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: