Through Forests and Fields: Day 3 of the Camino de Santiago (Varzy-Le Charite-sur-Loire)

End of the tunnel

Yesterday I experienced déjà vu not once, twice, but more like three times. I wish it had something to do with eating three delicious baguettes, or meeting three gorgeous female hikers on route to Santiago, but alas it did not.

Back into the fields

On three separate occasions, the Camino lead me into the forest, then out for a while into a vast stretch of fields, then back again. After a while, all the trees started to look the same; and the fields—they already looked the same in the first place.

Chapel of St. Lazarus, near Varzy. Used for the leper colony nearby.

Despite my boredom, I was grateful for one thing: I woke up at 6:30 and was on the road by 7 AM, well before the sun had a chance to make life completely miserable. Regretfully, my early wakeup call meant that I missed the chance to tour the well-preserved church in Varzy, I still saw this 12th century chapel not far from the town, and I reached the halfway point of Chateauneuf-val-des-barges just past noon.

Lunch!

There wasn’t much open here, but I was able to find a boulangerie that made a respectable baguette, which I took to a nice little paddock near the exit to the town and munched on for a while with my shoes off, my feet relishing the gentle breeze.

Ascending into the woods

Soon enough though, it was time to set off, and I took to the Camino, which lead me into the forest for the second time, but up as well. It was probably the toughest part of my walk; The path climbed for about 3 km, but even in the shade it was very hot, and I was sweating buckets by the time it flattened out.

Hot open fields

After walking through the forest for about 5 km, I once again found myself in the fields…and you kind of get where this is going. There were a couple villages along the way, but for the most part it was all the same.

Now entering

The only caveat to my story is that in my last post before I took off from Varzy, I said that the distance between Varzy and Le Charite was 36 km, or about 22 miles. I was wrong—that is the distance Google says you travel if you go the most direct route. If you don’t take the direct route, the distance easily surpasses 40 km. Guess which direction the Camino sent me?

Brutal stretch into La Charite--almost no shade

By the time I made it onto a straight piece of highway just 9 km from La Charite, I had probably already walked 36 km—and most likely, it was more. After walking for about 3 km I was fortunate enough to flag a truck driver named Thomas, and he drove me the rest of the way into the city and out of hell—at least for the day.
Luckily, things improved when I got in. I made it into the hostel, which only had one other person sleeping in it, and I also got the chance to visit Notre Dame de La Charite, which is mostly Romanesque but features a couple later additions to it. I’m too damn tired to get into the specifics of what’s going on, so to conclude the post on a happy note, here are the four best pictures I took.

Romanesque Manifesto, Notre Dame de Charite

Twin arches, Notre Dame de Charite

Corinthian capital,  Notre Dame de Charite

Out of darkness there is light, Notre Dame de Charite

I’m writing this from Bourges, which I hitched a ride to from la Charite this morning, and if you’re tired of reading about farms and fields, you’ll be happy to know that my next post has nothing to do with them!

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7 thoughts on “Through Forests and Fields: Day 3 of the Camino de Santiago (Varzy-Le Charite-sur-Loire)

  1. You have some great photos here. I especially loved the one with the baguette. Day Three already for you. My family and i fly into Pamplona on Sunday to start next week. Keep up the great blog!

    1. Baguette is pretty much my lifeline! How cool that you and your family are walking the Camino already! You’ll be done at least 5 weeks before me even though I have a slight head start. Don’t wait up, but do post pictures 🙂

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