Today quickly deteriorated into a wet day. We spent a lot of time on muddy forest tracks that were difficult to traverse having been cut up by heavy tractors and machinery. Without the wet weather of late these forest walks would have been a joy to walk through.
However, these tracks are a mountain bikers dream.
We spent most of the day with our wet weather gear on.
We had a big climb out of the village of Clairvaux. There is a prison there and an old Cistercian Monastery currently under renovation.
Clairvaux Monastery was one of the many resting places along the ancient via Francigena route. There was a vast number of such religious houses en-route.
As one priest advised us – only the poor walked – those with money always rode or went in a carriage!
The Chapelle in the Monastery grounds.
This is what we believed was the entrance to the prison from the Monastery. Some nuns continue to work here supporting families with accommodation and food on their visits to the prisoners.
Before the French Revolution and the separation of church and state the Monastery’s were very powerful and wealthy, as seen by these grand buildings that are now being restored.
The town is overlooked by a statue of St. Bernard.
Our walk included a circuit of The Lavoirs, the communal wash houses where some like this one have been restored.
Bus shelters are handy for eating lunch, changing clothes and having a break from the interminable rain!
There are some lovely green rural scenes but that rain which makes the grass green and the cows content plays havoc with us walkers!!
At the end of the day, after the boots are off and we’re all cleaned up it’s nice to relax with a drink.
And a special dinner at our hotel restaurant at Chateauvillain. Great food and a charming atmosphere created by our English hosts who’ve been in business here 7 years. Nothing was too much trouble!!