Day 4 – Guines to Licques -15kms

The major task for the next few days, other than reaching our destination, is to get a French Sim card with data to enable us to upload the blog, emails and to surf the net wherever we are. We are tired of trying to chase free Wi-Fi with its gross limitations.

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Our spacious cabin in the Guines’ campgrounds allowed us to spread out our gear a bit – a far cry from our Hostel Alma room at Dover the previous night. Jane’s leggings are on – it’s been very cold 2 out of the 3 days we’ve walked so far. The heating was totally inadequate last night, in hindsight it would have been better to start the walk 4-6 weeks later. But then we’d have missed skiing in Australia and Jane’s 40th!! So we made do with 3 blankets and were cosy in bed regardless.

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This was our spacious but cold ‘pelerin cabin’ that we stayed in last night. After yesterdays chilly weather we’re wearing almost everything we have available in our packs.

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Goodbye Guines camping ground!
The manageress kindly rang ahead to book accommodation for 2 nights hence at the Benedictine Abbaye Notre- Dame in Wisques. Most attempts to email for accommodation at various establishments have failed so it’s back to telephoning ahead. But with limited French this can present significant communication problems.

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Today the weather gods have smiled on us – it’s still very cool but the bitter wind and rain are no longer present. The countryside here is lush and green for a very good reason!

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The rather charming Chateau Dippendal sits at the top of a hill as we approach the rural community of Ecottes.

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It’s Sunday but there are few church services held here in Campagne-les-Guines now. In recent years small rural villages like this lost a lot of services that kept communities together. We’ve walked through villages that since the current Via Francigena guide was published in 2011 had lost a baker, a small shop, a bar tabac or even a restaurant. Now thanks to competition and modern times, including the rise of the motor car and the supermarket the glue that kept these villages alive is failing. Sadly the rise of the God of Mamam and consumerism is eroding these village parishes too.

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A glimpse back to Calais from where we walked yesterday morning.

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Roadside chapels are often in poor repair, like this one in Licques.

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Though this one is in better condition. We’re not sure who is responsible for their maintenance.

We know that the French Government carries the burden of maintaining all the countries large cathedrals and important historic churches – and it’s an onerous and costly exercise. However the maintenance of less important churches falls on the depopulated impoverished local communes – and they have little chance of paying for the maintenance themselves. So many of the rural churches along the route so far have fallen into disrepair and are condemned for safety reasons.

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In Licques we found the direction marker to Wissant, a town on the French coast South of Calais. In medieval times Pilgrims, merchants, Romans and the religious sailed to and from England from the port of Wissant. The port became badly silted so travellers began to use Calais and till today Calais remains a very busy northern French Port.

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And so much for French driving!!!

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Enjoying a Kir before dinner at Licques camping ground.

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We fancied a steak but we’re a bit overwhelmed by the serving size of the ‘frites’. Despite the serving size not a frite was left!!! We’d earned them all walking today!

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