|The next day I crossed this motorway . . .|
|. . . and was glad that my road was a lot quieter. In fact I hardly saw a car for hours.|
I had been on my own for the last few days. Peter and my other companions had gone on ahead during my rest day in Troyes. But I relished the unaccustomed solitude, and realised I had been missing the deeper, reflective, meditative aspects of pilgrimage. I have found you can only really touch this spiritual core when you are alone — a solitary figure moving through a landscape. Enjoyable as companionship is for while, and necessary, it is also valuable to throw yourself back onto complete self-reliance, to test fully your own personal responses and resources. You notice more by yourself, your senses are sharper, and you enter a more receptive, more primeval, more animal-like state.
|I arrive in Langres in the Haute-Marne department of the Champagne-Ardenne region. Often it's the little details which are more telling than the whole picture.|
|The Raising of Lazarus, a polychromatic group in Langres Cathedral.|
|Langres is built on a limestone promontory, and here's the view north from the town walls — revealing the flattish area of woods, lakes and farmland I'd just walked across.|
|Place Diderot in Langres. Diderot (1713-1784), who was born here, and whose bronze statue dominates the square, was a major figure in the French Enlightenment, and a big friend of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who is one of my own literary and philosophical heroes (the title of this blog was inspired by Rousseau's work in exile, The Reveries of the Solitary Walker). Diderot's monumental opus was his Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers (Encyclopaedia, or Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts and Crafts), published in France between 1751 and 1772.|