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pilgrims

I’m happy to report that I didn’t go mad in Monoprix and Galeries Lafayette – in fact, bought nothing at all, except a very large load of groceries for the household. Grocery shopping is great fun in another country, especially this one, where the wine selection is vast, this in the equivalent of No Frills. When Madame returned from work, Monsieur made dinner – roast pork cooked in milk and onions in the pressure cooker, with new potatoes added at the last minute and a salad – a very healthy full dinner ready in half an hour. And then, of course, you know what …

CHEESE.
With fresh bread. Oh yes yes yes.
The television was fixed, so we watched a bit, a British drama about the legacy of the British in Palestine and the creation of Israel in 1948, through the experiences of one family. Excellent.
Today, Denis took me to St. Guilhem le Desert, about 50 minutes from Montpellier, described in the guides as one of the loveliest villages in all France. And as you can see by the pictures, the guides aren’t exaggerating. What made it especially beautiful is that we were almost the only tourists there. Most of the shops that line the narrow medieval streets were closed and shuttered, so we wandered alone.
We had seen the church and were in the cloister when several nuns came out, in beige wool monk-like garb with hoods and sandals, and told us they were about to start an “office”, did we want to join them? So we did, in the freezing, ancient church, a brief service in which seven nuns in robes chanted and spoke, and Denis and I and a very old man rose and sat with them, and the old man sang along. It was plainsong – hauntingly beautiful echoing from the round arches above us.
Then out to walk through the village again – it’s on the official route of the Camino pilgrims to Compostela, and fountains were splashing fresh water on every corner. And then, that important part of any pilgrimage – lunch. Denis and I sat under the vast plain tree in the village square and had the menu – 15 euros for a salad with warm chevre, then a duck cassoulet and a crepe for dessert. A humble pilgrim lunch, in the loveliest little town in France.
I’m hardly missing Bruth at all. Well … a bit. I wonder how he is doing in Nimes.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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