donderdag 29 augustus 2013

Day 15. Walking with Alexandra van Marken

 My best friend joined me to walk with me today. He happens to be my husband too. It had been complicated to find a place to sleep yesterday and it was the same today. When I am on my own and there is no campsite or hostel I just put my tent at a quiet spot and sleep like a baby. I thought of Thoreau:

"The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off."

We set off late. We walked through woods and fields. We thought of Alexandra.

In Lalobbe we longed for coffee but the only cafe didn't open until five. At the church three girls in beautiful dresses were sitting around a beautifully set coffee table. One of them was just putting a lumb of sugar in a gold rimmed coffee cup with a small silver thong. Before we knew it we were sitting next to them, holding similar cups. They were doing research for a "spectacle" as they called it in french. A travelling performance in peoples' houses in that area. They were gathering stories about coffee. By inviting passers by to drink coffee with them.

Albert talked about Coffee and Cigarettes, the movie. In particular the scene with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits. We remembered the coffee grinder I gave Albert for his birthday to slow down his life. I talked about my grandmother who taught me to drink coffee and used to invite everybody who was passing her house in for a cup. When we left we received a small bundle of sage to keep us safe on our travels.

We walked and talked and arrived at Justine Herbigny where we had reserved a gite for 10 euro per person. We didn't expect much and when the owner directed us to a huge shed and asked us if we had brought our sleeping bags, we thought we would be sleeping in the hay. He opened the door, inside there were cars and a camper van, wood and tools and hay. And in the corner the most beautiful blue two storey wooden house. He had built a house for pilgrims in his shed. "It is a simple place" he said and he opened the door. A big kitchen, a bedroom, another room. Old furniture, books, a display of old tools. Flowers, fresh fruits from his garden and in the fridge two cold beers and a bottle of apple juice he had produced himself and was very proud of. We sat down and didn't know what to say and wanted to stay forever.

In the morning he brought us breakfast. We wanted to pay for our stay but he didn't want anything. We sat in the garden for a while and left, already planning to return some day.

Albert went north, I went south.

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