So, the first month is completed. Great joy, beautiful encounters and a lot of work. Nearly 40 pilgrims stayed at the gite and 7 friends came to help.
The month started with the same trio that walked together in 2020: George, Arno and myself, managing the transfer of the gite. George took care of all the French affairs while Arno and me started cleaning the place up. We brought 7 trailers full of junk to the waste station ! That created some space for storage and other use of spaces. Arno’s greatest achievement was the cleaning of two hen house of 100 years of filth. Bravo job !
The improvement work focussed on the outdoors given the coming change of season. Two dead trees were removed and all the planters were removed since they fell apart. The back terras was created and in the front a new sidewalk (still unfinished). The earth here contains an unlimited amount of rocks in all sizes. Two large heaps of rocks are remaining after one month of digging, enough to build the front wall.
Besides the cleaning, shopping, washing, cooking I spend about 1 hour per day on repair of items in the house of tools. With the more intense use everything seemed to fall apart ! Rebuilding the kitchen drain with my French neighbor, just before dinner was a definite highlight.
Many thanks to George, Arno, Joost, Mark, Tessa and Matthijs for helping out with all the work, but also to the pilgrims who have assisted in the garden, the kitchen and did all the dishes during the whole month.
And then the pilgrim guests. A great variety in ages, life stories, heritage and reasons for walking the Camino. Some statistic: 54% males, 36% Dutch, 33% French and 13% German and the remainder from Belgium and Spain; 2 pilgrims on the bicycle the rest on foot. A total of 17 pilgrims (43%) on their way to Santiago. The fastest walker reached the gite in 18 days from the Netherlands.
We attended two French parties. The first was the Voisinage (neighbourhood gathering) at the local farm. A total of 24 people, half Dutch half French. Secondly “young farmers gala”, a dinner with dance and fireworks. 400 French and 3 Dutch people (us), at least very good way to practice the French. We even did some line dancing, farmer style.
It has been a great month and time flies by. We were able to always eat outside in the garden with the exception of one night. The evening are getting shorter, humidity goes up and fall is coming. Another month and this years season will be over.
I already look forward to the next year. The first Volunteers to run the gite have been booked and for next year I hope that I can give more people the opportunity to manage a gite for a couple of weeks. If you are interested let me know. I will start the planning for the new year in January 2023.