Day 1 – Saint-Privat-d’Allier

I went to bed with a forecast of thunderstorms for the entire day, but woke up with clear skies and no rain forecasted until late afternoon. As a result, I managed to make it all the way to my next lodging without getting wet.

I started the day by attending Pilgrims’ Mass at 7:00AM. There were about 40 other pilgrims there along with many locals. After mass, a metal grate in the middle of the church floor opened up to reveal a special staircase for pilgrims to use to start their pilgrimage. Very cool.

The 15 mile walk was mostly uphill. It was over 2000 vertical feet. Tough but beautiful. I’m tired and a little sore, but feeling good. I’m ready for tomorrow.

Almost all the hikers are French (it’s vacation time in France), so virtually no English was spoken, but I did talk for a while with Fleuren from Marseille. He’s just hiking for 2 weeks.

The landscape was beautiful but the charming little towns stand out to me. Some only have a few hundred inhabitants. They seem to be frozen in time.

My prayer subjects today were Erika and Brent Shoffner. I worked closely with Erika at PSU. It’s her birthday today! Unfortunately she had to have (planned) spinal surgery on Monday so she’s in pain and trying to recuperate. Plenty to pray for for her.

Rain in the forecast for tomorrow. Hard to believe I’ll dodge another bullet.

The pilgrims’ staircase. Notice it’s in the aisle way between the pews.
The trail a few miles out of Le Puy.
Rest break at Saint-Christophe-Sur-Dolaison.
Rain clouds threatened as I approached my destination, but held off until after I arrived.
Saint-Privat-d’Allier. I’m staying here tonight. How cool is this place?!

11 thoughts on “Day 1 – Saint-Privat-d’Allier

  1. What a great way to start your journey! I really like the photo of the trail just out of Le Puy and the one with thunderheads gathering – they give a really nice picture of what it must be like for you, in the moment.

  2. I am already in awe of your journey so far and it has only been one day! Praying for you, your feet, and the weather 🙂 May you be well my friend!

  3. So glad you’re off to a great start, Bill. I admire your determined spirit and sense of adventure. Of course, the Michigan basketball team just landed in Paris… so it may not be too late to turn around. Just sayin’.

  4. What a beautiful ritual to start the journey. Glad you are keeping dry although you are still wet behind the ears. Love the photos. I was particularly struck by your photo of the trail. I pictured a much more formal, worn and wide path, but maybe this early it’s like a tributary to what will eventually become a larger stream or river.

  5. Love the start of your journey on the pilgrims’ staircase! Enlightening and safe travels. Thanks for sharing the amazing pictures!

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