Day 7 – Auchy-au-Bois to Bruay la Bussiere – 22.15kms

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Madamme Brigitte runs a chamber d’Hote and a rural gite at Auchy-au-Bois where we stayed last night. Brigitte speaks no English however we still managed to commucate adequately with our very limited French.

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Brigitte has been a collector for a long time – her farmhouse is more like a museum than a B and B. On this wall there’s so many plates with roosters on them – as only the French do so well. The rooster is the national symbol of France.

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These feet are made for walking – they recover each night to let us walk another day despite the rigours of the day before.

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Leaving Auchy-au-Bois in the rain. It’s a bleak outlook from the rural gite building we stayed at. But very warm – but much warmer than we’d feel during the day ahead.

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Signage is getting more frequent and clearer.

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Roadside chapel at Annettes.

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Another roadside chapel but this one has seen better days. Visitors are not welcomed anymore.

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We had persistent rain all day and all afternoon so sitting down to take lunch presented a problem. Bus stops are usually de facto lunch stops for us but this one had no seat. So we settled for sitting on a window frame, enjoying the brisk wind at our back and eating our bread and cheese very, very quickly.

Bruay is in the heart of the old coal mining area and resembles parts of Wales with its grey terrace buildings, little colour and few pubs or restaurants giving it a very depressed look. There appeared little life as we entered this large town with little signage so was hard to get to the Centre de Ville to find a hotel. At last after a few extra kms looking we found The Cottage 2 star hotel and booked in for dinner, bed and breakfast and collapsed in our room. We’ve seen most of this dour ‘Protestant looking’ town while trying to find the centre – but still haven’t passed the Marie!! We’ll explore a bit more before we travel onto Arras.

Pilgrims traditionally travelled by walking or riding a horse or donkey. So we’re considering riding the ‘Iron Horse’ from Bethune to Arras for our rest day, in keeping with this tradition!!!

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