VIA FRANCIGENA: Canterbury to Rome Day 7

Amettes to Béthonsart. 27K
Walking out of Amettes at dawn

Today was hot; 35C/95F. There have been no fountains on this walk and today we ran out of water so I asked a woman for help. She kindly filled our water bottles and gave us a bottle of cold mineral water which we greedily sucked down on the spot.

The kind lady offering water bottles

We arrived in Béthonsart at 12:30 and were greeted by Christina who allowed us to use her washing machine and gave us a tour of the wall on the property of her home and dairy farm. It is located 20K northeast of Arras which was smack dab on the western front of WWI.

There were British, Irish, Canadian, Australian, American, New Zealand soldiers who carved various things into the wall to mark their stays here.

Evidently the Canadians were numerous here as the Battle of Vimy, took place nearby which was the first battle where the Canadian army fought under their own banner separate from Britain.

Cristina was a wonderful host putting on a most delicious dinner of what I call Shepherds Pie with just roast duck beneath the mashed potatoes.

Excellent with the red wine. As normal there was a delicious slightly sweet rose apertif before dinner. And a wonderful pie made with pears from her back yard.

A second interesting story today:

Leaving Amettes in early morn stopped to pay tribute to San Benoit.

The youngest child of a middle class merchant family, all he ever wanted was to be a priest. Once he turned eighteen he tried to join the seminary, but was immediately rejected. He tried again. And again. Each Abbey whose door he knocked on gave him one of several excuses—he was too young, his Latin too poor, his health too shaky, his qualifications nonexistent. Finally at the age of 20 he started to walk.

San Benoit’s backyard

By the time he collapsed of malnourishment on the steps of the Church of Santa Maria ai Monti in Rome less than a month after his 35th birthday, Benoît had walked 30,000 miles all over Europe including Santiago de Compostela.

With Cristina and family at dinner

When asked why he walked, he replied, “I do it because that is what my heart tells me I should do.”

August 2020

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Happy to answer any questions and help in any way.