Before I started the camino, I spent the weekend with my friends Joy and Beranger in Voiron, France. I had worked and/or lived with them while I was in L'Arche, so I thought it would be nice to visit their home in the French Alps. It was super relaxing. And for once, I was with people that understood L'Arche and that I could imitate core members with. People usually look at me strange when I lick them, say that I'm "nervy," or call them a "fat cow."
One of the days we drove through the Alps for a bit and visited the monastery in Chartreuse, where the documentary Into Great Silence was filmed. We weren't allowed to go in the monastery. Those Carthusians really cherish their silence. I don't know if I could do that... It was hard enough for me not to bust out into "The Sound of Music" while frolicking around the green hills surrounding the cloister. Chartreuse is famous for its liqueur, which itself is famous for its brilliant green-yellow color. I haven't tried it yet, but it's pretty beautiful.
The best part of the weekend was the food. Lots of wine, and lots and lots of delicious cheese. Scrumptious, stinky fromage. For the last night, we had homemade cheese fondue, and that was amazing. I could never be lactose-intolerant or vegan. Sorry, PETA.
I left the day before I was to start my pilgrimage, and like a fool, I got on the wrong train. I didn't miss the train, I just got on the wrong one. I didn't bother to read the destination on the side of the train. I boarded a train, and while I was waiting to stow my suitcase, the train started moving. 15 minutes early. I freaked out a bit to say the least. Thank GOD that the train was heading to a town outside Paris and that this town has a metro line that runs straight to my host mother's apartment. I could have ended up in Nice! Or Normandy! But I still ended up in Paris, and I arrived in time for my train to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to start the Camino de Santiago... (to be continued)