Dieppe to Rouen

The long wait from 5 o’clock in the morning when the boat arrived in Dieppe until the nine-thirty Mass at the parish church of St Jacques de Compostelle made a slow exit from the town.  I had my pilgrim passport stamped by the same woman who stamped it in 2008 when I was walking to Compostela.

She seems to be a permanent feature of the sacristy there, and againg she was looking around for some memento to give to a passing pilgrim.  “Here, have this guidebook to the history of the church,” she said.  I thanked her but said she gave one last time.  So she gave me a postcard instead.  This is the tradition: helping the pilgrims on their way by offering something to show their efforts are appreciated.  It is very touching.

The Chasse Marée is the walkers’ route between Dieppe and Rouen.  I spent the first day trying to negotiate it on my velocipede.  This bit looks quite easy to negotiate, but it became terrible narrow in places, deeply rutted, and I came to a standstill.

After carrying the velocipede over a two hundred metre section, then running into more difficulties on part of the track which had been washed away, I finally returned to the road today, and completed the journey to Rouen on ordinary tarmac lanes through Auffay, Cléres and finally into the city of Rouen, where I am staying with friends of the Amis de St Jacques de Compostelle.  Here’s a photo from last night, camped in a remote woodland spot:

After Agincourt, it is best to keep a low profile in France and try to not let them know we are camped here…


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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