night sleep there. It seems camping isn’t really my cup of tea.

I hope you enjoy the videos and the photos.

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3. Video of the 2nd part of Stage 33, from Arc-en-Barrois to Mormant

Video Length: 4 min 42 sec

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4. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 34, from Mormant to Langres.

Video Length: 8 min 53 sec

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5. Pictures of the day.

Click on any picture for full detail

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