Today was a surprisingly beautiful day of walking, given that we had chosen to walk the original Via Domitla Pilgrim way, rather than the considerably longer route.
Our concern was that this route followed a super highway quite closely, but in actuality, we walked through more wild countryside than we had previously. There were lovely patches through scrubby forests—I think there is a French name—but it escapes me now.
I felt at times that we were walking through landscapes not too different from those traversed by medieval pilgrims.
The noise of the sometimes nearby freeway was often buffered by trees.
We arrived at last in the center of Vendargues, to the Post Office from which a bus left to take us to a tram to the center of Montpellier.
It was all a bit stressful, because we didn’t realize there was both a bus and a tram, and didn’t know in which direction to take the bus. Google maps was not much help.
Iphigenie maps,however had been of great help at several intersectionns along the way.
But at last we found our way into the city by bus and tram, and with the help of Google maps found our way to the Gite Pelerins de St. Roche, right behind the church.
We had not reserved, but were relieved to find beds, and encounter once more Isabelle, Genevieve, and Georgina. We 5 make up the pilgrim contingent tonight.
This was a hard day for me in some ways, after a hurried start this morning.
I did find time to pray during long quiet, and often rocky stretches of the way.
But entering the Elglise de Saint Roch brought tears to my eyes. St. Roch was born in Montpellier, a saint I have sought out on my many pilgrimages. He always has his dog beside him,often with a piece of bread in its mouth. The story I know is that Saint Roque was a pilgrim to Santiago in the 1300s, and had a wound on his leg that never healed, but was kept free of infection by the dog’s licking of the wound.
Statues of St Roch and his dog are found in churches and chapels through the European pilgrim routes.
There is much more, but I don’t have time now to research the story. But at the front of this church is a painting of the saint on his deathbed, with the faithful dog at his feet. I have never seen this depiction before, only statues of St. Rich as pilgrim with his dog.
Since I have praying for so many I’ll friends on this walk, I was deeply moved.
We are in a true pilgrim gite tonight. Tomorrow we again take transportation to the edge of town, from where will walk 10-12 km to tomorrow’s stop.
The old part of Montpellier is lovely and charming.
No time for pictures tonight, but One from my phone: